Name your Irish pub, something clever would be nice.

name your Irish pubAs every aging man and no doubt a fair amount of women dream about owning a fictional pub there are only two things holding you back. One is the hard work long hours and capital to get the Irish pub concept going. The other….. to name your Irish pub.

So this micro post will show a few examples of unusual Irish pub names  and  a few names your Irish pub could be.

Name you Irish pub, but don’t replicate these existing Irish pub names.

 

Durty Nellies, Clare

The dew drop inn, Kildare and Galway

The long haul, Dublin

The dying cow, Wicklow

The wander inn, Kerry

Stoop your head, Dublin

The squealing pig, Monaghan

Now these are all great names but as I sit and think, what goes into naming your own Irish pub? They may have a bit too much character for this old coot.

So, Name your Irish pub, after a family name?

When I think of it, some of my favorite Irish pub names follow this route

 

O’Donoghue’s, Dublin

McSorley’s, Dublin

Neary’s, Dublin

Murphy’s, Galway

O’Connor’s, Clare

It seems around Boston more pubs are opening up with two names like

Hugh O’Neils

Waxy O’Neils

Paddy barrys

Biddy Earlies

Maybe they think they add some realism, hopefully their name is really Hugh or Waxy(no way).

Then you could name your Irish pub after an Irish Icon.

I think this is more popular in foreign countries than Ireland

Names with;

 

Claddagh

Shamrock

Harp

Tara

Castles

Banshee

Chieftain

If you wanted to be a bit authentic you could spell your Irish pub name in Irish.

 

Tig Coili, Galway

Tigh Neactain, Galway

Roisin Dubh, Galway

Then their are the pubs I’ve just enjoyed and would like to pay homage to.

 

The Harbour bar, Bray

The Shanachie bar, Kinsale

Johnny Foxes, Dublin Wicklow border

Annie Kelleys, Tullamore

Joe lee’s, Tullamore

O’Donoghues, Stephens Green Dublin

 

So after I’ve put together these examples of fine Irish pub names, I guess I would name my Irish pub…

O’Shea’s harbor bar overlooking Stephens green, with Flutes and Fiddles, pints and pinters, saints and sinners, near the Dunloe gap across the Dingle bay, stuck away in a cozy snug and a gale wind, facing the cold Atlantic full of The fish of knowledge, warmed by a good lamb stew, by the footsteps of Finn McCool, James Connolly, and a merry plough boy, a plough and stars, and an enchanted way Pub

 

Cheers, and good luck naming your own Irish pub.

Ireland tourist sites that are must sees.

Ireland tourist sites

I usually write about seeing the less seen parts of Ireland, traveling the back roads and small towns, but in this post I think it’s time to give the iconic tourist destinations their just do. Yes this post will be dedicated to the Ireland tourist sites that really should be seen at least once. In many ways this list will give you an excuse to go back to Ireland and check another tourist venue off your list.

The Ireland tourist sites Bucket list.

 

The first on my list is the Cliffs of Moher.

Ireland tourist sites

The Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking, jetting out along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the West of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher provide a spectacular view of the rocky west coast of Ireland, from the Aran Islands and Galway Bay to the Blasket Islands and the Dingle Peninsula. There are some things to remember before you check out the Cliffs of Moher .

  1. Go on a clear day. This sounds easy but depending on a day in Ireland that will be clear is a crap shoot. It’s best to find out the days weather then book your trip.
  2. Take a bus tour to the Cliffs. I know, I know, I’m always going on about checking out things along the way and maybe staying in  an unexpected village, but you really can’t beat a short bus ride and not having to figure out parking and tickets and such. The times I’ve headed out to the Cliffs I’ve caught the bus from Galway City and they would drive through the Burren (another iconic Irish site) which included a tour of the completely dark underground caverns. Needless to say, you are a tourist for the day enjoying Ireland’s top tourist attractions, so go with the flow.
  3. If you can go in a less traveled time of the year. The high travel times bring, you guessed it, more travelers. Sometimes the majestic beauty of the Cliffs can be lessened when you feel like a side of beef slowly moving through lines. In the old days the Cliffs were there. People could go right over the edge, I’m sure some did. Today there is a visitors center and limits to access to the really breathtaking-scarier parts of the venue, even less when there are hoards of people all wanting a view. So if you can go early right at 9:00 am or later in the day after 5:00 pm or better yet at sunset which could be very late indeed 8:00 to 9:00 pm.
  4. If you happen to be staying in Doolin take advantage of the Pat Sweeney Cliff walk,  Don’t know how long it will take to be too crowded to be enjoyed but it looks fantastic.

