Sculpture, The White House, Kilcrohane, Cork
Sat. May 26
After a good nights sleep we woke to a warm morning that became increasingly cloudy, but the temperature was still nice. After working on a few tunes we drove into Kilcrohane to look up Frank O’Mahonaigh (O’ Manny) only to find he’d taken the day off. We met an Englishman named Alex who sells antiques and other memorabilia. Alex recently turned 60 and seems typical of quite a few English expats we meet here. The Irish in thought and deed are very different than the English and there are some from England seeking something different. They visit Ireland, are charmed and decide to stay. It’s a compliment to the Irish that despite the centuries of cruelty inflicted by England they are able to recognize the qualities of an individual and see them on that basis, and accept them for who they are. We wandered West out of town and stopped at a nice coffee shop/eatery run by a couple originally from Yorkshire, do you see a pattern here? He has thick dreds and they both felt like English hippies, and I don’t mean that as a pejorative, Ally and I were hippies in our day and still carry most of the values we extolled then. Anyway, the Yorkshireman, I forgot to ask his name, told us he’s lived in Ireland for 28 years and the 6 years out here on the Sheepshead have been the happiest. They took an old defunct pub and refurbished it, have cleaned up the property, pruned back some dangerous trees, done some nice landscape work and have a lovely little establishment. The fresh made vegetable soup was excellent and they know how to make great coffee!
Morgan’s first trip to Ireland 22 years ago had been here on the Sheepshead. He wanted to take us over to Ballydehob on the peninsula South across Dunmanus Bay. We looked to see if there were any sessions and there weren’t. We had a pint of Murphy’s at Rosie’s which 22 years ago had been run by an older woman of that name who Morgan really liked. She’s long gone and the pub is in different hands but still has her name. We drove a bit further to Schull where it was quite busy, they were having a film festival and lots of visitors, and also found there were no sessions happening. So, back to Durrus and on to Ahakista where we stopped at the Tin Pub, it’s roof and sides are corrugated steel, to see if we could play there. They were amenable, mentioned that there was a group of people they were expecting, but that should be alright. We continued to Kilcrohane to Eileen’s Bar to find the wedding party from yesterday had regrouped there and there was no chance of playing music. We couldn’t even say hello to Eileen as she was madly busy filling orders. Back home we went, made dinner and headed to the Tin Pub close to 9:00.
We arrived at the Tin Pub and ordered some Murphy’s where the woman Niamh (Neve) behind the bar complimented us on ordering the local brew, Murphy’s is brewed in Cork City. I told her it was better than Guiness anyway and we always ordered Murphy’s when we could. She found that amusing and questioned us on what we were doing in Ireland. We told her we were musicians and she asked if we were playing and when finding out our instruments were in the car asked us to bring them in. A slight digression at this point. Last trip we were here in April, it was slower much more quiet, no tourists to speak of and NO midges. We unknowingly arrived for midge season. They are very much like no seeums in the States. They’re tiny, vicious little feckers whose bites feel like a hot little stab. You can’t even see the wound but you can sure as hell feel it. We mentioned to Niamh that the midges were really bad and she coyly remarked “don’t talk about small people like that”, ah that Irish sense of humor. So we set up in a corner and play a set of tunes. Pretty soon people begin to show up and it’s getting busy and loud. Every time the door is opened a cloud of midges swarm in and we’re trying to keep on top of the playing while swatting away the little feckers that are tormenting us. An hour in and we can barely hear ourselves, the party of people don’t seem to be music session listeners, but we’re getting some good playing in! Morgan goes up to order another pint for each of us and when they come we’re told they’re on the house. Niamh tells us that the musicians don’t pay but she waited to hear us first, “you might not have been any good, but ye are great” she says. We take a break, get a few compliments on our playing and head back inside running from the midges to where more midges await us! We play for another hour, but the heat, the midges and fatigue are setting in so we pack up. The place is still roaring so we head out the back. Niamh greets us as we’re leaving with a hug and compliments, thanks us for playing and we know at least one person was really listening to us and appreciated it.