LAUGH­ING BADGER Serendip­ity led me to fes­ti­val...

Glossop Advertiser - - News - SEAN WOOD

AF­TER my re­cent piece on Ire­land, a number of read­ers have asked about the con­nec­tion be­tween the lit­tle vil­lage of Kin­vara, Co. Gal­way, and Glos­sop’s Rugby Club, and in­deed my Ir­ish Band the Cur­ragh Sons; but more im­por­tantly they want to know, how can they get some of the ac­tion, to in­clude mu­sic, Guin­ness, oys­ters, rugby, and of course, the wildlife of the west coast, and not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der.

There is no mys­tery in­volved, just a large help­ing of serendip­ity, a happy ac­ci­dent which saw me pull up on the quay­side 19 years ago to read a poster ad­ver­tis­ing the world fa­mous Cuckoo Fleadh Ir­ish mu­sic fes­ti­val, and that was that, we’ve been go­ing back ever since.

The band has played more than 100 gigs, and I have dragged the Rugby Club along five or six times on joint tours, each one more mem­o­rable than the last.

We’ve been called Glos­sop’s finest am­bas­sadors, and of­ten praised by the lo­cals for be­ing good fun and a credit to our town; one year there were seven in the band, 40 from the rugby club and another 30 as­sorted Glos­sopi­ans, it’s a twin­ning by os­mo­sis.

In re­cent years, a sen­a­tor from Ore­gon, and chair­man of the Repub­li­can party said: “These fel­las are the best!” re­fer­ring to the lads dressed in nau­ti­cal out­fits, in­clud­ing Cap­tain Bird­s­eye, King Po­sei­don and a gi­ant lob­ster, while on the same trip, the orig­i­nal Dono­van from the Swing­ing 60s said: “Sean, you’re all gen­tle­men from Glos­sop, and the mu­sic is cool”.

Other tour themes have in­cluded Harry Pot­ter, Two Hats and Jimmy Fin­negan’s Eye­brows (don’t ask). The whole week­end a guy dressed as a cuckoo joins in the fun, and even came on stage one night with us, but his vo­cab­u­lary was lim­ited.

The truth is that, on Cuckoo Fleadh week­end, Sal­vador Dali meets David At­ten­bor­ough on Gal­way Bay and I would not swap it for the world. I nipped ● into the fes­ti­val last week­end, no band or rugby club but when in Ire­land you can’t re­ally fail to go. All ef­forts to reach the Wild West are soon re­warded, so here’s your very own Woody’s Guide, how to get there, where to stay and what to see; you prob­a­bly won’t be as lucky as the reader who vis­ited Kin­vara with one of my ar­ti­cles in his pocket, because he met and mar­ried an Ir­ish mil­lion­airess but what­ever your ex­pe­ri­ences let us all know about it on your return.

As for wildlife, you never know what is go­ing to turn up, es­pe­cially out to sea, with minke whales, bot­tlenose dol­phins and count­less species of seabird, while in­land and on­shore my favourites to date in­clude the pine marten and gen­tian vi­o­lets on the nearby Bur­ren, 100 brent geese, and hares run­ning down the mid­dle of the green­est boreens (tiny lanes) and the pere­grine fal­con which flew along­side, at eye level, as I drove along the coast road.

“Go on you beauty!” I shouted as she peeled off to strafe an anx­ious curlew.

Ryanair fly to Dublin and Shan­non, and Kin­vara is around three hours’ drive, while it is only an hour from Shan­non. Car hire is very rea­son­able.

Stena Line from Holy­head to Dublin Port in three hours and a fur­ther three-hour drive across Ire­land.

I wouldn’t want to be too pre­scrip­tive for your trip, because, to be sure you’ll find your own lit­tle bit of West Coast Heaven, and the ‘craic’ as they say will be mighty, but for the first few days check out www.kin­vara.com for where to stay and more.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion and a per­sonal itin­er­ary give me a shout at sean. wood@talk21.com.

Sean Wood at­tend­ing the Cuckoo Fleadh Ir­ish mu­sic fes­ti­val

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