I needed a little reinforcement of spirit so no better place than an Irish music session. The best Irish song from a good traditional session usually takes a while to get to as the session is for the tunes or music, normally that would be great, but on this particular night I needed a singing session. So I made my way down to the local Irish cultural center to a session that has been in transition, trying to find it’s way. On this night it was decent some familiar faces showed up and except for the overwhelming number of guitars the tunes were good. This particular session is more of a sing song or an Irish folk performance night, which was fine and I guess what I was looking for. The best part of the night and what possessed me to scribble down this article, was a group of fellas left over from the hurling match earlier in the day. Among the joking with each other and the rehashing of their match they were enjoying some of the songs. You never know when the best Irish song will be sung or from whom or at what time, and the last thing I expected happened.
This group of Irish hurling lads bullied their friend to give them a tune, they looked like they had been there a bit and I’ve sat through my share of half remembered songs done for the sake of doing them, but they were a friendly bunch, and it look like a great bit of fun. So Jimmy from Meath turns from the bar and starts with the intro: Spoken :
The curlew stood silent and unseen in the long damp grass. And he looked down on the road below him that wound its way through Bael na mBlath. And he heard the young men shouting and cursing, running backwards and forwards, dodging and weaving and ducking the bullets that rained down on them from the hillside opposite. Just as quickly as it started, the firing stopped and a terrible silence hung over the valley. A lone figure lay on the roadside, in the drizzling August rain, dressed in green great-coat, leggings and brown hob-nailed boots, that would never again set the sparks flying from the kitchen flagstones, as he danced his way through a half-set. A hurried, whispered act of contrition, and the firing breaks out again. The curlew takes to flight and, as he flies out over the empty sad fields of west Cork with his lonesome call, he must tell the world that The Big Fellow has fallen, and that Michael is gone.
the crowd what was there fell silent.
The Best Irish song heard in a long time followed, this young fella belts out a great rebel song so full of feeling it took your breath away. After he was done and the clapping stops he returns to his joking with his friends. He’s kinda surprised that another song is requested from him and gives us one for the road, thats followed by another for good measure. What made this the best Irish song? The feeling of course. you know the guy’s voice was average, maybe a little more, not as good a tone of voice as the session players, but his love for the song and feel for how to sing it, so overwhelmed these self absorbed future folk stars.
He was just Jimmy from Meath, stopped in for a pint after a good match of hurling, belting a song out he loved from the bar, no need for a spotlight or micro phone, just a love of a good Irish song, Or in my thankful opinion, the best Irish song.