A first time Scór-er

I recently got a phone call from a man named Paddy McDermott. He and a few others have been working on a documentary about Scór since its beginning in the 1970s. Paddy called to the house with the USB of raw files, yet to be made into a documentary. He asked me to look over them and give some feedback. I said I would absolutely, and he landed over to the house with the stick on a Tuesday evening just before Mass.

The more we got chatting about the project, the more I wondered why I was being asked to have a look. Not that I minded of course. They knew me from working in MacSeains, of course, but that is the only connection I ever had with Cornafean. I was never involved with Scór in any area, nor did I attend an Irish dancing class in my life. To my regret, I have never played the bodhrán, the fiddle or even the tin whistle. I can speak a bit of Gaeilge, I played football in my day, and I make an unreal boxty cake and Irish soda but, other than that, I would say I am quite uncultured.

I watched it on the computer and, to my delight, I really njoyed it. The documentary went back to the 1970s when Scór originated and spoke of its origins and successes in Cornafean. It told the story of all Irish traditions - set dancing, singing, storytelling, drama and of course playing traditional Irish music. Although some of the footage from the early years isn’t of the best quality, for which the creators apologise, I think it adds to the story and the charm of the documentary. Scór has been around in Cornafean since the early days, and it is still going strong.

Flicking through each of the files, I have to say my favourites were the novelty acts, performed by youths and adults. They not only gave insight to what Irish life was like back in the day (and today) but I also got a great laugh out of them. Particular acts that spring to mind are relatives coming home from America with the family at home schmoozing up to them for the inheritance, the rivalry of the Leaguers and Cornafean, not on the football field this time but lying side by side in hospital beds and, of course, the fear of the Revenue Commissioners. The acting, the costumes, the props and on top of all the accents are hilarious - simply good-natured, good fun and wholesome entertainment.

Watching the footage of Scór throughout the years, what struck me was the ability to entertain and be entertained without a phone. Now, of course, I was watching it through a screen but in its origins Scór was about bringing the community together through Irish traditions and I truly admire how it continues to do that.

One file named COVID, was the first introduction of a phone in the documentary, where families could be seen in their sitting rooms playing music together and singing, videoing themselves when competitions couldn’t take place in their usual form. Even this was special, during a time when uncertainty and sadness came to many homes, people could still pull out a tin whistle and play a tune.

At the end of it all, I gave Paddy a call and told him that, although I wasn’t expecting to, I really enjoyed watching the documentary. He informed me that my lack of knowledge on the topic was the main reason they asked me to watch, and I can truly say that the documentary can be enjoyed by those who have never heard of Scór to those have been involved for years.

My only regret while watching the documentary was that I was never involved in the strong sense of community belonging that comes with being in the group, to which Paddy informed me that it is never too late to start.

It was only while travelling that I have come to appreciate Irish traditions. P

eople are passionate about their culture and it’s nice to be able to share a bit of your own with others, be it speaking or baking for me, taking part in a session, singing or doing a bit of set dancing. I am finally coming to see how important culture and tradition is to who we are and I commend people like Paddy who keep it alive.

* Gemma Good is from Killeshandra and a fourth year journalism student in University of Limerick


THE GOOD LIFE: Two sides to every story