How very kind of Maurna Crozier, whose mother and grandmother were both well-known musicians, to sponsor a new residency for composers at what she called the ‘creative haven of Annaghmakerrig’. Thanks to the original generosity of Tyrone Guthrie back in 1971, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre provides a temporary home from home for artists looking for what is officially called ‘a residential workplace for artists, dedicated to supporting and facilitating creativity within a welcoming and trusted environment’. But it’s not altogether free. Residents in Guthrie’s Big House which accommodates up to eleven artists pay €300 per week all in and may stay for up to one month. There are also self-catering units in the courtyards which cost €175 weekly where artists can settle in for three months. For non-EU artists, the rates are double that. Eight studio spaces are also available along with a performance/dance space and a new print studio. Applications for the Maurna Crozier bursary for composers must be submitted by 6 March.
The residencies available at Ballinglen, North Mayo are of a very different nature from Annaghmakerrig. First of all they are completely free. They are also much fewer and confined to visual artists. This amazing outpost of creativity on the edge of the vast Atlantic was founded in the early 1990s by two very modest philantrophists, US-based Margo Dolan and Peter Maxwell. Now the resident Director Una Forde, caters for up to 40 artists per annum who live in the village of Ballycastle for up to three weeks while participating in the Centre’s various programmes. More than half the ‘Fellows’ come from overseas especially the US but the Alumni list shows the recurring visits of many Irish artists familiar to IAR readers like Nick Miller, Maeve McCarthy, Donald Teskey, Martin Gale and Michael Canning.
In the bad old days long ago, the Irish literati were reduced to finding inspiration in the local pub and it is reassuring to learn that there are still barrels of inspiration to draw from in Polke’s pub in Ballycastle. Unfortunately, you have to get up on your bike to find your way to the Black Kesh three miles from Annaghmakerrig. JM