Conor

How to be friends with an artist?

You might have asked you several times how to start being friends with people in creative industries or even better, becoming a pal of someone who actually works as an artist. I do not want to be rude, but no, that is not how you make friends. Since working at a museum which includes a residency program I was lucky enough to organize monthly get-togethers with artists from all over the world in different genres (architecture, music, visual art, literature). Through the AIR Artist In Residence program I have met around fifty artists in the last two years who I got a long with well, did not have a chance to talk any further or who just passed by my time schedule.

Conor O’Grady

2018_05-Conor-3

I met Conor through the residency program in November 2017. We only had very little time because he stayed for one month only, it was Christmas time and we were both really busy. From what I have observed back then was, that Conor watches and analyses his surroundings very thoroughly. He as a great sense of observation, is sensitive and interested in topics others would describe as taboo. In his daily practice observation is a relevant, if not the most important part,

“For me the art has to be a catalyst for other things, and the work you make has to be a catalyst for debate or discussion, something further. My real drive when I’m making work is to deal with themes like sexism, homophobia, otherness, and being able to describe how otherness – anything but the norm – feels …” Mayo News, 2015

You always meet twice…

I was delighted when I contacted Conor to meet up again in Ireland. I visited his studio where we talked about current issues like the Repeal the 8th referendum as well as the conflict with Northern Ireland in connection with his current home base in County Donegal.

Observing others in their otherness with sensitivity and calmness is probably what amazed me the most. We took the chance and went to visit several places in Donegal. Letterkenny was probably the most striking ones. As if you could feel the tension between two magnetic poles. Interestingly the Donegal Regional Cultural Centre hosts a variety of art exhibitions, focusing on photography, in a somewhat stunning architecture. The building is designed by local architects MacGabhann which shows how broad the Northern parts of the republic of Ireland are. What I liked the most about it was that Conor and I got a chance to see the already closed exhibition about the border.

2018_05-Conor-2
What is up there? A lot of information about the people who live here or have something to say… © Lucie Taeubler

Wherever I went with Conor, he was looking for traces of humans on walls, streets, cobblestones or bridges. Stickers, graffiti, street art or other material coming from passing by human beings. He even found a conversation between two teenagers in a playground slide (at least he assumed so). Now, Conor has not only opened my eyes to look at trashy stuff on walls – tags or badges – he inhabits outdoor spaces himself through interventions. I am really looking forward to his exhibition with the Westport Custom House Studios and more to come.

2018_05-Conor-4
I found this treasure in Cork. © Lucie Taeubler

Follow Conor’s blog to learn more about his stories, thoughts and beautiful captures of reality.

Advertisements

In Limerick For EVA International

It would be weird for me not to write about visual art. I have been working for artists, with artists, in galleries and museum spaces for almost ten years and have usually enjoyed myself. During my bus-roadtrip through Ireland I decided to go further South on the Wild Atlantic Way to visit a town called Limerick.

Limerick as a town has never been bright and shiny to me. Whenever I was there before, I tried to stay inside due to heavy rain or the chills outside temperatures gave me. This time, I visited Limerick with summery vibes and for a particular reason: EVA International!

EVA International takes place every other year and shows contemporary art in various venues. The venues around Limerick are special. Even the usual gallery space at Limerick City Gallery of Art showed off with some amazing work. I really appreciated Patricia Belli‘s monstrous chandeliers. I love their shades when hanging from the ceiling. I was struck by her work at the art gallery at first but the huge factory space at the former Condensed Milk Factory (and then Toffee factory) across river Shannon was another highlight for me.

#IHaveThisThingWithShades

An important impact on the Repeal the 8th referendum (May 25, 2018 – YES!) had the so-called Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eigth Amendment which also led to a procession for the opening of EVA International. The banners created and designed by the artists are show pieces in the factory.

Artists' Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment

Sustainable and renewable energy happens to be always on my mind and so far I have no clue how we get out of this story. We need energy. We are dependent on it. Besides, power plants as well as solar plants have structured our environment and are designed to stick around for long. Artist John Gerrad took a very close look at solar plants. Whichever work I have looked at always leaves me with questions. I find it very hard to distinguish between what is real and what is animated… John Gerrard’s Western Flag was part of donaufestival Krems (where I come from!). Small world.

