Thursday, January 21, 2010

Into the West

We’re driving through Roscommon in the rain, on the second week of a Music Network tour of Ireland. Yesterday we were in Moate, Co. Westmeath and Róisín and I took a walk out of the town past the new estates and onto a little country road that leads to the Táin trail and a duck sanctuary. On the way back Róisín took a short cut through a building site. She was singing a song she made up when she suddenly saw a dead fox which startled her. It had a beautiful russet coat and it was strange to see such a wild and beautiful thing lying among the concrete and debris of the site.

The morning we arrived in Dublin we went to my uncle's funeral in Rathfarnham and there we had seen a fox in the car park of the pub where we had tea and sandwiches afterwards. Apparently that fox lives there and is often seen. Ireland was still in the thick of the big freeze and there was deep snow and ice everywhere so the fox probably had to do a bit more foraging to get food.

A couple of nights later a rise in temperature and a heavy rain washed it all away just in time for the start of our tour. We began at The Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray, followed by The Source in Thurles, and we headed southwest again to arrive in Waterville in a howling gale. Our hosts gave us a most warm welcome and there was a capacity crowd in Tech Amergin. The following morning it was warm enough for Róisín to take off her shoes and socks and paddle in the Atlantic in the sunshine. Then it was on over the misty hills to a beautiful part of south Limerick where we played in Knockainey Church to another full house and had some time for a chat by the fireside in Moloney’s afterwards.

On Sunday we were in another church in New Ross. The weather was turning cold again but the warm welcome made all the difference with pots of tea and dark chocolate.

We had a day off in Dublin before our concert on Tuesday at The Coach House in Dublin Castle. One of our favourite things to do on the road is explore charity shops and this time we found some great books about ponies and puppies and princesses and even a perfect medical case for Róisín’s medical equipment kit – stethoscope, thermometer, band aids etc.

The concert at The Coach House was sold out and a very special night with a lot of musical friends in the audience.