Sonic Boxes

Sonic Boxes is a series of recordings housed in metal boxes at various points around the Beara peninsula.

The first – a collaboration between poet Annette Skade and musician Cormac Mac an Fhalla – plays on a loop on the Dursey Island cable-car.

Ian Geraghty’s Homemade Hand Grenade is located at the former munitions store known as the Magazine on the Allihies Mines Trail, while David Harmax’s orchestral composition Curse of Kings is at the ruin of the O’Sullivan Bere castle at Dunboy.

Geraghty’s second composition, Xylem, is at the Glebe Graveyard outside Castletownbere, while Harmax’s Below the Surface can be heard at Glenbeg Lake, outside Ardgroom.

Sonic Boxes is curated by Marc O’Sullivan Vallig, and runs from July 31 to August 5.

Cormac Mac an Fhalla1. Compartments

Annette Skade and Cormac Mac an Fhalla

Dursey Island Cable-car

[Directions: Dursey Island lies at the southwestern tip of the Beara peninsula, and is accessible by Ireland’s only cable-car. The cable-car operates from Ballaghboy from 9.30am to 8pm daily. Fares: €8 (adult) and €4 (child).]

Compartments is a collaboration between poet Annette Skade and her son, musician and composer Cormac Mac an Fhalla. It features three of Skade’s poems – The Boat Train, The High Line and Cello Lessons – set to Mac an Fhalla’s electronic music.

Skade, originally from Manchester, has lived on the Beara peninsula since 1989, initially at Garnish, less than a mile from the cable-car, and more recently in Glengarriff. She has a Degree in Ancient Greek and Philosophy from Liverpool University, and an MA in Poetry Studies from Dublin City University. In July 2013, she launched her debut collection of poetry, Thimblerig, at the West Cork Literary Festival.

Mac an Fhalla grew up in Garnish, and studied music production at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork and Pulse College in Dublin. He now works as an engineer at Windmill Lane in Dublin, and also writes and performs music.

Further information:

2. Homemade Hand Grenade
Ian Geraghty
The Magazine, Allihies Mines

[Directions: Walk road from Allihies village to the Allihies Mines. At signpost by reservoir reading ‘Allihies Mine Copper Mine Trail / Allihies 0.5km’, cross fence on right and follow Yellow Man markings to stone construction, the Magazine. Sonic Box is located inside.]

The title Homemade Hand Grenade is an oxymoron, playing on the definition of ‘homemade’ as ‘created with care’ and that of ‘hand grenade’ as ‘a weapon of destruction’.

Ian Geraghty graduated with a B Mus from University College Cork in 2002. Focusing on eroding the boundaries between composition, improvisation and performance, he records in several musical styles and media. His current projects utilise pre-composed sections of electronic sound manipulated and recorded in real time.

Further information:

3. Curse of Kings
David Harmax
Dunboy Castle

[Directions: Dunboy is two miles west of Castletownbere. Drive past the restored Puxley Mansion to the parking area near Dunboy Castle. Sonic Box is located on ledge inside the castle.]

Curse of Kings was inspired by the fantasy novel, Curse of Kings: The Trials of Oland Born, by Alex Barclay, and was recorded with the 110-strong Bulgarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Sofia in 2015.

David Harmax graduated with a BA in Music from Waterford Institute of Technology in 1999. In 2015, he was awarded first class honours in his MA degree in Scoring for Film and Visual Media from Pulse College, Dublin Institute of Technology.

Harmax composes scores with live recording techniques and/or virtual sampled instruments for film and media projects. His credits include the films City of Roses, Point of No Return, Banjo and Blocked.

Further information:

Ian Geraghty


4. Xylem
Ian Geraghty
The Glebe Graveyard, outside Castletownbere

[Directions: Drive west out of Castletownbere towards Allihies. Across from football pitch 1km out of town, at sign that read ‘L8940’, turn right into byway. Graveyard is on right 1km further. Sonic Box is in doorway of old church at centre.]

The title Xylem refers to the part of a plant’s tissue that transports water from its roots. Working against gravity, water and life flows these miniature conduits.

Further information:

5. Below the Surface
David Geraghty
Public Amenity Area, Glenbeg Lake

[Directions: Turn right by bridge at western entrance to Ardgroom village. Proceed two kilometres to Glenbeg Lake. Sonic Box is located by picnic table at public amenity area on right.]

Below the Surface is inspired by a scene in a screenplay by Irish writer Alex Barclay. It describes the body of a young woman, in a white dress, being dragged from a lake.

Further information: