Sunday, February 22, 2015

Limerick and Galway: Food for the soul

Trad musicians at Taaffes
Having visited a small LDS congregation last Sunday in Mullingar, I decided to try another one this weekend, this time in Limerick. I suspected that Limerick would be larger, but when Google Maps told me that I had arrived at my destination, I was surprised to see that it was a real LDS chapel. The congregation for sacrament meeting was more than double the size of Mullingar, and there were more than twenty people in the Sunday School class I attended. Because it was larger and because it was Limerick, where I am sure many more visitors show up than in Mullingar, I was greeted warmly but not treated as a special guest. That was fine with me.

It was close to 4:30 when I returned to Galway and had checked back into the Radisson. I had had no lunch and was hungry, so I went out right away to get dinner. I had already decided that I wanted to go back to Martine's, but since they didn't start serving dinner until 5:00, I thought I would stop in at Taaffes to see what was going on with their music. Once there, I decided to just hang out until the session started, give it thirty minutes, and then go eat.
Taaffes Pub

Shortly before 5:30, five musicians showed up. I recognized a couple of them from previous gigs and knew that they were good, so was glad I had stopped by and even more glad that I was able to get a table very close to them. A couple from New Zealand was sitting at the table reserved for the musicians, so when they were kicked out, I invited them to join me. The musicians comprised two fiddles, an accordion, a banjo, and a flute. As close as I was, the extra pub noise didn't interfere so much, and I could really enjoy the experience.

About ten minutes later, an older teenager showed up, adding a second flute. His mother, who had come in with him, told us that they were from a small town 60 kilometers away and tried to come into Galway whenever they could to give the boy some real playing experience. The other musicians were cordial to him, and he seemed to do just fine.

By 6:00, four more players had joined the ranks: two more fiddles, another accordion, and a set of Irish bagpipes. And then things really started hopping. They played and played, and the more they played, the more I felt I had died and gone to heaven. Not only was it fun to listen, but also to watch them play off each other. The next thing I knew, two hours had passed! Finally realizing that even though my soul had been fed, I was really hungry, I reluctantly dragged myself away from the pub and back to Martine's for dinner.

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