• Water & Waves In Watercolour… May 21, 2019 Róisín Curé

    It’s May and it’s paradise here in Galway. It’s hard to find a place that is so totally unspoiled this close to action, but we manage it in this hidden part of Galway. So I don’t need much persuading to head down to the shore with my sketching stuff and an excited white fluffy terrier. I wanted to paint a thank-you card for the designer who worked on my new book. She’s called Alba and she works in Currach Press in Dublin: she took well over 150 of my sketches, which came in all shapes and sizes, and arranged them ...

  • Channelling Hogarth May 9, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Last week I went to the south of Portugal. I was teaching a six-day watercolour sketching workshop: the idea was to share techniques that would demystify some of the more useful, and prettier, effects possible with paint when you’re out sketching in the big wide world. I was anxious leaving, and it’s my experience that sketching helps to calm me, because it takes my mind off stuff. I am one of those super-lazy people who only joins a queue at the very last second – unless I’m missing something, I’m not delaying anyone by staying sitting down until there is ...

  • Ain’t Nothing But A Husky Digger April 10, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Last night was Taekwon-Do night in Gort for my youngest. I usually spend the evening in a combination of aimless driving and aimless wandering the aisles in Lidl or Aldi. This time my aimless driving was to find a nice place for Reuben the terrier to have a run off the lead. That done, there was just time for a bit of aimless wandering in Aldi and a quick sketch. In the car park of the Lady Gregory Hotel, I sketched what I could see through my windscreen. This included Reuben in my rear-view mirror, who likes to sit on ...

  • My Dad Says I’m A Hagfish April 7, 2019 Róisín Curé

    My dobok Until yesterday, I couldn’t have sketched my dobok, the white uniform you wear when kicking around in a taekwon-do session. But I hurt my hamstring doing a flying high kick just over a week ago and after consulting Dr Google at length I self-diagnosed a Grade 2 tear that would take six weeks to heal. Six weeks before I returned to taekwon-do. Then I read that having injured your hamstring once, you’re very likely to do it again. I felt deflated and low. I felt that my newfound interest was over before it had begun. I unfollowed the taekwon-do ...

  • Help – I’ve Been Paintjacked! April 5, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Before we left the house to go to town this morning, I picked up my orange bag that I carry all my sketching stuff in. “Are you bringing that?” asked my husband Marcel, as he does every time we go out together. He knows it means that sketching is a possibility. “Yes,” I said. “But I’m not sketching or anything. I’m not well and I would get cold.” (I’m still fighting the unpleasantness of a chest infection, and the pain of a torn hamstring.) Soon, we were in Tigh Neachtain’s in Galway City, having a coffee. We had called in to drop some ...

  • Ten Thousand Hours (Some Of Them In Barbershops) April 1, 2019 Róisín Curé

    I was stuck indoors today: I have a chest infection and a broken, well, bum (see yesterday’s post about a flying high kick in Taekwon-Do that went wrong). Sometimes you have a workload such that you can’t get sick until it’s all done: that was the case with me recently. My family, with whom I share lots of germ vectors, have fallen like flies over the last few months, but throughout it all I remained standing. The threat of a lurgy hung over me like a sword of Damocles however, and I knew it was coming. (You’d swear I have ...

  • Taekwon-Do Part 2: Perseverance (When You’re Banjaxed) March 31, 2019 Róisín Curé

    It couldn’t last. Five classes in to my new favourite sport, Taekwon-Do, and I’m injured. What did I expect? I’m 51 years old and I’ve joined a martial arts class. Yesterday’s session was going swimmingly. Everyone was doing lots of aerobic and warm-up exercises, and as usual I was crashing out panting for breath long before everyone else: in other words, so far, so normal. I had a chest infection developing but in the spirit of “if I CAN do it, I WILL do it” I was giving it my very best. After a while the instructor had us do ...

