Here I am in Ireland, at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a renowned, creative residential retreat on the shores of beautiful Lake Annaghmakerrig. The magical Victorian Big House, as it’s affectionately known, sleeps eleven people. Over the years, outbuildings and barnyards have been converted into further workspaces and studios, so that there is plenty of space for artists of all kinds. Composers and playwrights, painters and poets, novelists and film makers – they all come together at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. The only rule is that you attend dinner each night in the grand dining room, along with your fellow artists.
I’m on the first floor in a spacious room named after John Jordan. Jordan (1930-88) was a writer, poet, lecturer, broadcaster and man-of-letters in the Dublin of his day. The room is elegance personified, and overlooks the lake. It’s easy to write here, surrounded by so much beauty and history. Unfortunately the first few days of my stay were marred by a very modern problem. Flanagan, my HP Folio Ultrabook bought especially for the trip, packed up on the second day. HP support diagnosed a faulty motherboard over the phone. It was still under warrantty, being only four weeks old and I supposed If I could get it to Dublin, their technicians could repair it. No dice. That apparently would void the warranty, so I have to lug this useless thing back to Australia with me and get it fixed there. Two days writing lost and some frayed nerves, but thanks to Dropbox, I could retrieve most of my manuscript. I made the six hour round trip into Dublin yesterday to buy a new laptop (Paddy) that I could ill afford. When Flanagan gets fixed I’m selling him. Some false friend he turned out to be. Anybody in the market for a cheap HP Ultrabook still under warranty? They’re great for travelling apparently!
A very talented young painter and photographer, Nina Panagopoulou, joined me on my trip into Dublin yesterday. She wanted to buy paints and canvases. The photo of the lake at the top of this post, and this one of the house, are both hers. Don’t you love the lamp post? Very Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. You certainly meet some gifted people here …
Nina was born in 1984 in Athens. She took drawing and music lessons from an early age, and attended the musical high school of Pallini in Greece, with the piano as her instrument. Then she decided that painting was what she really wanted to do. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Ioannina, and completed successfully her Masters in Fine Arts at the University for the Creative Arts in Kent. Nina has travelled in England, Ireland, France, Italy and Spain and she speaks fluent Greek, French and English. She has participated in exhibitions in Greece and UK. At the moment she is attending a residency in Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland in order to create a series of paintings.