The Writing Workshop on Achill Island 2004
Before the workshops started we were asked to answer some questions considering our workshops. We were supposed to define the aims of our course as well as the final product and the mission statement. After brainstorming we decided that our aim was to find typical Irish literature and in the end be able to write in an Irish way.
As our final product we thought of presenting different poems, all written by us in the traditional Irish way, as well as typical German and Swedish poems. We will also have a power point presentation about our walk around Achill.
Our mission statement is “We want to get an understanding for the Irish mentality through Irish writing”. As we are really interested in the topic we are absolutely convinced that we will achieve our aims and we also hope that the locals will like our work.
During our meetings we have not only been working on poems but on several questions in the view of the Irish literature. We have been discussing what we think is typical Irish. In our opinion they are influenced a lot by their history. A lot of the literature includes the bitterness they still hold from the wars with England, and this creates a certain melancholic writing style. We found that many poems are about historic events like for example the great potato famine in 1845.
Talking to the locals was also very important to us and that is why we for example talked to Margaret and Sean Cannon who told us a lot about the Irish people and their typical behaviour in writing. They also lent us books so that we were able to study Irish literature and its specialties. Margaret mentioned that the very most typical thing about how the Irish write is the fact that everybody is writing when something emotional has happened. And that is always comes from deep down the heart.
Talking about that later we came to the conclusion that the landscape and the weather influence the writing style in a very intensive way.
Therefore we went on a walk around Achill for about 4 hours. After starting at the Deserted Village we went to the beach and tried to get as many impressions of the nature as possible.
We managed to walk by the stormy sea as well as the mountains and were able to take a look at a typical Irish village. Afterwards we were all able to write wonderful poems about our walk and our feelings about it. We have come to the conclusion that without this walk we would not have been able to completely understand the Irish way of writing as sitting in a cottage and discussing is not the best way to develop a content that comes from the heart.
After all we have to say that the workshop really helped us to get a feeling for the people living here. We worked perfectly together in an intercultural atmosphere.
Anke Rosenmüller, Daniela Dung
Impressions From the Music Workshop
What else, if not music, can connect people? The best assessment happened in Achill on Thursday afternoon. Well, the first sounds of Lithuanian skuduciai (a kind of Pan – pipe which appeared more than 10,000 years ago ) made some persons crazy but playing was great at the end, wasn't it?
Students by themselves found out how to produce music with skuduciai : press a whistle to the lower lip and blow sharply, as if spitting, and the sound recalls a bird's whistle. Some of us were even a little bit dizzy afterwards.
So, finally after three days of learning the group of 8 performed rhythmic formula “Untela” (A duck) in the farewell party at Achill Cliff House. Thank you, I was really pleased.
page by Magnus Olofsson