Despite a late start, The first day in Dublin wasn’t a complete bust. First up, I needed to visit a church. Initially I was planning on visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral since it was Ash Wednesday, and I needed to get my ashes. Since I was getting off to such a late start, I decided to just visit the first place I could find while dad had a lie down in the room to rest. This worked out rather well, as I was able to travel faster on my own. Several blocks away I found a church run by Carmelite Monks, which seemed to be set up to take into account people’s working schedule as well as travellers, as the mass was over (people were leaving) but there were still monks set up on the sides to place ashes on foreheads.
On my way back to the room, I stopped off and visited a tourist shop (one of many in the area) and picked up a number of items, mostly for my kids. One of the few things which I was specifically to pick up was a keychain with a castle on it for my son August. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit any of the historical structures throughout Ireland’s countryide as I had hoped, so I would be reduced to finding something tacky in Dublin. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but wound up overcompensating for everybody with far too many little things and shirts, not just from this first stop, but in a couple of other places.
Getting back to the room and finding dinner, we then wandered around the Temple Bar area looking for music (and a pint). Everyplace that we found was going to have music start around 9:00 or so. This left us popping in and out of different pubs for a couple of hours, mostly watching a football/soccer match. We settled in one pub, and 9:00 came and went before any of the musicians showed up, let alone started.
It appeared that the evening’s session was going to be by a group of local musicians that play on the streets in addition to pubs. Also, instead of a group, as in a cohesive unit, it was a collection of individuals that knew each other and played together, but not on a regular basis. Musicians filtered in throughout the whole night, occasionally joining in, sometimes leaving.
While this may seem like a disaster, this is how things work with traditional Irish music sessions. I remember my teenage years having grouls of people in the house, and there was no set list, and eopl played whatever was handy or they happened to have brought along.
Sure, they may have started late, and after every song or two paused (longer than one might hope for)to figure out which tune to play next, but also to visit with each other, but their music was great. An audience member even sang a couple of old folk numbers. It was a fine evening listening to music, one which we ended earlier than we had wanted, but we had to get up early as there was only one full day for sightseeing in Dublin and we would be getting up somewhat early to pack as much in as we could.
Of course, by early, I mean about 11:30, which may be early for some, especially on vacation, but dad was ready for bed, and I was too.