  • The Journey Is Everything March 28, 2019 Róisín Curé

    The journey to the top of the hill was wonderful. At Taekwon-Do last night, the instructor took us though kicking moves. He explained the stance we should be taking and the part of the foot we needed to deliver maximum impact. We are beginners, so he found fault with one or other aspect of our moves. “You’re focusing on the destination,” he said. “Focus instead on the journey. If you get that right, the destination will take care of itself.” Those words rang true. I’ve known that for a long time. Then the instructor, Master Fitzgibbon added to his point: “The journey ...

  • Silver Linings March 27, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Last week I realised I only had ONE tricolour in my collection of sketches for my upcoming book. One! I am a passionate patriot and I love my country. It was time to right the wrong! And so yesterday I went into Galway City to draw the flags that festoon Quay Street. It was a sunny spring day and there wasn’t a moment to lose: the book has been submitted for publication, and if I was going to squeeze another sketch in, I would have to be quick. There’s nothing like pen and ink and watercolour to capture a fleeting moment. ...

  • Follow Your Bliss March 25, 2019 Róisín Curé

    I sketched the River Corrib the other day. I didn’t get cold, I didn’t get wet…and in the two hours I sat there I was in bliss. “Follow your bliss.If you do follow your bliss,you put yourself on a kind of trackthat has been there all the while waiting for you,and the life you ought to be livingis the one you are living.When you can see that,you begin to meet peoplewho are in the field of your bliss,and they open the doors to you.I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,and doors will openwhere you didn’t know they were ...

  • Taekwon-Do – Part 1 March 21, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Yesterday I did an urban sketch with no purpose. I include it here by way of an illustration for this blog piece, which is about Taekwon-Do. I sketched it in my car on the way home after teaching a delightful class of kids, and although I filmed it and broadcast it live on Instagram, the wifi signal kept dropping out and so the viewers didn’t see much. However, following preparations for my first book, I have a lot of purposeless urban sketches to catch up on, so watch this space, and my Instagram story for live-demo videos, and there will ...

  • Making A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear March 20, 2019 Róisín Curé

    I go to a sleepy country town two evenings a week. My daughter Olivia does Taekwondo in Gort, a small town in south Galway. Not a lot happens in Gort, and I have an hour and a half in which to do it…twice a week. (Two things make it stand out: it has the best secondary school I’ve ever encountered – my kids look forward to school every single day – and it has a large population of Brazilians, who bring their liveliness to the place, along with their shorts and flip-flops: I love that they ignore the terrible weather. ...

  • Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit March 11, 2019 Róisín Curé

    My youngest, Olivia (Liv), took up Taekwon-do a few months ago. The classes take place twice a week in a boxing club in Gort, a small town some twenty minutes’ drive away. There is nothing to do at nighttime in winter in this town except go to the one hotel and have a coffee. You can’t even have a drink because of driving. But none of this matters because Liv is getting along famously with her lessons. Yesterday was the first day of grading for Liv. She was to be tested to see whether she would move up a grade and ...

  • A Warm and Woolly Welcome March 10, 2019 Róisín Curé

    When I’m out and about sketching, I’m struck over and over again how nice people are to each other. I find it inspiring and it makes me want to be nicer. Trouble is, I keep failing. A couple of days ago I was in Ó’Máille’s, sketching away. It’s a special shop selling the most beautiful knitted sweaters, blankets, hats and ponchos: I was at the back of the shop where I had a nice view. A boy of about twelve came in. He had pink cheeks and was bundled up in a black puffa jacket. He made a beeline for ...

  • Role-model-istic March 8, 2019 Róisín Curé

    In Merrion Square I had a few minutes to wait for a meeting in Dublin last Monday. It was cold but very sunny so I did a quick sketch of a pretty little statue in the sun, part of the Oscar Wilde monument in Merrion Square. As the paint refused to dry, running all over the page and into other colours, I thought about how beautiful the colours were, and how I hoped the same thing will happen on my watercolour workshop in Portugal at the end of April (two places left!). I will be encouraging the students to let ...

