Beware before ordering that Guinness!

Yes Beware. In my thirty three years of partaking of the black stuff there have been many a bad pour. Please I implore you to heed this warning and properly vet your local constabulary on the proper care handling and pouring of this Irish staple.

Plastic cups.

Leave, run, hide, and never darken the halls of what ever fictional bar that would serve Guinness in a plastic cup. My normal answer to any hotel barkeep or festival operator who plans on serving me Arthur Guinness’s pride and joy in a plastic cup is—give me a Budweiser. I mean what’s the point.

Nitrogen gas.

A lesser known fact is that a barrel of Guinness to properly cascade down a properly chosen Imperial pint glass requires a draught system that utilizes nitrogen and CO2 gases. For the Guinness to cascade down the glass and form it’s distinctive head you need to have the increased pressure which the addition of Nitrogen gas to the system allows

Double pour.

If you are in a hurry a proper pint of Guinness may not be the best choice, a pint of Guinness takes what is called a double pour. The tulip glass or modern Guinness glass is filled almost 3/4s full then let to rest, to form it’s magic, to cascade down the sides, to grow anticipation. Once the glass has settled it is topped off with a reverse push of the tap to fill the glass, ending in a creamy headed pint. If your bartender fills your glass on a straight pour you have three options,

  1. Run away
  2. Send it back
  3. Open a proper pub next door.

Temperature of Guinness.

Guinness is served cool around 45 degrees, it can be served a bit colder and in Ireland mostly, you will also find Guinness extra cold being served, both are good. A warm Guinness is not a good thing. It can mean the kegs aren’t stored properly, the lines to the kegs are too far from the tap, or that the pub doesn’t serve Guinness regularly and it could be stale.

What is a pint glass?

A pint glass for Guinness holds more than a pint. It is an imperial pint or 20 ounces. A properly poured Guinness is poured in a 20 ounce pint glass not a 16 ounce pint glass. Now on to more controversy. A 20 ounce tulip glass was the standard container for a properly poured pint, then Guinness came out with their modern day version of the same. Sleeker modern 20 ounce pint glass that I must concede is still not as comfortable or welcoming as the old tulip glass. Others however love the glass so I might just be nostalgic. There are other Imperial pint glasses whose shapes might hinder the cascading effect of Guinness but still work in an acceptable way. I will say though that a Magners glass just doesn’t do it for me, odd shape thin on the bottom.

Ok, So you have your double poured Guinness in a proper 20 ounce pint glass served at the proper temperature with a draught system that has the proper proportion of CO2 and Nitrogen gas feeds, you are all set right, not quite.

Atmosphere.

Even the best poured Guinness can be ruined by your surroundings. A well poured Guinness can overcome some of the fake Irish pubs that are out there, but tragically these plastic pubs tend to sell Guinness poorly and pour Guinness poorly.

Warning signs of a plastic paddy pub.

  1. Four leaf Clover instead of a Shamrock.
  2. Happy St. Patty’s Day.
  3. Irish nachos.
  4. Green beer.

The good news is with a little tolerance that  properly poured Guinness can still be enjoyed.

What makes a good pub.

  1. Poors a good Guinness
  2. has a good Irish session on days besides St Patrick’s Day
  3. You can have a nice chat.
  4. Has a friendly feel to it.
  5. Bartenders are happy to have you as a customer.
  6. Customers are in for a social event not a binge.

In the end everyone has an opinion about what makes a place good. Some of my favorite places are tiny hole in the wall pubs that have provided some of the best Irish traditional music and perfectly poured pints a man could want. The key point being that perfectly poured pint, as in the end after heeding the warning signs nothing really beats it.

Guinness and Irish music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Irish, embracing my Irish roots.

I'm Irish in AmericaOk I realize I just spent a whole post explaining to we American tourists that we are not Irish, but… that’s in Ireland

In the good old U S of A we have many roots that keep our American family tree straight and strong. I like to think the strongest deepest roots are those transplanted from that Island to the east, Ireland.

 

Things that Ireland and America have in common.

  • British tyranny.
  • Mostly common language
  • Religion
  • Love of Liberty.

Now there are books written by historians and scholars much wiser and more learned than I, explaining the American revolution, the Continental Congress, the ethnic make up of revolutionary times, the Dutch, the French, The Germans, The English. The Crown eventually chose to exercise it’s control and force the colonies to submit to it’s terms. And the resulting revolution is, well, History. In this virgining Republic a free people were established endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and best yet an opportunity to be free.

