There was no denying the breathtaking magic of Connemara’s Kylemore Abbey when I first set eyes on this beauty by the lake; I’ll always associate Dublin with the whimsy of her colorful Georgian doors in Merrion Square; and needless to say, Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher were a spectacular natural wonder.
All in all though, it was a venue rather than a vista that resonated for me the most when it came to this beautiful Emerald Isle;
de Poer’s family sought to bring charges of witchcraft and sorcery against Alice and have her burned at the stake.
Much of the merriment the evening we were there though was attributed to the charming and charismatic Damien Walsh. Mostly musician, partly magician, Damien certainly knew how to work a room. We numbered fifty, small change for this member of the local, award-winning Irish band, “Na Fianna.” Of course, Damien owned the bank with his eye candy status. I for one was intent on being his best student ever. Never mind I dropped my tipper (fancy word for drum stick) three times during our 50-minute lesson. All the drooling was obviously making my hands slippery.
He told us the origins of the bodhran in Celtic culture were uncertain, the earliest proof of the use of this one-sided drum made from goat skin stretched across a wooden frame found in a medical transcript from the 15th century in which the doctor described the sound of a bloated belly as a drum (bodhran).
OMG! I knew all about bloated bellies. My best-ever student status would be a shoe in.
For the next fifty minutes, the beat of my heart rivaled that of the drum as Damien took us through our paces. We learned the rudiments of rhythm, following Damien's lead with four-beat rolls, double down strokes and upstrokes as the room vibrated with the tribal sounds of fifty drums and our collective accomplishment. My right arm, the one wielding the tipper, began to feel like a lead weight, my shoulder bearing the brunt of the strain. This was work, spelled F-U-N!
Check out the YouTube Video below for a demonstration of the fine Irish art of playing the bodhran by Irish lad Josselin Fournel.