 

The Irish Castle.

Ireland tourist sites

What you’ve never seen an Irish castle?

 

Although each Irish castle is unique, the feeling of walking through the hallways of ancient kings is common throughout most if not all ancient Irish fortitudes.

Kissing the Blarney stone is only the most well known part of Blarney Castle. Explore the history, visit the gardens, heck go full out tourist and attend a medieval feast.

Of course there are scores of other Irish Castles from the top to bottom of Ireland. I have only seen a few, Bunratty Castle in Cork, the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, all have a story, all have a history, all leave you with that feeling of remembrance of a different time and a different life.

 

The Irish Cabaret.

You will find yourself in a touristy destination, could be Dublin, could be Killarney, when there will be an Irish musical production or show being marketed your way. These can be a lot of fun if being entertained is what you are after. I attended a wedding and part of the week long celebration was a show at Johnny Foxes in Wicklow. It had Irish folk singers, Irish step dancers, a fellow spinning a yarn or two, very choreographed, very professional, and a lot of fun to boot. Just know that these productions are just that productions and they do their best to insure the tourists have as much “Irish” entertainment as possible. It’s kind of like watching a wild west show in Montana or Nevada it has a lot of hat but not a lot of cowboy.

The Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is really a drive along the Great Atlantic Way through The Great County of Kerry. The drive is a winding, breathtaking, bedazzling, scenic, death defying, bus dodging, must do, if you happen to be on the great western coast of Ireland. Yes I highly recommend this.

Found this video on youtube from   “underwater Ireland”  it is the best representation of the Ring of Kerry I’ve found as words simply don’t do it justice.

Well there are my top four Ireland tourist sites that are must sees. Frankly there are hundreds more Ireland tourist sites to be explored, but since I’m a bit lazy I was hoping you might make some suggestions.

Cheers,

 

Ramblings for a rainy day

Sometimes thoughts come over me and I must ask for your indulgence, for today was a rainy day indeed and my thoughts just went to rambling. As with all my little wanders off from informative posts about Irish music or travel tips, if you have a line or two of your ramblings put them in the comments and share them with this small piece of the world.

Rainy day thistle

      ” The rain upon the thistle”

 

Today it rained and rained again in a not so subtle way,

It rained hard and soft and teasingly light as I went upon my way,

Some would utter unclean thoughts, about the moisture that persists.

Some would curse and raise a hand or swing wildly with clenched fists.

 

But the rain it fell so steadfastly so, with a rythym and a rhyme.

It pelted rhythmically upon my cap, were it to stop would be a crime.

A tune of the rain ran wildly now through this sopping brain of mine,

A tune that made my steps step lively, on and through the grime.

 

A jig, a reel, a hornpipe too raced from thought to thought,

And though the puddles deepened, these tunes they would not stop.

A concert played inside my head, of merry tunes indeed.

The music filled me mightily, all thoughts did supersede

 

And though this pelting rain was the father of my thought.

In order to write this tune down  I need a dryer little spot,

And so upon the road I see a pleasant little place.

A pleasant little place to pen a tune, with determined haste.

 

Haste is needed now as this warming little place,

Has stopped the rythym of the rain and seeks it to be replaced,

Replaced by warming thoughts, of hot drinks and warming fires,

Of cozy pubs, and friendly chats, and all ones earthly desires.

 

Luckily a nice cool pint keeps the tune in place.

I pen the reel with that certain feel that cannot be replaced.

And as I sit so satisfied I grab my own tin whistle,

And play the tune that I was given, by the rain upon the thistle.

 

Cheers,

Brian.

 

 

 

The best Irish song for you to sing, it’s easy.

Yes you can sing the best Irish song, you can sing it well, and you won’t get thrown out of your house, pub, or county.

best irish song is easy to sing

There are those out there that say “I have have no voice, talent, and I am tone deaf” “I’m not singing”. Well I say rubbish.

