Depicted above are pictures of the poet Brian Merriman and a concertina superimposed on Loch Gréine (Loch Graney), the largest lake located entirely in County Clare. It was on the shores of this lake that Brian Merriman had the famous fictional nightmare that is central to Cúirt an Mheáin Oíche (The Midnight Court) – "a Rabelaisian pisstake" according to scholar Alan Titley.
Loch Gréine means Sun Lake in Irish. Fine for a lake in Arizona; for County Clare, not so much – suggesting that Merriman’s vivid hallucinogenic proclivities were communal and that he came by his sense of comic irony naturally by osmotically imbibing a local joy in taking the piss.
In any case, this web site is devoted to two disparate topics that are each speciaized in the extreme:
The first two links below, The Midnight Court home page and the Anglo Concertina home page, lead to these two sub-sites.
What the two had in common originally was nothing more than my interest in them. But as it turns out, they share an objective bond, namely their intimate association with County Clare on the west coast of Ireland, a relationship explored at the third link below.
Additionally, in different ways, both came under bombardment in the wars over policing public decency _ by church and state that Ireland shared with other societies in the first half of the last century.
The Midnight Court was directly in the line of fire. In a more round-about way, the concertina's role in traditional Irish music suffered near-fatal collateral damage.
The fourth link below leads to a pair of essays that trace how these two artifacts assumed their iconic role in the culture of County Clare and how they got caught up in the culture wars.
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All original and edited materials: Copyright 2014 Noel Fahey