The Connemara Writer’s Retreat with Phil Cousineau


With all due respect, why do you write? I write to be loved… Phil has so much to offer, so much wisdom,
knowledge, and insight that I just like to come and be inspired. First thing is the people who come. That’s a treasure. There was a moment when I was inside in the
ruins and, you know, this feels like a modern avant-garde theatre and I pictured characters appearing
for me to the windows at the right time… What we are doing is looking around and being
hyper alert for some connection with you and your mentor… So, you’re having a good time, both of you? Oh my gosh. Are we having a good time? Hello! Yes. This is cocktail time – it’s just 5 o’clock. And this is our 3rd night in a row of seeing
a play. [Actors Sean Coyne and Tegolin Knowland sharing lines from their play.] Perfect. Brava. Thank you so much. Good night. Leo Hallisey: It was a sad old time and our
country… that was a dark period in our history. So many writers were on the banned list, so
much of society, living was restrictive, you felt – I certainly felt – caged in. I was a teacher down the dockside in Dublin
at the time and it was very much a caged-in society, and then eventually I came here,
in ’74 to Connemara. And I came here because there was a sense
of freedom in the air in this place which there wasn’t in other parts of the country. I grew up in Clare, County Clare, that’d be a very
historical county, that’s where the Burren is and all of that beautiful Karst landscape,
and there’d be a great sense of history there, but in many ways they were prisoners of history
whereas here the church hadn’t ever done a good job here. I don’t know whether it was maybe the roots
were too big and too wild, all of the good things about Connemara like the landscape that’s
out there that’s wild, the winters are big, the ocean’s big, and then if you hear Connemara
music like, say, there’s a group there called The Hernons. They would epitomize what Connemara music
is about. It’s wild, it’s fast and it’s, there’s no
time for breathing, like, this is it… If I can give you a hug…

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