There are two secrets to singing the best Irish song of the night, and instead of beating around the bush, here’s secret number one.

#1 Secret to singing the best Irish song……………….. Drum roll please,

Choose the right song.

This sounds simple but it is where most people fail. If you have very little range to your voice you need to find a song that doesn’t make you force the notes, that lets you exist in a comfort range.

This comfort range allows you to sing freely, effortlessly, and confidently.

Now what do I mean by range?

Every person, no matter how poor a voice they think they have, can make a least one pleasing sound, they can hold at least one nice sounding note. This note may be high, it maybe low, or it might be smack dab in the middle, but trust me it is there.

The choice of song that has a decent amount of high or low or middle tones which ever suits your range is what we are after.

I have a hard time with high notes, so I started out with songs that you can sing lowly, for I am a lowly singer. There will be, and are, notes in songs I sing that do not fit my range. This is where you adjust the song to fit your range, instead of reaching higher for the note I’ll drop down for a similar effect.

When you pick out that first song from your list of best Irish songs you will already know you can sing bits and pieces of it, pick out the one you can reach most bits and most pieces.

These are some songs that I find easier to sing,

The water is wide

Finnegan’s wake

Down by the glen side

Hills of Connemara

 

I Know, I know, what good is being able to not totally hack a part of a song? Well the thing is once you have a song that you can partially sing. You practice on shaping the parts you can’t quite handle yet. You listen to the cd or mp3 and sing the first verse, when you hit the part you have trouble with, you change it a bit till you find a path you can walk or sing through.

We are not going for a full on Adelle, we are going for an enjoyable acceptedness.

Do not underestimate the importance of knowing the lyric fully in aiding your singing of the song. Full fledged confidence can be undermined by a faulty memory.

Now if you think I’m full of hooey, think about the Happy birthday song.

The first part is easy for all,(happy birthday to you). The second part no big problem,(happy birthday to you). The big finish exposes a lot,(haaapppy  biiirthhday dear singer) if you amended the last part to be more similar to the earlier two. You would have sung a less diverse but more successful song.

These are songs I can sing but need to adjust because of my range.

Whiskey on a Sunday

Cliffs of Doneen

Sam Hall

Danny Boy

There is a part of Danny Boy that you truly need to have a top range to sing as written–

It’s I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow

People always expect you to mess this up, especially when like myself you are just an average singer, but I practiced this part enough that I can drop down an octave and push a pleasing tone confidently and quickly get to tell Danny boy how much I love him so.

#2 Secret to singing the best Irish song……………….. Drum roll please,

Love the song and don’t care what anybody else thinks, or in a word—-

Passion!

Now there is a not so fine line between someone who loves to sing their favorite song and some drama queen hack Irish Folk singer wanna be, but that being said, nothing trumps talent like passion.

I use this example a lot but it was a life changing event.

My wife and I are in the Shanachie Pub in Kinsale, County Cork some 25 years ago. We are there in late October and have had a nice time talking with the different folks when we are told a local singer just showed up and we were in for a treat. Well this fellow was good, a professional, and very enjoyable, but it was what happened after he finished which was so life changing.

This old woman shuffles up to the microphone and starts singing a local tune. She had the worst voice I have ever heard, the first few words made me think it was a joke. Her voice had the resonance of wild cats being swung by their tails as their claws were being scratched across a chalkboard. She didn’t care. She sang her song. She projected, confidently, proudly singing her song. She sang this song about her town that she loved and that love of singing came through. By the time she finished, every person was standing up and gave her a standing ovation. It was a beautiful performance.

I learned on that day that if you have a song you love, let her go, confidently, and proudly. The world is full of people who like to criticize everyone and everything. Ignore them, because there are just as many people who really like seeing people enjoy singing a song they love.

Those are the 2 secrets to singing your best Irish song and I’ll just add a few pet peeves that you should consider and be prepared for.

Singing Pet Peeves.

