My tradition when I stay with Rob & Mary is to attend mass with them on Sunday morning at 10 (set the alarm Jay!). The church is called “St. Oliver Plunkett” and mass is over in 35 minutes flat! Let’s try that in Edmonton.
Dinner is gorgeous lamb and potatoes with all the veg and home made apple tart!
The girls are home from gym with two young friends. Jimmy Higgins shows up to pick up his daughter Blathnaid. “Just played with Christie Moore last night in Sligo”. Seriously! You played with Christie Moore! That’s the big leagues. Christie is the biggest name in Irish music.
“Grab your fiddle” he says as he sits at the piano and I play a set of reels. He is a bodhran instructor as well at University Limerick.
First session is the Americana session in The Salthouse. V on fiddle Calvin on bass and Mark on guitar. Noriana is away tonight Also Roger Green on mandolin from Maryland. He really knows his bluegrass and tells me a story about being in Edmonton once and meeting Alfie Myhres at the shop then called The House of Banjo. Many of my friends show up; Rob with Daniel and then later with Mary and Corrina and Barry.
The late session is Sunday night at the Crane with Greg & Mary.
A great quiet session.
Then to Vinnie’s for Curry Cheese Chip and the walk to Renmore along Lough Athola.
I start the day in Renmore with Rob. We check out a potential rental property for him then hit a bike shop to get a chain and a rear cassette.Fun for me to do bike mechanics in Eire.
I follow George Grasso to his 2 gigs – first at 5:30 (half five as they say) at Taaffe’s then 10:00 at The Crane. George is a multi instrumentalist so the first session he is playing the Uilliean pipes and ant the second he plays the banjo.
I all in to Tig Coili where you are guaranteed great trad music every day. The leaders are George Grasso guitar, and Connor McCarthy box.
It is Friday Oct 20, 2017 and I bid adieu to Co. Sligo and Jay Kerins. I arrive at the home of Seamie & Teresa and receive an exuberant welcome from Paco & Zappy the pups. Great to catch up and Seamie is flat out with his deaconite in Elphin. Then onto Paula Kelly. Always joyful to see Paula as she runs a creche and her house is full of children. As it’ Friday many Irish Catholics observe the day of fast which basically means no red meat. She prepares the most beautiful piece of salmon. I go off to see her mother Joanie McCourt aged 87. Huge changes in Joanie in a year. If her dementia was a sapling this year it is a full grown oak. She has left her home on main street and is in the Sacred Heart Home. Recognition and response is minimal but myself and the staff elicit a few smiles with mentions of Canada and her children.
Now I am driving to Galway on the M5 motorways in a torrential deluge. Tropical storm Brian is imminent. I’m stuck behind a huge truck for miles as I hesitate to pass with my little Skoda with all the wind and spray from the truck. After the toll booth the sun comes out. I arrive in Renmore. Hello Rob & Mary! They are also eating fish:fish choder. Yum!
I’ve spent 8 days in Co. Sligo which is a first for me. Thanks largely to the other Jay, Jay Kerins, from Ballinacarrow. One highlight was being in the home of Willie Coleman who composed the famous jig “Willie Coleman’s”. (It’s the 2nd jig in our Cherish the Ladies set Tim.) We had a lovely tune with Francie Coleman the son of Willie. That was Saturday Oct 14, 2017. Then we hit the Morrison Centre in Riverstown for a Ceolthas Evening of beautoiful Sligo music. This is the heart of it and feel I’m “Touching the Cloth”.
I postponed my trip to Kerry yesterday. Good thing as Ophelia ravaged the south. I was safe and sound in Co. Sligo. In Shoot the Crows tonight with Leonard Barty pipes, Jay Kerins bongoes, Brian McDonagh mandola and Philip Duffy fiddle. Weather is calm!
Turned out to be an altogether lovely session. There was even a woman present from Hornby Island, B.C.
I arrive on Sunday October 8th. But not my luggage. Air Canada thought it was a much better idea tha my bag stay in Calgary – go figure. The bag will be delivered to me in Donegal 41 hours later. What did that cost? It’s ~ 6hours drive from Shannon to Bunbeg. No matter – I have i now. aaaah clean socks!
Sunday night I arrive at the Fuller/Byrne household in Renmore. It’s Sunday dinner and the place, as usual. is buzzing. Michael, Rob’s childhood friend from Prince George, is visiting. Before I can go to a session Rob takes me to a late night Pharmacy (chemist here) to buy some blood glucose testing strips which are in the missing bag.
My first session is at the mighty Teag Coili’s on Shop Street Galway. Players are: Brian McGrath banjo, Mick Coneely fiddle, Murphin (from Denmark) fiddle, Michael guitar. Fun times and some interesting different tunes like hop jigs and flings. 11;30 comes too soon and the lads pack up and head off.
Thats’ when session 2 starts with myself and John Nolan, a box player from New York City. He is a lovely player and apologizes for knowing mostly the ‘old” tunes. No bother, those are my favourite as well.
Georgia and I had a great 3 days at the Fort for “Dominion Day”. The parade was especially fun. Weather was also perfect!
Where Jay is Playing;
July 29 & 30, 2017
Georgia & I will be performing on 1885 from noon to 3:00pm for Culture Days
I met Finn when he was 7 in 1996. He eventually took up the box and played in bnads – toured Europe and North America, wen to U Limerick for a degree in Trad music. Ten this year he started to sketch Irish musicians. And in 7 monthes his career has exploded. One look at the detail and you’ll see why.
Matt Molloy by Finn Harber
His beautiful work can be seen here.
Finn Harper Facebook
He had an exhibition in the River Island Hotel, Castleisland during the Patrick O’Keeffe festival. I called in on him Saturday afternoon for a lovely chat.