From this year, prior to the Global Pandemic, The Song House Ireland, in collaboration with An tSean Bheairic, both based in Falcarragh, were to host Donegal’s first residential weekend of Irish Traditional Song – then…. Lockdown.
Undeterred, the organisers decided to put their heads together and adapt an online version of the event. This opened the space to a wider and larger audience and at the final count, there were almost 50 participants from Germany, Switzerland, all over the United States, the UK and Ireland. As an admin support with the Song House, I was happy to participate in the event and what I experienced was the pleasure and privilege of a reminder about the depth, beauty and meaning teeming out from the Irish Traditional Culture.
I witnessed people from all over the world being enchanted by the mesmerising voice of a Sean-Nós Singer. There is a rare reverence to how each song is approached before it is sung and this approach sits at the heart of the Sean-Nós singing style. I’ve learnt vital aspects of my own Irish language & history in a fun and captivating way through the inherently clever delivery of the Irish Storytelling Tradition. There is deep appreciation & hunger out there, for everything Irish and crucially, it is a far cry from what is stereotypically ‘diddly dee’. No, there is a lesser known, subtle and mysterious wisdom to the many aspects and practices of the old Irish Traditions.
People near and far are hungry to engage with, understand, learn about and remember what they have to offer the human spirit & experience. Thankfully, these traditions live well and thrive in many rural Gaeltacht communities and we have a strong revival movement to thank for an ever-growing interest in the Irish language for example. Now, as demonstrated by the organisers from The Song House Ireland and An tSean Bheairic, online events have also a significant part to play in support of this revival movement.
With potent online immersive experiences where tradition bearers and scholars alike share their wisdom and practices with our global friends, there is many a strong digital bridge waiting to be built. Contributing towards what is such a precious gift for us all. The immeasurable gift that comes from the fruits of caring for and sharing the sheer beauty & wisdom of our traditional Irish roots.