  1. You don’t Know the words
  2. Either sing or don’t, don’t need to be begged to sing
  3. Sing in the appropriate venue. Don’t force your way into a trad session.
  4. Don’t monopolize a singing session
  5. To many stanzas of unknown endless songs

I’ll be looking forward to hearing the good the bad and the ugly, it’s all for fun, and I hope all Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day,

Cheers.

The Ultimate guide for celebrating St. Patricks Day.

Talk about putting a little pressure on myself, but over the years I’ve learned a bit about celebrating St. Patricks Day.

celebrating St. Patricks day Boston

 

We’ll break it down to the different ways to celebrate Saint Paddy’s in Boston, In Ireland, or in your own house.

Irish Music.

  • If you want to get into the ultimate mood for the high season you better find some good Irish music. This can be harder than you think as many musical yahoos become Irish for the day.
  • Find out where the regular Irish sessions are held and find out where these musicians are playing in and around your area. In Boston you can find great sessions at The Druid in Cambridge, the Burren in Somerville, the Behan in Jamaica Plain.
  • If you find a good session you will find these musicians  playing all over the place for the whole month of March. Now Irish session music is the traditional music of Ireland, jigs reels, hornpipes, airs, with maybe a song thrown in but very different than Irish folk music.
  • Irish Folk music on the other hand consists of songs, Irish songs, old Irish songs are even better. Beware, this is where you will find the Irish for a day singers.
  • You usually need to depend on the reputation of the venue to hear good Irish Folk singers. The Irish pubs that stay true to their Irish roots during the year are the same who hire good authentic Irish Folk singers.
  • A really good take if you live near a major city is to head into town in the early afternoon, before things get too crowded and crazy. Most places will start music around 12:00 or 1:00, this lets you hear the singer or band, you run into less amateur mirth makers, and you can enjoy a pint or two, enjoy the music, then head home for a good CB&C dinner.
  • Get your iPod, pandora, or if your an old coot like me get out your favorite CDs
  • The best Irish folk singers to listen to on St Patricks Day.
  1. Luke Kelly
  2. The Dublineers
  3. Paddy Reilly
  4. The Clancy Brothers
  5. The Wolfetones
  6. Tommy Makem
  7. Jim McCann
  8. Chris Lucas
  9. The Furey Brothers
  10. Delores Keane
  11. Dervish
  12. Niamh Parsons
  • I still love to sit down in a quiet spot in the house, after the big St. Patricks Day celebration and dinner have ended, pour a pint of sustenance and listen to Paddy Reilly’s 20 Golden Irish ballads. It’s a great end to the day

You have found a good band to listen to, so the next step is transportation.

If you are heading out in a bigger city like Boston or New York there are the subways that allow you the freedom of staying longer, and maybe striking an additional blow for freedom, without worrying about driving home.

Then there are the newer companies like Lyft and Uber but they can be a little pricey on certain high demand times.

The best is to get dropped off and take the group cab home, really the best way to enjoy your night out. When that good Irish music starts playing it’s easy for the craic to take you just a little too far to be driving.

Next step Find a pub that serves a proper pint.

No green beer please, leave that to the Irish for a day crowd or the local fraternity.

There really is nothing that salutes the day better that a properly poured pint of Sir Arthur’s Finest stout, Guinness.

Steps to a properly poured Guinness.

The glass

It has to be an Imperial pint, it can be the modern Guinness gravity glass, if you’re an old dodger like myself the classic tulip glass is the glass ware of choice. The best vessel for pouring the black stuff into must be an imperial pint glass.

The pour.

Guinness is double poured, and it takes time. If some rookie barkeep pours you a guinness in one straight shot, shake your head in disgust and find another pub.

The timing.

The double poured pint should take 119 seconds

the temp.

Guinness should be served cool to cold around 38 degrees in the tap room

The gases.

The famous cascading bubbles and creamy head which is supplied by the correct gases used in the tap system of Nitrogen and CO2.

You can check out how Guinness says a pour should happen, here.

Now most would be happy, some tight Irish tunes and a righteous pint of plain, but the best way to celebrate St. Patricks Day is to have a gathering.

The House party.

Each year I have a gathering on St. Patricks Day which is the epitome of Irish American celebrations. This little event is centered around that American meal that has become synonymous with St Paddy’s Day—–Corned Beef and Cabbage——–.

