Slí na mBeaglaoich on its Geantraí Way up the West

Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich pictured at home in Cuas before the launch of his CD ‘We Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning.’  ©Photograph: John Reidy 15-12-1996

The warm and genuine father / son relationship between Breanndán and Cormac Ó Beaglaoich is the makings of the brilliant TG4 six-part series, Slí na mBeaglaoich.

It is clear that they enjoy each others company and you’d hope it will last the journey so.

Even before they left the Dingle Pennensula you felt that this was going to be a series well worth watching – for the antics alone.

Antics of Course

There are antics, of course, but they’re very much in the shade of the brilliance of the music featured as the pair travel from base camp in Cuas to a yet to be disclosed destination in Donegal.

There are well flagged stops in every county on the west coast and musical friends to meet, greet and play tunes with.

The series opened up with a camper van ‘Beauty’ being packed in the west for the bóthar fada and packed is a word that would pop up again on the journey.

Beauty Packed it In

As it happened, Beauty packed it in somewhere in Clare and a replacement had to be summoned from base before the daring duo could continue on their journey.

Even so they found time to do a special guest spot on the Seán O’Rourke Show on RTÉ Radio One on the presenter’s last week in the seat.

It would appear that the guest list is more or less evenly decided and divided between the father and the son and they guests are allowed to showcase their talents before our heroes join them for one for the road.

Known in Music Circles

Cormac is well known in musical circles in his own right by now and is nearly as famous for his collection of concertinas. Breanndán may have the edge in the fame game for several reasons including that as presenter of the popular ‘Geantraí’ traditional music programme on TG4 over the past couple of decades.

This is one series you’d hope will be repeated as there are layers on layers here from the beauty of the music to that of the landscape they’re travelling through and paying due respects to.

More Trips in Old Beauty

Now that they have it on the run they’d be mad not to sent them off up through the middle of the country on a similar mission of re-discovery.

The Slí is a path well worn by the likes of Séamus Ennis, Ciarán MacMathúna, Peter Browne and many more and, as a documentary of who’s playing what and where at this particular time, its value is and will be incalculable as it matures – as these things so beautifully do.

Tourism too will take its fist of notes from the series and it will be no surprise at all if it wins an award in some category or other.

The Begley – Castleisland Link 

Apart from the well established musical connections of relatively recent years, the Begley or Ó Beaglaoich connection with Xastleisland goes much further back as an uncle of Breanndán’s generation, Micheál Begley taught in the old vocational school ‘The Tech’ on College Road. And to the best of my knowledge, he also lived on the road during his tenure here in the 195o’s and early ’60s.

Slí na mBeaglaoich on TG4 at 9:30pm on Sunday nights.

You can have a look at episode one while they’re still in Kerry with a click on the link here: