After filming A Stór mo Chroí on the sixth day of our journey, we went down from Sligo to Loughrea, County Galway. It is here that the air Fanny Power is set. It was composed before 1728 for the young Frances or Fanny Power by the harper Turlough O Carolan (1670 – 1738). He called her “The Swan of the Shore”.
We wanted to see if we could find the house where the Power family had lived. We had the address, Coorheen, Loughrea. After some searching, we thought we had found the house. But the man who lives there, bishop John Kirby, told us it is made using stones of the old Power’s house. He got out a very detailed map of the area and indicated where the ruins of the old house were, just a few kilometers away near the lough.
Thanks to these indications we finally found the site about 1 km from the road where we could park the car. Ilse arrived first and found a man sitting peacefully near the lake, watching his cows. She asked him about the ruins. His name was Peter Kelly. He said that the ruins had been on his land and that he would show us! He told us that he had to clear out the stones as part of a contract for subsidy from the government for his land. This fact clearly moved him!
Ilse played the air at the very site of the house, perhaps where the parlor had been! The weather was gorgeous and we had rather scared cows as an audience. We wondered how long ago it was since that melody had been played at this location! What a beautiful way to connect to the music and the story behind it.