  • Get Out There And Sketch! February 20, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Sometimes it’s a big effort to go out at night. You’ve had dinner, you’re tired, a glass of wine sounds nice. But as a sketcher it’s always worth the effort. I’m in the throes of putting together my first solo book. I’ve illustrated lots of picture books, and I’ve written a blog for years, but this is the first time both my words and my sketches are appearing together in a book. The publishers, Currach Press, make gorgeous books, which is why I was attracted to them: no point making beautiful sketches if the reproduction doesn’t do them justice. So ...

  • Urban Sketching in Sheridan’s Cheesemongers February 19, 2019 Róisín Curé

    I really love cheese, but when you are raising teenagers you’re not going to buy fancy hand-made cheese at fancy prices. They would have it all gobbled in a morning! So I do my best – I buy it in a supermarket and try to leave it at the right temperature to get the flavours as rich as possible without letting it spoil. My children used to ask for the mildest cheese possible but now that they are getting older and more sophisticated they are starting to appreciate the finer flavours in a well-made cheese. I’m still not going to ...

  • Cheese, Wine and Good Cheer January 30, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Galway Market on a freezing, rainy day in January. On Saturday I went into Galway to get on with amassing sketches for my new book, An Urban Sketcher’s Galway. I wasn’t too happy to leave the cosy home and drive into a busy, wet town, but time’s a-wasting, and my deadline looms, so I did. Some Galwegians enjoying market offerings. You know, one of the best things about the life of an urban sketcher is its unpredictability. You just never know what’s going to happen when you head out onto the streets and start drawing. Last Saturday was a perfect example. I had ...

  • Meditation Music in Galway Must Be On Special January 25, 2019 Róisín Curé

    I am collecting sketches for my new book, An Urban Sketcher’s Galway. Being January, I try to identify indoor locations with big windows. This plan is working: there are far more big windows than I had ever realised. One of them is in Papa Rich, an Asian-fusion type restaurant in the centre of town, and it looks out over Galway Cathedral, the River Corrib and the canal. Yesterday I sat down to a bowl of something Vietnamese, noodly and spicy and started sketching. The evening before, my son Paddy, who is seventeen, came home from school with a tale of ...

  • The Earth is Beautiful in Our Mind’s Eye January 24, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Different views of the Geology Museum in NUIG The Victorian display cases with their quietly fascinating objects…and someone’s skull. I made up the writing along the top, that’s not really what’s written there. It was the 1990s. I’d just completed my first year in the university of Galway. It was time to choose the subjects for the next year: I was in a hall full of students milling about, choosing the subjects they wanted to pursue, and then joining queues at tables with someone from each department at the top, waiting to sign them up. I really didn’t know which subjects I wanted ...

  • A Nice Seat in Neachtain’s…& Goodbye to Jazzy Blue January 22, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Yesterday was Gloomy Monday, the most miserable day of the year. That made sense. I went into Galway City yesterday to get on with a sketch I need to do, and I sent a text to my husband that read “You cannot imagine a more crappy and miserable day in Galway. Pouring rain, freezing cold and just awful…” Luckily I then added “But I have a nice seat in Neachtain’s.” Neachtain’s is one of my favourite pubs, in Galway or anywhere. It is full of colourful posters advertising concerts, plays and exhibitions. It is a warren, full of snugs that ...

  • Galway: Destroyed With History, Alive With Music January 18, 2019 Róisín Curé

    I’m working intensely to finish a book for the end of February, and so I find myself in Galway City a lot these days. “An Urban Sketcher’s Galway” will be the Galway that I have come to know over the years since I arrived here in 1991, in words and pictures. In the twenty-seven years I have been here, I have gone from frequenting nightclubs with sticky floors with too much drink on board, to frequenting them sober (as an anthropological excursion it has value, but not really otherwise), to the usual path once you settle down: fewer nightclubs, but ...

  • Eavesdropping January 16, 2019 Róisín Curé

    Who’s the sitter? Last night I had an hour and a half to kill while my daughter did her Tae Kwondo class. There aren’t many places to go in Gort on a cold January evening, but I like the Lady Gregory Hotel. Sure enough, there was a nice cosy atmosphere in the hotel bar and soon I had a pot of tea and my sketchbook in front of me. I chose to make a sketch of a large painting built into the brickwork above an archway into another part of the bar. The subject had been given a very prominent spot, but ...

