Reading My Way Around the World

Saturday 25 January 2020

Annaghmakerrig - the annual visit

Having written lots about the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig before I'll not bore you with more details other than it was the estate and family home of an aristocratic composer Tyrone Guthrie who left it first to two workers who looked after the farm and that was susequently taken on by the Arts Councils of Ireland and Northern Ireland as a retreat for artists to come and gain inspiration and quiet out of their daily routines.

The old maze at the back of the house
 As well as the main house accommodating up to 13 writers full board, there are also five self catering cottages that are mostly occupied by musicians and visual artists.  They're also ideal for couples like ourselves.  
The farm buildings turned into cottages - we were in the end one
from outside the cottages courtyard
 I feel the presence of Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon, playwrights like Martin Lynch and Marie Jones and Brian Friel, there's a wonderful concert pianist here at the minute whom we can hear practicsing in one of the rooms and the paintings adorning the walls have all been left or donated by well known names in their fields as well as people just beginning on their artistic paths.

Lots of stone carvings around the grounds ...

heading to the lake
 With visitors from America, England, Germany and Ireland there was a very international feeling during our week.  
Annaghmakerrig Lake

and old boathouse

What must it have been like to live in a place like this - call it your home!

The gardens are beautiful and we've decided to go back at the end of the Summer this year so we can experience the place in full bloom, althought with its winter coat on it was still a lovely place to walk through with a surprising amount of colour showing through. 

So between the usual January days with storms and bluster we had some lovely frosty mornings with gorgeous sunsets and blue skies during the day.  Who wouldn't be inspired with skies like that ....

A young artist from Lisburn just starting out on her path was vying for the biggest grin along with the young German classical guitarist - their delight was infectious and we all felt the need of an injection of joy which the place always imparts. We came away with some more or less finished songs and more new ideas - the bones of a new album starting to shape up - now to not let the world crowd in again so we can get them moving onwards. 


  1. Hi Fil - gorgeous place ... no wonder you've decided to go back later on in the year. It's great you get to feel immediate inspiration, with creative ideas for new and different approaches. Looks just amazing and with fascinatingly interesting companions. Excellent - and thanks for the photos - gave us a real idea of the house ... cheers Hilary

  2. What a wonderful place. So glad to hear that you found it inspiring and have come away with new songs and the beginnings of others.

  3. That looks a nice a place to stay.
    I hope all the others with you were as inspired as you both were.
    Good luck with the new album

  4. Such a beautiful peek into your retreat Fil - I'm so glad you got to visit and soak up both the beauty of the place and the people. And yay, yay, yay for inspiration and Muse visitation. :-)

  5. Such a beautiful spot for artists of many genre to relax, and work towards their next projects. A belated Happy New Year to you & hope 2020 is a wonderful year for you both. Take care & huggles.

  6. I think I would want to go back for another visit too :) Lovely carved stones x

  7. You would love it there Kate - all the visual artists were producing lots of work.

  8. It looks such a beautiful place!!! I am glad you got some new songs worked out ! I bet the Summer views will be glorious- DO share pictures with us!!
    I love the final picture- my goodness, what a sky!!


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