Ballycroy National Park

I visited Ballycroy National Park last August. Ballywhere you may say? I had never heard of it as well until two good friends of mine Jean Pierre  and Nicola took over the running of the cafe there two years ago. The park is situated in north county Mayo and boasts stunning scenery.The windswept Nephin Beg mountains guard the back of the the centre and the panoramic sea views of Achill from the front are breathtaking. The park is very wild and unspoilt and extremely quiet. It is a very  large expanse of wilderness which has white fronted geese, otters, golden plovers, grouse, snipe and other sensitive species residing there. North Mayo is off the beaten track but is a fantastic place to visit.

Having walked a while on the surrounding bogs I had worked up an appetite and where better to address this problem than in the Ginger and Wild cafe. Jean Pierre treated me to a delightful choice of goodies all prepared by himself. The views from the cafe are fantastic and I spent two hours sipping my tea and looking out. The heather was in bloom and the island of Achill was been bathed in soft evening light.

Jean Pierre’s wife Nicola runs the  art gallery and she has some beautiful originals hanging on the cafe walls. She asked me to drop some of my work up to her. I have included a few snaps of some of the artwork I sent her. I look forward to my next visit.IMG_5444 IMG_5448 IMG_5449 IMG_5496 IMG_6075 IMG_6080 IMG_6083 IMG_6088 IMG_6089 IMG_6093 IMG_6099 IMG_6126 IMG_6129 IMG_6131 IMG_8424


Spring Fires Ahead

What a wonderful time of year it is! Our garden is alive with birdsong and life. Each morning a hare visits our lawn and browses on the overgrown grass which is a great excuse for me not mowing it! After moving he will not normally return again until the grass is four or five inches. I might plant some wild flowers in a section of the lawn next year and let it  grow wild, the hares love the security of the longer grass to feed in. The “weeds” will not have to be planted! Hares nibble the plantain and dock leaves I’ve noticed.

The mistle thrushes visited our garden this week for the first time. I have not seen them since their fledglings were killed by the magpies last summer. They feed in a very different manner to their smaller relatives the songthrush. They hop forward in powerful bursts and hold themselves very erect in such a proud manner.

The willow warbler is a relative newcomer to our property. I only started noticing these birds frequently about five or six years ago but now there are at least two pairs in the garden. They are staying with us now during the winter as well as far as I can make out. Their song is wonderful and bubbly and is a great addition to the blackbird and song thrush.

I took a walk along the banks of the river boyne at the end of March and was lucky enough  to spot a magnificent dog otter feeding on eels. I tried to sneak towards him for a better photo but he was aware of me and kept working his way downstream. The early morning light on the water that morning is still vivid in my mind and I would love to paint a picture of this scene sometime. I plan to head back next week with my gear and see if I can get a closer image. I will keep ye posted.

I live within a stones throw of the bog. Some of the local farmers burn strips the bog every spring to encourage sweet  aftergrass for their stock.Unfortunately some of them burn into the month of April which causes damage to bird nests and young hares.

I took a walk in some native woodlands last week. I was trying to get some photos of jays which I IMG_9318 IMG_9303 IMG_9217 IMG_9173 IMG_9172 IMG_9157 IMG_9004 IMG_8943 0O8A9279 0O8A9251 0O8A9234 0O8A9181 0O8A9188 0O8A9223had  spotted on a previous occassion. They are very wary birds. I finally heard their chatter and was motionless under an old oak hoping that they might swing my way. I suddenly had the feeling that I was been watched. Out of the corner of my eye a fox was sitting on his hind quarters calmly looking at me. We exchanged stares for about two minutes before he tottered off. I had never seen such a relaxed fox.

I have not bee at my easel for some time now due to family matters. I have managed to get back in the swing of things this week and have been busy catching up on commissions. I will try to post some pics of my recent work shortly.

My next show will be Shanes Casle BASC Game Fair on the 27/28th of June.









Ireland Angling Show 2015

Hello all,

It has been quite a while since I blogged but I am still alive and kicking for those of you who were a bit worried! Spring is in the air. The chaffinches and the woodpigeon were in spring song this morning  as I ate my breakfast. The lake fishing season kicks off in just over a week and I am getting more excited as the days progress.

I have been invited to exhibit my art at this years Ireland Angling Show later this month.This is the first time that I take part in this show and it is Irelands largest angling show. It takes place at The National Centre near Dublin Airport and the organisers expect 10,000 visitors over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of Feb. I will be busy completing some fishing pieces for it.

I hope to see some of my regular clients and meet a few new ones.



Upcoming Exhibitions

I am showing my artworks at two venues this month. Some of my artwork is on display at Connemara National Park at the moment and will be until the 25th of this month. The park is located at Letterfrack in Co. Galway. I will not  personally be present daily. I will however be dropping in occasionally so if anyone wants to discuss any artwork I can arrange to meet them there.

I will also be exhibiting my work at the Ballynahinch Harvest and Country Living Festival at Maltalto Estate, Co Down on the 27th/28th of September.This is a new venture I gather and should be a quality event as it is being organised by the same team that puts the great gamefairs of Ireland together.

CLA Game Fair Review

It is hard to believe that  a week has passed since the CLA Game Fair. I must say that the event this year was massive and many people I met walking the show grounds were complaining about the heat, particularly  on Friday. Temperatures on the Friday nearly  reached 28 degrees. I do not think that the organizers could do anything about the heat though! 

