A special place... and a special rea­son to visit

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

READ­ERS have been drop­ping into the gallery re­cently and ask­ing, in a fa­mil­iar pat­tern, are you off to Ire­land again this sum­mer, and if you are, does it in­volve mu­sic, wildlife, food and drink, be­cause if so, can you please share the de­tails, as we would love to come?

The an­swer is in the af­fir­ma­tive on all scores, be­cause that’s what we do, that’s what I write about, al­though it has to be said that this year the trip is slightly dif­fer­ent.

Firstly, Glos­sop Rugby Club are not com­ing, and se­condly, I am tak­ing my play with songs, ‘The An­gel on O’Con­nell Street’, on the road to Gal­way, along with some of the best mu­si­cians that Glos­sop has ever pro­duced.

It’s a creative bean­feast cen­tred around the world fa­mous Cru­in­niú na mBád boat fes­ti­val in the vil­lage of Kin­vara. The very place where, for those with the eyes to see, Sal­vador Dali meets Sir David At­ten­bor­ough on Gal­way Bay over a plate of oys­ters ac­com­pa­nied by a guy dressed as a cuckoo. It’s the very place that looks across the At­lantic and doffs it cap to The Bur­ren, a lime­stone es­carp­ment of en­chant­ment and a Unesco World Her­itage Site, where brown bears once roamed free.

Yes, it’s special, and that’s why for the past 20 years I have taken hun­dreds of peo­ple from Glos­sop, and be­yond, to share the ex­pe­ri­ence. I have even been com­mended, as has this news­pa­per, by the Ir­ish Tourist Board, (Failte Ire­land) for my ef­forts in pro­mot­ing the green­est of lands in my col­umns, both lo­cally and na­tion­ally.

For all those that asked, here is your op­por­tu­nity. Al­though I am only ar­rang­ing the travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion for the first 20 peo­ple on the trip this year, which is al­ready done, the Glos­sop­mas­sive can be as­sured that I will give any in­ter­ested reader all the help they need. Just email sean.wood@talk21.com

Af­ter per­form­ing over one hun­dred gigs in Kin­vara, this year is special on a per­sonal note, not least be­cause I’ve never writ­ten a play be­fore, but fur­ther be­cause some of the cast also hap­pen to be mem­bers of the coolest sound to come out of Glos­sop­dale for many a year. ‘Sounds from the Cel­lar’ in­clude Paul Higham, In­dia Shan Mer­rett, Lee Bard­s­ley and Amy Grif­fiths, as well as one of my twin sons Cu­lain, who is the nar­ra­tor. The Cel­lar in ques­tion is, of course, the Cel­lar Bar in the Laugh­ing Badger Gallery.

The play is be­ing per­formed at the Part­ing­ton The­atre, Glos­sop, on Fri­day, June 2, but is al­ready sold out – even more in­cen­tive to travel to the Wild West.

Reg­u­lar read­ers will al­ready know about the wildlife. I’ve writ­ten many times about the whales and ot­ters and of the gen­tian vi­o­lets which bloom each year in the harsh­est of con­di­tions, pro­tected from the cold At­lantic breeze by lit­tle al­leys of smoothly carved lime­stone; each de­light­ful av­enue, a mi­cro-cli­mate of great beauty. Throw in the oys­ters, the Guin­ness, the mu­sic and the peo­ple and you may be­gin to un­der­stand why I am so de­lighted to have an Ir­ish pass­port - and that was long be­fore Brexit, I can as­sure you.

All things con­sid­ered, the hu­mour of Ire­land is one of my favourite as­pects of the coun­try. The pho­to­graph seen above of the late Kevin Sexton of Sexton’s Bar in Kin­vara - a man much re­spected for his prow­ess as a hurl­ing player in his younger days, and greatly loved by all - rep­re­sents this per­fectly. A true gen­tle­man.

Where else would they, could they, come up with an event called road hurl­ing? Kevin was the ob­vi­ous choice for the first event ever in Kin­vara, and in­deed the first ‘puc’ or strike of the ‘slio­tar’, the ball, was given to Kevin. An hon­our he was only too happy to ac­cept, ‘For the craic’, he said to me, as he gave the ball a mighty swipe.

One of Kevin’s daugh­ters Va­lerie can help with ac­com­mo­da­tion. Just give her a shout at va­lerieforkan@hot­mail. com and when you are there make sure you call in on her sis­ter Ruth, who now runs the leg­endary Sexton’s Bar, my spir­i­tual home, twinned with Glos­sop.

Kevin Sexton play­ing road hurl­ing

The Laugh­ing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glos­sop

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