Now let it be said that Corned beef and Cabbage is not an Irish meal to celebrate the day in Ireland. It is an American tradition. If you are interested in the origins of the corned beef and cabbage St. Patricks day celebration I wrote an in depth post on it here “Did St. Patrick Like Corned Beef?

There are many newbies to my get together who wince at the thought of corned beef, with childhood memories of salty hunks of rubbery, leathery, chunks of meat served with squishy vegetables, and mounds of boiled potatoes. They are surprised to find how delicious it is when it is prepared in the correct way. They are also surprised with the crispness and variety of the vegetables that accompany this Irish American classic.

If you want to know how to cook the corned beef and cabbage dinner check out another in depth post ” how to cook the corned beef Dinner” It really is a simple dish but it takes time and a specific method.

A few more things that are needed to make the day complete is a few rounds of Irish soda bread, some good Brown bread, and some good Kerrygold Irish butter. There really is nothing better than Irish butter, it is just good.

Now when you have 20 or 30 of your closest friends over for some good food don’t worry about being too fancy. Serve the meal buffet style, just keep that meat coming as it will go fast.

We can have as many as 75 or 80 guests over the course of the evening, by guests I mean, relatives, kids friends, business friends, aunts of friends, and anybody I managed to bump into that week. In order to have everyone on the same page, I do not send out invitations, or e-mail blasts, I simply remain consistent, ………………………..

I celebrate St. Patricks Day on March 17th, show up any time after 5:30.

In the words of my old friend Kevin Smith “when I get a call to not come, I’ll know the party is off.”

My St. Patricks Day Party started off with my wife and two friends struggling over cooking one hunk of corned beef, and has grown to one big house party. I like to sing a song or two and now have plenty of other singers of Irish songs to mellow out the sound. We have one fellow who recites a poem each year, and a few musicians wander in from time to time  after their gigs are done. Sometimes they play, sometimes they are all played out, but either way they have their fill of food and a good laugh.

Be prepared to answer the Can I bring anything? Question. The answer is yes.

Bring a salad

Bring an Irish bread

Bring beer

Bring a side dish ( I have an Italian friend who always brings a lasagna)

I supply the main dinner, jokes, laughter, and the opportunity to enjoy yourself,        I don’t supply beer, wine or liquor, but much like the loaves and fishes by the end of the night I am asking people to take some of the libation home with them as my refrigerator isn’t that big.

Which brings me to the not so glorious part, clean up. Its best to get some construction grade trash bags and line large trash receptacles. Have them easy to find and don’t worry what people are throwing away, though it’s best to keep an eye on the dog.

Clean up that night. fill the dishwasher with the pint glasses and serving plates.

Wash down the counters and stove with some grease cutting scrub, as the corned beef being dished out will get a bit greasy.

When the counters are washed, the trash bags tied, the left overs refrigerated, the dishwasher is filled and humming away it’s time to find that last pint of Guinness you hid in the vegetable crisper to be cracked and poured. I’s time to lower the lights a bit grab your favorite Balladeer, Listen, and Salute the Land of our Fathers.

Cheers.

Dublin singer songwriter Billy Treacy newly released video

This post features Dublin singer songwriter Billy Treacy. There are many trunks that grow from the tree of Irish music, most times I do my best to keep the legends of Irish folk music alive, I do my best to show the wonders of Irish trad, but today the spotlight falls on this modern day Dublin bard, Billy Treacy.

Billy released a nice cd titled “head above water” a cd worth listening to, which is a lot to be said in this age of mediocrity. A singer for Ireland, much like the legends of the past Billy sings about regular people trying their best to make it from day to day.

Billy Treacy is an interesting combination of Dylan like fedupedness,  combined with an upbeat musical style, kinda folk, kinda pop, kinda easy and edgy too. A catchy musical style with lyrics that reveal some of the unrest in Ireland today. The latest clip above follows earlier released videos of Woe, and Temple Bar.

In the lyrics of Temple bar Billy pokes fun at the touristy section of Dublin that is Temple bar, a nice tongue in cheek piece of satire that ruffled some feathers in his home town. I say if you can’t have a laugh or two why bother, either way it’s another good song penned by this Dublin singer.