EVA International is on show until July 8. Try to get out there and see it, it is so worth the travel.

In connection with the art fair I decided to join a group of people at Ormston House, a cultural resource center. Words are their weapons at Stanzas which is a monthly get together of poets, writers and authors to perform in public. In addition to the referendum which took place that day, their theme was Vox Populi . I was invited to listen to some great poems about democracy, youth, first world problems and why to use the word shit more often to release stress. Watch my Instagram stories to know what I am up to next, plus, there are Co. Limerick Highlights to catch up with!

Details for EVA International

Limerick City Gallery of Art,
Pery Square
Limerick City, V94 E67F
Ireland

Details for Ormston House

Cultural Resource Centre
9-10 Patrick Street
Limerick City, V94 V089
Ireland

Opening hours
Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm

This article is not an advertisement, I have not been invited of any of the named corporates. 

Bus Around Ireland

For a sustainable lifestyle it’s not only important to know where your ingredients, your products and your clothes are coming from. I always try to take public transport. Of course, you are less flexible, you need to look at confusing timetables and the prices seem to be much more higher than just renting a car (which is a myth if you think about fuel and the renting fees).  In particular when you are traveling in a group (in this case, I would actually recommend a car). Good points! But if you are traveling solo, like I do most of the time, I tend to have a lot more fun on busses and trains. You meet people, you get to know the surroundings better since you don’t have to concentrate on driving and you can take a nap. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case because I get stuck at the first two advantages of taking public transportation.

Bus or Train?

My recommendation if you think about taking the bus or the train is to look into prices. Busses (mostly Bus Éireann) are much cheaper and take you into town centre and to places afar from towns. You can talk to the driver to drop you at a different spot or ask where the best path for your hike is. Although you are not supposed to speak to the driver, they usually know their way around well to offer advice. Trains are only available in some towns and the railway system is not as widely connected as you might want to go. For instance, you cannot take a train to Donegal town. Train times are much more reliable than bus times since they do not get stuck in traffic. Plan ahead, and think about puffers for delayed busses (and trains). Always take a book (or better, an e-reader with you) and some music with you. The bus will arrive, eventually and will most of the time run smoothly. Going in and out of Dublin at rush hour is demanding. What is very convenient is that there is WiFi on public transport most times.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Unfortunately, this is not what Irish busses look like. But I’d have a go… © Lucie Täubler

Visit Ireland in 8 days without a car

I chose to visit places in Ireland I have not yet visited. One of them is County Donegal, which is way up north, de-located and hardly reachable by public transport. The Wild Atlantic Way starts in County Donegal (or ends there, whichever way you look at it). It is so worth the trip! After visiting some places in Donegal and Northern Ireland, I decided to go down to County Sligo and visit the beach in Strandhill. After two relaxing days there, I took a long journey through Galway into Limerick, where I went to see EVA international. The bus taking me down to Cork drove me through beautiful landscapes, lots of green.

Trips taken in 8 days

I took ten trips on busses and trains in only eight days and decided to go to Coleraine, Northern Ireland, by car with a friend, which was free of charge.

Costs in total

Onehundredandthirty Euros = 130 Euros

Hours traveling in total (incl. waits)

Twenty hours = 20 h

Fairy Trail in Donegal
You would find some of these little fairy doors around Donegal. Something to look closely into…

More info

You can easily work your way through with Google Maps or use Transport for Ireland which also comes with an app if you want it on your phone. I did not book way ahead which left me in the position to take whichever hostel had a free bed. So, for high season pre-book your accommodation via AirBnB, Hostelworld or whichever other platform you might be using.

This article has not been sponsored by any of the corporates named. 

