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Traveling Around Ireland With The Band - Day 2, or is it 3...

Day 2, or is it 3...Thursday--no, it's Friday now, Day 3. It's easy to lose track of time when travelling is done over two days with only naps on the plane.

Galway - Donegal - Derry

After a hearty Irish breakfast, we hit the road for Northern Ireland. Joe, the Black 47 piper, provided the bus entertainment, particularly with dead-on impressions of the driver Joe. People in the back of the bus wouldn't realize it wasn't the driver talking over the intercom until he started making up city names and talking about penguins. We passed through the town of Tuam, home of the Saw Doctors, and into Mayo. In Sligo, we stopped at Drumcliffe and visited the grave of W.B. Yeats.

Lunch was at the Donegal town center. From there, we followed the coastline cliffs of County Donegal into Northern Ireland, and into Derry. We entered the original walled city of Derry through Butcher's Gate; our hotel was inside the old city walls just off the Diamond center. Julie & I had dinner at the hotel after most of the other tour people had already eaten, and the waitress told us she had never served so much Guinness in her life. It wasn't too surprising since the beer of choice for most of the Irish seemed to be Budweiser. Go figure.

The Derry show was just outside Butchers Gate at the Gasyard, in the Bogside. The Bogside is the Catholic dominated neighborhood, site of the infamous Bloody Sunday. We saw a good deal of Republican graffiti, including some amazing murals, such as one in memory of Bobby Sands. However, any sympathies were quickly dashed on my part by some of the other graffiti: a paean to Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a message expressing solidarity with Hamas, and several 'G-d Bless Arafat' scrawls. The concert was in a community center and was BYOB. Fortunately, a liquor store was right outside. We had quite a few empties to clean up afterwards; during the show, some creative people made good use of the trash, such as Julie's Irish Menorah and Joe's stint as the Unknown Piper.

After the show, I talked with Marion, the Neck fiddler, telling her I also played (though nowhere near her talent & experience). We talked about different styles (I play mainly Appalachian/Old-Time, while she grew up playing Scottish & was learning and playing Irish for Neck). She had a second violin that she brought on tour, and we made vague plans to have a jam at some point. Derry was probably the earliest night for Julie & me. After the show, we trudged up the hill back to Butchers Gate and to the hotel. I think we were in bed by 2AM, and out cold soon after.

to be continued...

Posted by guest author: Jefe on Jan 25, 2005 7:59 am

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