Dúchas is Dóchas  (Heritage and Hope)


It wasn’t today nor yesterday that the people of County Clare fell in love with music and the county has a deserved reputation in the field of traditional music. Despite this reputation, however, songs in Irish are rarely heard and even rarer still are songs in Irish from the county, save the ubiquitous ‘Beidh Aonach Amárach’. Though the music has been preserved and enriched, our voice was lost quite suddenly and traumatically with the rapid loss of language. Is the store empty? Through the Duala scheme established and co-funded by The Irish Traditional Music Archive and Clare Arts Office, Diarmuid de Faoite began to dig.

Not only have the songs not been lost, singers today continue to compose wonderful songs in Irish. To date, over 125 songs have been unearthed and that figure grows monthly. The songs deal with every topic and come from all over the county, even from parts of the county where the language had died out well over a century and a half ago. The richness of theme and style is vast: these songs are a storehouse of love, humour, politics, society, football, hurling, geneaology and, of course, sedition. They are jewels through which it is hoped to inspire both singers as well as the communities and parishes they come from to deeper understandings of themselves and their heritage, not only as historical accounts of what was but as proud expressions of who they are now and into the future.

Diarmuid de Faoite, Emer O Flaherty, Aindrias de Staic and Aoife Ní Chathasaigh will present examples of old and new songs in Irish from the Banner county as part of an informal on-line performed lecture at the Merriman Winter School at 3.30pm on January 22nd. This will be a free event. See www.merriman.ie   for further information or e-mail cumannmerriman@gmail.com .

‘Dúchas is Dóchas: The Gaelic Songs of Clare’ archive will be launched in May 2022.

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