The Luck Of The Irish...

How lucky are we to get to tour Ireland in October? This lucky:

The Dublin Airport taxi driver who shoved my accordion into the trunk of his cab and broke it the day before the first gig, which led us to Donal Ring on the Limerick Road in Cork City, who repaired it in about twenty minutes. The River Lee in Cork with the rowers and the ducks floating by in the morning. The Shannon River in Frank McCourt’s hometown of Limerick with those beautiful bridges lit up at night. The Walshes & Brennans we met in Kilkenny. The couple I met back in February in Belfast who promised to come back and see us in Lisburn, and not only did they come back, but they brought me a bottle of Bushmills. I don’t even know their names. And those raucous Belfast audiences. Gretchen and I have been playing to them now for thirteen years. We’ll always come back. And Ben Glover’s great support set on the first four shows, debuting a few new songs he wrote with Gretchen this past summer. The drive from Belfast to Sligo, through Armagh, Omagh and Inniskillen. We would see these cities twice more in the next few weeks. The ancient stones in Culdragh Cemetery on Boa Island, near Loch Erne in County Fermanagh. Barry’s Pub in Grange, Sligo. One of the most intimate gigs I’ve ever done; Carol there showing us to the dressing room upstairs with a warning about a ghost. We never saw him. We think he dug the music. The hotel in Mullachmore overlooking Donegal Bay (pictured below). The incredible drive along the coast road down to Galway, passing Benbulbin near Drumcliffe and W.B.Yeats’ grave. The hotel on the Salthill Promenade in Galway, maybe the best hotel room view I’ve ever seen. Galway Bay...The ugly American at breakfast in the hotel restaurant, standing up and shouting anti-Obama nonsense to a table full of astonished Irish women, which led to an elderly Irish lady’s great comment to us. She could sense my wanting to get in the middle of it. “Leave him be. His kind are never worth bothering with”. The wisdom that comes with age…Then it was the dash back up through Donegal and Derry to Portstewart in County Antrim and a hotel in Portrush. Another great hotel room view. This one overlooking the cold North Atlantic waves breaking on the rocks along the seafront, the Arctic Ocean somewhere straight North...Back to south Dublin and Dún Laoghaire. Another hotel on the coast, this time facing Dublin bay and the Irish Sea. The Royal Marine Hotel. Built in 1837, Michael Collins stayed there. Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra once walked the halls. The hotel bar was called Hardy’s Bar. Laurel and Hardy once stayed for thirty three (“turty tree”) days while performing in Dublin. Another great Dublin audience. The last gig at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny, back up near the Donegal/Derry border, before one last night off in Dublin. Hotels on all four compass points on the island. North, South, East & West. Portrush, Cork, Dún Laoghaire & Galway. Nine gigs in eleven days. Beautiful venues all. Thanks to all who came out to see us, especially Andrew, Grace & Julian who flew in from England; and special thanks to Nigel Martyn for tour wrangling and driving us safely throughout this beautiful country. And thanks as always to Nigel Morton in Yorkshire for the patience of Job in booking it. We'll be back, Eire.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling...if only my mother were alive to hear about  this one.

Mullachmore, Donegal Bay photo Ireland.jpg


Cousin Jimmy October 28, 2013 @10:46 am

Nice blog Barry. As a great fan of ya'lls music I follow ya through your Facebook posts. The blog is a nice, concise, summary of your trip. The dedication to your talent and gift of music is demonstrated by your tireless & passionate work ethic. As a Yank I hope we see more of you back in the States, especially near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Maurice Byrne October 27, 2013 @08:24 pm

So sorry i never made it to a show this time round but the Gods conspired against it this time. However, ill be posting more radicalisms on your facebook wall just to keep the pot stirred!! Wishing you a safe trip home and lets chat soon!

Deirdre O'Sullivan October 27, 2013 @06:23 pm

Hi Barry, So pleased you enjoyed your time in Ireland. I loved your show in the Pavilion in Dun Laoghaire. I was completely mesmerised! What a brilliant songwriter and singer Gretchen is. What a brilliant musician you are! And what a lovely couple you both make. It was such a lovely night. Look forward to seeing you again, hopefully before too long. Deirdre

Meghan October 27, 2013 @03:37 pm

I just read your comments on Ireland and heard your music for the first time (thanks to @jill Tomalty retweet). I've never been to Ireland, have always wanted to, and I've imagined it (the people) just as you've described less the broken accordion; living vicariously through you. If you are ever on the North side of Chicago and could fit in a short gig at at thriving retirement community, give me a shout. I bring in weekly entertainment for them and they'd love your music. Thanks!

Matt Malone October 27, 2013 @03:22 pm

Hi Barry, it was great to see you again in Dun Laoghaire with another fabulous show. I said to Gretchen at the desk that we four had seen you in Ratoath previously and this time we came back with fourteen. My friends are your new fans they've been raving about you both ever since the show. I hope you get a chance to have a rest before you resume touring, you must be exhausted. Looking forward to your next visit, thank you both for the inspiration, warmest regards, Matt & Co

Ruth Gordon October 27, 2013 @02:54 pm

So happy that Ireland was good to you. So sorry we were not able to see you this time. Hope to see you in Nashville before long! Best wishes to you both.

Joan Vibert October 27, 2013 @02:45 pm

I love "traveling" with you two and knowing that there are thousands of people you are bringing joy to with your music is just a incredible bonus. I only wish I could get in on just a bit of it!! But I will soon, I hope!

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Upcoming shows

  • Jan 29
    King's Theatre,  Glasgow,
  • Feb 1
    Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  Glasgow,
  • Feb 3
    Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  Glasgow,
  • Feb 4
    The Sage (Sage One),  Gateshead (Newcastle),
  • Feb 5
    Barbican Centre,  London