It’s Saturday and the Festival is in full swing. Ennis is buzzing. People everywhere. So much choice. For me the day kicked off with another Café session. Rowan Tree is an amazing location on the river with bay windows and high ceilings and music led by Eoin O’Neill and Joan Hanrahan. The usual Fleadh Nua Family were there and it was great to catch up with some old friends. I left early so missed a song from Luka Bloom on his birthday. You can’t be everywhere.
Off to the CD launch where Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh delighted us with their fiddle and concertina and of course the effortless and extraordinary sean nos dancing of Caitlin. This is dancing fit for a President (she has).
In contrast an hour later we were rocking to the sounds of Four Winds at the launch of their cd. They are Caroline Keane on concertina Daoiri Farrell on bouzouki and vocals, Tom Delany on pipes and whistles and Robbie Walsh on the bodhran. A band without a fiddle? How could I possibly like that? But these guys nailed it.l The explosive energy of Tom’s pipes and the driving rhythms of the bouzouki and bodhran carry the music forward. Surprisingly Caroline’s concertina does not get lost and merges perfectly with the pipes. It reminded me a bit of Moving Hearts…..
Then the session search began and I found a few beauties. There were quiet tunes in Queens with Eileen O’Brien, Martin O’Connor and Thierry Masur, a cracking session at Faffa’s with Blackie O’Connell, Damien O’Reilly and Cyril O’Donoghue and great tunes at Knox’s with Kevin Finucane, Martha Clancy, Kieran Kissane with, Nicole, Maureen, Steve, Fu, and the lovely Cliona and Abby from Cork. A couple of great dance sets and some sean nos from Suzanne Leahy. Didn’t want it to finish. How on earth do you beat that?
Well, you go to Kelly’s. I’ve raved about this pub before. I go every Saturday night I am in town and just love playing with the regulars there. This night it felt like a giant party to which the whole of Ennis were invited. Kelly’s is Irish for “good time”. Coming a bit late there was already no space and I was surprised to see Eileen O’Brien with Andrew MacNamara and Jack Talty on piano rather than the usual. Great tunes indeed but not what I expected. Then there was a shift change. Eileen left for another gig and Joan Hanrahan and Brid O’Gorman joined us. And then Carmel O’Dea and then Geraldine Cotter. Let the party begin. Just a few lucky visitors were there to experience this including Tony Illanes, Steve Brown and Beannie O. The session ebbed and flowed from one glorious set to another. Impromptu dancing from the omnipresent Suzanne Leahy, and then when you thought it was all over, a singing session that went to 2.30 am led by Alan Hogan and the inimitable Hanrahan sisters. You knew it was a good night when they started singing Scottish songs! This was another of those magic moments I spoke of in an earlier blog. I could write a book on the nights at Kelly’s alone.
I heard the craic was continuing at O’Keefe’s so I headed there but a frustrated doorman wouldn’t let me in saying they were closed and he was trying to get rid of everyone. Fat chance! A sneak look in the door and the place was packed. Oh well there’s always tomorrow. You can’t be everywhere.