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.