To June Fest in Newbridge

June Fest
June Fest starts June 1 until June 24 in Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Although festivals have not come across my mind for the last couple of years (I dislike trashed places, non-flush toilets, tents) I am really looking forward to June Fest in Newbridge. Partly, because it will be my first festival attendance in Ireland after Electric Picnic in 2011 (total awesomeness at Arcade Fire!), partly, because I am looking forward to the folky-indie line up presented. Also, fancying a day off in the country? Take the train or go by car, it’s just outside Dublin…

It’s about music, arts, literature, history and all of us participating!

I’d love to meet some of you at the festival launch, June 1 with Kildare Art Collective Art Trail, music in the park (hopefully only a few raindrops) and an indoor gig of Vagabonds & Thieves.

What I am actually really looking forward to is the launch of two exhibitions at the Riverbank Arts Centre:

Home Is Where The Art Is

I always liked the saying Home is where the heart is because it is so true. Usually you’d only need some people around you who you trust and like and it feels like home. Or in case of this exhibition, you only need some great art surrounding you to be home.

Youth groups have been invited to work with visual artists and created pieces which will be shown at the Children’s Gallery. I am so delighted to see this reach out program for children and youth taking place publicly.

Riverbank Arts Centre, June 7-28

M7 – Michael Holly 

I have learned early in my various holidays, vacations and long-term stays in Ireland, that the M7 (Motorway 7) has been and still is a relevant road from Dublin towards the South (Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork) / West (Limerick). Motorways to me are places in-between. You don’t really belong there, you want to go somewhere, you just cross it to get to the junction to take off. But there are people living at, closely and working at motorways. The travelers are their customers.

Michael Holly documents the M7 with an artistic view. He walks, talks and exchanges stories with people living at the motorway as well as taping his journey.

Riverbank Arts Centre, June 9-29, artist talk on June 23

32457079_2021091524810987_4377364632961024000_o

June 16 – a night full of music

This might be the highlight of June Fest. Why? Because Super Extra Bonus Party are the first local bands I have listened to in 2008. I attended several gigs, watched their videos and really liked what they are doing musically. And now, they are bringing their friends: Ships, Share and The Comstocks are performing as well.

How’s that, June?

Oh, on top of all this, there will be family fun, markets and so much more going on. I am also really interested in how the knitting bombs are going …

For further information and details lined up, just visit the June Fest website or their facebook page.

 

Solo Female Traveling

I really like traveling by myself. Spend some me-time with this person who I spent most of the time with anyways. But there is usually no time to think about stuff which is bothering me or celebrating life. I love to wake up, stretch and breath, watch sunrise and get a coffee. I do not need to speak to anybody in those thirty minutes. I do not need to see anybody. I brush my teeth without anybody watching. I like to be rushed by none but myself. My me-time is precious to me. Although, I might turn into that old cat-lady (without cats) over time…

Lucie in France
Dress up, make the most out of yourself. © Lucie Täubler, 2018

Three big questions which you will get asked before you depart on your solo trip:

Why do you travel all alone?

If you have ever considered traveling by yourself you have learned quickly, that you’re never traveling alone. There is always someone coming along. There is always someone sitting beside you on the plane, at the airport, at the bus stop, on the bus or the train. There is always a person at the reception, who cares about you (or is not at all interested in what you are doing).

I feel more open-minded if I travel solo. The minute you spend time with a friend, your boy- or girlfriend, a family member or whoever you decide to travel with, you are making compromises and you are always focused on questions like, What are we doing next? Does he/she want to go there? What should we eat? Do not get me wrong, I like those kinds of travels as well and I appreciate to spend time with friends and family. But this openness to share and to let things happen is probably easier to reach just with yourself. You are making all the decisions.

Aren’t you afraid traveling by yourself?

People, especially female friends tend to ask me out of curiosity and anxiety. My typical answer, very courageously put is usually, No! Why should I be scared? But honestly, I am excited to bits. Sometimes I cannot sleep for several days because I am thinking about what will happen and how everything will turn out. Then I read a lot of literature – travel books and guides, blogs and whichever publication comes to my mind – to calm down.

