My Ireland, Your Ireland.

My ireland

My Ireland or your Ireland

Mairead from Irishamericanmom.com was nice enough to send along a comment on Irish travel and it got me to thinking about the reasons why people visit Ireland. You may think it is a simple topic but your trip to Ireland and My Ireland favorites are as different and plentiful as the shades of green in an Irish meadow. Not to worry I won’t be listing 40 reasons to visit Ireland.

My Ireland Enniskerry

My Ireland Enniskerry

My Ireland Trips;

My Ireland trips have been for family and always goes back to the Wicklow town of Enniskerry. It’s a nice Irish town with a proper pub, B&B’s, stone center roundabout. It’s near the Powerscourt Waterfall, Powerscourt Gardens, and home to my cousin Jimmy. Nothing makes a drive through the Wicklow hills or a proper pint more enjoyable than to share them with a good friend.

My Ireland trips have been for business. Staying in a Dublin B&B and attending the Enterprise Ireland Shows at the RDS. Crafters, Weavers, Potters, Jewelers, Photographers, Artists, and more all in one huge exposition center showing the best Ireland has to offer.

My Ireland trips have been for Irish music. Chaperoning for the 14 year old Irish whistle and flute player who had qualified to compete in the All Ireland Fleadh. Nothing like staying up to all hours listening to session players from around the world share their love of Irish traditional music with each other.

My Ireland trips have been for pure touristy reasons. Checking out the Book of Kells, The Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, Wicklow Hills, Glendalough, Skibbereen, The Ring of Kerry, The O’Shea bar,

My Ireland trips have been for pleasant chats and sometimes heated discussions over a cup of Barry’s tea or a good pint of plain. The chats are one of the nicest unexpected benefits to traveling in Ireland, it does take a little skill though, you need to listen and think before answering. I can remember being in a Dingle pub with a group of locals and a friend from Dublin listening to the political unrest at the time. I was honored to be let into the talks, I listened and learned and realized yet another side of Ireland. I’ve had great chats about wee goats, good dogs, fine horses, bad pubs, fat gossips, old blowhards, and mighty Irish music players. All good.

I’ve enjoyed and hope to enjoy again the good, the bad, and the outrageous experiences of Ireland. The Irish phrase that sums up a good time had, maybe what makes my Ireland times the best, is as follows.– “Ah lads wasn’t the Craic last night grand”. –The Craic, the pure good times, for what ever reason, is shared by all who will engage and share in the experience that is Ireland.

So there are a few of my Irish favorites what are your reasons to visit Ireland? If you have visited before reply with a little story or occurrence and remember, The Craic can be mighty.

Cheers.

 

 

10 Best things to do in Ireland

Ok, Here we go.

The Ten Best Things to do in Ireland.

