Leirvik and Gotu

Iomramh 2011.

11th June 2011.

Eysturoy, Leirvik & Gotu

Video - Gotu, traditional dance

Video - Spinning with spindle & worksong.

Video - Steffen on Toftanes part 1

Video - Steffen on Toftanes, part 2

Video - Steffen on Toftanes part 3

Video - Steffen on Bunhustoftin

Video - Eirikur & Breanndán play box!

Photos - Eirikur's barbeque

Photos - Visit to Gotu

Arant Hansen's photos from Gotu

Photos - Steffen's barbeque

Photos - Toftanes

Photos - Bonhustoftin

Photos - Visit to FMP.

Weather beautiful.

We set sail immediately on returning from the sailing trip to Nolsoy. With Breanndan playing on our boat now and crowd on the quay seeing us off.

I was on watch for the last hour and sailed the boat up Leirviksfordur, High mountains on both sides like Gougane Barra, in Cork, in a very choppy tide with the music of Joe Dolan blaring from the outdoor speakers.

When we sailed into Leirvik harbour, Steffen and some other locals were waiting for us on the quay. As soon as we were tied up we were invited to his house for beers. We were there about half an hour when another crowd of locals arrived, five of them, who insisted that we come with them. So we (Danny, myself and Breanndan) walked about a mile to Eirikurs house and they insisted on carrying Breanndan’s bag for him. These guys were totally mad, all the time shouting for no reason!

Eirikur is clearly a very successful businessman, as well as owning one of the mountains at the back of the village he has a fish processing factory producing dried fish heads for export to Nigeria, where they are a delicacy!.

In a shed beside the house there were a few sides of lamb hanging up to dry. These are killed in the same way as we do it, in September  and then just left hanging in a well ventilated shed for three months. The meat, eaten raw, is delicious,  not unlike Parma ham.

He produced a traditional balance stick which was used to weigh lambs and gauge the fat score.

The house was externally of corrugated iron with bits added on all over the place similar to all the other houses in the area. They were having a barbeque to celebrate  our arrival. Dried fish first – two kinds, one was cod, also whale blubber, but I still had indigestion from eating this earlier.

Beer, of course, crates of it, all over the place. Then steaks of red whale meat – absolutely delicious everybody ate everything they were given. This was from the sperm whale which is much bigger than the pilot whale normally killed by the islanders

People came and went many of them very young and friendly.

The herb Sweet Cecily, grows as a weed every where and the seeds are very good for indigestion – I ate loads of them and felt better.

We had music and food and beer for a few hours and were under orders to be ready to depart at 6.00 pm for Gotu where there was an official reception for us!

We were driven to Gotu in two cars and the local teacher, Árant Hansen, came out first to give us a talk on local history and the interesting statue in the village to their local hero - Trondur. It seems that, according to the Faeryinga Saga, Trondur opposed the introduction of Christianity to the Faroes by Sigmundur Brettisson, c1000AD. Presumably this should be the re-introduction of Christianity, assuming the Irish monks had been here 500 years previously and when they were expelled by the Norse, Christianity left with them.

There are about 70/100 houses in the village, altogether and six houses in the centre of the village constituting a sort of folk-park with museum, boat construction project, restored houses and workshops.

Caterers had been brought in and a meal was laid out for us. The soup was made using the dried fish heads, everyone had second helpings! Then a fish pie with fresh haddock. All served with wine and local made beer including Sct Brigid Abbey beer, which was very good.

There were speeches by Arand? (who was the local teacher and our first speaker), Padraig and Steffen.

After the dinner We had music and songs and they performed the traditional Faroese dance, for which they sang the music as they danced. Someone said that there are about 4000 verses in the ‘song’ if performed in full! The dance steps are rather basic – like Breton dancing but was one of the few manifestations of local culture that we saw in the Faroes.  Later we continued touring the folk-houses to the point of tedium.

About 10.00pm the cars came to bring us back to Eirikur’s house where they had continued the party in our absence. After a few more hours of music and singing and noise we ……………

It hardly gets dark here at all.