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  A Cape Clear Island Halloween – 2012Oíche Shamhna 2012 ar Oileán Chléire

Halloween or ‘Oíche Shamhna’ to give it its proper and more authentic Irish name is always a special time on Cape Clear Island. With Autumn in full flush for the most part the weather is crispy cold and sometimes windy but the Island usually escapes the monotony of rain filled days one after the other. With secondary and university students on their midterm breaks and families reunited the stage is set for a happy, festive and family time. This year Loose Horse Productions who spent a whole year filming on the Island for the TV Program ‘Ar an Oileán’ to be aired from Monday 12 November on RTE 1 again proved the old scientific dictum that you cannot observe something without causing it to change by being the catalyst for another of the year’s highlights. Providing funds towards a party to say ‘go raibh maith agaibh’ to all who helped make the program had its own benign impact. The date was set for Saturday 27th October in a spectacularly decorated Club Cléire, a family friendly event of music, song and dance starting at 8pm. And what an evening it turned out to be !. With more resident musicians than for many long years it was always going to be an enjoyable event but more good fortune and fair winds carried to our shores the very talented Lane family of musicians from Cobh accompanied by two other musical couples and by special invitation also the Shanahon Family from Leap with their All Ireland Step Dancing champions, also set sail for the Cape. Success brings its own problems and early in the evening there was much debate about where to seat the musicians, was it to be one large circle or would two be better with a space in between for traffic?. The best laid plans go astray one big circle was too small as late comers found themselves joining in from other corners of the room. I wasn’t counting but ecstatic local musician Steve Stone reported that over the evening a full 24 musicians played, flamboyant and fast traditional music well played interspersed with song,dance and music from other traditions. And how they danced, young Katie and Ray taking to the floor at regular intervals to provide dazzling performances. Later on a set dance got some of the older crowd in motion. So many highlights, so many new faces, Whoofer Elias Winkenwerder from North Carolina with his bluegrass banjo, Whoofer Kristen Morgan Davy from New York with her ethereal voice, our stalwart Danny Stewart, still celebrating his recent degree and young Sadbh Ní Thóirne bursting into newly learnt tunes at the drop of a hat. Katie and Ray’s brother Éamon proved a talented singer and musician John O’Keefe is remembered for his former work with the Dept Marine. Participants in the Storytelling Workshop, again oversubscribed arrived bringing another shower of talent. The flow of excellent singers was astonishing, each one as good as the next. It was an evening that will long be remembered by many of those fortunate to be there. And the fun didn’t end there, Oíche Shamhan, Halloween proper was still to come. Kicking off at 6.30 pm a well warmed Club Cléire found a throng of costumed children and many adults arriving with shared nibbles to enjoy some hours of antics, sparklers, fire crackers, tasty treats, a little wine( adults only) and lots of good conversation to be followed by a traditional outdoor display in a nearby open space at 8.30pm. Only afterwards at 9.30pm did the trick or treaters set out along the island byways in search of easy loot from the many welcoming households. As the bags gradually filled and as the night progressed some of the younger ghouls and monsters succumbed to the sandman and were carried homewards with happy dreams of a lovely evening. By all accounts the Island teenagers too, succumbed, unknowingly perhaps, to older ways to spend the dark evening into night literally tramping the four corners of the Island, in search of nothing in particular but probably finding what they were looking for all the same. Oileán Chleire is truly fortunate in its wealth of kind and talented people who make these and many other community events so successful and where young and old can come together in a timeless fashion to have such fun. See the photos in our photo gallery. Séamus Ó Drisceoil.

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