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Friday, 23 March 2012

Ireland again

So, as I said yesterday we arrived back at An Crannog too late for our lesson in Irish Gaelic, but in time to hear the last of a music session going on.  shoe the donkey The tune was Shoe the Donkey, which has a little dance attached to it.  I seem to remember from years past in Ireland that musicians  burst into this little tune from time to time during a ceili!  Sorry it’s not a sharp photo, but you get the idea!

Next on the agenda was a creel-making demo, during whichowenie4 Owenie gave us a chance to have a go!owenie shows katrina

It was fascinating to see it begun, with several withies in use at once.  Later he showed us a finished basket, designed to be carried on the backowenie5.  It reminded me of the days in my childhood when donkeys were used to carry turf back from the hill, or goods to market, one creel slung over each side of the beast’s back.  I also thought of the fishwives carrying fish their men had landed, to sell round the houses.

ceili finlay clarsachceili singers3Later that evening we had a bit of a ceili in the house where we were staying.  I believe Allan, above, is singing about the Dundee Ghost, and on the left is young Finlay playing the clarsach.  His sister also gave us a tune, and some of the other singers and musicians performed as well. 

 huidi beag's2 However we were expected at a session in Teac Huidi Beag much later, where we were to be mightily impressed by the standard of musicianship.  huidi beag'sHere were kids probably no older than 14 playing fiddles and flutes, banjos, button boxes and bodhrans, along with the adult musicians, and what a tremendous sound.  What are these kids going to sound like when they are in their twenties and thirties!

In the wee small hours we found our way back to Mrs Campbell’s, all ready for some sleep before the activities of the next day – St Patrick’s Day, the festival of Ireland’s patron saint, and a big occasion throughout the world where there are Irishmen (and women) to be found!

Talk again soon.

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