Marvin and I took a trip to Ireland five years ago. We had just started dating and our plan was to listen to as much music as possible including the Kilkenny Roots Festival, drink plenty of beer, learn a little Irish history, watch the Rally of the Lakes near Killarney, and find out if we were compatible travel mates.
√.√.√.√.√. Mission accomplished. 🙂
It was an amazing and magical trip that I will never forget, thanks in large part to our wonderful driver and guide, Frank.
I won’t bore you with all of our trip details, but I would like to tell you one story.
We planned on watching the road rally in Killarney (this was Marvin’s idea… I am not sure I even knew what a road rally was at that point). Frank was not excited about staying in Killarney – he said it was going to be a zoo with all of the fans in town for the race. Sure enough, we pull into town to what appeared to be “Spring Break” Irish style – block parties, drunken dancing, and lots of music. PERFECT! Frank went to his hotel room and we struck out to find the best bar.
We ended up in a little hole in the wall place decorated with checkered race flags and packed with locals and young, single guys who looked like they had been drinking all day. We asked them where the best place on the road was to see the race and they all laughed. “We’ve been coming to the rally for five years and we’ve never even seen the race!”
Apparently the main purpose of the rally is to drink beer. Okay, I can do that.
Anyway, this bar was tiny and the musicians were three older guys – just accordion, banjo and fiddle, playing traditional Irish music, and patrons young and old were enjoying a good time. . It seemed like a great place to hang out, so we sat down and ordered some beer.
After a few songs, this cute young couple sitting next to us got up, pushed their table out of the way, and started dancing. Irish step dancing with kicks clear up to the ceiling. They were AMAZING! The crowd cheered and we couldn’t believe our good luck. Where did they learn to dance like that? We definitely picked the right bar.
Pretty soon the couple sat back down and another cute young kid got up and started talking to the accordion player. The accordion changed hands and the this kid starting playing that accordion like he had been playing it for 40 years. UNBELIEVABLE! We were just blown away.
We started talking to the dancers, who were visiting from Dublin, and they asked us where we were from.
“Oh, we’ve been to Seattle. What a beautiful city!”
“Wow, why did you visit Seattle?”
“Oh, we were touring with Michael Flatley. You know, for Riverdance.”
Well, that explained the dancing. The accordion playing we still can’t quite figure out, but it was something we won’t ever forget.
Happy Saint Patricks Day!