Breton visit May 09.
SAT 9th MAY
How fast the year has gone , where does the time go?
This week we are joined by Christoph and Jean Marc from Brittany. We have arranged to meet in the same place as last year , where we sample some guinness and then carry on the journey to our local, where we sample some more guinness and good craic with some local folks.
This is a loaf of bread with a diffrence. It is from Brittany and is baked for sea'faring people so it should last about a week or so. But I think by the taste, it won't last that long. This combined with some rockfort cheese sets us up for the evening tunes which are to take place in the local. Oh yes and I almost forgot a few bottles of reddin......
So with a choice of five venue's for the evening it's been a long trip for our visitors to get here its good not to travel too far tonight so we stay local . We are joined by local musicians for the craic and a few guinness of course.
SUNDAY 10TH. If music be the food of life....play on !
A good nights rest leaves us ready to tackle our first day with the lads, we have four outings organised for today. The first being a trip to visit the Morrigan at the keash caves, the entrance to the otherworld......and play some tunes for her
Jean Marc leads us off with the Kesh Jig, the sound in the cave is amazing we start off twenty to forty feet apart but it sounds as if we are standing beside each other. There is a video of it, just check out the videos on the page top. All goes well till the lawnmower starts up in the valley below, time to move on.......To Ballyhaunis where we have a picnic french style cheese and wine in beautiful warm sunshine.
Our next stop is Finan's of Westport where we have organised a few tunes with some friends to welcome our visitors. John himself leads us off with a few jigs much to the delight of his regular customers as this is a rare treat. This is indeed a great a pub and from the outside it is well disguised, say no more.
It's a great session the tunes are flowing, like the Guinness customers are joining in for a few songs Christoph and Jean Marc from the Breton band EDDU perform some Breton and French music and song .As a treat Mattie sings some sean nos and some Traditional Airs. coaxed along by Johnny...what more is there !
Soon it is nine and we have to be at the next venue by 9.30 so its a quick exit to Castlerea where Aniar is waiting...we hope!!
Oh Oh we forgot to have dinner...ah well..
But all is well, the house is packed. It takes us ten minutes to set up the PA and away we go, Jigs and Reels are hopping as are the patrons. A fusion of music and song and craic in the celtic tradition.
The end of the first day , a day of great meeting of spirit we are all one in friendship
Now its back to the tigin liath for some cheese and stuff and a good nights rest ..
Another day begins its a great sunny dry day ideal for a walk on croak patrick. Rosie is loaded up with the gear and we set off on the hour's drive to the mountain.
This is my fifth time on this mountain , it's not an easy climb as there is a very long gradient followed by a steeper one of loose stone , and as we have had a few late nights now , I am not sure if we will be able, but sure we'll try.
Ah... we got there, what a view of Clew Bay with Clare Island clearly visible, What a beautiful country this is, given the chance.
Once on the top its picnic time again and once again, just like last year Jean Marc produces a little flask of Lambig, a local drink in Brittany......Slainte. Time is moving, we are to play in Gurteen at 10pm its now seven and we have to move swiftly to meet the bus people and Locals there...Should be a good night.
But first a bite to eat and a quick visit to Matt Molloys in Westport just for water you know!
Now thats a pint of the black stuff...
So here we are in Murray's where the landlord awaits us with some nice creamy pints of all things (guinness that is ) There is a great welcome for our visitors from him , a trait that so many publicans theses days have lost , but this man is diffrent .
The monday night session has been going here for many years and is strongly supported by people from a large radius. Joe Gorman from RTE TV did a broadcast from here last year. He interviewed many of the patrons and musicians, and was a very good insight into life in rural ireland includinhg how it can be a very isolated life .And of course with all the modern rules in relation to alcohol the difficulties in actually having a social get together.
Politicians sitting in dublin should wake up and get to know the people and lifestyles , they are paid to represent.
Some of the characters at the session
Peter Horan is one of the musicians here tonight. He is a very unique man a gentleman by any standards. He has the ability to make the visiting musicians welcome and we are soon off to a flying start...Down the Broom and the Gatehouse Maid.........
Peter is joined by John joe , A Bodhran player
Joe the drummer is part of the session here for many years and he has a full time job keeping us all in time. No bother to Joe to lash out a few songs as well.
The main singer is Pat and together with a few more of us the night is filled with music , who cares about the rain and getting the turf in .For now the craic is mighty. Dancers move to the quick steps, waltzs mazurkas and reels. The bretons entertain with their singing acompanied by the Bombarde and Accordion, they also play fine irish music much to the audience delight..The night moves swiftly on