英日対訳:The Northern Fiddler北の大地のフィドラー達('79/'85)第16回 3部(1/8) 「キッチン」家屋と周辺風景




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The dirt road takes its windy way between the steep sides of the glen, down towards the sea where the deserted village lies. Walking the five miles to the village along this road forces you to appreciate the isolation of the people who lived at the road’s end, an isolation that compelled them to leave the glen forty years ago for the relatively more accessible villages further down the coast. This road is the back way to the village; its front entrance is its harbor by the sea. It is indicative of the ruggedness and wildness of the inland terrain of South-west Donegal, that for centuries the main point of contact with the outside world for this village and other like it, was via the North Atlantic which surrounds this coastline on three sides. Most of the villages lie on a plateau bordered by dramatic sea cliffs and intersected inland by mountains, narrow glens and bogy wastelands. As a consequence, most settlements is located on the coastlines with its more fertile land and milder climate. The interior of this country is sparsely populated and good roads are a recent innovation. The landscape of the coast is surrealistically beautiful and inevitably intimidating. Viewed from the sea, the coastal villages look like scattered pebbles resting on massive geological forms. Men have lived here for centuries at a subsistence level, in cautious compromise with the physical environment. The cromlechs and portal dolmens which stand against the vacant skyline of the bog were certainly the ancient creations of a people who related to their physical surroundings with an inbred awe. 





The major characteristics of the peasant culture that developed here were moulded to the realities of the environment and cannot be comprehended in isolation from it. It was a society that was politically and economically decentralized. The geography of the region and the available technology permitted only small scale economic activity, and thwarted the development of any efficient network of roads or other system of communication that could have fostered economic and political centralization. What bound the people of South-west Donegal to each other, beyond the sheer necessity of survival in a sometimes brutal environment, were spiritual and cultural values. The identity of the people was based on a strong sense of kindship, religion, the Irish language, and a shared oral history and musical tradition. The art forms of this scattered society which possessed few material resources tended to be individualistic, egalitarian and community oriented. For a culture with a strong collective life, there was great room for individual expression. Story telling, riddling, singing, dancing, poetry, and instrumental dance music were all forms that demanded personal initiative and inventiveness, and at the same time called for the participation of the community. It was this dialectic of personalized art forms and collective involvement, combined with an age-old geographical isolation, that created a rich oral culture and a people who possessed a unique capacity to entertain themselves. They took a great joy out of life and translated this joy into a fertile folk culture. But even these factors could become impotent in the face of sustained economic deprivation, and as a consequence the landscape is littered with empty villages such as the one I was walking towards along the winding road. 

ここで育まれた農漁村の文化に見られる、主な特徴をいくつか挙げてみると、地理的環境がもたらす現実に即したものであり、そこから切り離してしまっては、理解できなくなるものです。ここは政策面にも経済活動の面でも、中央からは分散させられていました。この地方の地理的環境と、そこで利用できるテクノロジーのせいで、経済活動は最小限にしか行なえませんでした。そして、経済活動の面でも、政策面でも、中央との繋がりをもっと持てるようにするはずの、道路網や通信網の発展を、阻害してきたのです。ドニゴール県南西部の人々の、お互いの心と暮らしをつないだものは、時に残酷なる牙をむく地理的環境から生き延びるという、理屈抜きの必要性以上に、精神的かつ文化的な価値観の数々でした。この地の人々のアイデンティティが基礎とするのは、「皆が親類縁者同然」という強い意識、しっかりとした信仰心、アイルランド語に対する熱い思い、それから、口伝えに受け継がれる人々の暮らしの歩みや、昔から伝わる音楽を、皆で共有していたことです。彼らの芸術活動の有り様は、人々が散らばって暮らし物質的資源にも乏しいことから傾向としては各個人で取り組むものであり優劣貴賤比較することもなく自分達くらす地域社会を軸とするものです。集団生活の意識が強い暮らしの中にある文化にしては、個々人の表現の裁量が、非常に大きく認められていました。ストーリーテリング、なぞかけ、歌、踊り、詩作、それに楽器演奏による踊りの音楽は、どれも担い手自身が、しっかりと主導権を持ち、そして創造性を発揮することが求められました。それと同時に、地域社会全体でこれに参画することが求められました。この相反するような、個々人に任された芸術活動の有り様と、地域社会全体での参画という、2つの要素が、大昔から続く地理的環境がもたらす孤立感の元に結びついて、豊穣なる口承文化と、独特な自己享受を楽しむ人々を、創り出していったのです。 人々は、暮らしの中から大いなる喜びを見出し、その喜びを、豊穣な民俗文化へと変換してゆきました。しかしながら、こうした要素も、経済的困窮が続いたことにより、機能不全に陥ります。その結果、今(1970年代)私が、この曲がりくねった道を歩いた先にたどり着いたところのような、廃村の数々と共に、瓦解し散在しているのです 


