Preparing for Ireland

How to prepare for a trip to Ireland? Read guidebooks, re-read my family’s history, purchase a bird field guide and a travel adapter, prepare my conference presentation, pull out warmer clothes, and try to learn simple Celtic knots, fonts, and manuscript flourishes to add to my travel journal. That last bit has been the most fun, of course, but you really do need the patience of a monk to achieve the precision that makes Celtic art forms so beautiful. Here’s the beginning; I’ll fill in the white space during my travels. Watch for more in a few weeks.

Tips and Techniques– A book I really like for learning calligraphy is The Art of Calligraphy, a practical guide to the skills and techniques by David Harris. The title doesn’t quite do the book justice. So much more than a practical manual, it also includes great information on the development of Western script and includes beautiful examples from some of the finest historical texts. The script above is adapted from Insular display capitals and illumination in the Book of Kells, which dates to the 9th century (and which I hope to see in Dublin) and the Lindisfarne Gospels, which date to 698 (located in London).

38 Comments on “Preparing for Ireland

  1. Wishing a great trip and lots of sketching time 😉 looking forward to seeing what you will bring back in your sketchbook . Safe travels .

  2. What a wonderful trip….enjoy every minute. I’m not sure about the timing but Skellig Michael a tiny island off the West Coast is a huge breeding place for Puffins. As you climb up the old steps to the Monks hut on top you could reach out and touch them. Do go if you can….be sure the Puffins are there. I’ll do a little digging. I was to go to Ireland with Roxanne Stted in August….BUT! I’m so excited can’t wait to see your journal.

    • Thanks Cinda- I’m not sure we’ll make the journey out, but I imagine it is quite spectacular. I would expect the puffins to be out at sea by now, but we’ll inquire. Thanks for the good wishes and enthusiasm!

  3. O.k. Shouldn’t you be packing instead of drawing Celtic knots??

    Have a super fantastic trip Jean. Mike and I will be thinking of you all on That beautiful island that has 47 shades of green. How many do you have In your box? Love, Cindy



    • I have everything I need in my tiny paint box Cindy…or at least I hope so. I’ve been studying Celtic knots for the last week to try to figure out their secrets. Good videos on YouTube have helped– I wanted to be prepared to add a bit of Ireland’s heritage to my journal pages. See you on the return!

  4. Jean,
    What perfect timing for me! Three of us (and our sketchbooks) are headed to Ireland on Oct 1. Seeing your posts along the way will be such an inspiration! I’m also hoping to see the Book of Kells. I love the idea of your map illustration at the beginning of your journal, and I’m curious about the locations of the dots. Dublin for sure…and I think another is Dingle on the SW coast. These are also 2 of our destinations and I can’t wait to see and hear about your adventures!

  5. I wish you a wonderful trip!! I know Ireland and love it very much, especially Dingle, in Kerry county, . You will make wonderful drawings.

  6. I was struck by your beautiful bird and the name of your blog, and your bird posts.Then I became intrigued by this post, as my sister is making a long-awaited trip to Ireland next year.
    So I looked at your About page… And see that you are from Schodack Landing. What a small world I am from a suburb of Albany, used to work in Rensselaer County, and now live in Florida.

  7. Lovely cover page, Jean. Trip planning is the best. Sets the possible stage for places you might see, but it is the actual travel that reveals the unexpected. Enjoy your journey. I’ll look forward to your sketchbook pages.

  8. Ireland is on my bucket list. We spent a week in Scotland about 9 years ago, and it was magical, all my expectations were met and then some! Such a lovely way to prepare for your trip! I look forward to seeing the way you fill it in!

  9. Oh Jean, this is STUNNING! Thanks for the tip about the calligraphy book. Have a WONDERFUL trip and I can’t wait to read further installments!

  10. I eagerly look forward to your trip in sketch form. I’m sure it will be a Delight to my eyes. Have fun!

  11. I love calligraphy. I studied it when I was very young. I would love to see the book of Kells. I envy you and look forward to your art.

  12. The Book of Kells is amazing. In fact, the museum presentation is very well done. I was impressed when I saw it. So you will be in Dublin. Are you traveling anywhere else in Ireland?

  13. jean,
    have a lovely journey.
    looking forward to seeing your visual documentation of your travels.
    blessings . . .

  14. Amazing! I am going to see the Book of Kells and England, Ireland, and Scotland, on the same dates as you did, but in 2019!

    • Fantastic Sheila! I really enjoyed seeing the Book of Kells- it is much smaller than I expected,which makes the detail all the more amazing. Sounds like you have much to look forward to in 2019!

  15. Castle Gregory …where my gggrandfather Eugene McCarthy was from…and he worked on the Erie Railroad…lived in Wellsville NY. I am now officially jealous..not really…lovely pages!!

    • Have you been to Castlegory? It’s quite beautiful with long stretches of sandy beach and dunes. Connections to prior generations become so prominent in Ireland. I was profoundly moved during our trip.

      • No it’s on my bucket list. My half sister that I found on ancestry has been. She saw five rainbows there. She didn’t know she was a McCarthy then. 😚

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