An eclectic Dingle Arts Festival

My journey into the visual arts has been a relatively recent step. I’ve always loved exploring the connections between ideas, people, things we come across in the everyday.

The whole notion of taking a theme, dipping in and out, going deeper into the familiar and seeking out variations and things that had once seemed the same, has always been attractive to me. I love spotting patterns. I think my eye likes the repetition and the rhythm.

Although I don’t write music, this is probably the same deep sense of attraction that creates music. Maybe the best music is written by those who can fall into step and synchronise with the natural rhythm of their own hearts, creating melody as they go. I like the thought!

In March 2019, my eldest son obliged me when he used his own mobile phone to digitise my art work in the early morning light. It was not long after the sun had risen over Co Clare across the breath of the Shannon Estuary from the window of our sitting room and just before he ran out the door to go football training on the beach at Beale Strand.

With that digitised file, I applied to exhibit at Feile na Bealtaine, the eclectic Dingle Arts Festival that happens annually in the beautiful West Kerry town. This was the very first time I was dipping a toe into the visual arts scene and was entirely thrilled that my work was accepted. I was bringing 20 art items, the series based on birds. Creating my own Haiga series, bringing my own composed haiku poetry and simple imagery into the same art space,  in keeping with the links each of the 20 birds had to the Ogham Alphabet, my little exhibition was located in The Gazebo, close to An Diseart Arts Centre and behind Dingle’s beautiful Catholic Church. I was in my element! It’s true to say that I will forever treasure the remarks and comments that people placed in the little ledger in the exhibition space. Their words were gold to me. In terms of gratitude, there are no boundaries.

Successful again with an application early in 2020, I was due to bring a new series of Haiga Art, this time based on 20 native Irish trees, to Feile na Bealtaine. As we all know so well now, Covid 19 restrictions cancelled pretty much everything last year.

I would like to acknowledge the generosity of the committee at that festival who, while not obliged to do so, still chose to give artists who were due to exhibit at the festival, a monetary sum. I received €100, though I did not go because the festival never happened. My mother always reminded me to never deny anyone’s goodness and in keeping with that notion, I just want to note it here. Not every festival committee takes the same approach and fair play to the Feile na Bealtaine crew in charge.

I have submitted again for 2021, this time with a series on Irish Wildflower Haiga. The organisers hope the festival can go ahead in compliance with restrictions. Keeping everything outdoors and visual arts and screens et cetera for social distancing will be entirely possible. Whether my artwork happens to be part of the festival are not, I really admire the committee’s strong determination to allow and facilitate the vibrant arts community to unleash itself in Dingle for the May bank holiday weekend 2021. All the best!

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