The Sounds of Ireland

Traveling is a multi-sensory experience. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels of each city or area you visit are unique and stimulating. This beautiful input is always available to us, but somehow when we travel, it is enhanced. I think it’s because we’re immersed in the unknown or unfamiliar, so our senses are peaked and ready.

Today I want to focus on and share with you some of the sounds of rural, Western Ireland. Music is woven into the fabric of Irish culture. Everyone has what is called a party-piece, regardless of their singing ability. It’s common for groups of people to randomly start singing together in pubs. And live music is everywhere, inside and out. There are also the natural sounds: the sea, the white water cataracts swiftly flowing down a mountainside after a big rain, the sound of the cuckoo returning in late March…

Let the following sound samples transport you from whichever device you’re tuning in with to a land where the old and the new still live very obviously side by side.

1. One evening I went to the Ouvane Falls (a pub and B&B) for set dancing. And this happened. Striking moment. The song is in Irish and I have no idea the name of it. Take a listen.


2. Imagine this. Full moon. The ocean waves roll up onto a pebble beach creating an interesting sound as the waves come and go. County Mayo within site of Clare Island and not too far from Croagh Patrick. Now, take a listen.


3. During Retreat to Ireland we always go to the Bantry market. Some people say it’s like a giant garage sale. I think it’s way better than that. There are odd bits and pieces you won’t find anywhere else. Sometimes musicians play. I caught this old fella playing the accordion.


4. I was lucky to witness a mother and daughter singing the following song called Rocks of Bawn in a pub in Louisburg, Co. Mayo. It was during a session with at least 8 other musicians sitting in a circle during a Sunday afternoon. Touching.


5. You never know what kind of wisdom you’ll encounter in rural Ireland. Want to hear some? If you have sensitive ears avoid the play buttons; expletives follow…and rock & roll!


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