Painting Workshops Travel
Ireland Burren Pastures

Ireland Burren Pastures

Burren College of Art

Burren College of Art

Painting Workshop in Ireland

August 1–8, 2020

My connection to Ireland began serendipitously. In 2012 a friend of the family offered my wife and I and our two young boys the opportunity to use their vacation home in Ireland for the winter. Most people thought we were nuts to spend the winter in such a cold and rainy place, but the allure of a big adventure was too hard to resist. We rented our house and headed to the west coast of Ireland and an unknown future. As luck would have it, we ended up in one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland, a place along its west coast called the Burren, where a community of new friends and experiences awaited us. Also awaiting was the incredibly special Burren College of Art, where I set up a studio from 2012–2014. What started as a lark turned into two wonderful years for my family, and was the impetus for establishing this summer painting workshop. 

It’s one of the joys of my life to be able to celebrate the Burren’s mesmerizing beauty with those interested in painting. It’s a land of ancient ruins and stunning scenery and a landscape unlike any you’ve ever experienced. 

+ pricing

$2,700 Private Accommodation / $2,400 Shared Accommodation

This includes:

  • Seven nights accommodation in the Waters Country House in Ballyvaughan
  • Breakfast each day
  • Art studio materials
  • Full use of painting studios, including computer lab for printing photos
  • Painting instruction, lectures, and critiques on studio days
  • One full-day tour of the Burren, with guide and lunch

What isn’t included:

  • Airfare to Ireland
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Transportation

Payment Schedule:

  • $500 nonrefundable deposit to hold your place
  • 50% payment due by May 1st (less deposit)
  • Full payment due by July 1st


  • After February 15th, 50% refund
  • After May 25th, no refund

Travel insurance is recommended; we’ve had good experiences with Matt Konold at AAA Carolinas. He can be reached at

For help with airfare, car rentals, and any additional travel plans, I’ve partnered with Nancy Little of QuintessenceTravel in Los Angeles to help with all of your needs. She can be reached at


For remaining balance, call me at (828) 774-8431 or email

+ location

A unique blend of limestone landscapes and lush green pastures, the Burren sits side by side with beautiful Galway Bay, across which you can see the hills of Connemara and to the south the Aran Islands. In and amongst the green pastures and forests of hazelwood and hawthorn you'll find the ancient remains of castles, ring forts, monasteries, and Neolithic burial tombs, along with delicate wildflowers and strange carvings.

You'll stay in the charming little seaside village of Ballyvaughan, which lies about 45 minutes below Galway in County Clare. Ballyvaughan itself is very small, with a main street lined with local pubs, shops, and a few restaurants. In addition to artists and ex-pats who live in the area, the village is also home to many farmers who tend the cows and sheep that graze in the surrounding pastures, as their ancestors did before them for generations.

+ studio and art supplies

Ireland has very unpredictable weather, which can make painting on location problematic. In this workshop all painting will be done inside the studios of the Burren College of Art, which is situated on the grounds of a converted 16th-century castle and is in the heart of the Burren. During our time there we’ll be painting in the college’s well-lit and spacious studios. I like to paint with my canvas or paper mounted directly on the wall, but for those who prefer easels, they will be provided along with art tables. I’ll have a large selection of photographs of the area that I've taken over the years which can be used as source material for your paintings if you want to paint in the landscape vein, or there's a facility at the college to develop any photographs you take on your own. Some of you will be working more abstractly and might not need any source material. I will provide heavy-body acrylic paints, canvas panels, watercolor paper, brushes, and latex gloves.

+ food and lodging

The workshop is open to 10 students, and everyone will be staying in the Waters Country House, a bed-and-breakfast that is within walking distance to the college. The Waters is rich with character, with imported antique furniture from Italy, charming hosts (Maria and Wolfgang), and is situated on an ancient well celebrated in Irish folklore. The workshop's price is for a shared double room or, for an extra amount, a private room, which can be arranged on a first-come, first-served basis.

