Piracy a common theme at maritime fest
SMUGGLING, piracy and the hunt for salvage from shipwrecks provided a common theme that ran through many of the very well attended lectures delivered in Mara Beo on Saturday and Sunday as part of the Dingle Maritime Weekend.
Des Elkin, who has written extensively on piracy around the coasts of Ireland, related how the area from Dingle to Cork was a haven for pirates in the early years of trans-Atlantic trade resulting in a thriving black market in coastal towns to the extent that Barbary Ducats and pieces of eight became common currency.
In West Kerry a string of Coast Guard stations was built from Castlegregory to Keel, manned mostly by ex British Navy sailors. Although the ‘fir goirm’ – so named because of their blue uniforms – were mistrusted at first they gradually integrated into their communities, earning honour for their heroic rescues and their efforts to provide relief during the famine.
If the Coast Guard had been around in 1818 they might have prevented an appalling tragedy that cost the lives of 21 men from the Ballyferriter area in an incident that scarred relations between the neighbouring parishes of Dún Chaoin and Ballyferriter for generations afterwards.
In the opening lecture of the Maritime Weekend, Dáithí De Mórdha gave a fascinating account of the tragic events that followed the arrival of a sinking vessel – the Brilliant – north of Inis Tuascairt in January 1818. Blasket islanders rescued the three or four crew on board from the ship but the following morning three seine boats set out from Dún Chaoin to salvage anything they could from the Brilliant, which was then drifting in the Blasket Sound. Soon afterwards another seine boat from Gorta Dubha, with 21 men on board, arrived on the scene eager for plunder. They forced the Dún Chaoin men off the ship and proceeded to load their boat with anything of value but in their eagerness they overloaded their boat, which capsized throwing most of the men into the water.
The Dún Chaoin men failed to rescue them and were said to have beaten them back when they clung desperately to the sides of their boats. Twenty one men drowned, including the Ballyferriter men still on board the Brilliant, which later sank at Ceann Sraithe.
When grief stricken Ballyferriter discovered how the Dún Chaoin failed to rescue the local men there was an explosion of anger followed by raids on the neighbouring parish which were so violent that the Dún Chaoin took to the hills. Ill feeling lingered into the 1950s. PEOPLE who wish to see gigs in the prime venues on the Other Voices Music trail in 2018 will have to register online beforehand and pay a €30 fee.
The weekend of music has become a much anticipated feature of mid winter in Dingle over the last 16 years.
In recent years the organisers have stretched the schedule of activities to include a day-long Music Trail, while ‘After Dark’ has extended the activity into the night. And outside of music, Other Voices now includes the Ireland’s Edge Conference, which draws together prominent thinkers, policy-makers, innovators, commentators and artists to discuss pertinent topics, and meanwhile an awareness event is staged in co-operation with Clean Coasts.
The introduction of the registration fee, which follows from Eir’s decision to end their sponsorship deal, has received a mixed reaction. For the past 15 years all events at the weekend event were free but Daniel McCarthy of Mc McCarthy’s Bar in Dingle is supportive of the introduction of a registration fee.
The registration fee of €30 is limited to gigs in An Chonair, Nellie Freds, McCarthy’s, all other gigs will remain free of charge this year. The organisers, with the backing of Dingle’s businesses, have put together a number of incentives - those registered will be entered into a draw for tickets to the concerts in St. James’s and vouchers for food establishments around the town are up for grabs.
Due to the large demand for seats at the venues - some of which can accommodate as few as 50 people - entry to the venues is not guaranteed to those who register, but will be allocated on a first come basis.
The organisers, who employ a crew of 100 professionals over the weekend continue to provide opportunities for up and coming musicians looking to break into the music scene. They have put out an open call to any unsigned musician or band to enter a competition, those selected will perform at other Voices 2018. Entries will close on Thursday, November 11. For further details on this and other weekend activities visit their webpage, www.othervoices.ie. A community meeting will be held this Wednesday to discuss the water quality of Milltown River.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the water quality of Milltown River as well as to explain the planned local assessment work that the Local Authority Waters Programme staff will carry out, and to open the discussion to the community.
Milltown river is one of 15 throughout Kerry to have been designated a priority area for action. The designation comes following s scientific and technical assessment work conducted by the Environment Protection Agency, the Local Authorities and Inland Fisheries Ireland, followed by workshops where approximately 30 public bodies considered factors including tourism, amenity, wildlife, existing programmes and community group initiatives, along with a number of common sense principles, according to Community Water Officer Blaithín Ní Ainín.
The meeting is open to all who are interested in this subject and particularly, local residents, landowners, farmers throughout the Milltown River It will take place in Benner’s Hotel this evening, Wednesday, November 7 at 7.30pm.