Sophie a musician friend from Paris came to Sligo with four Breton musician's to visit the north west for some music and the craic. It all began in Gerrys pub where we meet up for introductions and the first taste of Guinness. Sophie plays fiddle, Jean Pierre who is from east Brittany plays the banjo, Christopher his brother lives in west Brittany, plays the pipes and concertina, Jean Marc lives also in the west and plays the accordian, Annabel is their friend and who like myself is happy to just be a part of it all.
Home for some food and chat before heading off to Riverstown for the night's session. We decided to bring the tigin as this might be a late night. We parked the two vans outside the creamery and made our way to the Corner House. There we were greeted by John Brehony the local drum player a beautiful man. Soon musicians were arriving each welcoming the French and Breton musicians, the tunes began much to the delight of the now packed house. We were treated to some Breton music and a song in French by Christopher.
We awoke to beautiful sunshine after a night of heavy rain. The table and chairs came out and we had a leisurely 2hr breakfast. The locals from Riverstown were not too sure what to make of us as they stopped at the shop for the Sunday morning papers on their way home from mass, although one requested a cup of tea on his way in. it looks like the sunshine is here to stay and we spent a few hours soaking up the magic of Carrowkeel, and taking time for some Tai Chi near the top cairns, the lads were in awe as we too are each time we come here.
Home for food...outdoors, cooking was relaxed with the combining of ingregients and preparation. The tigin liath ( little grey house ) was alive with the sound of music. The were new tunes being thought in the kicthen to the smells of the cooking, old ones being played in the hall, and outside the birds were charmed down from the trees to join in the chorus of this enchanting symphony.
Later it was time for the Sunday evening session in the hatters pub in Ballaghadeereen. Here amplification is necessary, which is alien to the lads, the customers here in this crowded surroundings like to participate with song stories and dance, and the visitors fitted in like regulars again treating one and all to a sample of Breton tunes and song. An early finish meant home for more tunes and some good French red wine and Cir my favourite, the birds were singing when it came to bed time.
Now it was time for a trip to Donegal, and maybe a hike up Errigal mt. After a late breakfast we were on our way. We arrived at the foot of Errigal at 4.30pm and conditions were perfect, onwards and upwards Molly too. The climbing begins with soft peaty ground, then on to firmer footing before reaching loose stones, this is the tricky part, once past here it is firm all the way and the magic begins as the views of the surroundings begin to appear.
Once on top we take time for Tai Chi once more as it is late in the evening and we have the place to ourselves except for two Ravens. As we turn around and see the contrasting views, of the endless ocean on one side, the National pk, and the mountain tops behind... it is breathtaking. With our picnic Jean Marc( a lumber jack/timberjack his word's) produced a little bottle of Calvados which he had carefully carried to the top, a little nip for each to keep the evening chill at bay.
Christopher had found a monday session in Bun Beag from the internet, so where else would we be going ? We pulled up at the harbour where we cooked dinner, while Jean Marc a keen fisherman tried his luck from the pier. Dinner was without fish but very tasty. The session had a lot of musicians maybe 15, so the lads were happy just to listen to some Donegal style tunes. We decided on Bloody Foreland for breakfast on the beach. The sun shone, and again it was time for tunes, a local Danny Doherty who was passing with his dog joined in and played a few tunes on the box.
There was time to walk to the point, have a swim and.... oh ! anytime, anyplace is just right for a bath. (Next time Annabel we will have that swim together).
Time now to part company for the moment, It's tuesday's session in Ted's for us and the Giant's Causeway is calling the lads. We will meet again on thursday night for the session in Gormleys of Ballina. We made the most of the good weather to sow some more vegetables and paint the yard gate. and mow the grass!!!
|This is a mower which belonged to my father its an ATCO and about 50 years old. It was lying up for a few years and took a bit of work to get it going again.I had to replace the original ignition unit with a modern sig and coil to get a spark but now theres no stopping it, its a fast machine to be walking behind, In the winter i will dismantle it and give it a good painting. These old machines were really well built using good quality materials and if maintained properly will last a lifetime, with a little care and understanding..|
The lads were in Gerry Gormley's ahead of us, sampling the Guinness (it has to be done). Soon Pat and Pauric arrived the the mightiest session ensued, later we were joined by some local musicians, Francie Coleman on whistle, Jim Leonard on flute, and jim on fiddle. There were invitations to Brittany offered and accepted, so it looks like a September trip is on the cards. Home for Irish whiskey(Jameson) and French(Eddu) some good conversation and reflection, no tunes tonight
Friday 9th May.
Next morning we stopped off at the ballycastle monument dedicated to the local musicians, and paid a visit to jimmy Frain a local fiddle player and horse whisperer much to the delight of jean Marc who has a gra for horses and is in search of an Irish Cob.
We could'nt let the lads leave without a tune in Nathy and Nora Brennan's pub . They welcomed us as always and wondered if the festival had started early. Nora made strong coffee as Gerry had been very generous with the Guinness the night before. We have been in Brennan's many a time before at 11pm. but 11am is a first even for us. This was the icing on the cake.
Home again for the final meal together before the lads make their way to Cork. Their ferry leaves at noon Saturday. There is a fleadh in Cork so maybe there will still be some tunes before the crossing. The parting was emotional as we had all enjoyed each other so much and it felt so right.
Au revoir for now......