  • Foreign Relatives Enrich Your Life January 10, 2019 Róisín CuréForeign Relatives Enrich Your Life

    Marriage brings all kinds of benefits. If you have married into a family sprinkled with other countries of origin, your life can be enriched in many ways. I feel very lucky to come from a family of mixed origin – my mum is Canadian, my grandparents English – and to have married into a British family with a Mauritian and Austrian background. Every year, just as the Christmas panic has ebbed away, I put the leftover turkey and red cabbage in the freezer, lift my freshly-fattened body off the sofa and head to Kent in the southeast of England ...

  • Postscript to 2018 December 28, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Ó ghlúin go glúin (From generation to generation) My family and I had the pleasure of the company of my brother on St Stephen’s Day. We went for a walk along the Flaggy Shore, Co. Clare. To get there you drive south from our house in Kilcolgan, through the village of Kinvara, then after a bit you take a side road along the coast and you’re there. The landscape is bleak and beautiful: the road is flanked on either side with small rocky fields surrounded by dry stone walls, each bearing the character of the hands that built it. At this ...

  • An Austrian-Flavoured Christmas December 22, 2018 Róisín Curé

    My Big Cookbook I am proud of my family’s international heritage, which has enriched us more than words can say. My mother-in-law Erika is an Austrian who has lived most of her life in London, and she has contributed the most charming and wonderful things to our extended family. There’s her lovely accent, a pretty, elegant tongue that is a blend of Austrian and the beautifully-enunciated English that she has spoken for seventy years. There’s her open, smiling countenance and great generosity that I somehow associate with being Austrian. Above all there’s the cosy and inviting home she created for her ...

  • There’s Always One December 19, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Tuesday night in Gort My youngest, Liv, has started Taekwon-do in Gort Boxing Club. This means that between drop-off and pick-up I spend a couple of hours in a town that is more or less asleep, and certainly pitch dark and freezing cold out in the street. What to do? There’s only so many things you can balance in your arms from Lidl or Aldi when you’ve forgotten your reusable carrier bags, no matter what this week’s specials are. This evening I decided to try one of the pubs in Gort. I figured there’d be something to sketch there, and maybe ...

  • Thank You For Your Company December 16, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I was to meet my eldest, Honor, in Galway City to give her money I owed her. We arranged to meet in McCambridge’s on Shop Street at 4pm. Her younger brother Paddy and I decided to go there early, have a pot of tea for two and a cake, and a sketch (me), while we waited for her. Paddy has started taking training very seriously and a bit of over-enthusiasm in sprinting meant he was limping around town all day, so he was only too delighted to collapse into the chair. He chose a cake uncharacteristically quickly and I settled ...

  • At The Edge Of Europe December 14, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Galway is one of those places where everyone celebrates how it’s a thriving, exciting 21st century city. Scratch the surface, though, and its true character is right there. I watched a busker today in Galway City. He’s a guy I’ve seen a million times. His pitch is opposite Eason’s bookshop; sometimes he’s on his own, other times he’s with a band. He plays banjo and has a powerful voice that reminds me of the great Luke Kelly, who sang with the Dubliners back in the day. This guy belts out the ballads: I caught him mid-Dirty Old Town. He has red ...

  • Through A Glass Darkly December 10, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Yesterday members of Urban Sketchers Galway got together in Neachtain’s for an aul’ afternoon’s sketching. There were about eight of us in total, sitting in various nooks and crannies of the pub. Neachtain’s was one of my very favourite pubs when I was a student in Galway University. I’ll even say it was my favourite. In those days the air in the pub was a thick grey fog of cigarette smoke, and sometimes it was hard to make out your mate ordering a round. That was before the Irish made the enlightened, visionary and unprecedented decision to ban smoking in ...

