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Glen Hansard Pays Tribute in Song to Late Kerry Poet & Sailor Danny Sheehy

9th June 2020
Sheehy, an award-winning writer, died in June 2017 when the currach, Naomh Gobnait, was caught by a wave close to the Minho river estuary Sheehy, an award-winning writer, died in June 2017 when the currach, Naomh Gobnait, was caught by a wave close to the Minho river estuary

Musician Glen Hansard has paid tribute to west Kerry poet, farmer and sailor Danny Sheehy with a new video marking the third anniversary of his death.

Film-maker Dónal Ó Céilleachair, who recorded The Camino Voyage documenting Sheehy’s currach trip with the fellow crew from Ireland to northern Spain, has participated with Hansard in the video release.

Sheehy, an award-winning writer, died in June 2017 when the currach, Naomh Gobnait, was caught by a wave close to the Minho river estuary on the Spanish-Portuguese border. He was just 66 years of age.

Hansard said he wrote the piece, entitled Good Life of Song while staying at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.

“It’s a tribute to the life of bards and troubadours on their lifelong march through the towns and village of the world, singing and drinking, expressing the sorrows and joys of the age as they court darkness and light with equal knowing,” Hansard has said.

Hansard described it as a “song of gratitude for the gift of singing”.

“I raise it here to the memory of our boat captain, Danny Sheehy,” he said.

Ó Ceilleachair said that “in the face of all the challenges of the present moment, sometimes it is good to pause and give gratitude for the things we do have”.

“With gratitude to your contagious, magnetic, inspiring presence, Danny – Bail ó Dhia ort,” he added, marking the video release with Hansard.

Hansard signed up as crew for the final stage of the three-summer currach voyage from Ireland to northern Spain which was completed in late June 2016.

Sheehy and his close friend, west Kerry musician and oarsman Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, decided to continue to navigate the Galician and Portuguese coasts in 2017, along with musician Liam Ó Maonlaí of the Hothouse Flowers and Co Cork boatbuilder Padraig Ua Duinnín.

The crew stayed with the upturned craft after its capsize, but Sheehy was taken ill on reaching shore and did not survive.

Better-known in his native Kerry as Domhnall Mac Síthigh, Sheehy won Oireachtas awards for his poetry and storytelling and was a broadcaster on Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio.

He had previously circumnavigated Ireland in a naomhóg with Ger Ó Ciobháin in 1975 and also rowed to Iona in Scotland, while also undertaking several sailing voyages west and north.

Published in Historic Boats
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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