  1. Play golf on a true links course. Whether you are a golfer or not the scenery and stark differences of a true links course are among the best experiences one can ten best things to do in Irelandhave. You can pick from the world renown courses like Portmarnock, Ballybunnion, Lahinch, or the local courses that may be the best bargain in golf. I played on a course on the Dingle peninsula with my non golfing brother, the course was empty, the day’s sun was endless, and the views of the Blasket Islands were priceless. We both loved our time.
  2. Have a 99. A 99 is a creamy vanilla ice cream in a cone with a flake bar inserted into it. It’s hard to describe how yummy a 99 is, simple, slurpy, sublime.Irish 99 things to do in Ireland
  3. Watch a road bowling match. The wagers fly faster than the small steel ball or “bowl”  which is flung down the curving Irish countryside roads. The fewest throws of the bowl to reach the end of a predetermined length of road is the winner.
  4. Walk. Walk the beach or “strand, walk thru meadows and glens, walk by lakes and streams, but get out of the car and find a quiet place. Be careful to avoid the stinging nettles, and though most livestock you see are sheep those beefy looking cattle may not be cows, and bulls can be a bit testy.
  5. things to do in IrelandFind an old pub.  Remember to use good pub etiquette and find a pub that has been around for centuries, Nearys pub in Dublin, The Shanachie in Kinsale, O’Shea’s Bar in Kerry, Tig Coili Galway. Find a pub in a small town and drink in the atmosphere, have a pint and relax, maybe there will be a small fire or even a chance to get a cup of soup or sandwich.                                                                                                                 To steal a line from                               the Song for Ireland,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Drinking all the day, In old pubs where fiddlers love to play,                                 “Saw one touch the bow, He played a reel that seamed so grand and gay,       “Stood on dingle beach and cast, In wild foam for Atlantic bass,                        “Living on your western shore, Saw summer sunsets, I asked for more,                    “I stood by your Atlantic Sea, And sang a song for Ireland                                                                                                       
  6. Go fishing. Be it fly fishing the many streams and rivers, or taking a charter out of the picturesque  harbor towns, Ireland is a fisherman’s paradise.
  7. Have a good chat. This may be my favorite thing to do in Ireland. Be careful not to be drawn into political controversy unless you like endless circular debate. But a nice chat about the local town, current events, price of a pint, or the most talked about category- the weather, is by far the most fun to be had.
  8. By all means hit the tourist attractions. The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, The Giant’s Causeway, Kilmainham Jail, Dingle Harbor cruise, drive the Atlantic Way, Drive the Ring of Kerry. Guinness Brewery, Trinity College, Book of Kells, The Boru Harp, The Copper Coast,The Rock of Cashel, Bunratty Castle, Blarney Castle and Stone, Shannon River Cruise, to name a few.
  9. Stay in a hotel with a pub for access to after hours. What a surprise when you arrive back from a days exploring and a late night dinner to sit down at a closed bar and have a night cap.
  10. Lamb stew. Nothing quite as good as a nice bowl of lamb stew with a hunk of brown bread slathered with good Irish butter. Now my daughter would argue that the fish is what you would enjoy more, be it salmon or fish and chips. Then there is a good cup of Barry’s tea with a soda bun or scone. The point being that the Irish food is really top class.

 

I hope this list of the ten best things to do in Ireland helps you resolve to visit this jewel of a destination. Take the plunge, visit Ireland, and make your own list. If you have any favorites you would like to share please leave a reply,

Cheers.

Ireland Travel the biggest mistake.

Ireland travel

Irish travel don’t make the biggest mistake for tourists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              The Biggest mistake in Ireland Travel?

I’m just taking off my skates after a good game of ice hockey when I hear one of the other fellows say he’s going to Ireland this March. My ears perk up and I ask him a bit about his plans.

He tells me his wife got an Ireland travel package, thinks they’ll be in Dublin, then to Galway, out to the cliffs of Moher, and then down to Cork. Sounds Great.

So I ask him how long are you staying? He tells me a week. I ask him if he might be trying to do too much traveling in that amount of time. He tells me they got a great deal the Ireland travel package provides lodging and transportation at a good price, his wife thinks it will be great to see so much of Ireland in the week. They are committing the biggest mistake of Irish Travel.

                            Ireland Travel, the biggest mistake.

                   Trying to cram too much travel into too little time.

It sometimes drives me insane when I listen to itinerary plans. If your intent is to see as much of Ireland from the seat of a bus, train, or car go ahead and book a different region every day or other day. If your intent is to get a feel for the uniqueness of Ireland, then take your time and spend a few days in one spot.

  • Know when you arrive in Ireland you will be tired, sleep deprived, jet lagged and will need a day for recovery.
  • Know that it will take a few days for your internal clock to adjust to your new schedule as the time difference in Ireland is any where from 5 to 8 hours changed from anywhere in the States. Figure you are working the 3rd shift of vacation fun.
  • Know that some of the best enjoyment of Ireland travel is found in little cafes, old pubs, quaint shops, rocky fields, 99 stands, fishing villages, cobblestone streets, tumble down shacks, ancient ruins, quiet places, festivals, sessions, dances, singsongs. Un expected and unplanned memories that will last a life time and make you want to tell the world what a great time you had traveling to Ireland.

Which would you choose? 

If I told you you had won an all expense trip to Cape Cod which would you choose?