In an interview with the Irish Mirror publication Billy described his music as;

Honest, Heartfelt, Raw and Gutsy.

when asked what artists most influenced his style? He responded as follows

In no particular order it would be Elvis, Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, John Lennon and The Beatles, The Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Shane MacGowan and The Pogues, The Dubliners, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan and I didn’t realise till recently but Willie Nelson.

 

Dublin singer

billytreacy.com

When an artist separates himself from the crowd and still stays true to his own style and vision, that is a rare thing, Billy treacy is such an artist.

Checkout his Bio at BillyTreacy.com and do yourself a favor and download his CD as well.

 

 

Cheers.

A Wee bit of freedom.

We simple Wees we travel these long roads and gentle pathways

And though we’re small and gentle seem our thoughts go more than halfways

More than halfway past the point of knowing what is crafty

And much much  more than knowing that, when it comes to knowing the Nastys.

 

The Nasty ones it seems have a clever way of talking

They seem to sound so natural as natural as walking

But in the end their words are empty, not so tiny riddles,

They make it hard to see which side is right or even in the middle.

Their words are trumpeted on high like the words we all respected,

They tell us our old words are wrong and need to be rejected.

 

But I go back and remember times where we Wees, we weren’t so free

There was a time when we the Wees  had no liberty

There was a time when Wees of courage fought against the Nastys

They fought for life and liberty and  and a longing to be happy

 

I remember the stories of the legends of the Wees

The battles fought against all odds, living just on seeds

Of crossing frozen rivers wide and holding onto the dream

Of midnight rides and towers tall and  fording mighty streams

 

These simple Wees they fought for things that other Wees did not

They fought the yoke of bondage that the Wees today forgot

They fought so hard to gain the freedom that we all have today

They fought so hard they made real sure that we would know the way

 

These Wees of courage wrote it down in words that were horrific

Horrific to the Nasty ones but I think they are terrific

They told us that no man, can tell me how to think,

That being able to speak freely shouldn’t land you in the clink

They told me to defend myself with the means I need to do so,

That we simple Wees should stay off our knees until we feel it’s right to do so

They told us that Wees are people and have rights that come by nature,

And by nature’s God we hold these rights to be true now and in the future.

 

And how can I forget the father of all Weedom,

The Wee supreme who led the fight for all the Wees sweet freedom.

This  Wee of Wees, this king to be, who wouldn’t take the crown,

For to be a king of any thing would let his Wee comrades down,

We made him serve for a time while the Weedom was constructed

And with these words he left us all to be instructed.

 

“Be wary all, of your freedoms clear, and hold them dear indeed, for forces rise from time to time to try to intercede,”

“They will tell you all to give up freedom for safety’s sakes I’m sure, just a little bit of freedom, I’m sure you Wees will all endure.”

But in the words of another Wee, Wee Franklin from the bell, “give up your freedom for your health will end you all in hell”

 

So know I jump back to today as the Weedom seeks a leader

I scratch my head with what is said  about liberty and freedom

the Nastys have returned again with sweet words that have some bends

They will tell you anything that justify their ends

 

I see the sky above me blue, bright a blue as can be seen,

But the Nasty ones they tell me I am wrong, it’s a pretty shade of green

“Green sky above me, Ha!” please don’t make me beg,

I have eyes and a brain it’s blue as a  weebin’s egg.

 

But I’m belittled as a small thinking little Wee,

Because the green sky theory is taught at the university

Wees of learning have made the match that blue is green you see

And if you don’t agree with them you must be made to see

 

For the greening of the sky you see is caused by all us Wees

And if we don’t change our ways you see, the next will be the trees.

And when the trees start dying from the greening of the sky

The next crisis dear to the Nasty sneers will make the whole world cry.

 

Their solution is so simple we Wees should know and tell

Their solution is to give up some freedom thats not so hard a sell

And be careful what words you say or you may offend a tree

They think it might be time to start locking up some non-compliant Wees

 

These Nasty ones will tell you that some Wees words are wrong,

That to spout the words of freedom is from a time long gone

They say “trust us all you Wees, you have it all so hard,

I can’t believe they expect you to have only one Wee credit card”

 

We Nasty ones are really nice and those words are from so long ago,

We’ll change them just a bit to modernize them you know.

