Féile Bheag Filíochta pays warm tribute to spiritual voyager
THE tradition of poetry in West Kerry was given a shot in the arm at the Féile Bheag Filíochta held last weekend, where poets, orators, lecturers, members of Aosdána, the people of West Kerry and visitors gathered for a weekend dedicated to verse.
The weekend started with an ómós to Domhnal (Danny) Mac Síthigh, delivered in bardic style by Bríd Ní Mhoráin; and it was bookended in An Diseart on Sunday with Ruairi Ó hÓgain’s beautiful, well-paced, ‘ghlanmheabhair’, rendition of Domhnal’s poem ‘Faoiseamh Faoistine’. A tune composed by Breándan Ó Beaglaíoch and the lament to Domhnal Mac Sithigh sung by Mossie Ó Scanláin at the same event will live long in the memory of those present.
Danny was fondly remembered also at the launch of Camilla Dinkel’s translation of his book ‘Iomhramh Bhreanainn’ during the festival. The book, entitled ‘In The Wake of St. Brendan’, gives an account of Danny’s voyage from Dingle to Iceland and back as part of the crew aboard a 45 foot sailing boat and opens a door to Danny’s wit and wisdom for those who have never read his original work in Irish. Full of reflection interwoven with the traditions of West Kerry, it is by turns, poetic, earthy, even bawdy and sometimes painfully honest. Introducing the book at the opening of the Féile in Museam Baile ’n Fheirtéaraigh on Friday, John Kennedy likened it to an exploration of the three levels of consciousness described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.
The book was translated by Camilla Dinkel who came to live in West Kerry in 1998, bought the Dingle Bookshop in 2007 and learned Irish at courses run by Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne. In close co-operation with Danny, she worked on the translation for two years and although the English version is shorter that the original she went to great lengths to ensure that “Danny’s voice was still there”. The result is a book full of the ribald wit and humour that made Danny a much loved character before he died tragically earlier this year on the coast of Portugal while undertaking another pilgrimage voyage that should have taken him from Spain to the coast of Africa.
The book is published by An Sagart and is for sale in the Dingle Bookshop. Camilla has sourced a distributor for the book, which will have a second launch in Dingle by Breandán Ó Beaglaíoch in the Dingle Bookshop on December 9 at 8pm.
Meanwhile, the weekend inspired new poets with input from academics and members of Aosdána in workshops and lectures and opportunities to read newly composed verse at ‘open mic’ events. Gearóid Ó Lúing paid tribute to the poetry of his father Seán Ó Lúing in a lecture on Friday night
Artistic Director of an Fhéile Bheag Filíochta Simon ó Faolain told The Kerryman he was very pleased with how the weekend went, with excellent attendances at all the events.
Eilín Nic Ghearailt, Maire Ní Sheanacháin agus Máire Ní Chinnéide ag an Fhéile Bheag Filíochta ar an mBuailtín oíche Dé hAoine.
Lone Beiter, Maria Simmonds Gooding agus Breandán Ó Muircheartaigh.
Brenda Uí Shithigh, Cormac Mac Sithigh agus Órla Ní Shithigh ag an Fhéile Bheag Filíochta ar an mBuailtín oíche Dé hAoine.