Living in the Boyne Valley is like living in an open museum of neolithic monuments, high energy sites and passage tombs that link the present with a legend filled and mythical past powered by sun worship, a belief in the seasonal cycle of things. and the poetry of Francis Ledwidge.
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I have the good fortune to live in the Boyne Valley between the Hill of Tara and the ancient site of Newgrange. When I walk the land here, I feel an affinity with the energies, the relics and the remnants of this royal location which was once home to the High Kings of Ireland.
In the olden days, there were five provinces whereas there are now only four: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught. Meath or Condae na Mi/An Mhi was historically the fifth province or the ‘middle’ province. Hence its name ‘Meath’ coming from the Irish ‘Midhe’ meaning middle.
Personally I am attached to the ‘Kingdom of Meath’ for a long time and ever before I came here to work and live. When in NUIG I started to pursue a Masters in Old Irish and the subject I was going to work on was Aisling Oengusa or the The Dream of Aengus. This superior legend is set in the Boyne Valley or in Bru na Boinne over at Newgrange. It’s the love story of the Celtic Sun- God Oengus/Aonghus from ancient mythology.
I fell in love with the legend and started to invest time, interest and energy in the old manuscript. I spent hours in the National Library in Dublin trying to decipher the earlier Irish in which the story was written. Then I got called for an interview for a teaching post in Navan and to the total disappointment of my wonderful and inspiring Professor, Gearoid Mac Eoin NUIG, I abandoned my academic plans and took the job and came to live in the neighbourhood of my legendary heroes and ghosts of bygone prehistoric times.
Do I regret this decision?..No! I love being part of Meath and the Boyne Valley. Academia lent its wings to the visual and my life as a painter in this location has been magical and blessed.
Apart from painting the fauna and flora of the area, I have specified some iconic markers in images as in the Fairy Tree in Tara, the Capstone in Newgrange or even a trip into the Otherworld of fantasy.
The best is yet to come and I look forward to immersing myself more in the ideas that are the given thing, the inspired moments that materialise into pencil and paint when least expected.