Place-Names of Inishowen – 6th Edition Now Available
Dúlamán the Band
It’s seaweed. It’s a song. Yes, we know; you found it in an old book and passed it on to Clannad who recorded it and generated thousands of performances of it all over the globe.
But what about Dúlamán the Band?
This began as Donegal Folkweave in the early 1990s – Heather Innes from Scotland and myself singing two-part vocal harmonies of Irish and Scottish folksongs to acoustic guitar accompaniment. It was a bit ‘retro’, in a sense, like Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor of the folk scene in 1960s Britain. But punters loved it, especially in Scotland.
However, it wasn’t until 1995 and a meeting with multi-instrumentalist, Steáfán Hannigan, that we felt we should be looking for a new voice and a new repertoire – a Gaelic repertoire that hadn’t been done much – at least not since the early Clannad stuff of the 70s. The latter had almost abandoned Gaelic music by the 1990s so the coast was clear for a new band – a Gaelic band drawing on my store of songs and stories from the older stratum of indigenous Irish traditions.
So, it went from duo to trio, to quartet, to quintet and, finally, in 1998, a six-piece ensemble populated by myself on lead vocals, spoken voice and guitar; Steáfán Hannigan, percussion, whistles, uilleann pipes; Aodh Mac Ruairí, vocal harmony, guitar, whistles; Heather Innes, vocal harmony; Tony Hunter, percussion; Seán McKay, keyboards.
Back (l.-r.): Heather, Aodh, Seán, Tony. Seoirse in front. (Steáfán elsewhere that day).
The band broke up after that – it was simply a matter of lack of running costs and no sign of a CD on the horizon to support the venture . We did start recording in Steáfán’s studio though in Milton Keynes in England but by the time the CDs were issued, Steáfán had left the band and gone with his family to live in Canada. However, we went out with a bang. Our last outing as a full band was in the O’Reilly Hall in UCD 8thDecember 1998. The sound engineers were great friends of ours, Cillian and Colm McEvoy, who presented us afterwards with two cassette tapes recorded in stereo from the sound desk.
So, here it is: the full concert. Please press play and slip on a pair of good headphones.
- Seoladh na nGamhna [Directing the Calves]
- Geaftaí Bhaile Buí [The Gates of the Yellow Town]
- Deoíndí [untranslatable]
- Méiltí Cheann Dubhrann [Sand Dunes of Ranafast]
- An Rábaire [The Dashing Blade]
- Máire Ní Mhaoileoin [Mary Malone]
- Na Gamhna Geala [The White Calves]
- Peigín agus Peadar [ Pegeen and Peter]
- Casadh an tSúgáin [The Twisting of the Rope]
- Bean an Fhir Ruaidh [The Red-haired Man’s Wife] – story & song
- Is Measa Liom Bródach [I Prefer Bródach]
- Tráthnóna Beag Aréir [Late Yesterday Evening]
- Sean-Bhríste Mór [Big Tattered Trousers]
- A Bhean Udaí Thall [O, woman over yonder] – story & song
- Seachrán Chearbhaill [The Ramblings of Carrule]
- Máire Bhéal Átha hAmhnais [Mary from Ballyhaunis]
Tabhair ar ais an Oíche Aréir Errigal SCD007 (2000)
“Those who go for world music will be enthralled…wonderfully varied…this is a gem of a CD and a pleasure to listen to.” Aiden O’Hara, Irish Music Magazine.
Dúlamán a’ tSléibhe Errigal SCD008 (2002)
“A fairly unique aspect of Dúlamán also is an attempt they have made at story-telling using the accompaniment of chant-like, backing vocals, as opposed to the more traditional solo voice of the seanchaí. This should not be seen as attempt at improving an otherwise perfect art-form in itself, but as a way of bringing song and story closer together, and, perhaps, in the process, making the whole thing a little more listener-friendly… On this album they are joined by too many outstanding musicians to list. The result is a richly layered recording of traditional songs, given a contemporary, polished presentation. However the presentation is not just a gloss. Dúlamán a’ tSléibhe is a triumph of both content and style!” Aidan Crossey, Pay The Reckoning.
