Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Feakle Festivalling

The drawing room at Caher House
There are stuffed animals all over the place in Caher House. This fellow looked at us throughout the concert. I wouldn't have liked to be the one sitting beneath those antlers. The concert was lovely. It was a gas too. The support act was Dave Flynn on guitar who we'd heard about through Erin. He's boyfriend to her housemate, but we'd never met, or so we thought. He came on stage and I took a couple of photos of him tuning his guitar with his back to us. When he turned round to begin his set Joe and I both said 'Oh! It's him.' He was someone we'd met in loads of sessions, usually at the Feakle Festival. We called him the man with the deer stalker hat, because he used to wear one (sadly lost, he said). I think he used to call us Feakle.

Dave Flynn tuning up
His guitar playing was beautiful.

The quartet were excellent too, although I'm not always mad on a mix of traditional and classical. I like my jigs and reels as diddly eye jigs and reels. They did do two pieces I really liked though. The first was a song cycle sung by Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill. The music was composed by the quartet cellist Neil Martin. The words were by Cahal O'Searcaigh and I wish I undersood Irish. Especially Donegal Irish.

The song cycle was about that brutal old church law which stated that children who had not been baptised could not be buried in hallowed ground. The songs are from the point of view of a mother whose child was not allowed a burial in a place where she could visit the grave, but was on an inaccessible island among the other unbaptised dead babies. The inspiration for the songs came from a small island off the Donegal coast - Oileán na Marbh - where such babies were buried.

The view over the lake from Caher House
The other piece I liked was inspired by WB Yeats and his unrequited love for Maud Gonne. That one made me think about the house as it must have been when children were living there, and the place was full of servants. It also made me think about how it must have been difficult for Maud Gonne being the object of the unrequited stuff. If you just don't fancy a guy, you just don't fancy him, and having him all doe-eyed at you could really piss you off after a lifetime of it.

We were at the concert last night. Or at least I was at the first part. This was Eddi Reader and she was wonderful. A great performer. I didn't think I'd like her but she has an amazing voice and presence. She does this fabulous thing with her hands and arms. Joe was busy taking arty photos and got her shadow on the wall.

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill
Then there's the hair. I'm still talking hair. Martin Hayes, the fiddle player, has amazing hair. Martin lives in the States but he comes from across the lake from us and is a celebrity in these parts. He's a really lovely fellow as well as being an astonishing musician.

Martin and his music partner Dennis Cahill were the second part of the concert. The church was completely packed. The concert was sold out. People idolise Martin Hayes. Joe was being artistic again. I thought I was having a bad hair day. Look at this.


  1. Great stuff Nicki! Sounds like you and Joe are having a ball. x

  2. Just about to head back into the fray. Left Joe in Feakle while I came home for a shower and change of outfit - one has to keep up appearances even when camping.

  3. I just love that there was a guy out there calling you and Joe 'Feakle'. Great word.