Steve Burke’s trip to Baile An Feirtearaigh, West Kerry, Ireland

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Two comments

Baile An Feirtearaigh, West Kerry, Ireland

Banna Gan’Ainm’s long postponed trip to West Kerry finally comes off. More about this on our return.
Steve Burke
Banna Gan’Ainm

Re: Baile An Feirtearaigh, West Kerry, Ireland

Two weeks back now and hearts and minds remain in West Kerry and especially Baile An Fheirtearaigh and Great Blasket Island where we were fortunate to have perfect weather conditions enabling us to take full advantage of the spectacular views back to the shoreline - from Caenn Sibeal and down across Dingle Bay to Bray Head. The two OPW guys were a wealth of information and entertainment and in return we were able to play a few tunes for them and ourselves - a truly magical location during an unforgettable weekend.

I have tried to sum this up in a take on that great traditional song ‘Galway Races’ - with apologies to the original wordsmith, whoever he, or she - or they - may have been! This covers the three days in at the end of April 2022,when Banna Gan’Ainm* made the trip to Baile an Fheirtearaigh in the Gaeltacht of West Kerry. It, vainly, attempts to capture the same excitement and variety of events that occurred there in such a short space of time in this magical part of the ancient Kingdom of Kerry – one of many Irish locations this musical collective has visited over the years from our East Lancashire base in Clitheroe’.

As we head out to West Kerry
To seek for recreation
On the 28th of April
Our spirits elevated
There were passengers assembled
Passports ready at the Airport
Pre-flight pints consumed with fashion
And we’re off for ‘Tunes in Kerry’!

With mi whack fol the day, fol da fol
The diddle idle day

There were passengers from Clitheroe
From Billington and Blackburn
A legless crew from Manchester
Flocks of unmarried maidens
Others returning to Kilorglin
Some were happy, others maudlin’
With tales and gifts for family
From many a foreign nation!
Touchin’ down in Farranfore
Baile An Feirtearaighour destination
Up for new encounters
New sights and new locations
While strings and skins were being tuned
And Uilleann pipes assembled
In Ceann Sebeal’s fine Hotel Bar
We crack up with Tunes in Kerry!
‘Tis is there we meet Mairtin MacOiste
Our Baile An Feirtearaigh ‘Local Agent’
And the lyrical sound of Gaelic tongues
Puts smiles on all our faces
We encounter others travellin’
The Wild Atlantic Way
Amazed and all the sights to see
Of Saints and Ancient Places!
Ferry then to Great Blasket Isle
Down steep slipways, past sleek curraghs
And gleaming strands, an’ seaweed bands
On the turquoise blue Atlantic
Above our heads fierce gannets cruise
Then slice through white horse water
Into the deep where shoals and seals
Contribute to all the splendour!
In Tigh Ui Chathain’s, every night
We assemble for the Session
An’ old Tigh Bric, one afternoon
Welcomed on each occasion
We return home taking memories
Of great walks, n’ tunes and stories
T’was mighty Craic, we must go back
For many more ‘Tunes in Kerry’!
C X 3

*Banna Gan’Ainm is a revolving, touring, collective of friends and musicians with a long standing shared love of Traditional Irish Music - and the craic - which flows into and out of it. In various line ups we have been immersing ourselves in the traditions and landscape of this music over the last 25 years or so. This continues to inspire us and we keep returning whenever we can. The 2022 line-up includes all four members of the East Lancashire based band DROP THE FLOOR (Martin Baptie, Fiddle and Vocals; Steven Johnson, Uilleann Pipes; Dan Burke, Tenor Banjo - and Richard Moss, Guitar and Vocals) along with John Parkinson, Guitar and Vocals; Kieran Carr, Guitar and Vocals; Jordan Ferguson Tenor Banjo and Vocals - and Steve Burke Bodhran and Vocals. With thanks and fond memories to all the wonderful folk we met on this trip but especially Mairtin & Julie MacOiste and Donal & Kelly @ ‘Tigh Ui Chathain’.
May 14th 2022.