  • Not Always That Bad Being A Teen December 9, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I’ve been a bit of a grinch of late. Christmas comes around and I get a bit sullen. There are lots of reasons for this, none of which is particularly unusual or original. It’s not fair on Liv, my youngest, though – she’s fourteen and loves getting into the spirit of things at this time of year. Life isn’t always easy when you’re fourteen, so if there’s anything you can do as a mum to make things a bit better, then you should do it. So when Liv asked me to take her into town yesterday, just the two of ...

  • What Is This, Art For Ants??!! December 8, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Every year around Christmas, the visual art group of which I am a member holds a fun exhibition. Each member can submit up to five pieces of art, along three guidelines: they can be no bigger than a postcard, they must not be signed (the buyer discovers the artist after purchase) and they must be for sale for €30. No more, no less. Of the €30, 10% goes to a Dublin children’s hospital. I submit five postcards every year, and have done for the last three years since it started. I think it’s a great exercise, because it’s a chance ...

  • A Winter’s Morning in Galway December 7, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Sketching outdoors in Galway in December isn’t easy. It’s cold and damp. So I decided to sketch some pub interiors and went into Galway City today, but to my amazement it was warm enough to sit outside. I saw the beautiful exterior of Tigh Cóilí and thought it would make a perfect subject. I had arrived bright and early – it was only about half past ten in the morning – and a nice relaxing session looked to be on the cards. I opened my stool, set it up and was about to sit down and start when I heard ...

  • Snug as a Bug in Moran’s Across The River December 4, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Cleaning your daughter’s bedroom is hard on the psyche. I did that today and I needed a restorative pint of beer afterwards, along with a nice relaxing sketch. My husband Marcel and I headed over to Moran’s on the Weir, which is directly across the river from us. It is an estuary rather than a river, with a big drop at low tide, but it’s not shallow enough to wade across, never mind in the middle of winter. Houses are very sparse on both sides of the estuary, as we are rather off the beaten track, neither which track is ...

  • Art Is Your Playground December 1, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I attended the second day of a workshop today, given by some students doing their Masters in Fine Art from the Burren College of Art. The first day took place in the hills of the Burren, and the second in the Courthouse, the beautiful premises of KAVA, which stands for Kinvara Area Visual Artists. The students and our group had come together to do a workshop with the theme Traces, Places and Memory, and we were chatting about what we’d done with paint, leaves, printing and so on over the last day. The workshop had involved making large monoprints, getting ...

  • Chasing Magic (and running from the rain) November 29, 2018 Róisín Curé

    This is my son Paddy, making bread one evening recently. We had just returned from the barbers, and my very quick watercolour sketch gives a pretty good idea of what his haircut looked like. Paddy knows I didn’t like it at the time, but so what – short hair grows back quickly so I wasn’t bothered. (Clearly, the much more important aspect of this sketch is that my actual son is making bread, rather than me. This is a wonderful and most welcome development in the life of my continuing drudgery as a food preparer and provider.) Paddy had gone to his ...

  • Machines, Mathematics And A Monkey – It’s An Enigma November 28, 2018 Róisín Curé

    A few days ago my son Paddy came back from school, his eyes shining with excitement. His class had gone on a trip to NUIG where there was a science festival on, and his maths class went to a workshop presented by James Grimes, who travels the world with an original Enigma machine, one of those used by the Nazis to send and receive secret messages during the war. Paddy carefully explained over dinner exactly how the Enigma machine worked. Despite having read Robert Harris’ novel Enigma some six years ago, I still didn’t have the way the machine worked ...

  • (Christmas) Market Day In Galway November 24, 2018 Róisín Curé

    The nicest way to enjoy Christmas…by sketching! Look at this loveliness…!! One of the lovely sketchers from USk Galway arranged a sketch-out today. She had suggested sketching the Christmas Market, and so we met in Eyre Square, which is completely taken over by the annual market. It has the words Traditional Christmas Market written in large letters on the edge of it, but I suspect it’s a bit more traditional in Germany than in Ireland. The market consists of a few rows of little wooden log cabins that are prettily lit up and sell all kinds of things, from hand-made, hand-dyed ...

