This year has been one of gratitude for so many experiences that have validated the path I have chosen in life. An artist residency at the Burren College of Art is about to occur, as much as I feel it is merely a dream. Over the last decade I have come to know Ireland as a deeper ancestral home than I ever could have imagined. It is the land of my parents through their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and thus my own great-great grandparents and theirs before them. Apart from my one Parisian great grandmother, I’ve learned that literally everyone else tied back to the midlands, south and west in the Old Sod – Tipperary, Laois, Kilkenny, Kerry, Cork, Limerick. No wonder I fell to pieces when the plane lifted to take me back to America after my first visit. It was as if I was being ripped away (as I also have felt arriving and leaving my American soul-home of New Mexico).

Over the past year I have been become familiar with sharing images to Instagram and, although with reticency at first, Facebook has become a “normal” way for me now to relax, find out about things going on in the big world, and weigh in with my own blips and shares. For this next month, however, I think I’ll be doing any sharing from this blog that has been so good to me since 2011. It is through MaherMatters that I found so many likeminded individuals, some of whom have become (if still virtual) friends. It is also through here that I discovered recent ancestral connections for my cousins, circuitously provided through a clue I tucked into my book, Waterbury Irish. Thank you to all who have subscribed and engaged here over all this time!

While I will be in Ireland to work, to produce with an end result in mind, I will also have the opportunity to visit with dear Irish friends made through many years of research. It remains to be seen what I will post here, but I am imagining a series of photographs that I take during the month. Most of what I will be doing in Ireland is truly for me as I treasure the enormous gift of solitary time with a plan in place (and room for serendipity), a studio in which to work, no routines, obligations or known people (as much as I love my loves and friends and wish for more “quality time” with them!) except those whom I encounter in relation to the Burren or otherwise seek out in this majestic place.

My first share must be this, as I anticipate what has been promised, Ireland’s soul merged with my own along the Wild Atlantic Way. Thanks be!


©2016 Janet Maher / Sinéad Ni Mheachair