Piracy a com­mon theme at mar­itime fest

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Reg­is­tra­tion fee is brought in for ‘Other Voices’ fest Meet­ing on Mill­town water qual­ity tonight

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.

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