  • Soothing The Senses in a Candlelit Café November 22, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I had to make a long drive yesterday evening. A friend of mine lost her mother two days ago, and it meant a lot to me to see her, and pay my respects. I drove to Killaloe, a small town in deepest Clare where the removal was to be held: it’s a two hour round trip, and I was hoping to get back to Gort in time to join the life drawing class held above the Gallery Café in the Square. I was out of luck. Between my atrocious navigation skills (I take side roads on a whim) and the lady ...

  • Today’s Blog (Feat. Alizarin Crimson) November 20, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Here is a sketch of my girl Olivia, or Liv, which I did on Sunday morning. The sun was streaming in through the window and she was all lit up. She was patient for about ten minutes, so I had to be very fast. I was pleased with the sketch but then my cough was considerably softened as the shafts of sunlight went on to light up cobwebs and dust everywhere. Most unsporting on a Sunday, but once seen they could not be unseen, and the next half hour was spent pushing the hoover around. This all took place in ...

  • Beautiful Art And A Paper Heart November 16, 2018 Róisín Curé

    This is the Palace Cinema, where I went to see Call Me By Your Name yesterday with my pal Lorraine. It’s very tall and thin, rising up three floors and down two, so if you want to go anywhere you have to channel “medieval lady of the manor” and haul yourself up and down millions of limestone steps. My neighbour Lelia was part of the Palace project from concept to creation, and I had sent her a congratulatory text a few days earlier after my first visit. “I could swear Lelia said the steps came from a Norman castle,” I said ...

  • Reality Is Sooo Boring November 14, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I started a new children’s art class today. Like yesterday’s new class, it’s one I haven’t taught for many months. This time it’s in the Gaelscoil in Oranmore, which is the Irish-language-only school that my kids went to. I had figured on taking about 12 children in total, and then I agreed to take an extra two because they were siblings of children I’d already accepted. So I was a bit surprised – well, terrified – to see what looked like a hundred tiny red-jumpered children ready to go to class. It turned out there were nineteen in total. I ...

  • Never Always Work With Children And Animals November 13, 2018 Róisín Curé

    (Never) Always Work With Animals And Children Yesterday I saw some beautiful beech leaves that I wanted to paint. There was something so magical about them. The colours, the hues…I don’t know. I did try to go out and paint – I had been stuck in front of a screen all day – but God had other plans. He was clearly saving up clouds (for a rainy day, lol) and you can’t paint in pouring rain. Reuben the terrier and I had to run for cover within a minute. So I painted this nice apron instead, a gift from my wonderful ...

  • Geology: A Symphony Beneath Our Feet November 11, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I met my fellow artists, USk Galway, today for a sketch-out under the archways of National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). We huddled together from the cold under stone arches and sketched the beautiful 19th-century courtyard, called the Quadrangle, or Quad for short. It was a trip down memory lane for me: I walked through one of those red doors (the second from right) about a million times in the period from 1992-2003, for that is where the Geology Department is. When I started second year in university, we could choose three subjects. I can’t remember why I chose microbiology and ...

  • My Girls Are A Force Of Nature November 10, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Anyone who has followed my work for a while will know that I have always been very discreet when it comes to posting pics of my children online. I can relax now, partly because they don’t mind and are already out there all over the place, and on a more practical level, because my eldest, Honor, has recently unblocked me (after five years), meaning I am now physically able to do so. Hurray! In the same day, both of my girls won creativity competitions. Honor is 18 and she won the third level category in a competition organised by Galway ...

  • Reuben Isn’t Waterproof November 9, 2018 Róisín Curé

    There’s a beech hedge at the bottom of my drive. Over the last few weeks it has been a riot of flame-coloured leaves and every time I drive past, I think I really must sketch it. Days passed and I did no such thing, even though I knew they were starting to blow off with a vengeance. Finally, I decided to wait no longer and chose today as the day that I would sketch the tree. Unfortunately, it was also the day that God decided to get rid of all the rain he’s been saving up (for a rainy day, ...

