We got up this morning all feeling better after a decent night’s sleep. Made some breakfast and worked on some new sets. One of them a set of slides that we’d intended to work on. Saw that Maria in Wesport had tried to call and after a couple of attempts, hers and ours, got hold of her. She tells us she worked out with a friend of hers that hosts a program on local radio and wants to interview us and play live on the show……..for 2 hours. We’re flattered and also a bit concerned but 2 hours? We’re to meet the host of the show tonight so we’ll see exactly what she has in mind.
As we were driving up Pontun Rd. just seeing the countryside, which is gorgeous, we get a call from Padraig telling us he has us booked to play in one of the rooms at Matt Molloy’s from 6-8 on Sunday and then sessions after that. I ask him if he’s joking and he assures me he isn’t. He tells me that as soon as the music starts for us in Westport we’re going to be very busy lads! Wow! Ya think? So we’re off to Westport tonight to meet Padraig at Maria’s tonight and then we’re off for a session at The Quay’s down on the waterfront in Westport. Man, are we going to have fun!
An afternoon at the edge of the world, exploring a neolithic sight, discovered beneath a blanket bog, dating back nearly six thousand years. The Atlantic Ocean lies before us. A panorama so vast that the curvature of the earth is apparent. And the sun is shining!
Our ‘routine’ here involves a lot of practice, as you can see, and occasional laundry…
So we went in to Matt Molloy’s in Westport to play a tune a two, but others had beaten us to it, and we’re more…sedentary than we might have wished. Still, the pints of Beamish were tasty, and we can say we’ve been there!
This is Dursey island, whence come the Healeys, Bridget’s paternal grandmother’s family. It is separated for the mainland but a roiling boiling sea with three crossed tides. You can get there by cable car, should you wish to, but frankly, now that the Brits aren’t taxing the bejesus out of every man and his dog, the attractions have waned.
So we’re walking along the cliffs, taking advantage of the one sunny day, and having a jolly old time, when suddenly Morgan shouts “it’s a sign!” We turn around, and there in his hand is, I kid you not, a golden crowbar, on top of a rock wall. Well ok, not golden. Yellow paint. But still, can you believe it!?
For those of you for whom this story makes no sense, here’s the legend of the Gold Ring, told by Seamus Ennis:
‘ “The Gold Ring” – there’s a story attached to the name. A long, long time ago – if I were there then, I wouldn’t be there now; if I were there then and now, I would have a new story or an old story, or I might have no story at all – the birds could talk, giants roamed the land, and fairy music filled the air. There was a farmer, and he was walking across the fields one night, when he heard the faint strains of music in the distance. Moving closer, he saw a fairy piper playing a fairy dance. But when the fairies sensed his presence, they scattered into the woods and vanished into the earth. The farmer went up to the place where the piper had played and there he found a tiny gold ring lying on the ground. So he put it in his pocket, carried it home, and took out his fiddle to celebrate his good fortune with a few reels. But when he put the bow across the strings, he couldn’t get a decent sound of it at all, save for the scratching of an old key in an old lock. And no matter how much he played that fiddle, not a note could he get out of it.
So the next night, he returned with the ring and his fiddle to the place where he had found the fairies, and he waited and he waited. And just as the first glimmer of dawn appeared over the eastern sky, he heard the faint rustle of soft feet on golden leaves. When he turned around, he came face to face with the fairy piper.
“I’ve come for what is mine,” says the piper. “For if truth be told, I can’t play a slide or a jig or a reel without that ring.” “You can have it and welcome,” said the farmer. “For if truth be told, I can’t play a slide or a jig or a reel with it.” And he tossed the ring back, and took out his fiddle, and played the finest reel of his life. And the fairy piper picks up the ring, and takes out his pipes, and plays the finest jig that human ears had ever heard. “Would you ever be after teaching me that tune?” asked the farmer. “I would so,” says the fairy piper, and they sat down together until the farmer had it. “And what would it be called?” asked the farmer. “The Gold Ring,” says the fairy piper, disappearing into the half-light of dawn.’