The Reek and Coda

Morgan, James, Bridget and I fit as many things into our last day in Westport as we could. Don, Sheila and Claudia had a hawk walk scheduled down near Gort, so left a day before us. We saw posters in Westport for CODA, who are a wonderful vocal and instrumental group from the area. Our previous trip in 2014 our friend Brian Lennon, a membner of CODA brought a few of the members down to a session we were playing in at Matt Molloys and sang acapella  for us. They sing 6 part vocal arrangements that are really beautiful, gorgeous harmonies and very tight arrangements. We didn’t want to miss them. They were playing in the large room at Matt Molloy’s which is a great space. 

James kept looking at Croagh Patrick and decided he just had to climb it. For those of you who don’t know, Croagh Patrick is the highest point in Ireland, a beautiful mountain that from Westport looks pyramidal. It’s been a sacred site for millennia, but since the Christian era has been associated with Patrick and is now a pilgrimage spot, a must climb for Catholics. We woke to a beautiful sunny, warm day, our first such since we arrived. A nearly cloudless sky. The mountain looked just over the hill from Newport, but was in fact many miles away, that’s how clear the air was. We got ourselves together and drove to the mountain, dropped James off told him to text us on his progress and headed down the Louisburgh Road toward the coast. Morgan thought it might be fun to see if we could catch the Clare Island ferry over to the Island and explore it a bit while James was climbing. We followed some very small roads to the ferry terminal only to find out that the only ferry was much later in the afternoon, so we scrapped that plan. The tide was out so we explored some tide pools looked out to Clare Island and into the Atlantic. We drove further, tried exploring some of the small lanes, had fun getting semi-lost in some wild looking country and found a local postman who helped us get our bearings, he also told us the only food we’d find was going to be back in Louisburgh. We were getting hungry so back to Louisburgh. James texted that he was half way up. We stopped in a small cafe, had coffee and some lunch and heard from James that he’d gotten to the top. Hooray! We drove back toward Croagh Patrick and stopped at Staunton’s Pub where we’d had that great Sunday session, grabbed a pint and waited to hear that James was back down. He got back down, looking happy and tired. His photos of Clew Bay from the top are amazing. We joked to him in a text that we’d need photographic proof that he’d gotten there and he showed that to us. Well done James. Back to Newport for naps and to get ready to hear Coda.

Back to Westport and to Molloy’s. We got in line early and it was a good thing we did. Standing in line we found some familiar faces, Tom Doherty, who we’ve played with at the session in Newport was running sound for the show, Brian Lennon one of the members of CODA whom we met in Newport came through and said hello, we’d seen Norman Wylie from Westport Radio we’d seen a bit earlier, soon the area in front of the door started getting crowded. One couple tried to get in but were rebuffed, a young fellow from Clare Island looked at me and I said “the doors are open, but they’re not open”, “Ah, that’s a question for philosophers”, says he. The Irish sense of humor, laced with irony, God I love it so! The doors finally “officially” opened and by that time the waiting area in the smoking yard was crammed. In we all went grabbed a seat and sat down to a tremendously entertaining show. If you’re at all curious get their first album or listen to them on YouTube

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