First published: Winter 1996/97
While travelling through the Irish countryside many years ago from one summer through the next winter, I came across three distinctly different artists working outside familiar traditions.
The first was Patrick O'Brian or Brud, as he was called, who lived in Kerry in the town of Sneem. He was the town housepainter, signpainter, poet, and barber.
The barbershop occupied one downstairs room and was decorated with all manner of designs on the walls.
Wooden sculptures he had carved and painted of farm and family scenes occupied the front window and virtually every available shelf. He lived alone and held a myriad of opinions about the world, its leaders, and notables. He had poetic interests and a delight in his paintings and constructions. Though I felt it improper to ask to buy some of the sculptures, I did nonetheless and he refused.