  1. You get to stay In a nice bed and breakfast in a seaside village. The hosts are nice, the beach is just outside your front door. You are within walking distance to a storybook village filled with quaint shops. You can take day trips to national parks and world class golf courses. you find the best clam shack you have ever had behind the boathouse, on the pier where local fishermen bring in their catch. Or…….
  2. You can start your vacation on the Cape. Start in Harwich for the first night then Down to Dennisport, over to Chatham and a quick stop in Provincetown. The Highlight of the trip will be the ferry ride to Marthas Vineyard and a quick tour of Nantucket. Beautiful, you’ll have seen all of Cape Cod.

In number one you get to experience the feel of the Cape, you get to relax, you build memories.

In number two you get to see the Cape, you get to schlep your luggage on and off of a bus or in and out of a car, most likely you will stay in travel hotels with nice pools and a decent restaurant. Not unlike the hotels in any other part of the world. At the end of your trip you are worn out, rode a lot of miles, but saw a lot of the Cape.

Number two is the usual choice for we tourist who travel to Ireland. And let me tell you the roads between my Cape example are easier and closer to traverse than the roads you will find yourself on in Ireland. So do yourself a favor if you only have a week to spend in Ireland pick a region to explore, enjoy, experience. you will be happier in the end.

If you are planning a trip to Ireland you might want to check out this post

The Ireland travel guide

Cheers and happy traveling.

Good Irish Music on Stephen’s Day.

Normally I like to give top billing to Irish flute player Caroline O’Shea but I’m sure she won’t mind if her friend Dylan Foley takes the top spot. It was a pleasure to listen to both and celebrate Stephen’s Day with some good Irish music.

You never know what you will stumble upon when heading out to an Irish session, the good the bad, and the ugly all make appearances now and again. This night at the Druid in Cambridge was neither good, bad , or ugly, it was the best.

Led by this years All Ireland fiddle champion Dylan Foley, All Ireland veteran whistle and flutist Caroline O’Shea, the Stephan’s day sessuin features Jimmy Noonan, Dan Gurne, John Coyne and special guest Sean Clohessy direct from Co Limerick playing non-stop trad tunes

Good Irish Music at the Druid

So the Stephen’s day celebration was good for the soul and when a bit of strength was needed there was plenty of properly poured guinness to invigorate the body. I only felt bad for those patrons who stop into the Druid for a bite to eat as the great Irish music enticed lovers of same to crowd the place, making it hard to eat in peace, ah well.

good irish Music and a pint

Good irish music and a pint

Of course the best part of hearing good music in a good Irish styled pub is you tend have a good chat with fellow appreciators of good Irish music. Good music, good conversation, and good Guinness what could be better.

Now the point of this wee post isn’t to have you lament over missing a good time. It is to motivate you to find and support some local musicians in your area. There is always an Irish session happening some where in your area and if there isn’t, well organize one. What a fun project

 

Here’s hoping the coming New Year is filled with music good friends and good times. The future is filled with un expected opportunities and today as always is a present,

Cheers and Happy New Year.

 

Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas to all, and I hope all receive the best of all Christmas has to offer.

My Christmas present to all are a few of my favorite Irish Christmas videos and very little else.

Merry Christmas

Funny

 Beautiful

Brand new

“She thinks I’m cute”

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

 

 

Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New year, Cheers,

Brian.

Ceol and Craic.

craicWe visitors to Ireland are sometimes dumbfounded by the vocabulary of Irish words for a good time. The most common of which is the Craic. Living on the east coast of The U.S. the Craic is almost as common here in the many pubs of Irish descent that dot every city and town than it is in Ireland. Almost. But having a good time, truly enjoying the events that surround you at that moment, being able to appreciate the craziness or specialness of the situation is especially Irish, and is seldom done in the singular. The Craic, the good times, usually has a partner, and on this fair blog that partner is the Ceol. I can think of few things better than a bit of Craic and Ceol. Good times induced by good Irish music.

So as is my way here are some Craic and Ceol moments and some beautiful updates. Chris Lucas playing at Johnny Foxes Dublins highest pub when we both were young and having fun. The Craic was only out done by the music, as this hardworking Irish folk player belted out the best of Dublin folk music. Needless to say the Guinness flowed as much as the laughter, as well as times of pure reverence and respect for the character of the music. Ceol and Craic it’s a funny thing, it’s a gorgeous thing, it’s an organic thing. Mr Lucas wouldn’t know me, but that night of fun is one of my favorite memories, ah the craic was good that night. Listen to this video as Mr Lucas has put out a Christmas song, nice.

