Drum players besiege Irish island

Every summer, the small Irish island of Inis Óirr is invaded with drum players from all over the world who want to learn how to play the traditional Bodhrán.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

The small island of Inis Óirr, off Ireland’s west coast, was spared the tougher effects of colonization. Here, the Irish language is still seen and heard all over the island. But every summer, Inis Óirr has to contend with its own kind of invasion – drums.

Drum players attend a summer drum school here from all over the world. They and their drums dot the landscape like beetles as they make their way up the hills of Inis Óirr to class.

The Bodhrán is a traditional Irish drum, typically made of goatskin stretched over a circular wooden frame. Its exact origins are obscure, although it was used in pagan rituals. In the 1950s, it began to enter the canon of Irish traditional musical instruments. “I think it gives you a chance to connect with the rhythms that you hear every day,” says Elizabeth Moylan from Galway, Ireland, on a break from her drumming. “These rhythms exist all around you, if you listen.”

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