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Sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way

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‘I think music is already there. It’s our job to tune in and listen to it’. In the second of our Shaped By The Sea video series, meet the music makers who are inspired by the ocean and landscape, making traditional Irish music that lines Ireland’s most westerly coastline.

Experience these sounds for yourself in this short film


From howling winds and crashing waves, to the rustling of long grass or the creak of a farmyard gate, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has its own melody. Some days it’s a cacophony of noise as ocean swells pound the coastline during stormy weather with a force that is humbling. On softer days, the gentle hum of nature offers peace of mind for reflection. 

Around every twist and turn of the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way route, you’ll hear sounds of the sea that are unique to this part of the world. It could be a Donegal lilt in a voice, a song you’ve never heard before or the rhythmic drum of a bodhrán. 


Listen to complete versions of the music featured in the video here


Meet the Music Makers

Living on what he calls ‘the shores of mysticism and silence’, Justin Grounds is a violinist, singer and electronicist based in a cottage in Clonakility, County Cork. Here he creates in solitude and collaborates with other artists by sharing mixes online. His work is multi-layered and multi-genre, full of experimentation with both nature and technology. 
Traditional Irish music lovers will instantly recognise Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s voice as the lead in Altan, in which she also plays the fiddle. Since the band founded in 1987, the rugged west coast and its lively trad scene have inspired not only their music, but also the preservation of the Donegal fiddling tradition. 

Musician Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from the band Altan

Farther south in an old Franciscan monastery in Roundstone, County Galway, Malachy Kearns works at his craft. Malachy Bodhrán, as he is known by folk musicians, drifted west from Dublin and for thirty years has used traditional techniques to lovingly prepare instruments for trad fans all over the world. 

Discover artists who live and work on the Wild Atlantic Way in our Sights video, or explore the route further here.


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