I was awoken at four o clock Saturday morning  by thunder and lightening. The storm lasted until half six and was pretty impressive. I did not hear much of it though as I was dead tired and slept through most of it! It rained heavily but by dawn it had lightened off to showers and the day was largely dry.  I was glad that it was reasonably dry by the time it came to cook my porridge at six am!

The show ground did get a small bit muddy with a few afternoon downpours  but the sun quickly dried up the worst puddles. The crowds were excellent and I spoke to people from many European countries who had made the trip especially for the fair. I met a few familiar faces from home as well.

I must thank Edward Hasell McCosh and his good wife Sarah for keeping an eye on my stand when I had to leave it a few times. Edward is an artist and paints wonderful oils in the style of the old Dutch masters. His wife Sarah was delightful company  and we had some great laughs.

Sunday was a lovely day weather wise , not too warm. I had a nice few sales on the Sunday much to my surprise because the previous days are normally the better days. It was nice to make some sales to people who bought from me last year. I also made some good marketing connections and got some wise advice from other artists as well.

Even though the show was tiring  as I was on my own it was also very encouraging to get positive feedback of my work. 

On my return journey to the ferry in Holyhead I dropped into the Charles Tunnicliffe Gallery in the town of LLangefni on Anglesey.It is called theOriel Ynys Mons in Welsh.There is a permanent display of some of his artwork in the gallery and as he was one of the artists whose work inspired me as a young boy I really enjoyed examining his work in detail. The staff also turn a page of one of his sketchbooks every day and the page that was on display when I dropped in contained watercolour drawing of adders. They also had some of his painting equipment on display, and I wondered as I looked at it  how many times the great painters hands must have handled it. It is sad that he is not with us any more as I would have loved to meet him and ask a few questions. A quick bite of lunch and on to the ferry . The journey home was uneventful thank God.

CLA Game Fair Artwork

July is here and that means one thing in the Game Fair calendar, the CLA fair is just around the corner.This  is truly the monster of all game fairs and a must see even for any country enthusiast. One can buy anything from a mousetrap to a yacht, depending on the depth of your pocket of course!

I will be bringing my traveling roadshow of backdrops and artwork over on the ferry Wednesday morning and undertaking the six hour journey to Woodstock, Oxfordshire, where the venue Blenheim Palace, is situated.The palace and grounds are magnificent and they are open to the public for viewing.

It is an event that I have attended for years as a punter. I exhibited at it for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the  art lovers and country folk. I got great feedback and made some good sales.

I have posted some  photos of some recent work. I have another two that are still on the easel and I will be working hard to get them finished. One of a grouse and one of pheasants.


My Stand number is XO777 on row X. Might see you there.

La creme de la Caenis

As anyone knows who follows this blog site I have a great interest in fly fishing. Now I fly fish for many species of fish but trout fishing is definitely my favourite quarry. Pursuing them with a dry fly is in my opinion the most exciting form of this type of fishing and fishing the caenis hatch is definitely la creme de la creme. What on earth is this a caenis hatch you may ask. Well the caenis is a tiny little insect of the ephemeroptera order with about an eight mm wingspan. To a fly fisherman they are regarded either like manna from heaven or a curse, depending on ones knowledge on how to  approach fishing this wonderful hatch. Indeed they are often dubbed “anglers curse” by many who are frustrated by the difficulties presented when fishing this hatch.

I LOVE CAENIS FISHING! It must be the most exhilarating hatch to fish as it comes off the water at first light and providing the breeze remains gentle offers dry fly fishing to ravenously feeding trout until late morning. It can, on those rare opportunities in the west of Ireland when the wind does not blow even offer fishing until late afternoon! To be on the water at first light at this time of year is a magical  at the best of times but throw in pods of eagerly feeding trout sucking and gulping their way through rafts of caenis, it is enough to make the heart of any fly  fisherman flutter with excitement.

You see, the caenis hatch in their millions at first light and quickly shed their skins, like a snake and morph into spinners which is the egg laying stage. They then alight onto the water ,lay their eggs and die. Caenis live short lives. The trout can hardly contain their excitement as the fall increases and the feeding frenzy is a sight to behold. The trout hold station often at an island point and just wait for the little flies to come to them. The slurping and sipping sounds that a pod of fifty gorging trout make is like music to a fly fisherman’s ears.

I have spent a few mornings this week chasing these fish with a mate of mine. We choose mornings with little wind and we had fantastic sport . The worst part is the early rise and shine times from bed. We were on the water at five in the morning. The light is beautiful at this time of the day and all of Gods creations are busy grabbing their first mouthfuls of food.

I hope to get a few more mornings fishing under my belt before the hatch comes to an end.I hope the photos give a feel of the  early mornings on the lake.



Birds at the Framing Loft

IMG_6635Hello everyone. With the fantastic weather here in the west of the country over the last week spring has exploded. My garden is full of songbirds diligently foraging worms and grubs for their young , butterflies and other insects are flying around trying to evade swallows and the plant life in the meadow next to the house has woken up as well. A hare was coming into the lawn to feed until I gave it the first cut of the year about a week ago and he did look a bit perplexed the following day, probably wondering where all the green stuff went to!

I was in Galway city today and dropped into “The Framing Loft” shop on the Tuam road. Some of my paintings are on exhibition there at the moment and will be for another number of weeks. Mark and Sandra who own and run the shop have been very helpful to me over the last number of years with all my framing requirements and their standard of workmanship is second to none. I took a few snaps of the interior of their shop which show the  wide choice of merchandise available there. Drop in and have a look at the artwork!

Mark & Sandra

Mark & Sandra

Some of my display

Some of my display