  • Viva España! A Spanish Vibe in Galway’s Film Fleadh November 9, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I occasionally teach Spanish to young people. It’s hard to get a fun vibe when you’re teaching a language outside of the country where it’s spoken, as it can be a little dull by comparison to be taught by one person. Learning Spanish in Spain means the following: – sun – warmth – fab new foods – happy, loud people – beautiful sights – blue skies – beer on terraces – foreign young girls and boys loving your cute accent Whereas learning Spanish in Galway means… – cold – rain – same dinner as always – one voice droning on and on – grammar – forgetting stuff – no one around but your kid brother to ...

  • Hurray, It’s Time For Irish November 8, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Every schoolchild in Ireland must learn Irish. You can only be excused if you arrived late into Ireland from another country, maybe 10 years old or so. Growing up, there was usually one or maybe two kids in the class who didn’t have to do Irish. We envied them more than words can say: they could read whatever book they wanted in the cosy library while we had to tackle the most impossibly difficult grammar known to mankind. I sent my own kids to a Gaelscoil, where the only language allowed is Irish: partly so that they would never find it ...

  • As Sweet As…Salt? November 6, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I’m a terrible woman for heading for Dr Google when something is wrong, real or imagined. It’s a mistake, I know, we all know it, but we can’t resist. So my machine was my first port of call the other day because I was experiencing a curious symptom. Everything tasted salty. No matter what tasty little treat I made, it wasn’t right. Apple and blackberry crumble, shortcrust pastry, then – my favourite at this time of year – pumpkin pie. I was torn between disappointment that I wasn’t enjoying it and relief that I wouldn’t be making a pig of ...

  • Making A Bad Drawing Is Good November 5, 2018 Róisín CuréMaking A Bad Drawing Is Good

    I love sketching at the bus stop while I wait for the kids. No one can disturb me. The car is tiny but it doesn’t matter. And the only subjects are some trees and a big grain silo so it doesn’t matter what happens. And if the worst comes to the worst and the kids arrive (which they tend to do at the bus stop) then I can come back the next day and do a bit more. In this sketch I tried to put into action some of the advice that was given to me by John Short, an ...

  • “I don’t care what he looks like – I fancy him.” November 4, 2018 Róisín Curé"I don't care what he looks like - I fancy him."

    Sixty years seems like an eternity to a child, but in reality it’s practically yesterday. The Battle of Britain Museum is a place to stir emotions like none I’ve ever experienced.

  • Hallowe’en in Galway November 2, 2018 Róisín CuréHallowe'en in Galway

    Every year since they were old enough for me to indulge my desire to dress my kids up (ie. under 1), my children have taken part in some kind of Halloween festivity. I swaddled them in every costume I could think of, some of them elaborate creations hot off my sewing machine (a purple velvet frock coat for a Louisiana voodoo witch the year The Princess And The Frog was in the cinema stands out) and some less swanky (a threadbare nightdress I hacked with less-than-sharp scissors to make an “angel” comes to mind). When the kids were very small ...

  • Wales in Watercolour: Part 1 October 20, 2018 Róisín CuréWales in Watercolour: Part 1

    On board the Oscar Wilde with my colleague and buddy Sharon… Sharon and I are taking part in a project called Bluefish. It’s a joint Irish-Welsh project looking at blue growth and the possible effects of climate change on the marine sector along the coast of the Irish and Celtic Sea. I was tasked with producing 16 sketches of marine businesses along the coast. The idea was that by combining art and science, a much greater impact would be made upon a person than a dry old paper. Sharon and I were well prepared… Here’s my first sketch. We’re on board the Oscar Wilde. ...

  • Right-Looking Eejits June 26, 2018 Róisín CuréRight-Looking Eejits

    The other day, my husband Marcel and I were driving into town. There was a buzzing coming from somewhere in the car. “There’s a bee in the car,” said Marcel, who dreads getting stung. “It’s a bluebottle,” I said. “It’s a bee,” said Marcel. “Oh yeah, there it is,” I said, having spotted a fat, orange furry lad buzzing around the boot of the car. “I’ll let it out.” “No, don’t do that,” said Marcel. “It’ll get separated from its colony.” We have all heard about the terrible plight of bees. “Of course!” I said. “You’re dead right. We’ll let it out back home.” After a while and ...