The houses of the village are situated to the right of the road, a little above it on the slope of the hill. At a distance a stranger would be hard put to recognize them as dwelling places. They are built out of the same stones that dot the landscape and are so well sited that they seem to grow out of the land. The organic nature of the structures is further emphasized by the lack of roofs, which is the emblematic sign of emigration throughout the west of Ireland. For when the inhabitants of a village leave, the thatch roof is taken down or allowed to rot. One is instantly struck by the closeness of the four houses to each other, situated on one side of the deep burn of the glen, and one wonders why they were not sited further away from each other for the sake of privacy. Yet this proximity of house sites was the foundation of the social and cultural life of the community. This line of houses, surrounded by a patchwork pattern of walled-in fields, has been termed a clachan, and was once typical of the farming settlements of the coastal regions of Donegal. The clachan consisted of a kinship cluster of farmhouses, where the adjacent land was worked co-operatively in what is known as a rundale system, where each household owned small strips of land scattered amongst his neighbors’ holdings. Each household would have access to a balanced share of good and bad land, a distribution that would either be decided by casting lots or through yearly rotation of tillage rights. As children married and other households came into being, the land would undergo a further subdivision. In this system of landholdings, the farmland was divided into in-fields, which were cultivated annually, and out-fields, which crops were rotated, and which were periodically left fallow. Beyond this lay the commonage, usually situated on mountain slopes where cattle and sheep were grazed. Through this system of scattered landholdings was agriculturally inefficient, and made even subsistence farming a difficult task, it was the economic basis for the common social life that once existed here. Within this systen, where no man held all his land in one place, it was convenient to site houses in a central cluster. In the nineteeth century, when reforming landlords attempted to break up the rundale system in order to promote more efficient land usage, they encountered the strongest resistance to change from the farmers over the scattering of the clachans, which was to accompany the centralisation of landholdings. The farming community feared the radical alteration of their social life that the proposed separation of dwelling sites would engender. 



The inhabitants of this village must have experienced the communal identity of the clachan deeply, for when they left, they all left together. No-one stayed behind to go it alone. I was told that the musical life here was extremely active. The village boasted several singers, and the people of Teelin, a fishing village down the coast, who were noted for their fiddling, were in the habit of taking their boats around Glenhead to the village for nights of dancing, fiddling, and poteen drinking. Here they were far from the surveillance of the gaugers and the strictures of puritanical priests. Today, standing in the roofless central rooms surrounded by thick stone walls, bleached to a bone-like color by the salt air and wind, the houses seem more like monastic cells than the sites of all-night winter dancing. Yet it was this long rectangular kitchen room that was the center of musical and social activity. 



(photo on p116: The deserted village of Port, Co Donegal) 





The houses in this village are built on the ancient longhouse or byre house model common to most of Ulster and Western Scotland. They are built with stone - a mixture of large boulders and stone rubble. The hearth and chimney are located at the gable end of the house and a bed alcove profects outward from the back kitchen wall. They were once thatched, and there are pointed stone profections along the walls to which the ropes that kept the thatch down were tied. They were all built on a slight slope and the floors are flagstone, now littered with broken pieces of old crockery and colored bottles. They are divided into two or three rooms, the largest being the kitchen. The kitchen of the Irish farmhouse was not only the central room of the house in a physical sense, but was also the spiritual center of the rural culture. It was here that the family and neighbors would gather in to cheilidh and rake. This could range from conversation to story-telling, singing, fiddling and dancing. It was a multi-functional space, well-designed to accomodate a variety of work- and play-related activities: the same room that was used for butter-churning, net-mending and spinning, would also have served for all-night dances. As a physical space, the kitchen epitomises the intimate connection between work and play that distinguishes the mentality and value system of this society from our own, where labor and recreation are conceived as mutually exclusive activities. There is no hallway at the entrance of Donegal farmhouses; as you walk into the houses, you step into the midst of family life in the kitchen where, at one end of the room a fire in an open hearth or a cast-iron stove is continuously burning. 





On a dry day the door will not be shut behind you, but kept open - here there is no strict separation between the natural and man-made environment. Another indication of the communal social life is the placement of all the kitchen furniture alongside the walls of the room. No piece of furniture occupies a permanent central location, not even the table. This practice, which probably originated centuries ago when the fire was located in the center of the longhouse, facilitated the creation of a central open space that allowed for large social gatherings, and activities such as dancing. 





Over the last months and years we heard many stories told in Irish kitchens. It's the place were families were fed and raised, where after a long days work neighbors would gather to tell about the latest news over steaming pots of tea. Where in long winter nights the fiddles come out and where here in Donegal people gathered for house dances.