In this series on Ireland’s colourful buildings, we started off with purple and pink and proceeded through the colour wheel to the oranges and yellows and now we have arrived back on the cool side of the spectrum – the blues and greens. The Diva Cafe in Ballinspittle (above) has black trim that does nothing to tone down its exuberance, and it marries beautifully with the purple and pinks beside it, which were highlighted in our first post on this series.
We left off the last post with a couple of lime greens, so here’s another, from Kinsale (above) to get us back in the swing of things.
A bright green and a blue green are a great combination beside the sea – this house is at Dunmanus, on The Mizen
Blues and greens are the colours of the sky and the fields, so they don’t pop as much as the pinks and the oranges. In fact they can be quite subtle, when used in tones that blend in with their surroundings.
I love these two farmhouses, the first near Mount Kidd and the second near Coppeen
But in village streets, and especially when combined with the other colours of the streetscape, they can be as cheerful and arresting as the stronger hues around them.
Eyeries (top) and Kenmare (bottom)
There are shades of blue and green that people argue over – one will call it blue and another green.
The fabulous Bridge House in Skibbereen – blue or green?
Those are the teals, ceruleans and turquoises, and St Patrick’s Blue, which is the colour of the Aer Lingus uniforms.
Finn’s Table in Kinsale, La Jolie Brise in Baltimore and a lovely brick and teal combo in North Cork
O’Sullivan’s butcher shop in Ballydehob has been closed for years, but it still retails its welcoming colours and graphics
True blues vary from the strong dark ultramarines and navy blues through the denims, duck eggs, periwinkles, sky blues and on to the paler shades and baby blues.
The first house is in Baltimore, the one underneath it was glimpsed somewhere on our travels
Blue matches well with other colours and is often used in combination. Some of the nicest buildings we’ve seen use blue with another colour to great effect.
Three wonderful buildings that use blue in combination with orange tones – a bank in Youghal, a hardware store in Bantry and our own Budd’s Restaurant in Ballydehob (with Rosies pub for good measure)
Yellow trim is a tried and true favourite
It might be one of the smallest houses I’ve seen, but it stands out when painted in blue
Blues and greens in Kilbrittain
This one near Castle Donovan uses a strong blue cleverly as both a main and a trim colour
I’ve decided to end this series with this photograph of two side-by-side buildings in Adrigole on the Beara Peninsula. The juxtaposition of the strong green and the vivid pink proves that when it comes to colour, anything can work!
Right so…where were we when we got interrupted by the bould Saint Patrick? Ah yes, on the red side of the colour wheel. Let’s keep moving, so, on to orange and through the yellows till we hit the greens. (For anyone tuning in for the first time, take a look at Purple and Pink, which also has links to previous posts on our penchant for colourful buildings.)
Biggs is an iconic building in Bantry
We’ll start with the orangey ones (except I couldn’t resist heading off with this gorgeous house on the Beara Peninsula). Orange is a startling shade but also surprisingly sophisticated.
Timoleague (top) and Leap
And some times just plain fun. Nothing like a splash of sunshine to brighten your day!
Kinsale (top) and Goleen
On to the yellows – a favourite of many, it seems, both shop-owners and householders.
Kinsale, Clonakilty, Kilmallock
Depending on the trim, yellow can seem quite electric. I love this shop in Millstreet (above)
This one is in Aghada, East Cork
Wonderful collection of colours on and around this farmhouse
Eyeries, on the Beara, is one of the most colourful villages in Ireland. It’s where you’ll find the rainbow
The Ludgate Centre, in Skibbereen. It’s just as colourful inside
I’ll stop just shy of true greens and leave them and the blues for next time. The limes, above and below, are the exact right transition colour from yellow. Don’t you agree?
A real beauty, in Kilgarvan
And, if you really need your green fix NOW, head over to Robert’s post, Spring Green.
You all know of my fascination with the colourful houses that dot the Irish countryside. It’s been a while since I posted about them so for new readers, check out A Lick of Paint and An Extra Lick of Paint and All the Trimmings.
Today I am concentrating on the red side of the colour wheel – from purple to pink. We’ll stop where it shades into blue at one end and orange on the other. This gives us a vast range to choose from and, because it’s all diametrically opposite the greens of the Irish countryside, guarantees that the house will stand out in the countryside.
It’s always a wonderful surprise to come around a corner on a tiny boreen and discover something like this…
I’ve included a few shops as well, because – Kinsale! Located on the southernmost extent of the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s one of the most colourful of all Irish towns and a delight to stroll around.
But it’s by no means the only colourful village – lots of other examples here too. Ballinspittle, for example – home of the famous grotto of the moving statue – is a kaleidoscope of colour.
Humble terraced cottages can assert their individuality through subtle architectural variations, or through one huge difference – colour!
The main streets of towns and villages are enlivened with splashes of bold colour that catch the eye and brighten your day.
Perhaps one of the best examples I’ve seen of how a building can be transformed by colour comes from our own Ballydehob. Here is the old bank building, abandoned and unloved.
And here it is now – our vibrant Bank House, home to the Tourist Information Centre and all kinds of events and occasions. As I said – purple and pink display to excellent advantage when contrasted with green!
Next time we’ll wander over to a different area of the colour wheel. I’ve seen some mighty oranges and limes lately!
Main Street, Ballydehob
I remember greyness. Grey stone, grey plaster, grey slate, grey concrete, rain-washed grey windows. In 1965 my parents painted our house navy blue, with white trim. In the middle of a terrace of grey houses it caused a minor scandal.
While the traditional Irish cottage of the postcards was whitewashed and thatched, with perhaps a daring red half-door, there were always isolated farmhouses in lurid colours in the deep countryside. Inexplicably painted bright purple or tangerine or electric green, they hinted at the farmer wanting something he could find in the middle of the night coming home on the bicycle after a long evening in the pub. But the general change came gradually with the popularity of the Tidy Towns competition, where villagers were encouraged to spruce up their houses, trim their lawns and keep the village neat and clean. I left Ireland in 1974 and a constant delight of visits home since then has been the discovery of Ireland of the Colourful Houses.
Towns and villages are a riot of multi-coloured shop fronts and dwellings. In some, the decorous and tastefully pastel abound. The streets that provide most eye candy, though, are those that have kissed goodbye to any sense of discretion in favour of in-your-face vivid and clashing shades. The rainbow streetscapes, whether quietly elegant or flamboyant, work delightfully, buoying the spirits and infusing every shopping trip or sightseeing expedition with a sense of play and exuberance.
This is our last post for 2012. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our dear family and friends, wherever you are. May 2013 bring all good things your way.
Oh, and by the way, the place names competition is still open for entries. Prizes still to be won!
The Sober Streets of Skibbereen