Favorite memories are are funny thing. You would think the night in O’Donohues by St. Stephens Green, with the band playing and the mix of people in the pub reminiscent of the bar scene in Star Wars would be the lasting memory. Perhaps the late night concert that followed in the Gaiety theater nearby and the late night madness that followed would be the fondest memory. Yet the line that forever stays in my mind happens the next day, In a nearly empty Nearys Pub, while my cousin and I recollect the night. A Scotsman we had met the night before happens to pop in and exclaims, “Wasn’t the Craic Mighty last night lads”. Nothing could have summed up the night better. My God it was great craic. Ceol and Craic, hard to beat.

Now this might fall into the category of pure Ceol but the feeling of appreciation borders on the craicish, the boys from the Led Farmers an Irish trad/folk/fusion band are coming out with a new Cd in January and have offered to send along a track or two for a listen. They even gave this humble blogger a bit of billing on their website

Luke Kelly God rest his soul, is Irish Folk music, but I find myself seeking the next generation of Irish musicians to carry the torch, to keep alive the Craic and Ceol. So support those that are giving their all, it is not easy. Look for the new while appreciating the classics.
So as a little send off maybe a track from a great Boston Irish trad band the Ivy leaf with a great bit of Trad music.

 

Cheers and if you know a band that is keeping the Irish tradition of Ceol alive with a bit of Craic send their vitals along in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Irish Thanksgiving ah come on really?

Irish ThanksgivingIf you ever want to know if you are Irish, or American of Irish descent, just ask yourself if you celebrate Thanksgiving. If your answer is a resounding yes, followed by a drooling longing for a roasted bird, stuffed and ready to be cut and drown in gravy and or cranberry sauce…..You are American. That is not to say the Irish wouldn’t be understanding and accommodating if you were to find yourself in Ireland for an Irish Thanksgiving.

To Quote The Merry Plough Boy Pub Dublin on an Irish Thanksgiving

The Merry Ploughboy Pub will be celebrating Thanksgiving when our traditional dinner & show takes on a seasonal Thanksgiving twist.

Celebrated annually in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November, the holiday of Thanksgiving was first observed in 1621 and continues to be an American tradition today.

Thanksgiving means many things to different people but for most, the holiday of Thanksgiving is synonymous with a festive meal with friends and family and of course  turkey!

Speaking of turkeys the only real Irish Thanksgiving story would be as follows in this important video.

Ok they are Christmas turkeys, but that is the point. The closest thing to Thanksgiving in America, even Irish America, would be an Irish Christmas feast. For those that truly know the Thanksgiving story, they would know it is in thanks given  to God Almighty for all that we have been blessed with. None say it better than The Father of our Country George Washington, when he opened his Thanksgiving Proclamation with these words; “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor” –  So enjoy the day, be it in Dublin Ireland or Dublin Ohio. In the end we are all created in the Image of God, and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. While I still have Life, Liberty, and Happiness, I will be truly Thankful, and I wish all, on both sides of the Atlantic, all the best this Thanksgiving Day.

Cheers.

 

 

Irish Musicians to increase Climate Change.

Irish musiciansThere seems to be consensus that as the winter approaches there will be a change in the climate. Environmentalist specialist predict that the temperatures will plunge in the up coming months where snow and ice are likely to cause problems in December, January, and February. And apparently Irish musicians are to blame.

Although no scientific evidence proves that increase rates of CO2 have any effect on weather, there are many who believe they do. Since there is a consensus of people who believe that increase rates of CO2 causes global climate change there is an effort to curtail  traditional Irish musicians. More specifically the fiddlers and accordionists are the most guilty of contributing to increases in CO2. Apparently a hot lick played on such instruments cause the players to exhale profusely and combined with good ceilli music causes crowds to dance, cavort, and enjoy life. None of this can be allowed, when such jocularity occurs humans tend to breathe at a greater rate and increase the levels of CO2. Now in the past the consensus was that this would cause global warming, but as todays consensus shows these activities cause climate change.

