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King's Paper Shop, Polystyrene Peanuts and Pole Dancing

They say that smell is the most evocative of all the senses. I have this confirmed to me every time I set foot inside King’s Paper Shop in Main Street, Clifden. Once inside, and as I begin to inhale the heady aroma of newsprint, without fail my life rewinds instantly to family holidays in North Wales when I was five or six years old. Our family vacations usually came around just once a year in summer, and were invariably spent at the seaside somewhere in Wales. While the place might have varied from year to year – and sometimes not - there was always at least one annual constant. Every such location had a beach shop. This was the one...

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Operation 'Let's Get Spooked Up'

Operation Let's Get Spooked Up (a tale about a man turning to the dark side)   Can you ever be too old to get ‘in the spirit?’ Apparently not…   For the first time ever, Halloween has broomstick landed at Connemara Blue. And it’s well and truly landed. The significance of this will not be clear to anyone apart from those who know Ben Crow really well, and I mean really well. As his daughter, I feel suitably qualified to comment.   Up until now, Halloween has always been dismissed domestically as a nuisance that happens every year. It’s a time to close the doors and hide in the hope that no trick or treat shenanigans should interrupt the evening’s televisual...

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'Ballynahinch Woods'

This gorgeous, leaf-shaped, fused glass platter was inspired by many a long, sunny stroll in Ballynahinch woods.When my wife Pauline and I first arrived in Connemara, one of our first actions was to get a dog. Sally, as we named her, was a Golden Retriever and she lived to the great age (for her breed) of seventeen years. Frequently when she was young – and, in her later years, as often as her aches and pains allowed – we loved to take Sally for a walk in the grounds of Ballynahinch Castle. Allowed to run, jump and snuffle in the woody leaf cover, the dog’s expression told you she was ecstatic, in her element. When she was young and sinuous,...

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Hiking with glass

Visitors to our gallery often ask where we get our inspiration. Our answer hasn't changed since 2012.  The Connemara area provides all the inspiration we need.   We are lucky enough to live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.  This last week we have spent some time photographing our glass pieces in the places that inspired them. Taking the roads less traveled, carefully making our way across rocks and bog-land, and crossing the odd stream, it feels almost poetic.   Today we chose Mám Éan as our destination again. On our last trip, see our previous blog-post here, it was a rather wet day.  Today, we had  beautifully bright sunshine. Elizabeth rightly pointed out that it doesn't...

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Over the hills and far away

February 15th was what the locals call a "soft" day.  Grey, with rain that isn't heavy enough to be called rain, but JUST heavy enough to thoroughly soak you. Elizabeth and I locked up an hour early (shhhhh), carefully packed a few glass pieces into my little car, and set out on an adventure.  It had been years since I last visited Mám Éan.  All I remembered was that the drive was particularly scenic.   Mám Éan (often anglicised as Maumeen, Mamean, etc.) is a little pilgrimage spot at a pass through the Maumturk mountains of east Connemara, roughly between Oughterard and Leenane. A visit reveals a tiny chapel, mass altar and the Stations of the Cross scattered roughly around the rocky, boggy site. ...

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