Posted on 09/26/2010 at 9:41pm

Midday, after everyone had left to tour a local Castle I decided to walk to the music festival alone. My hotel, the Temple Gate, was built from the existing ancient ruins of a 12th century abbey or church, and was located within walking distance to the main road into town. The Irish music was coming from every pub, and in front of a small shop three lovely young teenage girls sat on small stools each playing her violin with perfection and harmony. They smiled at each other as they rocked back and forth and  played as if they could read each others minds as they chose their next notes. As I turned the corner I came upon a woman who looked just like what I had thought a gypsy would look like, with a full length handmade dress, unkempt very long and dark, curly, reddish hair, and following behind her was a child, who could not have been older than two years of age, that had the same long, thick, dark, curly, red hair and dress to the ground.  She was like a perfect miniature of her mother. It was so odd I worked hard to capture them in my mind so I would be able to remember them later. I watched as the mother walked quickly through the crowded streets with that little one scampering as fast as she could after her as if there was an invisible cord connecting them. { When I really want to visually record something, I will carefully start to look at and describe what I am seeing to myself, and the words with my memory images help me to repeat what I have seen later with drawing  and painting.} As I turned away with the image of the child still in my mind, I saw this balloon vendor who looked as if he could easily be carried away by his balloons, and once I was home and back in my studio it became this painting.

Oil on Canvas 40″x30″

That evening, back at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis a large group of musicians had gathered in the pub which looked as if it had originally been built as part of the ancient church. The music was lively and once again all the musicians seemed to be able to read each others minds as to what they were going to play next.  Someone would just start playing and others joined in at the same time with different instruments, violin, guitar, accordion and flute,  and it all sounded so rehearsed and perfect.

The next morning in the hotel Temple Gate I was dragging myself to breakfast and preparing to sit alone and order something to eat. I was very surprised to find  several musicians gathered around a table so early that morning singing and playing, not caring if an audience was in attendance. While I was listening to them, I was thinking to myself, they are obviously professionals, because they were very good, and probably were staying at the hotel from the night before, hung over from the consumption of way too much Guinness, as I indeed was. The leader of the impromptu group  who sang very well, had noticed me when I came in and boldly hollered across to me in an almost empty dining room, ” Would you please sing a song for us?” When I told him I did not sing, he told me,” You should.  You look like you sing.  You have style. Where do you come from?” I answered him laughingly, “I am going back to Nashville, Tennessee  today.” Then I thought to myself, I only sing  Hallelujah’s in the shower in Music City, USA.  Later that morning I went by the local bakery on my way out of town and was inspired to do this painting when I returned home. Yet another Hallelujah to this wonderfull musical country called Ireland.

Oil on Canvas 24″x30″

Filed Under: Artist Travel


  1. Mim. says:

    Oh, I was so excited to see that you were in Ireland. You certainly captured the flavor. Bud and I toured Ireland in 2002, looking for my Mother’s family. Loved your account and wonderful paintings.. I would love to go but you all are youngish and I’m afraid I couldn’t keep up. Xx Mim

  2. Mim. says:

    Cheerio, Mim

  3. judyO says:

    these, of course, are wonderful!! Tom and I loved the music in Ennis. You should have just made up a song, Sharon!!
    I am interested in going next year!

  4. The Ole Lady at the Tea says:


    The balloons are the best! They are very crisp just like you could touch them and they would “pop”. Love your work.

  5. Martha says:

    Where’s the gypsy? I want to see the gypsy. I’m disappointed because you described her in such a wonderful manner but you didn’t paint her.
    I really love your work!

  6. Miriam says:

    I hope to go in ’12. I fell in love with me mither’s land. Mim

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