The Far Field

The image below shows Folklore Collector, Michael J. Murphy in the midst of his collection work for An Coimisiún Bealoideas Éireann in Scotstown, Co. Monaghan in 1965. Confirming the wealth of tradition and lore then present in the area, Murphy – in correspondence with Séamus Ó Duilearga, the Director of the Irish Folklore Commission – noted that his initial collection activity was ‘very promising for such a short period in a new area’.

Such folklore forms the backdrop to a new album of music for children, which I’m delighted to be associated with. Drawing on the rich folklore of the area, the recording takes its name from archival footage on the subject of fairy-lore identified during my own doctoral research. Collected initially during the late 1980s/early 1990s by traditional singer Peter ‘Shan’ McKenna, the footage features Peter alongside John McElwain, James McElwain, Pete ‘Pat Tammie’ Mc Kenna in conversation about strange musical happenings in ‘The Far Field’.

Monaghan author Sir Shane Leslie once wrote that ‘the child remembers the traditions of a townland on which it was reared.’ Knowledge, he stated ‘which is associated with familiar scenes, fields, ruins, lakes or local names, is real living knowledge.’ This recording – with a beautifully illustrated story booklet + stunning A2 poster – adds another layer of meaning to place.
Under the skilled direction of Dr. Thomas Johnston, the landscape of North Monaghan is transformed, as children are brought on a magical journey to the fairy-world of ‘The Far Field’!

Further details on the album

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