Maria Simonds-Gooding was born in India, to an Irish mother and English father. She spent the first six years of her life in India, and was very much given free roam, with a very loose education system. Today, she credits those early years with fostering her love for remote places. Her family eventually returned to Ireland and she grew up in Country Kerry, and, after completing an arts education at the Bath Academy Corsham in 1968, she moved to the Dingle Peninsula. Today, she lives in a renovated cottage, overlooking the Blasket Islands.
Maria was amazingly kind, and invited us all into her house. She asked us about our studies, and told us about her own life. Our conversation ranged over many different topics, and we got to hear about much of Maria's views on art and several of her stories about her past. Listening to her was fantastic. She was incredibly enthusiastic and eager to talk to us, and a very expressive, energetic, and intense speaker.
We got to see some copies of her older work as well, including a series of prints about Fungie, the Dolphin who resides in Dingle Bay (like the image above). These were very playful, happy prints, and helped show her love for the Dingle Peninsula and its traditions, including the newer ones.
I thought that this was a very cool experience. Getting to see this sort of architecture up close was really cool. We studied many different parts of ancient architecture like this in art history class, and I enjoyed seeing what we'd learned about as it was applied to real life. Things like the alignment of buildings with the sun and controlled pathways all played a part in this building, which was very cool to see.