By Sinead O’Mahony
If you’re not from Ireland, I’ll need to start this blog by explaining exactly what I’m talking about. Some will say you only truly know what ‘craic’ is when you experience it, and most especially Irish craic! ‘Craic’, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is an Irish word for fun/enjoyment. These guys use the Irish example ‘Bhí craic agus ceol againn’ which translates directly in English as ‘we had music and fun’. I absolutely agree with Urban Dictionary when they say that ‘Fun doesn’t really cut it’ when it comes to trying to explain what ‘craic’ means – they say that a better description of the word is general banter and good times had by all. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
When planning Killarney Mountain Festival, a priority for the committee was injecting some craic into the festival programme. We had an amazing line-up of guest speakers, film screenings, walks and photography exhibitions, and we wanted to top that off by making sure the ‘craic’ was had by every festival attendee as well.
In the week leading up to the festival, we teamed up with a local publication ‘The Killarney Advertiser’ and asked them if we could feature on one of their weekly chatroom-style videos. ‘The Chatroom’ is a video series hosted by local hero and craic-connoisseur Kieran Healy, who produces excellently informative and entertaining videos each week on features them online, and they’re a huge hit locally.
To cut a long story short, Kieran and our chief organisers Maureen Hegarty and Piaras Kelly (KerryClimbing.ie) decided to do their Chatroom interview about the festival with Kieran, at the foot of the highest mountain in Ireland, no less. This, alone, would have been considered a pretty ambitious attempt at gaining some traction before the festival took place. However, not only did they manage to pull it off, they also did it amidst a freak snowstorm that wreaked havoc across the country and essentially shut down most of the businesses in Ireland for a full week! What on earth compelled them to do that, I hear you ask. When the idea was first put on the table, we as a committee instead asked, why not. It was going to be fun, it was going to be an adventure, and it was a chance for us to showcase our stunning mountains – fun, adventure and mountains, precisely what we wanted the festival celebration to be all about!
This video makes me smile every single time I re-watch it: https://www.facebook.com/killarneyadvertiser/videos/1827404597283800/
After that, everyone knew that we were serious about the craic element of Killarney mountain Festival. Enter SuperCéilí!
SuperCéilí don’t feature in Urban Dictionary unfortunately, and really, pretty much like ‘craic’, you would need to be present at a session with SuperCéilí to understand the experience! SuperCéilí describe themselves as musicians that mix the world’s biggest dance hits with Irish trad. This is a pretty accurate description, but doesn’t quite capture the absolute rave that they created at Basecamp on the Saturday night of Killarney Mountain Festival.
We wanted to have a festival party, not only to celebrate Killarney as Ireland’s Adventure Capital, but also to ensure that everyone who came to Killarney to celebrate with us got to experience the quintessential offerings of Killarney – the breathtaking beauty of our natural resources, our mountains and lakes, but our other equally important offering – ‘Irish craic’ at its very best. We knew we managed to pull it off when we caught Cal Major of ‘Paddle Against Plastic’ (@cal_major) making a post-event statement confirming, “the Irish have shown me how to party and how to celebrate adventure!”
We’re already looking forward to another round of Irish craic at Killarney Mountain Festival, 2019. If you’ve yet to experience it for yourself, you know where we’ll be!