It was/is this promise for Liberty that propelled so many to America’s shores.

Skipping forward to today, we get to let time soften the horrendous times many Irish suffered along the way. We instead get to revel in the traditions our forefathers believed were important enough to pass on from generation to generation.

Music, Food, Story, Good Cheer, Doom, sayings and proverbs.

I’m Irish because I enjoy all my heritage has to offer.

Irish music, I especially like Irish folk music, CD’s of Luke Kelly, Paddy Reilly, The Dubliners, The Fury’s, The Dublin City Ramblers, and the trad- Irish traditional music full of reels, jigs, hornpipes, airs, fiddles, flutes, bodhrans, accordions, pipes, just awesome.

Irish foods, In my neck of the woods we have good Irish tea, Barrys by name. Irish soda bread on special occasions mostly at St. Paddys Day. A bag of taytos on occasion, a crunchy bar, maybe a flake. Now in homage to my Immigrant ancestors we have the traditional Irish American meal of St. Patricks day Corned beef and Cabbage on of course St Patricks day. Might want to check out (How to cook corned Beef)

Favorite Irishisms, “Glory be to God it’s a beautiful day”  –  “I’d give a month of cold days if I could only see the sun” – “Ah, she’s a big woman”- “wee goat”- “jeesus what an eejit” Oh and then there are some nice proverbs like the Irish blessing, and knowing your lucky enough to be Irish. And of course “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy that sustained him through temporary periods of joy”.

I’m Irish because it is a hoot to be Irish,

As long as you remember you are Irish American, I always thought that phrase should be turned around to read American of Irish, that might solve some of the confusion.

Now There are people who go overboard, I remember in My Irish gift shop a customer or two would go on about The English and Irish history and the problems in the north like they lived in Belfast or Dublin. They thought they were more Irish than the Irish themselves, but that’s the way things go sometimes.

So why do we sons and daughters of emigrants past call ourselves Irish?

Again it goes back to the roots of that American Family Tree. there are many roots but only the best that are Irish. America has a population of 320,000,000 people 30,000,000 million of which have a claim to Irish heritage.  When you are one in 300 million you look for ways to differentiate yourself a bit. One way is by national heritage. Then it depends on how far removed you might be. I’ve a friend born in Galway, an American citizen, who plays hockey with me, most on the team don’t know his name, he’s “that Irish guy”.

 

I’m Irish because there isn’t an insult or a stereo type that can hurt me and for the most part makes me laugh.

Irish stereotypes;

Potato eater.   God love you, I’ll have a side of fries with those mashed potatoes please.

Drinkers.         Though this can get a bit carried away, I think the problem stems from all the others not being able to handle their grog. I’ll take a nice pint of plain, it gives you strength and it’s good for your health

Fighters.          Much rather have a person willing to mix it up rather than be cowardly.

Dumb Mic.      I was never able to figure this one out, perhaps I need to get my doctorate.

 

So in the end enjoy your Irish heritage. Plan a visit to Ireland and enjoy that beautiful piece of earth. Take the time to find a venue and hear a good Irish session. Dare I say it, strike a blow for freedom and raise a pint to revolutionaries for liberty with a properly poured Guinness,

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

Irish or American, Kip or messed up.

Sometimes whilst I read my favorite Irish blogs I come across others of my own ilk. Americans proud of their Irish heritage, but, I learned a long time ago that to be Irish or to be American are two very different things.

Irish or American

Many of my fellow Americans of Irish decent are convinced they are Irish. They are convinced that that island to the east of us is just the 51st state of the union, and in some ways they are right. But, in many ways they are wrong, and the quicker you realize you are American with your own American culture and ways the better time you’ll have enjoying your Irish heritage. I remember an Irish fellow lamenting to me about some American girl who went on and on about being Irish. He asked her where she was born and raised, and her answer was– Chicago. He couldn’t figure out how she could be Irish if she was American. He had a good point.

To be or not to be that is the question.

Irish or American? Let’s take the quiz.

