Fanny Power

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.

20130822_Living the Tradition_99_8c
The map showing where the ruins of the Power house are located


 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!

20130822 Ilse thanks Peter Kelly
Ilse thanks Peter Kelly for showing us the site of the ruins of the old Power’s house


 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.

20130822 Ilse play Fanny Power
Ilse playing Fanny Power at the very site of the ruins of the Power’s house


The cows were curious at Ilse packing away her cello.  At the bottom of the slope is the lough. These are probably the same cows from down there who listened to Ilse play! We watched them run home as she finished…
Top of the road at Coorheen, Loughrea. To the left is what was once the wide avenue driveway that led down to Fanny Power’s house.