Monthly Archives: May 2016

It’s a long, long way from Alburquerque to Clare

I hope you don’t mind me telling this little story.

I was busy doing what I do, juggling the camera and the fiddle, at a café session on Tuesday, 24th May at the Fleadh Nua. Session leaders were Cyril O’Donoghue and Blackie O’Connell. These Café sessions are a tradition now and for me one of the highlights of this festival. During a break I was approached and asked “You’re not that blogger are you?” After establishing which blogger she meant, Jeanne went on to say I was the reason she was here in Ennis at the Fleadh Nua.  She was here with three of her four nieces, all musicians, and other assorted family all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico. A mini-bus full of them.  She filled me in on the story. They had been searching for information on Festivals in Ireland and google directed her to my blog on Fleadh Nua from 2015. What they read and saw there was enough to convince them to come to Fleadh Nua and Ennis.

They managed only one day there in a hectic short trip but, for sure, they made the most of that day. Joining in enthusiastically with Cyril and Blackie and doing a duet there with fiddle and bodhran and later singing a wonderful version of Orphan Girl at Frank Custy’s afternoon session. Following that with a mesmerising version of The Sally Gardens. Their fresh, energetic sound and gospel-like harmonies was warmly received.

I was grateful to meet Jeanne, Natasha, Evelyn and Gabrielle and the other travellers and more than humbled that my blog touches people such as them all around the Irish Music world.

That’s why I blog. Thanks guys.




Categories: Festivals, My Journey, Sessions, Stories, Trad Irish Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Green Fields of America. Part 1

It’s been quite a while since I blogged. That’s not because I’ve done nothing worth talking about. Quite the opposite. I returned this week from a visit to the US.  My first, other than a brief business trip to Arizona, over twenty years ago.

I had three weeks. Hardly enough time to see America. Well not all of America. But New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas were definites. And then the idea of going to Portland, Oregon, popped up. This might seem a strange selection but the first three were because I wanted to experience Irish Music there and then LA because my son lives there.

I can’t possibly do justice to this county in a single blog and in any case anyone interested in finding out about New York or LA won’t look in my humble part of the blogosphere. So this blog is about some of my experiences and my impressions of the people and the country. Sort of like opening the window in a new house and taking in the smells and sounds for the first time. Most of my activities centred around Irish music of course but I won’t dwell on that for the moment . I have written about some of these experiences on Facebook already and will compile into a blog later.

I have made a lot of friends in Ireland through music and many of these live in far flung places. Some in America and these provided the fulcrums for my adventures. Firstly I owe my visit to New York to Kira, who lives at the eastern end of Long Island. She invited me over and kindly offered to coordinate my visits to East Coast attractions.

I was picked up at the airport by Kira. And I got my first distant view of the skyline of New York from the roof of the carpark at JFK. Like some Crocodile Dundee clone I snapped away excitedly to the incredulity of my host. But it was my first day.



We headed out to Kira’s home on the end of Long Island – North Fork. Not the posh end of the Hamptons but a gorgeous place to live, two hours drive from Manhattan.

New York had welcomed me with glorious blue skies and so we stopped at the iconic Jones Beach on the way. I did not think my first experience of New York would be getting sand in my toes! It is a very wide beach stretching for 10 km with clean white sand. It has all the facilities of a theme park and I can imagine it packed during the heat of the New York summer. Indeed it is the most popular beach on the East Coast of the US with 6 million visitors a year . Conceived in the 20s the area was reclaimed from bogs and marshes and turned into a summer playground.  There is a boardwalk and many fine art deco buildings such as bath houses and pavilions and a wonderful water tower, recently resotored.



Kira had organised a little house session to welcome me and there was even Dancing in the Streets. But this was very much the entrée. New York City proper awaited me. That will be the subject of Part 2.IG3C0398


Categories: America, My Journey | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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