Words by @jkglobaltext. We’re at the end of our adventure; so we saved the best ‘til last. We agreed that Connemara was where we found the heart of Ireland. Connemara can change a person’s destiny. A while back, we wandered into the heart of the Connemara #Gaeltacht to visit the #PatrickPearse Cottage in Ros Muc. Here the leader of the 1916 Rising discovered his ancient Gaelic heritage and fell under the spell of the lyricism of the Irish language, the stoic grace of its people, and the dramatic sweep of a landscape that is cast in a different shade of light, mist, or shadow with every passing hour. Pearse built a cottage on Loch Oiriúlach in 1909 and dreamed of a land liberated from foreign rule.
We headed for the Old Bog Road (Bothar na Scrathog). There, surrounded by Connemara’s Blanket Bogs, we saw a green-roofed waterside cottage under the Twelve Bens. The fast-running streams here teem with salmon and trout, and wildlife abounds. Looking at this tiny cottage in this vast wilderness, I recalled another poet who soared lyrically and musically once charmed by #Connemara.
In 1986, Mike Scott and The Waterboys were bound for rock’n’roll glory. Instead, Scott went to Dublin and heard an Irish jig that changed his life: “I’d never heard playing so fiery, so elemental yet based on an ancient musical lineage. It was wild, ornate, lustful, and courtly all at once.” So off he went to Connemara, rented a cottage, and soaked his music in mandolins, fiddles, uileean pipes, bouzoukis, and bodhrans. The result is a masterpiece called “Fisherman’s Blues,” produced between Dublin, Spiddal, and California. The full range of songs (collected in a box set) runs the gamut of traditional Irish and Americana cultures: Dylan covers sit easily with a composition by Turlough O’Carolan, the 17th century Irish harpist; Yeats’ recitations and wedding waltzes compliment songs about the Hill of Tara, Puck Fair, and getting Too Close to Heaven. Mike Scott got close to heaven in Connemara; you can still hear his spirit in the covers played by buskers any night of the week in #Galway city. “I wish I was a fisherman,
Tumbling on the sea…”