The band traveled to Ireland for a quick vacation after Easter and played in several pubs. Life in Ireland revolves around pubs. We stopped at a pub for morning coffee, lunch at another pub, afternoon tea at the local pub, then dinner at a larger pub. About eight or nine it was time for music at yet another pub.
On the band’s first evening in Ireland we visited Durty Nelly’s pub in Bunratty (just outside Limerick). We met some wonderful people, including Karen and Jill who were staying at the same B&B we were! On the table below you’ll see two pints. The Guinness in Ireland is so much better than in the States. The Guinness company takes several extra steps to make sure they serve the freshest, highest quality beer. Did I mention that it matters, and helped sell a few more pints?
The place to be in Dingle is Fergus O’Flaherty’s pub on Bridge Street. People pack into the place every night of the week, and Fergus entertains them with his accordion, the banjo and whistle. Word is that he can play just about any instrument you hand him. His voice is strong and he plays well and really fast. The room was full of people from all over the UK and elsewhere, including a group of US priests sitting at the table next to us. Fergus and the crowd appreciated our performance, so the Guinness flowed freely. In the photo below both glasses look empty. They weren’t empty long.
We spent two nights in Dingle, on the far west coast of Ireland. There are several pubs to choose from. A man on the street recommended this place. Curran’s pub looks like the quintessential traditional pub in Ireland. Your living room is larger than the main room in this pub. In one corner is the “snug,” a little room off the front door, where the women won’t distract male patrons. They made an exception for the night we were there.
At one point in the evening, during one of our breaks, we could hear someone near the door shushing the crowd. “Be Quiet!” As the room calmed down we heard Timmy (91) sing the old ballad, Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe. Tim was well-known in the area. The next day we stopped in a pub in Annascaul for morning coffee and told them about our evening at Curran’s. Everyone knew Timmy. They told us a couple of stories about him.
T. P. Cotters
For the band’s last evening in Ireland, we visited T P Cotters pub on the main street in Macroom. About 4,000 people make this village home, along the river between Killarney and Cork. There are several good pubs, but something about Cotters drew us in. Perhaps it was the peat fire? Maybe it was the warm welcome from John, the owner. We had a great time, with the folks at the pub joining in for most of our songs. Most moving was when John convinced one of the regulars, Mick, to sing the ballad about Willie McBride; a beautiful Irish tenor voice singing a sad song.
I have to add an editorial comment here. One of the best things about our favorite pubs in Ireland: No televisions on the wall. Warm fire and a warm welcome. That and a glass of Guinness. A little music.
Can we go again next year? So much more to see.