At Carrowcrory for Bards and Harps.

In Ireland, Off the beaten track. on June 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

Saturday last saw Andy and I at Carrowcrory, near Ballinifad, Co. Sligo at the home of John Willmott and Claire Roche. The occasion was the fifth Bards and Harps Day to be held here. Regular readers will remember John from the Poetree Walks postings. He is a fab poet, tour guide, folklorist, story teller and labyrinth maker. Check out his blog at .

Claire is a harpist and singer, but not just any singer, a singer with the voice of an Angel. I saw tears being wiped from eyes as Claire gave her wonderful performance. In this pic, which is a crap pic because of the light, Claire is getting ready to play 2 harps at once. Quite an accomplishment! The cottage itself is wonderful. Decorated in the traditional style it is a warm welcoming home. But then a home can only reflect what the people who inhabit it are like. John and Claire welcomed each and every person with gusto. One immediately felt at home and so welcome. Throughout the day food was available. Delicious food prepared in the cottage. Between each performance everyone visited the big table in the kitchen which was laden with food all day. Breads, salads, frittata, chowder,  dips, tarts, cakes. Each offering more delicious than the last.

Everyone who came seemed to be imbued with the same happy, jovial spirits this place seems to generate. I love this pic of the lovely Tina Rock with flowers in her hair. Everytime she caught my eye the Sandi Thom song, I wish I was a Punkrocker with Flowers in my Hair, came into my mind. That’s Andy with the big grin.

That’s John heading round the corner. The pic was taken from the Tree Labyrinth which has been planted in front of the cottage.  There’s not too many thatched cottages left now so it’s lovely to actually know the people who have brought this one back to life…and what a life!

So I will finish with a little more about the day’s entertainment. In the evening we were treated to a performance from another harpist. It was after all Bards and Harps Day! Fionnoula Gill, of Riverdance fame, gave an amazing performance in the little theatre space behind the cottage. You could hear a pin drop in the room. Each and every person was spellbound. I wonder do all harpists have angelic voices? Seems that way to me! She finished her set with Molly Malone which everyone sung along to. So floating on that cloud of joy and enchantment we headed off at about 9 in the evening. John however had one last edible treat for everyone. He had made his own chocolate and peanut butter cups, just like Reese’s! I won’t say how many I had…but they were yummy! A wonderful end to an amazing day.

  1. Bridget,
    This post is one of the many reasons I have nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award. Details on the award can be found at I find myself returning to your blog over and over again for inspiration and illumination.

  2. Sounds like an absolutely fantastic day!

  3. If you had any idea what a green eyed fairy I am right now, Bridget! 🙂 I am friends with John on fb and was so wishing I could be there on this magical day. Very glad you were able to go! Thank you so much for sharing with us about it! xxx

  4. What a wonderful day you had – would have loved to have been there to get a real feel of Ireland.

  5. Reblogged this on My Life is really in the Garden and commented:
    And over in Ireland, Bridget shares the 5th Bards & Harps Day. So beautiful, such history, hauntingly beautiful music.

  6. What a beautiful place to live!!! I have always wanted a traditional cottage, nice simple living!!!! Thankfully Egyptian traditional houses are not unlike the Irish ones so I may get my wish one day!!!
    I do like the idea of doing these things at ‘home’. Its nice for people to connect to the energy which people have created in their homes.
    Sounds like it was absolutely wonderful day!

  7. a story book day, with harp music!

  8. Magical is definitely the word of choice, definitely! What a fantastic day you and everyone else had. I too wish I’d have known about it, as I would’ve loved to have immersed myself into all that music, merriment, and good friends getting together. You can see from the photos how absolutely happy and chilled everyone was on the day. I’m glad you were there and had such a great time. I’ve just subbed to John’s blog, and want to take part in his Poetree events, as well as next year’s Bards and Harps Day event. It looks so beautiful…so joyful…so magical! And that cottage is so beautiful, warm and welcoming, too. Next year, I’m definitely going to be there…can anyone join in? Please say yes! Thanks for sharing this with us, Bridget, and see you on Saturday.

    • Glad you’re going on Saturday. Be great to have a chat. Poetree walks are ongoing, if you are on Facebook friend John Willmott. Unfortunately that was the last Bards and Harps Day at this venue. Don’t know if it will happen next year. I can always let you know about walks. There are also Poetree Walks around Sligo, they are organised by a poet called Edward Durand.
      Bye for now,
      Bridget xx

      • Thanks for letting me know about both John Willmott and Edward’s Poetree Walks. I’m definitely interested in both the walks and, if there’s to be any more Bards and Harps events, even if it’s not in the same beautiful cottage, I’d still love to be a part of it.

        I’m looking forward to Saturday in Lisheen/Knocknarea, and to seeing you and Reiner and Doris there, too. Did you get my other e-mail, sent earlier today?

        Thanks again, Bridget. See you on Saturday!

  9. Sounds like a fascinating day. It’s wonderful when you hear someone with such a beautiful voice sing live especially when you’re as tuneless as I am. I’m a big fan of Cara Dillon and she has managed to make me cry with her singing. All that food sounds gorgeous, too.

  10. Sounds magical and enchanting..what a wonderful day.
    Jane x

  11. Sounds an absolutely wonderful day, was this open to anyone ? Wish we ‘d been there! Their cottage looks fab too.

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