Saturday, August 22, 2009


It's good isn't it. Ambloggador, how Justin Murphy describes himself on his new blog about the annual October Wexford Festival Opera of which he is the assistant company manager.

Evolving from an 800 AD Vicking settlement, Wexford (Loch Garman) is a harbour town of 18,00 sitting on the coast of Ireland at the mouth of the River Slaney just above that little bump of south east Ireland that seems to be reaching down and out to the rest of the world beyond.

The gaelic name comes from the legend of Garman Garbh. Having stolen the crown from his tribe's queen who then took herself off to the local witch, as you do, Garman was drowned in a great flood of water the witch released over the mudflats, engulfing the thief and forming the muddy silted harbour of the now Wexford.

At the nearby moorings of New Ross is a replica of the Irish famine emigrant tall ship Dunbrody.

From Wexford and nearby came John F Kennedy's grandfather, Oscar Wilde's maternal grandfather, and to Australia, Ned Kelly's father. The Kelly legend has soaked into the soil of this country and I think Ned was the only single individual displayed to the world in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony (Captain Cook excepted, all eye glass and caged rabbit), our only legend. As someone whose immediate family is laced with the names of Doyle, Kevin, Carey and Foran, with a family history called "Letters from Maynooth", a dash of Italian for the family name and a spike of German for attitude, I loved this Irish larrikan segment, its genesis perhaps in Wexford.

Ian Cooper's Tin Symphony Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Wexford Festival Opera had its beginnings with a town visit in 1950 by the founder of Gramophone magazine, Sir Compton Mackenzie, who suggested to the local opera study group that they should perform an opera in their own Theatre Royal, and the WFO was born in 1951. A new performing arts complex finished 12 months ago is the Festivals new home.

This years Festival programme is here and Justin's ambloggador festival blog is here. What a remarkable community these 18,000 must be.

By the way, should you be oxidising at the rate I am, you may also be interested in Wexford's Strawberry Festival. Strawberrys are a great source of antioxidants, the basis of much if not all of our entropy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I am writing on behalf of Wexford Opera House and as you may remember (I contacted your blog about our blog this time last year actually) we choose one Wexford Festival Opera cast, crew or company member to blog about their day to day experiences of our festival as a way to bring the audience closer to the action. As well as demystifying opera; we all know opera, and indeed the arts, could do with a dose of accessibility for the uninitiated.

Our Media Relations Manager, Elizabeth Rose - Browne will be taking over the helm from past Company Asst. Manager, Justin Murphy, as blogger-in-residence this year. I ask would it be possible to exchange links on each others pages as a way to spread the word of each others blogs? If this is agreeable or not, please feel free to email me and give me your opinion. (

Just so you can have a peak, a gentle reminder, our blog address


By the way, we absolutely loved your "Ambloggador" post in August last year.


David Duffin

Media Relations Asst.
Wexford Festival Opera
High Street, Wexford