Monday, June 3

Christy McNamara and Morgan at Cliffs of Moher Hotel, Liscannor, Clare

Today was a slow day, the only thing on the agenda is to meet Christy, whom we met at Eugene’s, for a session. It’s in the Cliffs of Moher Hotel in Liscannor a bit south of where we are.

James, Morgan and I get some practice in and are arranging two new songs to the mix. Morgan suggested some arrangement details to The Hares Lament which improved it greatly. Other than that, the day holds no surprises. Morgan makes a quick meal for the three of us and we bundle into the car around 5:30 and head down to Liscannor for the 6:30 session.

When we arrive Christy is there with his friend Dennis. We get our instruments out and sit down. Dennis plays fiddle and mandolin and is very good. Christy has his concertina as well as a very nice box. Christy asks us to start a tune and we launch into McKenna’s and soon we’ve got a good set going. In the Clare style the playing is relaxed and unhurried. There’s a couple of tunes Christy and Dennis start that I’m not familiar with, they’re a bit twisty with some surprise turn arounds that I have to sit out on long enough to catch. Dennis looks at me encouragingly and wants me to keep going. It’s a fun time, sitting and playing with friends, no pressure, very loose and relaxed.

We chat between tunes and find out that Christy knows the Neilan family and Julie Langan. It’s a small Island as far as musicians are concerned. There’s a lot of fraternization amongst them, crossing over between towns, fleadh’s (music festivals) and sessions. It feels very comfortable to sit down with friends of friends and share a mutual love of music and culture. Oona who is from Germany and is visiting her son who’s spent a year of study in Ireland has her bodhran. She’s aware of the reputation that amateur bodhran players have but it turns out that she is a very respectful player, plays a good steady beat and listens well. Christy welcomes her warmly as do we all. A woman named Ann, whom Christy knows, sits down and sings The Flower of Magerhally. Ann had lived in the U.S. many years, originally was from Dublin but moved back and now lives in Fanore, up the road from Doolin. She loves Fanore and being back. Oona’s husband Jan comes in a bit later and he sits quietly, enjoying the music and conversation.

Around 9:00 Christy and Dennis pack up so they make it to a session in Doolin. We choose not to that and stay to play some more tunes with Oona. There are appreciative listeners who stay with us when we wrap up close to 10:00. So ends another day.

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