"Butterfly Wings" A therapeutic Painting Workshop @ Cregg Castle

I discovered my passion for Art activities early in life and haven’t looked back since. Art College taught me the fundamentals of art, but it’s the journey of life that provided me with inspiration.  I feel my Paintings are very personal and reflects my own Timeline of life, In my process of painting I have found doors for me to explore and develop a greater inner spiritual connection to myself and our external  Angels.  I Love to sense and discover connections in life and with wonderful people and enjoy where and how they go…… My exhibition of original oil Paintings hangs in the two large reception rooms of Cregg Castle. I call it the “Gallery of Angels”. It’s a dream space to have my own semi-permanent solo show.

I fell in love early in life and built a little purple cottage in the countryside of Galway.  Lorraine and I got married and had two wonderful boys, Jaeden and Zach.

My twin Ivan, a sculptor now living in Whales, and I as young artists took on spaces for exhibitions because we didn’t want to charge extra to clients as in commercial galleries. I was always interested in spaces, and ended up building my second home as well, with a purpose built Montessori school which I ran with my wife Lorraine. I took care of the project management and the arty play part. I feel some choose our school because there was a male influence and contribution, and feel it helped with some of the more distant relationships between some hard working fathers and their kids.

While working on other creative projects, I also developed a therapeutic painting Workshop fusing my passion, with my training and skills in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and Timeline therapy. I call it “Butterfly Wings”. It was suddenly the time to put it into action.  I had recently separated from my wife and was seeking many new positives changes in my Life.  I started searching for a healing place to host my therapeutic workshop.

My grandfather used to own Cregg Castle and then was passed to my Aunt, so I thought I would visit Cregg and see what the new owners were doing with it. When I got there the Castle was in disrepair and had been sadly boarded up for 4 years.

I contacted the new owners to see where they stood and a few months later I sent them my strong proposal where I aimed to take on the castle as is, and start an artist’s residence and a cultural music venue. Thankfully they accepted my proposal and we have a great Win Win arrangement in place. I had a lot of red tape and restrictions holding things back however I’ve been pretty much living my dream here at the castle for 4 amazing years. It’s a perfect space /place for artists to live and work together. It certainly is for me, I love it here, so much because it just feels like the right path for me and also I got to connect with so many creative, talented people here.  When my Aunt had the Castle as B&B with a strong  traditional music energy here, Dusty Springfield, Sinead O Connor, Shane Mac Gowan from the Pogues, all stayed here on occasion, back in the day. Dusty wrote in the guest book, it was her special healing place.

I’ve had quite a few artists in residence over the years, come and go, and have hosted many music and cultural events, film and photo shoots, bush craft courses and other random stuff. I have now most parts of the castle as liveable again. Artists have helped me fix up spaces as and we needed them, each artist having a living/studio space and also use of the many large communal spaces. Last year I opened one room for Airbnb guests. I have many foreign visitors all year and they are all delighted to come and stay in a real Irish Castle. https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/7479769?preview

My Pony - Arrow, Donkey - Houdini and Cat - Pixie are a huge contribution to the positive healing energy here.

Recently when An Ait Eile approached me about with the Monastery concept I was very interested. It was easy to see how it could map onto what my hopes and plans for the castle. So we held a PreMonastery event which was a great success. And since that I with Kashi from Cosáin, a local wellness group hosted an amazing “Butterfly Wings” weekend. (Therapeutic Painting Workshop)

Over the last year or so, I did a lot of work designing and fabricating two, 40ft high cube containers which I have created all on site at the Castle. My aim was firstly to create a purpose built mobile event venue and an alternative workshop space. The design includes a large indoor/outdoor space between them, with a mobile roof covering and a neat modular floor system.   More work is needed however to bring them to the standard required for holding events, and with the added potential as developing it further as a demo concept home. This project has me excited, motivated and inspired. I see it as a real positive alternative to the mainstream approach of building another traditional home.  I took the opportunity to create a new start in life, moving towards a positive creative lifestyle.  Freedom is my top Value and this approach has given me that sense of freedom to move.   Also it gives me the ability, to build my own home for a lot cheaper than traditional building. I feel we all need to simplify our lives, to our basic needs and have time to enjoy the - true simple pleasures and treasures in life.

I rekoned, If I care for the Castle, the Castle will Care for Me and many more to come…

Alan Murray

Insights for the Reef

Hi @Alan_Murray it’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your thoughts.

It seems like you really know what you want from life, which is something not many of us can say :slight_smile: even those who value freedom just as much and above all. I have been working on Edgeryders and putting a lot of my energy into building the kind of thriving network you mention but using an Internet island of people who think and dream alike. Five years later and having had some breakthroughs as we think together about how to live and work meaningfully in the 21st century, it feels it’s now time to look for a physical home. We call it The Reef and this year is when we will try it, perhaps you are interested in shaping it? It draws from lessons at the unMonastery we ran in South Italy, and from insights like yours above - particularly around wellbeing and what is a healthy way of living with others, communally but with a focus on producing great work at the same time. There is a lot of metaphoric language still, and we are looking for a model - but I am curious what you learned about how your lifestlye can bring tangible outcomes to the community surrounding you, even beyond personal relationships? Maybe for those participating in your workshops, or the broader ecology around Cregg castle…?

Heroes passing through

Welcome from me, too @Alan_Murray ! Nadia has been raving about Cregg Castle. And now you have definitely got my own attention: Sinéad and Shane were (still are) major heroes of mine.

Like Noemi, I am deeply involved in The Reef. Hopefully we can exchange. :slight_smile:

Is the Montessori school still running? Is it in Cregg?

A home with a purpose: compare notes at OpenVillage Fest?

Hi @Alan_Murray I would like to invite you to join us in Brussels later this year (19-21 october) for a fairly intimate community event: It’s called OpenVillage and we are coordinating with people who share some of your values, with projects and lifestyle approaches to giving and receiving better care to support a thriving, good life.

We’ll see attending others who are doing coliving in a connected set of houses, or who did the hippie communes back int he days, or who run spaces for getting better health together i.e. prevention but dont live there; others are doing mobile instantiations of temporary or permanent home living, again often with the purpose of providing some form of care: mobile clinics i.e. footcare;  4x4 firefighter truck flat fully equipped for work and hacking our economic operating systems;

Some of the things being discussed at the moment are:

  • acceptance and learning when you live with your co-workers
  • governance for emotional safety of relationships 
  • learning to ensure collective mental wellbeing
  • the practicalities of organising and using the common space

Would you be interested in joining and helping design an interesting session to compare notes around an issue which interests you?

Anyone else interested to shape something like this? Especially if you dont feel like just presenting a project and could use a more thoughtful conversation curated (with care!): @asimong@johncoate , @Michael_Dunn , @Lauren , @Matthias , @Natalia_Skoczylas .

Pictures of the workshop container

I found these on the facebook profile you linked to… so.cool!