The Devil went down to Georgia apparently but God was in Doolin last weekend. And I don’t mean Frankie Gavin, though he was there too!
It was the Russell Memorial Weekend, an event held in honour of members of the Russell family since the untimely and tragic death of Micho Russell in 1994.
There are concerts and there are workshops but it’s about the sessions. They go all day and night from around 2pm and all four pubs are buzzing. The opening concert is a showcase of young local talent and always impresses and there is a headline concert this time featuring Frankie and DeDannan, which I didn’t get to.
Nevertheless there were plenty of highlights for me. A quiet session with Dermot Byrne and Eoin O’Neill and Quentin Cooper in Fitz’s, with Dermot again and Floriane Blanke in McGann’s, a mighty session with Frankie Gavin, James Cullinan and a host of others at O’Connors that lifted the roof off, playing with Blackie O’Connell and Cyril O’Donoghue, singing a couple of songs myself and watching a future star – young Seannai McMahon work the audience at McGanns, with his infectious songs.
Not much more to say really. Here are a few photographs which I think tell the story. Thnks to Melanie Nolley for the ones of me and Frankie.
Oh, one more thing. Let me tell you why I think God was in Doolin; and that He/She must be a lover of Irish trad music. It was Saturday night I had been playing music all day and was suffering with a cold and a cracked rib (long story). It was 9ish and the pubs were packed and you could hardly move and I had had enough. So I was ready to go home via a few quiet tunes at the Roadside in Lisdoonvarna. When I got in the car however I discovered I had no petrol. Warning lights were flashing and the trip computer said 0 km remaining! I couldn’t risk the 30km home. So I looked for an hostel room which I eventually found. Stuck in Doolin now with no transport I called in to O’Connor’s and lucked in to a session with a fired up Frankie Gavin, Noel O’Donoghue, James Cullinan, Michael Queally, Seanie Vaughan and many more. To sit next to Frankie and play a few tunes was a real buzz.
See what I mean?