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Exploring the sound of silence at Spanish Point

Clare singer, Sionnáin Michelle Shannon, will host a series of free events this weekend entitled Soundscapes and Seascapes or Fuaimdreacha agus Muirdreacha. The events, which will take place at Cleadagh, close to Spanish Point, aim to connect people to the sounds of the natural world using song and the Irish language.
The free workshops, which will take place from 2pm to 5pm on May 24, 25 and 26, are designed to help people to deepen their relationship with the natural landscape, as well as to themselves and to one another by exploring the power of silence and sound.
“It will be an immersive, sensory, bilingual experience down by the ocean between Spanish Point and the White Strand. There is a lovely cove that I have been going to for many years now and the experience will be happening there,” said Sionnáin.
“We will be spending three hours down by the ocean and really connecting to the soundscapes and seascapes. That means connecting to the actual sound of the place but also going on a meditative experience by attuning to the sounds that are down there with the seaweed, the small pools and little caves.
“I will also be guiding some songs so people can join in or just listen for that part. At the end we will be having a cup of tea and some chats and the Irish language will be woven in a gentle way through the process with a cúpla focail here and there to add to the experience.”
The setting for this event is a key part of the attraction for Sionnáin.
“It’s a special place. I have been going to this spot since I was a teenager, and as an adult I have been going there a lot more. My people are originally from back west, my father is from Kilkee and my mother is from back in Cross, so West Clare is my ancestral homeland,” she said.
“West Clare and the ocean has always felt like a homecoming for me. Whatever is going on in my life, if I go there, I get a sense of calmness and tranquillity. For me, I just want to share that with other people.
“In life these days, people have to tend to a lot of things. They might go to the ocean but they may not have the space to fully immerse and connect to the sounds of the landscape and what is actually there for us to explore.
“I feel like this is something that can support us in our wellbeing as we meander through these turbulent waters that we find ourselves in at the moment. It is about sharing this experience with others and about sharing this connection with the language and this sense of place.
“I am really delighted to be doing this, especially in the place that it is in.”
Sound will play a major role in this event with the noise of the ocean, human singing and conversation in both Irish and English mingling to create a unique, West Clare soundscape.
“All of the sounds that we will experience at this event will weave together. With my experience as a songwriter and a song-carrier, I feel like all sound is ultimately born out of silence.
“It might not be something that we often have space for, just listening to the sounds of these places, and to allow them to connect with us. That part of listening and experiencing is such a beautiful way to be in a place.
“Weaving in the language is the same. There is such a quality to our language, it has such a richness and a fullness that the English language just doesn’t have. I feel like weaving in the language in a gentle way will just add to the connection.”
This event, which is supported by Creative Ireland Clare, is free of charge but pre-booked tickets are required. For more information about booking a free ticket for any of the workshops visit Eventbrite.com.
The Creative Ireland Programme is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. We are an all-of-government culture and wellbeing programme and it is our ambition to inspire and transform people, places and communities through creativity.
It is committed to the vision that every person in Ireland should have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential.
Established in 2017, Creative Ireland was born out of Ireland 2016, the hugely successful state initiative to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising.
The Programme drew inspiration from the extraordinary public response to the Centenary and the thousands of largely culture-based events exploring issues of identity, community, culture, heritage and citizenship.
Through partnerships with local and national government, cultural and enterprise agencies and local enterprise, it creates pathways and opportunities for people and communities to unlock their creative potential.
It believe in the power and creative potential of people, organisations and government departments working together, sharing expertise, to catalyse ideas and action.
Through its focus and co-ordination, it aims to forge an eco-system of creativity.
The programme is built around key themes of creative youth, creative communities, creative health and wellbeing, creative climate action and creative industries.

About Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

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