10 March, 2007


On Sunday, the program had us in a Dublin neighbourhood pub for back to back music sessions from three in the afternoon 'til close, which was more than most of us could face without breaking down and crying. (Incidentally, it was the over-50 crowd who were the die-hards among us, while the rest would be standing by the venue exit each night ready to board the coach and get to bed.)

Consequently, the majority passed on the afternoon country & bluegrass music session, which was a pity, because by all reports it was excellent. It would have been my session of choice, but the pub was across town, and I would have been in for the long haul. After some hemming and hawing in the lobby, Patrick decided to catch a nap and I went for a walk. We had supper at a pizza joint in Temple Bar, where management seemed to feel quite strongly that corn kernels are what's been missing from pizza all this time.

We caught a cab to the pub for the late session, which featured local traditional musicians. There were several fiddlers, a couple of guitars, accordian, uillean pipes, and a bodhran. The music was great. Pamela Morgan paid tribute to our recently deceased Dermot O'Reilly, which caught me off guard and made me cry. About that time, I noticed an older man come in who reminded me both of Dermot and my father a little. We ended up in the same cab together at the end of the evening. He was Sligo poet Dermot Healey, who was to be on the program with us at Dun Laoghaire the following evening.

That was to be our last gig in Ireland. We shared an inflated and convoluted cab ride down the coast to Dun Laoghaire early in the day, hoping to catch the student March Hare at the local college. But our cabbie couldn't find the place and by that time we hated him too much to hand him one more Euro than we were already into him for, so we abandoned the quest and had him drop us straight at the reading venue. We had a few pints and waited for the rest of our group to trickle in.

The evening was great. Everyone's energy was high. The local performers were terrific, especially the Shannon Colleens, a singing duo who did a biting satire about American soldiers who stopover in Ireland on their way to Iraq. It was a great night to go out on. The Newfoundlanders had an early morning flight back to Canada, so we didn't linger long after the show, although several of us gathered in the hotel pub for tea and farewell.

It was lonely the next day after they'd all left. We spent a quiet day in the city, Patrick working out of the hotel pub and me walking across the Liffey to the Writer's Museum. We splurged that night on the early prix fixe menu at a French restaurant off St. Stephen's Green, and reviewed all the ways in which we'd fallen in love with our travelling companions and with Ireland. Neither of those two threads feels like it ends here.


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