We then can live in a utopia where all Wees are the same,

Each living in their weebicle and working in the same,

 

A nice diet of Wee rice and maybe a cup of beans

Each to what is needed not provided by their means.

Ah, all comrades in a row and we’ll tell you what to think,

We’ll tell you what to dream as well and what to eat and drink.

 

You will be happy little drones slaving your lives away,

Happy with the knowledge that you are serving us today.

And if any of you worthless Wees have an independent thought

Or wish to band together like your Wee fathers who we fought,

 

We will crush you like the bugs you are, or maybe even worse,

We’ll toss you in a prison until you need to curse

Much like our fore bearers Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot.

We’ll  eliminate those Wees who think thoughts that they should not.

 

But my brother Wees do not despair our futures can be bright

Remember those that fought for freedom and secured for us our rights

Remember the words so carefully crafted to prevent the tyrants rise

The words that restrain the tyrants power and sheds light on their disguise

We Wees are empowered by our creator with certain unalienable rights

Our Wee Constitution is still alive and on their lies it spreads a light.

 

We the Weeple of the Weedom, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for all the United Weeples and Wees,

 

And with that I bid you all good night.

 

 

Sessions, Irish Sessions, and figuring the whole thing out.

It’s a big beautiful world out there and playing in a tight lively Irish session only makes it better. I can not tell a lie, which is a bit of a stretch of the truth, but I do not play an Irish instrument. I have, over the years been an active listener to good Irish trad, and good sessions, Irish sessions, and have learned a few things.

sessions Irish sessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most important thing I can tell any newbie to the session, Irish session, or any trad session is to know your ability and respect your fellow players.

No! There isn’t a player of Irish session music alive that appreciates some yahoo from the bar rattling two spoons together. It’s the trad version of Bill Murray’s lounge lizard bit. Irish traditional music is played to pay respect to the music, it is a craft, an art, based on melody, not percussion.

There are different ability levels and they don’t always mix well. 

How do you get to play in these advanced tight sessions, Irish sessions, or trad sessions?

  1. Learn your instrument
  2. Listen to Irish trad music over and over and over
  3. Start and learn at your own pace, be a beginner, go to beginner sessions
  4. Sit in on more advanced sessions and listen, follow the melody, and get just a little more advanced.
  5. Or be lucky enough to be gifted by God with an innate ability to be brilliant

If you mistakenly join an advanced session be ready to take a hint. This hint will be a kind way of saying, Will you stop already you stink, learn like the rest us did. 

It can go unnoticed as it may actual sound like this “Ah fine, maybe it would be a nice time for a break” or maybe “you might want to take a break” and mostly it will be a cold piercing stare as you try to fake your way thru the tune.

If you find yourself in this situation, just play quietly, almost silently, finger the notes, feel their rhythm, or just listen. You can gain a lot of knowledge thru musical osmosis.

If you play Bodhran, or Guitar remember you are a backing instrument, adding some rhythm to the tunes, if you try to be the main force banging away you will be exciled or shunned, be thankful you are not shot. 

A Beginners session on the other hand is designed to aid you in the next step, mistakes are expected, advice is given, and easier tunes to gain confidence are shared.

They will answer the most rudimentary questions, answers like “Oh sure try putting this finger here” or “Oh you’re doing fine that note takes time and practice to get right” or “yea we can help you tune that”.

You may find some very advanced players dropping in to a beginners session. In this environment they are very forgiving and helpful, they were beginners once too. I have had some of the most fun listening in and hearing the growth of players, you can hear the joy and the love of the music. The camaraderie of beating musical obstacles and playing that first tight tune is really special.

You can learn a lot at a beginners session, you can also pick up some bad habits along the way. As you progress other players hopefully will help you with these, unfortunately many times you are expected to learn the unwritten rules on your own, and fix your own bad habits.

In the end, if your listen, are polite, learn to feel the music, play the melody, adapt to your fellow players, don’t hog the circle, and do homage to the Irish music you will be fine, simple enough.

Then there is the listening audience!

I must confess I will be guilty of not taking my own advice. Requests from the crowd that really don’t match up to the music being played.

