Live in Killeagh

By Clare Byrne
Artist in residence February 2017

Re-blogged, with permission, from www.clarebyrnemusic.com
Posted February 26th, 2017

Well, for three weeks, I’ve able to say “I live in Killeagh” too – all because of Jessica Bonenfant Coogan and her husband Hughie Coogan who are launching Greywood Arts, a new multi-disciplinary artist residency center in the village Killeagh, near Cork in Ireland. So thrilled to see this massive longterm project of theirs take flight.

dsc01617I’m a bit reluctant to leave Greywood and Ireland  –  but I hope to come back soon! What a lovely and productive time it has been. Killeagh is a small village; the Greywood residency house is right on the Main Street, so as I worked up in the third floor studio I could look out and see the Dissour River flow by next to the house; watch the weather (always changing! a bit cold for February, too, though cherry blossoms were out), passersby on the street, and churchgoers of St. John and Virgules Catholic Church just across the intersection. Great to wake up before sunrise, drink lots of tea, work through mornings and afternoons, cook meals in my own little kitchenette at night, or step out to The Thatch Pub next door for hearty dinners and a pint. I took walks up into the moss and ivy-coated oak and piney Glenbower Wood. My time there was very focused, very quiet time. Monastic. I had my new electric guitar, loop pedal, yoga mat, weights. I ran scales, vocals, yoga-d, ballet barred, hunted through journals from the last five years, created melodies for prose, wrote new verses, made dance phrases for song verses, extracted stories – and then linked some of what I had amassed into a sequence for the open house showing. There’s no shortage of song material. The question is if and how to use it all.

Lovely to do the Greywood open house last week – hundreds of people from the area streamed through the three-story house, as deep as it is tall, and a bunch of lovely folks found their way up to the third floor where I got to run my sequence twice and glean some feedback too. In such a small space, it was wonderfully interactive, especially with children jumping into the mix! Children shape and change context in an instant, if you are open to it. I’m not sure exactly what I have as I head to Italy, but it’ll be good to look it over on video. The question of what exactly it is I’m shaping it all into is still in the air. Happily I don’t need to figure it all out, yet. Or really ever.

Magical to be at Greywood at this moment in time, when the house is in a process of transformation –  all hands were on deck: volunteers Stephanie Guillette, a friend of Jessica’s from CT, her partner David, and Colm, a longtime resident of Killeagh, were also working with Jess and Hughie on the house in prep for the open house. I would come down from my rustic garret artist studio under the eaves and see new things each day: wallpapering, painting, sealing, flooring installed and varnished, movement of furniture, and displays of some of the treasures of the house. A particularly special moment to sit down for an amazing Irish Sunday brunch cooked by Jessica with a roast bacon from Hughie’s mother the day after the open house in the newly furnished living room.

I’m wrapping up my time in Ireland – already midway to Italy! I’ll continued combing and culling and dancing and songwriting at the Bogliasco Foundation near Genoa. Stay tuned.

Advertisements