Another thing is, that I have never been in a dangerous situation while traveling. I never felt lost, was never threatened. I generally trust in people and in the good in them. Maybe I was really naive spending over 100 euros for a (illegal) taxi in Santiago de Chile from the airport to my Air BnB. I just hopped in that person’s van and we had a great chat, after which I was ripped off. It sucked. But on the other hand, I felt safe the entire time and I hope he got to spend that amount of money on something worth it. Or there was this time in Washington D.C. where I decided to try to couchsurf and couldn’t get in touch with the person who accepted to share her room with me. But it all turned out well. I had an awesome space to stay at and a wonderful time to spend with people I would have never met otherwise.

Lucie in France
Get yourself a bike, a car or whatever you want to travel about. And explore where you are! The world is yours. © Lucie Täubler, 2018

So no, I am generally not afraid traveling solo.

Do you ever eat out alone then?

Funnily, I think about eating out in restaurants or grabbing a drink at a bar often when I am back at my homebase in Vienna. How would it be? Should I just head out? What would people think? I am in my comfort zone-mode and it is quite hard to take a chance and just change your point of view. I have just finished reading Kristian Ditlev Jensen’s book Ord I Orientekspressen who tells his stories about riding exciting trains throughout the globe. One chapter talks about eating alone in a restaurant and REALLY enjoying it.

I share Kristian D. Jensen’s problems he refers to in his book:

  • Shame whenever you ask for a table for one in a restaurant you are kind of pitied. The waiter feels with you. You are unloved. There is no one you can share your table and food with.
  • Strangers whenever you are eating alone, you are not alone. Like I already said, you are never just by yourself. There is always someone sitting next to you or seated beside you. There might be awkward situations. Sometimes you find yourself in intelligent, nice conversation.
  • Care whenever shame turns into disproportionate care it is very hard for someone to enjoy the food you have ordered. If the waiter (like in the US) asks you Is everything alright? all the time, you tend to doubt yourself if you are alright.

I like the way Kristian D. Jensen also talks about eating out alone as a feast for yourself. I love the way he puts it. You have to learn to go across borders and enjoy eating out alone. Forget about staring into your phone or try to read a book (seriously, who can turn pages and eat at the same time, I have never really got that!). Focus on the food you are served. What are you having? What’s it smell like? Where does it come from? How is it processed? Do you miss anything? There are so many questions to ask yourself while celebrating this feast with yourself.

To be honest, I have enjoyed eating out alone maybe once or twice. But I am not tired to learn. I feel strange and tend to feel ashamed too. If there is anybody sharing the table with me I like to talk to that person. Although it would not be necessary.

I would like to say that I like to eat by myself in a restaurant. Still learning though. That’s what it is all about while traveling solo.

Of course there are many blogs and articles about female solo traveling and how to get on with it (plus which gear to pack if you want to be prepared for any situation):

Janice and Tracey’s Female Solo Travel Tips, find them online and in a book. I really recommend to read through their adventures. Two lovely women I have learned a lot from.

Nomadic Matt’s Female Travel Advice, is very helpful too and you can get sucked into all the information given. Be careful 🙂

With Your Body

Traveling can be really exhausting. Hours on planes, busses or in cars means putting yourself into a very still position: sitting. I have chosen to cycle and to walk for most of my journeys. But you need some distraction from what you have been doing the whole day.

Yoga

Yoga means ‘union’ or ‘connection’. In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ is used to signify any form of connection. Yoga is both a state of connection and a body of techniques that allow us to connect to anything. (Science of Awakening Self-Awareness)

I have learned that not only stretching but the combination with breathing helps me to relax and regenerate.

Adriene has told me some great moves around traveling and how you get yourself open and stretched, strengthened and healthily flexible. In her 2018 20-minute yoga dip-in, she talks about traveling:

 

Running

 

Exploring a new area or town where you have traveled to through taking a run is mostly enriching. Usually, I decide to step outdoors early in the morning to indulge the first sun rays. Also, I like empty streets, morning groans and waste collection services strolling through last nights parties. I think the colors are different. Running relaxes my mind and I can make plans for the day: where will I go? Who will I meet? What will I wear today? Running is basic and simple.

