I’ve been wanting to paint this view for the last five or six years. When I used to work on archaeological digs, one of the jobs was in advance of a motorway between Fermoy and Mitchelstown. On the commute trip, I would pass this place twice a day. It’s on the Dungourney to Castlelyons road, at a townland called Curraghdermot. An amazing view of two mountain ranges in Munster is on the horizon. On the left are the Galtees, straddling the border between Limerick and Tipperary. On the right are the Knockmealdowns that form part of the border between Waterford and Tipperary. So even though I’m standing in County Cork, three counties can be seen. The location is in front of a disused field entrance, next to a disused lay-by. At around 600 feet up, it’s on some of the highest ground in East Cork.
I painted it all outdoors from life. I had enough fine days to complete the painting, due to an unusually long, warm, spell of weather. It’s a landmark picture for me, as it shows I can do a detailed painting from life and not be reliant on photo references.
My home stands a mere 160 metres from the eastern side of Garryvoe Beach. Eight to ten foot high clay cliffs are constantly eroded by wave action; each year between a foot and a metre of ground are washed into the sea. About once or twice a year I get a recurring dream where the cliff has suddenly come up to the house just outside the fence. Like a lot of anxiety themed dreams, just before the house falls down, the dream ends. Skies are always dark in my bad dreams where landscapes feature. The painting looks real to match how vivid the dream feels but if you look at where the windows should be in the house, the background sky is visible instead of walls. Therefore the house is a façade and imagined. The painting is also a prophecy, it’s only a matter of time before the cliffs do come up to the house, depending on how bad global warming kicks in.