Thursday, 6 May 2010

Connemara, Co. Galway


Coastal mountains

Cool Atlantic waters, tranquil, flood, surround

seaborne stone that glows in golden light,

A caress from Sun, a gift, a gentle kiss, a farewell.

For night is soon to birth.

All the world has heard of Connemara, a very special area in Co. Galway and it was to Carna, a small coastal village, that we headed off to early on Saturday morning for Carna's Sean Nós Festival and to visit friends. The journey of 3 hours was eased by using the motorway, which I generally try to avoid because they are so boring, my preference is for the quieter and more scenic type of road.

Many are the families that have lived long in Connemara, of who's sons & daughters have travelled out of this land to settle in every part of the world.

One in particular is Seosamh O hEanai (Joe Heaney) 1919 - 1984 a native of Carna, who spent much of his life living in England, Scotland and New York. Heaney was an artist-in-residence at the University of Washington in Seattle. The Joe Heaney Collection of the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives was established after Heaney's death in 1984. The Féile Chomórtha Seosamh O hEanai (Joe Heaney Commemorative Festival) is held every year in Carna.

In the pub where the Sean Nós singing was taking place, all attention was given to the singers, even pints of the black milk are left on the bar, customers stand with their backs to the counter and no conversation takes place, that is apart from the necessary hushed whisper to order another pint from the barman.

The long melodic notes of the singers in gaelic tongue, fit in very well with this land they suit the skies, the special quality light that landscape painters thirst for, the rolling fogs and the long waves that sweep the shore. Their songs and clarity of voice sweep before them conjuring images in the listeners minds, to such an extent that it matters not a jot whether you understand the language.

I feel that it would be remiss of me to ignore another family, who promote their Gaelic culture by contributing to the arts of literature, song and music, the Mac Con Iomaires.

(I am not sure whether I have done this correctly, if not please paste references into YouTube)





Colm & Darrach Mac Con Iomaire & Frank Tate - 'Frailach' & gan ...


  1. I really must visit Ireland again, it's such a beautiful place.

  2. Lovely post, Mel. I have - in the past - bought some of the famous Connemara marble, which is THE oldest metamorphic stone on on the 'British' Isles. My local stone is about 175 million years old, but Connemara marble is (correct me if I am wrong) about 600 million years old, and now worth an absolute fortune in antique form, though poorer examples are now being quarried.

    I bought an alter slab for a Catholic, Irish priest once, and he tried to ship it out to Brazil, where he was helping the street kids. He ended up getting ripped-off with emeralds. Father Joe Briedan - lovely man.

  3. Tom,
    Your terminology 'The British Isles' is misplaced :-) I think that geographically we Britain, Ireland & Isle of Man are in actual fact The Western Islands of Europe, because we are part of Europe's continental shelf. Indeed the local mountains near me are as old as France's Central Massif.

  4. That was beautiful, and such lovely photography. I love the LIGHT! One could paint up there!

  5. I just discovered your site and plan to return. Great photos and interesting local stories that make me extremely proud of my Irish heritage.

  6. Archaic it might have been, Mel, but not as misplaced as the misuse of the term 'Great' when NOT referring to the total collection of isles including Ireland, etc., but some fictional quality that the English have bestowed on their little patch of territory!

  7. Oh Mel, stunning light and photos. How I would love to go there too. I must visit the YouTube site. You live in a country of magic and mystery punctuated by beautiful music. Lovely stuff it must have been.

  8. Beautiful, Heron! Your country has so much history and lore surrounding it! I love reading your stories and poetry.
    As a footnote, a friend of mine is a breeder of Connemara ponies.

  9. String:Yes you certainly can capture the quality of the Light on canvas.

    Geaorge: Thank you for your comments & there is every reason for you to be proud of your heritage!

    Dale & VallyP: I totally agree with you both & there are times that, I have to pinch myself to make sure it all isn't a dream!

    My appreciation to the new Followers being Maisey, Doreen and Rhea please make yourselves at home x


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