Connemara is so gorgeous. Still I was in a hurry to get back to rob fuller’s and catch a couple hours sleep. Wow is the City eve different than ‘Boffin. Session 1 was at Coili’s again with Paul Bradley and declan corey and Paul;s girlfriend, anita from Oxford. Then off to the Crane to meet up with Johnny O’Halloran, melodeon: Alva, fiddle; and Ritchie, bodhran. Walked home alon Lough Attalia Drive.
Tuesday 25-October-2011. Kevin took me for a hike to the north side of the island. We were up there once before when I visited him in 2006. Absolutely beautiful scenery – small waterfalls, high cliffs, views of the mainland and Inishturk, a neighbouring island. Did I mention my camera is broken -grrrrrr. “Lens Error”.We had a good bit of sun for our hike.
After dinner we set up by the fire and played tunes until late. Then Kevin started making me CD’s of music i should have. One very interesting coincidence is we have a common friend in Canada: Papper. There is only one man I ever met named Papper so you either know him or you don’t. I met him on my first trip to PEI in 1980. Kevin met him in 2007 when he spent 5 monthes in Cape Breton attending CBU. Now Kevin owns a lovely fiddle made by Papper.
Monday 24-October-2011. Kevin is renovating his seaside cottage and typical of most irish, when I ask what I can do he replies “Nothing, You’re grand.” I grabbed a broom and started cleaning rubble, then he gave me a pail and a screen to get the styrofoam bits out of the plaster and dust. We walked to town that night to make a session – Kevin had one visitor who asked to meet at the pub and his cousin Peader, a fine singer and DADGAD guitarist was about. The presidential debate was on the TV so we watched that til 11:30 pm then played music from midnight til 3:30 am. Very fun, I Love island life. Although it was a starry night this is a very rural place with a thin windy, hilly road. Was it ever dark – took a while for my eyes to become accustomed to the darkness. Basically i could see the wet tire tracks on the road.
After 4.5 hours sleep I got up and went to Mass in Renmore with the Fuller/Byrne family. Then off to Inishbofin off the Galway coast. It is about 1.5 hours through beautiful, scenic Connemara. Good thing it was scenic as I seemed to spend lots of time following a slow moving farmer hauling cattle. It is also a road where you will encounter sheep or horse riders. Got to the ferry with 10 minutes to spare. Parked on the pier under a “No Parking” sign. “You’ll be grand this time of year”. So now I am staying with my friend Kevin Abeyta, another fine fiddler. This island is absolutely beautiful. Lots of seaside, boats, old stone cottages, sheep, cattle, dogs. Kevin and I played tunes til 2am at the house by the fire.
Back in Galway City for one night. V rehaired 2 bows for me, yay! Sat in with “The Lazy Cafe Trio” with V (Werner Gladh), Mark O’Suliivan guitar and singing, and John guitar and singing. A change from Irish traditional the lads play American blues and an assortment of ethnic tunes including Swedish and Russian. Too much fun as usual. My friends from Oranmore stopped in, Corrina and Barry Maguire.
We were celebrating Michael Flannagan’s birthday in Brosna today so I must make the 200 km trip back south. I stopped to see my friend Dave Harper in Tubber which is in the Burren close to Crusheen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burren
The Burren is a beautiful area of the country with unique vegetation. Harper bought himself a cottage recently and is using his building skills to make a beautiful home for himself and his partner Yuka.
Then back to Castleisland where I met up with Jackie O’Connor. He gave me a huge feed of cabbage and bacon then we warmed up on some of our new tunes. Terrence collected us at 9:30 and we drove to Brosna. It is fun for me to listen to the 2 lads chat about Kerry history, local characters and football. We arrived at Flannagan’s bar and the place was packed to the rafters with patrons there to wish Michael Flannagan a happy 93rd birthday which had occurred the previous day. So if I have this right he was born on October 20th, 1918. Michael was in fine form directing various patrons, including myself, to sing a song. The amount of food they put out was quite amazing; wee Irish sausages on toothpicks, sandwiches and birthday cake. It seemed I was meant to eat a plate of 20 sandwiches by myself. There was a lovely 10 year old box player, Patrick Moriarity, who gave us some great tunes. He place 3rd in the All Ireland this year. Jackie, Terrence and I played til near 1am then made our way home.
Still in Galway City. Went to a huge session on Forster Street run by Sean Flannagan on box. Lovely 200 year old pub. There were some Breton folks playing waltzes and singing in French – the one man had a version of a melodica (keyboard that you blow into) with a chromatic button accordion fingering. Michael Chan was there on fiddle as well. Also met a man named Jim Cotter who was trying to organize a festival in West Cork in honour of his ailing brother. He announced to the entire pub that all musicians who showed up would be given food and accommodation. “he must have an awfull big house” said someone. Also of interest was they were showing an NHL ice hockey match between the Philadelphia Flyers (boo- Chris Pronger) and the Washington Capitals ( Yay – Alexander Ovechkin)
Met up with V at Tig Neachtain’s and Corrina McGarrigle at Kelly’s and kept bumping into people I know. Returned to Rob’s at Renmore then back to town for 2 sessions. The first at Coili’s with Paul Bradley, fiddle and Declan Corey, mandolin. Then up to cook’s Corner for a lovely tune with Kevin Whelan banjo; Michael Chang fiddle; Greg guitar; Sean accordion; Gregorio fiddle and whistle; Lynn fiddle; and Patricia fiddle.
Enroute to Galway City I stopped in Ennis to see John Culliney. John visited me in Edmonton in 2007 – stayed for 6 weeks over Christmas. He made the huge gorgeous dinner. Niamh stopped by for a tune as well. Then on to Galway where I met up with Rob Fuller, wife Mary and 4 lively children. Rob & I walked into town to Tig Coili’s and had a great session with Kevin Whelan, banjo and Liz Hannrahan, fiddle.