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Burren weaves magic on singer Seán

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Date Published: 23-Jun-2011

Born into a musical family in Galway in 1943, Seán Tyrrell’s playing pedigree stretches back to the 1960s when he performed in the Fo’castle Club in the city. He emigrated in 1968 to the US playing professionally and singing in Irish bars in New York and San Francisco on what he calls ‘the corned beef and cabbage circuit’.

In 1976 he returned home and went to live in Kerry before moving to Clare where he was appointed caretaker at the UCG research station at Carron. One day he was walking with a friend at Eagle’s Rock in the heart of the Burren when something about the place spoke to him.

“It was only then that I began to realise what the Burren was all about,” he reflects. “I was ignorant of its importance and the significance of it prior to that as I never visited it as a child. I remember a tangible feeling came over me and I said to myself I have finally found my spiritual homeland. When I lived in the States I had at least four or five different homes but I knew that this was the place – and especially Bellharbour – where I wanted to live.”

Seán looks back on how his poetic-musical life took off. One night he was asked to play in a pub in Lisdoonvarna.

“The barman said he wanted some songs so I was flicking through a book of poems and Bagpipe Music by Louis MacNeice caught my imagination. I found it hilarious and knew immediately this was the song for me. I sat down and quickly produced some of the most amazing lyrics – incredible stuff and unquestionably being in the Burren influenced that. I started to sing poems and realised this was what I was looking for. I didn’t want to do The Wild Rover or Black Velvet Band – they’ve been done to death and have become an abomination but I wanted to find other things.”

The Burren gave Seán the chance to develop a connection between poetry and music which is his passion. The range of poetic voices he has tapped into stretches from the eighteenth-century Clare poet, Brian Merriman and C.D. Shanley through Yeats, MacNeice and Kavanagh up to Seamus Heaney and Paul Durcan. This standing army also includes Michael Hartnett, Mary O’Malley and Rita Ann Higgins.

Like so many creative artists who live in the area, Seán has experienced numerous magical moments.

“Everything comes into the Burren equation with me. In the days when I was oyster farming I would be up to my belly in water with a wetsuit and I remember that a swan used to come and visit me at Muckinish. It would stand and look at me, then wander off again, and return and do it again. The sea bed is fascinating and the different colours of seaweeds never cease to amaze me. One summer’s day I was coming in by boat and noticed the whole sea floor covered in incredibly beautiful white lace which was like a sea mushroom. I had never seen anything like it.

“Along this boreen where I live when you reach the sea at Bellharbour there’s a bed of the most magnificent mussels. There is something special about picking them and carrying them up to the house. I used to sell mussels for years and supplied them to some of the best restaurants along the west coast. It was extremely hard work but I still like going there.

“The very smell of my hands when I come back is like perfume to me even though it is muck and dirt but I just love eating them with friends after I’ve picked them fresh. I enjoy walking along different parts of the shore and discovering places where you find seaweeds, razorfish, cockles, oysters, or different types of scallop.”

One of Seán’s biggest musical projects involved tackling Brian Merriman’s poem The Midnight Court. He became fascinated by the bawdy, epic poem written in 1780 which is regarded as one of the most important and comic contributions to Gaelic literature.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.

That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.

The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.

Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.

Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis

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Date Published: 09-May-2013

Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.

A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.

Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.

Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.

Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action

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Date Published: 12-May-2013

The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.

There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.

Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.

Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.

Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.

The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.

However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.

Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.

 

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