Day two was our whirlwind tour to The Dingle Peninsula/Corca Dhuibhne – a unique storehouse of Irish cultural heritage. Until recently, the peninsula was remote from the influences of the modern world, and this meant that the language and traditions of the area have survived intact to a greater degree than in most of Ireland. We were expecting to hear lots of Gaelic and see beautiful landscapes.
Lesson #3 – Can tradition be a crutch?
Our first stop was for a bodhrán lesson with John Ryan at the Wrens Nest/Dingle Music School. It was a great little place and in addition to the extremely eclectic decor and books they offer an Espresso Bar, Café and Music Venue in a traditional Irish building with a wonderful garden.
John was so nice to us and he was a wealth of information about the history of Irish music. And how there’s a ton of misinformation – some of which we knew and thought to be true! Due to Ireland’s island orientation in Europe, it is not steeped in traditions the rest of Europe has. Therefore, Ireland has tons of “stories” and tales about its traditions that are 100% uniquely Irish. John shared how this can be a very empowering thing, especially with the drum as there is no “set way” to play it. He shared some jokes about the true nature of respect for the drummer. Oh, the drummers always get picked on!
Fellow walks into a pub in Belfast with a plastic bag under his arms. The bartender asks “What’s that?” “Six pounds of semtex”, he answers. “Thanks be to Jesus; I thought it was a bodhrán!”
Then there was the bodhrán player who remembered that he had left his bodhrán in his unlocked car. Rushing back, he opened his car door to find two more bodhráns in the back seat.
And…What’s the only proper way to play a bodhrán? With an open pen knife.
Actually there were a lot more, but who even knows what a bodhrán is??
Lesson #4 – Enjoy your story and tell it the way you want to!
So, yeah – the lesson of the day backed up the lesson from the day before. John reaffirmed the truth that if something makes a good story, makes you and others feel good, then why not? It’s all basically made up in a way anyway. And the Irish, they certainly are known for enjoying life. And I find this to be so true. One of my teachers I have learned so much from is Temple Hayes. She taught me about the art of re-framing situations with a vision of abundant life. I found our visit with John reminded me of this and I made note!
Ok, there’s Day Two! Dingle was full of gorgeous views and gorgeous tradition, but I did not see any of the famous “berries.” I don’t think I missed anything! Check back soon for the next in this series, thanks!