Have I mentioned that I love this place ?
Sometime yesterday afternoon I received a message from the Cape Clear Island Ferry via their Facebook page. Earlier on my trip I had communicated with them with regards to sailings, tickets etc….but this message was different, it was as follows….
” Can you let Suzy know that we are having a mid week session in the club tonight at 9:30 pm if she is interested in the experience~ They were talking about a traditional music session.
I replied ” This is Suzy- she is interested-Am I the right Suzy you are thinking of?’ which they replied
” Yes, thought you might be! Seamus asked me to let you know, regards Karen”
Well, I thanked them and said I had no idea who Seamus or Karen were. Karen replied that she is in Baltimore,- where the ferry leaves to come here – and that I would likely meet Seamus tonight ( yes, before anyone points out, I know there is supposed to be an accent over the letter e in the name but I cant figure out how to o that on my keyboard yet)
This is a small island, not a lot of people live here, but this message still surprised me.
Then I started thinking about Ireland and connections, and how connection has influenced my trip- in both preparation. research , and while here.
Do you remember in one of my very 1st blogs I mentioned reading the Red Haired Girl from the Bog, by Patricia Monaghan?
Well when the reality that I really was going to start saving and research for Ireland, I once again read that book. I then went to the internet to do some research and in no time I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that was coming at me. So, I stepped away for a day or two and thought about it.
Then I thought that because that book spoke to me, I would send Patricia an email,-if I could find contact info- letting her know why I want to go to Ireland and would she have any suggestions to where I could start etc. So that night I found her web page, found the contact info and sent the email.
About an hour after I sent the email, I was doing some research on Patricia Monaghan learned that she had died in 2012. Then I was awake half the night worrying that someone would get this email and it would upset them. I needn’t have worried.
The next morning I got up, and I had indeed received a response to my query. The email was from Patricia’s widower, and he said happy to receive the email, as he was just wondering the other day if folks are still using Patricia’s book as a travel guide. Yep, they still are. He suggested that I get in touch with there very good friends Barbara Smith and Tony Cuckson if they were agreeable, and they were.
I remember having coffee with my friend Gloria the next day telling her about this and she said ” This one door opening, is going to open another, and another and who knows where it will lead.”, and she was right.
Now this was 2 years before I actually made the trip, Barbara is also a guide, and even if you did not use her for a guide, then she could also help you with your itinerary, I have used her for both.
So that’s just one of many connections that have happened before and during this trip, and as I saw yesterday by the message about the music session, connections continue to happen.
I did manugae to make it to the small club above the store/restaurant- Club Cleire-. I arrived there around 9:30, a few folks were there and the musicians started to trickle in. They ranged for age of early teens and up . They were all thee around 10:00 and started to play. There were folks playing the tin /penny whistle, and I’m sure it had other names, a small Concertina , guitar/banjo and the Uliieann pipes( Irish form of bag pipes) It was lovely to listen to, and watch these musicians. There was no “set” schedule – that I could see. One would start- ie the whistle, then others would join in. They all took turns starting and some played on their own. The young women playing the pipe added a piece to her instrument that gave it a low resonating sound and then she played on her own. I have no idea what she was playing, what it was called, but it was beautiful, haunting and moving and like this island- it fed my soul. You pretty much could hear a pin drop when she played. Then another song, more music and away they went again. It was fascinating to watch and listen as the played off each other, took turns, encouraging each other, it was an absolute pleasure to be there.
One of the fellows came over to me and said “Are you the famous Suzy” and I just started laughing and thinking..” Unlike my brothers, I can admit who I am “….so this was Seamus, he also mentioned that he has enjoyed my blog- word does get around fast here 🙂 We had a little chat and I thanked him for getting the message sent. then he went back to paying.
I sat there listening, writing, watching. This is so different the anything at home, and especially to what I grew up with around the drinking.
Here were folks chatting, various ages, young talking to the older, etc. Folks visiting, catching up etc. I loved hearing the Irish language being spoken. It was a lovely couple of hours.
I have also noticed here in Ireland, to the few pubs I have been at, one can order a drink, or a meal and write- no one is there getting ready to kick you out as soon as your meal is done etc. This has taken me sometime to get used to. I get that this may not be like all the places in Ireland, but it is here and was in Sligo.
As I listened to the music last night I thought about my visit to this magical island.The people I have met and the way I feel about this place. I have enjoyed my evenings down at the pub ether chatting with folks, or catching up with folks back home- its an 8 hour time difference so sometimes night is the only time we connect via social media. Sometimes I quietly sit and write away, and what ever I am doing I have felt welcome.
The host who is in charge of the place I’m staying, and owns Cotters bar/restaurant has been more then helpful to me and very welcoming.
I get that I am a tourist, and that is different then living in a place. I get I am not a rich tourist, dropping a lot of money wherever I go, but I am loving this place and it feeds my soul, as did the music. As someone wrote me ” There is something powerful in that ancient place. So Restorative” I agree.
I am also very thankful and full of gratitude for the folks that live here, and those I have met on my Irish Odyssey, who are taking the time and energy to make me feel welcome, and for moments like last night, inviting me in for a snippet, to be a part of their life. This connection, and its gift also feeds my soul and that, I will take back home with me.
Speaking of connection..Mary O’Driscoll, who owns the place I’m staying at and Cotters pub, knows the person I have been put in contact with from a friend, who now lives in Mexico. 🙂
Jeans cousin, Alison, lives on Ratlin Island, in the North, where Sherry and I plan on making a day trip to on July 4th!
Yep, the world just keeps getting smaller
Thanks again for continuing to come along with me on this journey.