Invitation to Book Launch: “Gleann Daoile” by Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh
This is a history of a district defined by a river: An Daoil (The Black One). One hundred pages worth -full colour, A3 format with photos, maps and charts – it tells of the people who have lived here since Neolithic times to the present day – the people of Culdaff and Gleneely. This is a coffee table book but a book full of interesting facts some of which may or may not have been fully appreciated until now. A special section in the book is dedicated to five outstanding women of achievement – Mná Ghleann Daoile. All the Griffith Maps and house-holders’ names from the parish, compiled in the year 1857, are reproduced in glorious colour.
7pm Carndonagh Library Thursday 4th May 2023
To be officially launched by George Mills of Culdaff House
(Refreshments courtesy of Carndonagh Library)
GREAT MARRIAGE BOOK OF INISHOWEN, VOL 2 (1871-1901) – DIGITAL VERSION NOW AVAILABLE!!!
Many people have been asking to purchase copies of this second volume. The truth is it is too expensive to print (nearly 2 inches thick and in A3 format) and very, very expensive. I only printed 50 copies all of which sold out quickly. I have decided now that such was the demand that I can offer you a digital version in a Word Document – the entire book – for €20. No postage required, of course, as all you have to do is go to “SALES” on this website and pay your €20 through the PayPal system and leave your email address. I will then email you the document. One advantage in the digital version is the “Find” facility on the top right of your document. Type in “Farren”, for example, and it will trawl through the entire book and highlight every Farren mentioned there.
ENJOY EXPLORING YOR FAMILY HISTORY!!!
PRESS RELEASE: Place-Names of Inishowen (5th and final Edition) – Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh (March 2022)
For this final 5th Edition, Seoirse discovered some fascinating Mariner’s Maps that date from 1776 and has reproduced extracts in the book. They are the equivalent of Google Satellite images showing, for one, what the Buncrana district looked like then: surprising, lots of tree-lined avenues. The houses depicted look quite substantial too – not a hint of Mica!
Many people already have previous editions of the place-names book so he doesn’t expect people to rush out and purchase this one but many who don’t have been asking for copies and he had run out of supply. This time Seoirse used a local printer, Foyle Press of Carndonagh, and they have done an excellent job with full-colour maps and photos. The format is the same but there was a good deal of fine-tuning involved plus an additional batch of previously unknown place-names.
The book will be available soon at Mac’s Books, Buncrana; Supervalu, Carndonagh; Gillen’s, Moville; Centra, Muff; Callaghan’s Gala , Burt. You can also purchase it at www.seoirse.com
BOOKS IN GENERAL
The books I have written so far celebrate the place where I live – the home of my ancestors: Inishowen.
I have researched its castles, its place-names, its surnames and personal names; I have crafted a portrait of an Inishowen town – Buncrana – from the time of the famine to the 1960s. It’s a piece of social archaeology.
Lately, I have created a work that isn’t specifically about Inishowen but nevertheless may be of interest to the music-lovers of the peninsula, certainly to the rest of the nation – a book called “Sunlight & Shadow” about our forgotten composers.
STORY-TELLING : THE ORAL TRADITION…LONG BEFORE BOOKS…
The above clip is taken from a documentary called “Roots of a Man” (2005) made by young Toronto film-makers Matthew & Jeffery Campagna whose Inishowen ancestry (Ó Dochartaigh) led them to the peninsula in search of the their roots. Seoirse accompanied them during the making of it. He is sitting here in the dungeon of Castle Ross on Inch, one of the remaining Ó Dochartaigh strongholds, perched dramatically on a cliff on the southern shores of the island. The full story of their journey is available at www.rootsof a man.com
A recent publication (2021)
The book is now in all good bookshops all over Ireland, including Mac’s in Buncrana and Supervalu in Carndonagh. It can also be purchased on-line through the Red Stripe Press web-site.
This clip was filmed in the Gaeltacht of Teileann in south Donegal as part of a special feature on “Ardán” on TG4 in 1998.