August 15, 2016

And now for something different...

A few years back, driving west on R340, the wonderfully scenic twisty road along the Connemara coast from Galway towards Carna, we passed over a narrow inlet and up ahead saw a road off to the left winding down to a pier. 

Now, I never saw a pier I didn't like. So we turned off the road and doubled back past one of those ubiquitous—and very effective—signs warning us not to drive into the bay, down to the long
concrete pier which sloping gently into the water. There I found two amazing piles of shells, one mostly clamshells and the other mostly oyster shells. They were so closely packed that it looked like an art installation, carefully assembled by hand. After four years I've finally done the painting I first envisioned that day, that magical gathering of gorgeously colored shells.

While trying to come up with a name for the painting, I learned that we had been in the townland of Cill Chiaráin, which means, "Ciarán's Church." The sixth-century Saint Ciarán spent many years here. Thus, "St.
Ciarán's Shells."