IMG_7595
Explore Dublin in your running shoes. © Runtastic, Lucie Täubler, 2017

Overload

img_9672.png

I have had two major experiences which told me that my body is most valuable. I really need to feel comfortable and healthy while traveling. Firstly, I remember last summer’s road trip to Albania, which I absolutely loved to bits. I might have had some bad food, drank some tap water or there was a virus concerning digestion in our hiking crew. I will always remember how miserable I felt spending hours over hours in a car, wishing for a toilet. Any toilet. Secondly, it was not long ago, when I went to walk Caminho Portuguese and suddenly felt my achilles tendon swelling up for no reason but overwork.

Never forget, you need your whole body (including a healthy mind!) for traveling.

Have you had similar experiences on the road? Please share them with me.

At Caminho Portuguese

I have learned from several films about St. James way in Portugal or Spain or even in France (Saint-Jacques … La Mecque or Ich bin dann mal weg) that the Pilgrims’ hostels/auberges are crap. I am sorry. I know you should clear out, push yourself to a limit and sleep with 40 other people in a room. Maybe to connect or to share your stories. No.

caminho-portuguese_26932319587_o.jpg
Following the yellow arrow through Northern Portugal leads you through small villages and happy greetings of the Portuguese people.

As I already told you, my mam and I were planning to walk parts of the Caminho Portuguese because it is supposed to be beautiful, mind-blowing and extraordinary. Well, it is! We did it and picked those lovely quintas, run by wonderful and charming people. Spend more than just one night there, take a weekend trip to the Portuguese country, just outside Porto. If you choose to take a car it’s simply 30 minutes from Porto, you can also rely on bus- and train service.

Enjoy the quiet. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the greatness of life.

Quinta da Cancela in Balugães

You arrive at Jorge Pedro Reis and Graça Viana Reis’ casas and feel like home immediately. After a long day of walking I arrived, sweaty and hot with swollen feet and exhausted legs, at Jorge’s quinta which seems to be heaven on earth. Orange trees blossom and have fruit at the same time, cold spring water collected in a fountain where I could cool my feet. Places to sit down and chill out, relax: everywhere. Architecturally, the old quinta has been refurbished and reinstalled, but got also some new adaptions. You have the option to stay in one of the three casas (Eira, Quinta or Lagar).

 

From Balugães you can easily take two or three day hikes to explore the countryside or simply stay in and read. You can even enjoy the seaside, the rough and wild Atlantic Ocean is right around the corner; it showed itself tender and nice as well this time. Also, book yourself a dinner for just 30 Euros and enjoy Portugal’s culinary to the fullest:

Contact

Jorge Pedro Reis
Rua Cândido Batista de Sousa, 275
4905-031 Balugães
+351 964 075 700
geral@quintacancela.pt

Antonio’s Quinta São Miguel de Arcos

Reaching Antonio José Rodrigues’ wonderful quinta in Arcos is a pleasure. For your feet and your heart. The very small town lies in-between seaside (Vila do Conde) and countryside (Barcelos). It felt like traveling back in time. I opened the huge wooden door and wandered through stone houses, bright alleys and extraordinary gardens. Staying in one of the apartment rooms with kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom, you have total privacy. But I even had the pool to myself (yes, the pool!). Unfortunately, late April after a season of just rain it was too early to go for a swim, at least for me. But May should be fine to enjoy the pool.

Stay here as long as you want. You can drive, walk, bike or whichever vehicle you choose to Barcelos, the closest town and enjoy the heaps of Portuguese wine. Vinho Verde is the wine region called and also its wines Northwest of Porto. I was offered to enjoy the “green wine” most of the time. António makes his own wine, just for fun and for friends.

If you are busy getting married, the Rodrigues’ place is your choice of heart. They own a beautiful wedding parlor, with gardens connected and serve amazing food. Plus: you can stay right there after ceremony and party.

Contact

António José Rodrigues
Rua da Igreja, 209 Arcos 4480-018 Vila do Conde
+351 919 372 202
ajr@quintasaomiguel.com

Pictures of my Caminho Portuguese adventure:

Caminho Portuguese 2018