  • Jeans, knickers, pants, trousers. be careful what you choose.
  • ride or lift?
  • your kidding me, or For Fecks sake
  • Your man.
  • Barrys or Lyons, Taytos or Kings
  • Are ya off your nut or off the drink, you might be off your nut to be off the drink, just don’t be a langer.
  • That was awesome.
  • I’m Irish, I was born in Chicago.
  • Hey man.
  • That was a home run.
  • Can you give me a ride home?
  • Dinner at eight.
  • Fanny pac

 

I’ve been over to Ireland a good many times, thought I was Irish once and learned a good lesson. The funny thing is that when you don’t pretend to be Irish you get to be friendly with a lot of the locals who will start telling you that “sure you must be Irish”, It’s a funny world.

People have asked me when visiting Ireland how would people know they are American? I tell them they have to do one simple thing. They only need to open their mouth and talk. We tourists forget that it’s a great big world out there, the Irish not only will know we are from America but most will be able to guess the part of America we are from.

So when you visit the home of your forefathers past, remember you are a visitor from another country, a great country, a country that provided hope and opportunity to desperate waves of emigrant sons and daughters escaping devastating times.

Be polite, listen, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or if you don’t understand an Irish phrase, politely tell the person what you don’t understand. I remember my friend John Condron telling me about a person’s business, He said “Ah that man’s shop’s a kip” I had no idea what he meant. “John what’s a kip”? He just laughed and told me the guy was a mess, un-organized, and didn’t know how he stayed in business.

So how did you do on the Irish or American quiz?

Just wondering.

Cheers.

 

Travel Ireland what to pack?

Travel Ireland

Travel Ireland for Irish musicTraveling to Ireland? After your Itinerary is made out and the excitement increases you’ll want to make sure you pack correctly.

The five most important things to pack when you travel Ireland.

  1. Travel Ireland with: A rain Jacket. Now don’t let the vision of having to bring rain gear dampen your spirits about your upcoming trip to Ireland. There will be gorgeous sunny days to be enjoyed, but the funny thing about being an island stuck out in the Atlantic is that weather has a way of changing and changing fast. It is very common to have a quick shower come up out of nowhere and a cotton hoodie just won’t do. Then there are the grey misty “soft” days that really are part of the Irish experience, you’ll need something to keep that gentle drizzle from throwing cold water on your Ireland travel vacation.
  2. Travel Ireland in: Layers. Now this again has it’s reasoning from the quick changing Irish weather. You can have fast changes in temperature again due to the Great Atlantic surrounding you. We once left Letterkenny at 9:00 am in teeshirts and headed north to explore the beautiful Donegal countryside. We stopped by a seaside restaurant as we headed up one of the peninsulas to a temperature drop of 30 degrees (F). We skidaddled into the pub/restaurant to looks of amazement from the locals. “Daft tourists wearing teeshirts on a 50 F degree day”. Well needless to say after warming up in the pub we dug out some sweaters and sweatshirts from the car and headed up to the beaches of the Inishowen peninsula. Of course and to our delight we found ourselves stripping off the coats and sweaters to a gorgeous 75 degree beach day. So think layers, a windbreaker, a sweater or two, and remember a rain shower can come by at any time so the more water repelling the better.
  3. Travel Ireland with: Electric plug converter and power adaptors. The appliances i.e. hairdryers, electric razors, laptops operate on a different electric current level in North America than in Europe and Ireland. Some appliances need only the plug adapter some need to convert the electric charge. This is where you will want  some assistance to ensure you do not fry your hair dryer or laptop. Personally, I am in the club of leaving the computers, dryers, and such at home. Then there is the phone. I’m not a techno geek so here is a good reference on phones in Europe by world traveling expert Rick Steves.
  4. Travel Ireland in: Shoes. More specifically walking shoes. More specifically comfortable walking shoes. More specifically 2 pairs of shoes that can be walked in for miles occasionally get wet, muddy, sandy, grassy, and hangout in pubs till the great Irish music ends. It use to be easy to pick out Americans as they were the ones with the white Nikes. A good pair of walking sneakers are fine, a good pair of hiking shoes may be better. And these days those comfortable sneaker like shoes don’t immediatly label you as a tourist.
  5. Travel Ireland with: Small comforts. Face cloths, moisturizers, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, razor. Sunscreen, yes I said sunscreen, there will be days of endless sun where you’ll be out in the elements for long stretches and sunscreen is expensive in Ireland. Sunglasses, and a good camera you’ll take twice as many photos as you ever thought you would. Be sure to check on the regulations for carry ons or pack in your checked luggage.

So there’s the start to you Ireland travel packing, remember the lighter you can pack the less bags you have to schlep.

Cheers.

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.