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.