  • No Idle Hands May 2, 2018 Róisín Curé

    “Hands up whose hair drives them mad when it needs a cut,” I said, showing the kids I teach my latest sketch of a barbershop. I had explained that I had been there for two and a half hours, and they had asked why my son needed to go to the barbershop when it was that busy. A flurry of hands went up and a chime of 10 and 11-year-old voices asserted that yes, their hair drove them mad sometimes. A young lad at the back with a good head of hair groaned and said that right now his fringe was driving ...

  • Home Made Bread Roll Pizza and still Sugar-Free…but for how long? April 30, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Bread. It has sugar in it. But I’m still gonna eat it… This Bread Roll Pizza was my husband Marcel’s excellent idea the other day, and I’ll share what I did in a minute. Neither of us likes going to the supermarket, so these days it’s hard to find something nice in the fridge for lunch. One thing I nearly always have, however, is beautiful home made bread. No, there is nowhere to buy wonderful bread in Kilcolgan, which is why I make it. I have to because the kids take sandwiches to school every day. We won’t talk ...

  • Sugar-Free-Sketching Day 6: (No) Cabbage Borscht & Soda Bread April 23, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Borscht and soda bread. Comfort food at its best… Boo-hoo! I am feeling rather sorry for myself today. For the last few years the middle finger on my right hand was refusing to open when my hand was closed. This apparently is called Trigger Finger. It was getting worse, and my doctor recommended an injection of cortisone. He didn’t mention how painful the injection into the tendon on your hand is. Ouch! Afterwards I was in dire need of comfort food and all I could think of was making a delicious pot of cabbage borscht. I made it last ...

  • Sugar-Free Sketching Day 5: Chilli For Breakfast April 22, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Chilli for breakfast is a far cry from the porridge and cereal I grew up with, but I love it. Day 5 and I’m back on the wagon. Actually Day 4 I was too as it was the previous day that I fell. It’s Sunday and I thought I’d make Huevos Rancheros, mainly because I had one corn tortilla left over from last night’s dinner and I knew that another day would see it turn dry and yucky. Besides, Marcel loves huevos rancheros. “Watch out,” I said to him. “I put lots of chili.” “No such thing as too much chilli ...

  • Sugar-Free Sketching …Day 3 and I’m Already On The Cake April 21, 2018 Róisín Curé

    Off the wagon! And it’s only Day 3! I was celebrating, and there was cake involved. This is how it happened. Under The Cosh My son Paddy is in Transition Year. That means he does very little in the way of actual work, but spends lots of time on personal development. Part of Transition Year is to do work experience. They had to find three weeks’ worth of work experience in three different places. “I know what I’d like,” said Paddy. “One hands-on job with boats, one science job and a fun one.” This is very Paddy. He lives in ...

  • Sugar-Free Sketching – Day 2 April 19, 2018 Róisín Curé

    It’s Day 2 of my Sugar-Free Sketching project. Nothing like a community spirit to increase the chance of success – why not follow my progress!

  • No Sugar, Thanks – Day 1 April 18, 2018 Róisín Curé

    I am so fed up being fat. After the awful winter we’ve had, I feel like this most days, but yesterday it was worse than usual. I had spent a couple of days with my dad, who is a demon for sugar. He has broken his ankle and isn’t driving so I went to the shops for him. He rang me while I was there. “I was wondering why you were taking so long,” he said. “I’m stuck at the dessert aisle,” I said. “I can’t decide which ones to get you.” “I love junk food,” he said, which was his ...

  • Not So Smug Now: Last One at the Airport April 6, 2018 Róisín CuréNot So Smug Now: Last One at the Airport

    After scoffing at my husband’s desire to be punctual for flights, I nearly paid the price. There’s a (very obvious) lesson in that somewhere