All lunches and dinners will be each workshop participant’s responsibility. More often than not, we all eat together at one of the many great restaurants in the area. The college has a little cafe where our group will have a table if you choose not to go into the village for lunch. Martina and Anne run the cafe and are delightful.

+ logistics and itinerary

Driving Distances to Ballyvaughan

Shannon Airport, 1 hr. 2 min.

Dublin Airport, 2 hrs. 38 min.

A typical studio day starts with my lecture and demonstration, followed by a full morning of painting. After our session, we'll break for lunch at the college cafe or we'll head to the village for lunch. After lunch, if no lecture is scheduled, we’ll continue working in the studios, where I can offer one-on-one instruction. I'll usually have a late-afternoon field trip scheduled to one of the many places of interest in the area, and then it's dinnertime. We usually eat as a group, but you're certainly free to go off on your own. The Sunday following your arrival will be dedicated to a full-day tour of the Burren to give a broad overview of the area. At the end of the week, the college will host a reception in the studios where all participants will display their paintings, and talk about what they learned during their inspired week in the Burren.

+ what to pack

When packing for Ireland, it’s helpful to remember that you may experience four seasons in one day. That said, check the weather forecast before you leave, and bring layers, as well as a lightweight rain jacket and umbrella and some good walking shoes.

Bring a digital camera or a phone that shoots photos since we’ll be taking lots of photographs.

Check with your provider to see about international phone rates. For international texting, you can sign up for Viber or Whats App, which work great. You can also purchase an Irish SIM card for your phone at any of the local phone shops and buy credit to use while in Ireland.

Bring Irish plug adaptors if you want to charge any of your devices.

Testimonials for the Stone and Sky Ireland Workshop

David Skinner knows the area well and generously shares his friends, landscape photos, and techniques. He spends one-on-one time with all workshop participants, and his years of painting knowledge combined with his gentle suggestions, encouragement, and positivity make for a rich art experience. The Burren College of Art is a wonderful facility. Resident artists, fellow workshop participants, the cafe ladies, the director, and staff are all encouraging, friendly art lovers. You’ll cherish your experience, and you’ll never be the same! Say yes!
— Jeanne Brice, Chattanooga, TN
I came away from your workshop in Ireland energized and inspired to continue exploring painting landscapes (and more cows!), all due to your generosity and encouragement as a teacher and to the magic of experiencing the landscape and beautiful light of the Burren. The Burren College of Art was the perfect setting for your workshop. The large, open studio spaces were well lit with both artificial and natural skylights, which allowed each student to spread out and work in ways that were comfortable for them. Maybe it was the wide-open landscapes, the airy, tall-ceilinged studio spaces, and your guidance that convinced me to try my first painting on a large canvas. You taught me to let go of becoming too attached to early, small successes while blocking out the painting in favor of being freer and building and re-doing and building again—something that I have not been able to do in my other classes!

Beyond the studio, you were also a marvelous host, introducing our group to the Burren with daily excursions throughout the countryside, visiting fairy forts and ruins of an abbey, an ancient Bronze Age wedge tomb, the Cliffs of Moher, an incredible private garden, and a parfumerie—all interspersed with dinners and lunches in wonderful small restaurants and inns and listening to local Irish musicians sing and play music in an local pub. All so much fun!
— Karen Mulhern, Rye, NY
David Skinner’s Irish workshop is so much more than direct instruction, coaching, and studio time. David introduces you to the beauty, people, and culture of the Burren via a mini-bus day tour, late afternoon excursions, and visits to small restaurants and pubs. All of those activities are optional, of course, but they are an inspiring feast for the eyes and heart. When you see David’s paintings, you know how talented an artist he is. What you don’t realize is what a good teacher and kind person he is too. He truly cares about everyone and does his best to make everyone’s experience top-notch.
— Lynne Meacham, NC