Irish flautist Eimear McGeown has just returned to Ireland from the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary and she stopped in for a quick visit with Martin Doyle at his workshop in the County Clare today. As is often the case when musicians get together, one thing led to another and this took place…
Martin Doyle gets his fair share of visitors to his home and workshop in County Clare and they come from near and far. This week saw a small group of intrepid Kiwis pop in for a ‘cuppa and a chat’. Nearing the conclusion of a two week walking tour through the west of Ireland, the happy and hardy group were spending a couple of days in the area with visits to local artisans, walking the Burren and a night on Inis Meáin (one of the Aran Islands). Martin and his assistant Gwenn Frin were delighted to receive the guests who hailed from New Zealand, the US and Canada.
The tours are led by County Limerick native Rachel Ryan who has lived in Nelson, New Zealand, since 1980. Each year Rachel and her team guide walking tours of west Ireland and also take visitors to New Zealand on walking tours throughout the beautiful Tasman District in the north-western region of New Zealand’s South Island.
Martin has developed a connection with New Zealand since meeting his friend (and webmaster) Shardul in 2001 when Martin was still living in County Wicklow. Shardul was looking for a flute for his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy and arrived at Martin’s workshop in Bray. For a period spanning four or five years after that, Martin made a small number of Irish flutes from native New Zealand timbers that were supplied to him by his Kiwi friend. Shardul currently lives in Nelson and met Rachel Ryan at the 2012 Race Unity Day which is organised by the Nelson Multicultural Council. One thing leads to another in this world of ours…
In September of 2010, Bristolian Nick Hand visited Martin Doyle at his workshop in Clare. After recording a conversation with Martin and taking a raft of photographs in Martin’s workshop, Nick created a ‘soundslide’ that has been included on his Slowcoast website – one of dozens of inspirational soundslides that he has created during his cycle tours around the coastal regions of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.Nick has just released Conversations on the Coast – a beautifully presented hardcover publication offering a selection of twenty stories and photography from the Slowcoast project.
Conversations on the Coast brings together artists and craftspeople from around the British Isles who talk about their work, their life and their passion.
“What I love most about this book is the humility of actually quite ordinary artisans chosen by chance as they came into focus on one man’s remarkable journey around the coast. What we learn is that when you take the time to look, even the apparently straight forward lives of a bicycle repairer, hat maker or basket weaver are driven by passion and a deep seated love for their work. It is inspirational.” – Robin Wood, Chair of The Heritage Crafts Association.
Nick Hand’s visit with Martin Doyle has been included in the book and Martin was delighted to receive a copy by post this week.
A leisurely bicycle tour around the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – what better way to see the sights, get a feel for the land and meet the locals! Many have done it but Bristolian Nick Hand has taken the process a couple of steps further. He is interviewing and photographing inspiring people that he meets during his travels and creating soundslides which he posts on his aptly named website, Slowcoast.
In his own words Nick is “…talking to the artisans that I meet, people who have a passion and have developed and honed a skill.” The result is a very inspiring library of soundslides that cover a wide range of people, lifestyles and landscapes. During his travels Nick is also raising money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society through sponsorship.