At a good Irish trad session you are not going to hear many songs. It is not Irish folk music. You may have one thrown in to give the players a break from playing, but really can’t be expecting too many. So don’t go asking to hear Danny Boy or The Minstrel Boy, or any boy of Irish folk legend, you’ll just get a polite or not so polite no.

Yes Irish session music and Irish Folk music are very different.

I am an old codger who grew up on and love Irish folk music. I could go on and on about my favorite Irish folk legends like; Luke Kelly, Paddy Reilly, Ronnie Drew, Jim McCann, The Fureys, The Wolfetones, The Irish Rovers, Chris Lucas, Paul Kenny, Tommy Makem, The Clancy Brothers, Delores Keane, Frances Black, Mary Black,

These songs they sing and the tunes they play are predominately Folk songs, some will put lyrics to an old tune and crossover will occur, but it is not Irish session music. In more beginner or intermediate or ignorant sessions they will intermingle, it helps people stay engaged and enjoy the night. But usually a good advanced session will be primarily instrumental. Unless of course Bono wants to sing a song, the rules always have room to bend.

There are singing sessions where the opposite happens, mainly folk songs, a seanos song or two, maybe a contemporary song, and intertwined throughout you’ll here a jig or reel or such to put an Irish bend to the song.

I remember singing “the water is wide” one night and in between the stanzas a fiddle player did a great job of inserting a tune and leading me back into the song, good musicians are a beautiful thing.

If everyone is singing song after song and laughing and carrying on and having a downright goodall fun time, well that is a singsong. It may not be as pretty or talented as the more formal sessions, ah hell its just a free for all, but there’s a lot to be said for fun.

Cheers.

 

 

Best Guinness in the world, where is it?

Best Guinness in the world.

Well I have my opinion but I am more interested in yours.

This tiny post will hopefully have some comments on where’s the best Guinness in the world, besides Hackensack of course.

So where is the best Guinness in the world?

We’ll see.

best Guinness in the world

Good irish music and a pint

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guinness Brewery St. James gate Dublin.

Thin Lizzy the classic Irish band.

To those that come to this site to hear classic Irish music well you are in for a treat. Granted it will be a little different than Planxty or Dervish, a bit different than the Ivy leaf or Chieftains, but classic Irish at it’s best.

Thin Lizzy is classic Irish.classic Irish thin lizzy

Formed in Dublin on a wing and a prayer, fighting for traction for years and an overnight success over a decade of hard work, to, in the end, have a tragic conclusion. The Thin Lizzy fire though burned brightly and changed  Rock and Roll, and Rock and Roll listeners as well.

If you research the rise and fall of the band Thin Lizzy you will find a traditional Irish song may have been their salvation. The traditional Irish folk song “Whiskey in the Jar” was released against the bands knowledge or wishes by their record label at the time Decca. The single went to number one on the Irish charts, topped the english charts and Europe as well.

There’s two lessons in this little ditty,

  1. You never know what the listening public is thirsty for, sometimes they just want to hear a rocking version of a classic Irish traditional song.
  2. keep on throwing spaghetti at the wall eventually it sticks.

In 1976 seven years after the core of Thin Lizzy formed their most famous album was released. This came after near hits and lots of misses occurred, guitarist fired, rehired, record labels changing, band choices criticized, and long weeks as back up bands on tour. The glorious life of a not yet discovered Rock band. Not yet discovered until “Jailbreak” was produced with the bands most iconic single.

The best thing about his album, though many don’t know what an album is, is it had great complimentary songs as well. the Albums title song Jailbreak is a rock and roll classic with that banging dual guitarist assault.

Then there are the other great tunes such as cowboy song or the Warrior and the less known song Emerald.

But when you are done listening to the whole collection from the Jailbreak album you are either exhausted or invigorated.

The sad part of this tiny snippet of the bands accomplishments really ends with the death of The voice of Thin Lizzy Phil Lynott at age 36. So to pay homage to the music of the man that was Thin Lizzy (though the band continues) we’ll end with one of my favorite Thin Lizzy tunes and a little light hearted and hopeful.

Dancing in the Moonlight.

I have no idea if the writing on this little post is good bad or awful as I’ve spent all my time listening, I miss Phil Lynott.

 

Cheers.