Now not all people go along with the consensus of climate change enthusiasts. Perhaps they have no idea how dangerous using science is these days, perhaps they don’t have an ear for the pied pipers playing, or perhaps they have decided not to join the lemmings heading en mass toward the global warming cliff. Perhaps they are scientists who rely on imperical data, actual numbers not predictive numbers, actual data points, not a fudged hockey stick graph. To those that have an un-biased mind, which is hard to find these days as it is not cool or comfortable to fight the media and the peer pressure of social influences, I thought I’ld add a some logic to the subject.

So here’s a little not so light reading for Irish musicians or other curious minds

 

Aliens cause global warming by  Michael Crichton

Aliens cause global warming? Yes by former Nasa scientist, climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer PH. D.

Or you can choose to let Oprah be your guide to climate change. Don’t read anything that might make you think for yourself or be an independent thinker. Just remember when you see some hot lick being played by your favorite Irish musicians the CO2 levels will increase and probably the cause for the next super storm. In case the full lecture of Michael Crichton’s  was to voluminous for you, I’ll leave with a paragraph I liked. I especially liked that Mr. Chrichton’s logic would let Irish musicians play as hard, lively and as long as they want without any guilt of causing  cataclysmic global climate events.

Excerpt from Michael Crichton’s lecture.

Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?

Let’s think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn’t know what an atom was. They didn’t know its structure. They also didn’t know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS? None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn’t know what you are talking about.

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it’s even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future.

 

Cheers, and never be afraid to live life and play Irish music.

Veterans Day 2014

 

vetrans day

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this veterans day 2014 I wish to offer my gratitude for all that served and are serving in the armed services, their families who sacrifice so much, and all those who aid returning veterans.

Freedom isn’t free is a catch phrase people like to use but it is the soldier that does the work, they are where the rubber meets the road and when things get tough it is the military that preserves our freedom from those who would deny it.

The soldier takes his oath, perhaps we fat and happy recipients of their dedication should do the same, maybe then we can remember that the US Constitution enables we inhabitants of this country with certain inalienable rights.

Soldiers oath

I, do solemnly swear  that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

So on this veterans day 2014 go out and thank the protectors of your freedom and maybe extend this gratitude to the rest of the days of the year as well, so help you God.

Thank you to all Veterans.

Irish poetry in Irish song

Irish poetryI was sitting around in a local pub with a musician friend of mine and we got discussing some music he was thinking of putting down on a cd. Now I love discussing the ins and outs of what goes through an artists head, musically that is, but the thing he was most interested in was a poem he wanted to include. So this got me thinking of some famous Irish songs that include Irish poetry and the massive impact Irish poetry has on the feel of the song or cd.

Irish poetry in Irish Song

  • The first song that comes to mind is the song about Irish Patriot Michael Collins appropriately titled “Michael” by Johnny McEvoy which has a moving set of prose to add power to an already powerful rebel song. I once heard an Irish born rugby player belt this out from the bar, intro and song done flawlessly, and to put it in American form, He was awesome.

 

  • One of my favorite pieces of Irish music is the the Lonely Boatman by Finbar Furey and the Furey Brothers. I’m not sure if its the Irish poetry, the sea, the ship, or the boatman that captures my heart. Now that I think of it, the more likely reason I love this song is that I’m a sucker for a slow air.

 

  • There are times when an artist recites a poem and you would swear he is singing especially when he is a legend of Irish music Luke Kelly. Thank God for youtube and this rendition of Luke Kelly’s Irish Poetry.

For What Died the Sons of Róisín

 

  • My favorite version of the parting glass which includes the poem “Forever in your debt” by Kirk Jones, a beautiful haunting, yet hopeful tune.

For those not conversant in the Irish language here is the English translation;

With thanks to those who blew the wind
and those who sailed the ship,
We sailed it tight against the tide
and I shall be forever in your debt.

 

  • And as it is the day after election day in my part of the world we’ll end with a poetic rendition from the Woletones and their tribute to the founding fathers and patriots who fought and died for the independence of The United States.

Please add your favorite song that has Irish poetry included, or perhaps a favorite verse of an Irish poem that has been put to music and let others know the richness of Irish poetry.

Cheers,