Journey’s at an end

Although it is the largest county in Ulster Province, the extreme northwestern County Donegal remains a part of the Republic of Ireland, with which it shares a narrow geographic connection between British Northern Ireland and the sea.  Celebrated for its distinct cultural identity (a county slogan is “Up here it’s different”) Donegal is known to hold fast to traditional Irish customs and in some parishes, such as coastal Gweedore, to the ancient Irish language itself.

Acknowledged, as the “cradle of Irish culture” it’s no coincidence that the Emerald Island’s most successful music family, with combined sales of over 90 million records, has its roots in a local pub here, opened in 1968 by a cabaret musician and his music teacher wife. Leo’s Tavern, as it was called, quickly became a popular music venue for traditional music.  On slow nights the couple’s children also began to perform, singing and playing Celtic songs along with popular cover versions of Beatles and Beach Boys numbers.

Which is what they were doing late one school night when a local policeman walked in.  Fearing a summons everyone stopped playing, but the constable had an entry form for a local music competition in his hand. As the competition required a name someone suggested Clann As Dobhar (Irish for “the family from Dore”) and so Clannad was born in 1970.

Known for its broad mix of folk, rock, Irish, Celtic and New Age, performed in various languages, including: English, both Scottish and Irish Gaelic, Latin and (when they recorded the theme from “Last of the Mohicans”) Mohican, Clannad is comprised of siblings Ciarán, Pól, and Moya Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan.  Another Brennan sister, Eithne was once a part of the group but she left in 1981 to pursue a solo career, using the Anglicized stage name (perhaps you’ve heard of her?) …Enya.

Still flourishing, Leo’s Tavern is rather a musical Mecca with the likes of Bono and Clannad themselves dropping by.  Since none of us are likely to make it there this evening, here’s a song written by the Duggan twins, from the group’s 1985 album “Macalla” (Irish for “Echo”).  At the end of this joyous but heartburn prone weekend may you eat lightly, enjoy a little exercise and with the journey at an end…relax.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Sunday 25 November 

Journey’s End

 Blue waves are rolling

Visions in my mind

Of a strange voice calling

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

 Hear the anchor sinking

Voices ringing clear

Farewell from my kindred

And friends I love so dear, and friends I love so dear

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

 Lost streams are fading

They sweep across the vale

And with oceans of meadows

To bring me back again, to bring me back again

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

Long have I traveled

In storm, in the sun, in the rain

And it’s homeward singing

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

Journey’s at an end, journey’s at an end

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