"Collect moments. Not things." - Karen Salmonsohn
A Musical Evening In Dublin
In May last year, we were in Ireland for exactly 12 days, with 4 nights in Belfast (Northern Ireland which is part of United Kingdom) and 8 nights in the Republic of Ireland. Hardly enough days to explore the vast green fields and rolling hills. Yet, we managed to include our must-do requirements into our itinerary. At a later date, I shall definitely post details of our Ireland itinerary and share valuable suggestions on how to finalise a travel itinerary.
Today, I wish to devote this post to traditional Irish music and the country's talented musicians. Music that is striking and comforting and profoundly, inspiring. Music that one cannot but love. There is something for everyone and something to express every emotion. And, traditional Irish music (also known as Irish trad or folk music) can be both hauntingly soulful and robust. It is powerful and entertaining.
During our visit, we were witness to Irish music on all days of our stay. It has entwined itself so beautifully with modern music that you cannot but feel its powerful presence. Our evenings were spent in the many pubs strewn across our location where live music is a permanent feature. We were so consumed that, one evening we booked ourselves a traditional Irish entertainment package.
The Irish House Party boasted of a delightful three-course meal and informal entertainment that would introduce us to Irish traditional music and dance. Post out day trip to Howth and some much required rest, we three gay hearts stepped on to the local bus that would take us from O'Connell Bridge (a 5 mins walk from our apartment at Bachelors Walk) towards our destination. With enough time in hand we got down midway, much to the annoyance of the little person with us. She was utterly exhausted she stated, entertaining our unreasonable requests to explore the real charm of any place, on foot ????. With no Google map but a general idea, we strolled into the many connecting lanes and were fascinated to see the distinctive coloured doors of Georgian buildings and redbrick houses with well maintained gardens. A much quieter side of Dublin after the noise and chaos of Bachelors Walk. In minutes we were lost but helped out, many a times, by warm hearted local people who would quickly consult their navigation apps and redirect us to our destination.
Highlights of the evening
A 3- course traditional Irish dinner - Housed in The Lansdowne Hotel, we were greeted by the hostess and guided to our dinner table in the family-friendly restaurant. Dinner is served promptly at 7:00 PM and comprises of authentic Irish dishes like Beef & Guinness Stew, Herb stuffed Grilled Chicken Fillet with Pepper Sauce, Leek and Brie Parcel and the delectable Baileys infused chocolate cake. You can skip the dinner and purchase the 'Show Only' tickets if you prefer. Live entertainment with Irish musicians and dancers - With dinner over, you join the 'Show Only' crowd in the downstairs lounge room. The show starts at 8:30 PM and finishes at 10:00 PM.
Anticipation cloaks the air as we settle ourselves down with other eager music lovers from around the world. The wait is not long and the performers casually stroll in, take their seats and that is the onset of this incredible experience. Engaging and lively, one is pulled into this very impressive performance which is a combination of music, dance and jovial interaction between the performers and the spectators. A show highlighting Irish traditional music with funny anecdotes and factual information, the musicians are a delight and the music, infectious! An eclectic concoction of different genres (ballad, ditty, laments, classics, pub music). Mostly accompanied by the different instruments - the Guitar, the Fiddle, the Flute, the Bodhrán (Irish drum) and the Uilleann pipes; the spirited renditions of Danny Boy (a ballad - a parent's ode to a war-bound son), Mo Ghile Mear (My Gallant Darling - sung in Gaelic), the popular The Rocky Road to Dublin and Molly Malone (Dublin's unofficial anthem dating back to the 1800s and made popular by The Dubliners) enthral and overwhelm, and impel one and all to tap their feet, clap their hands and groove to the beat and rhythm.
Also performed is the Brush dance, an energetic traditional Irish dance. With high jumps and kicks, the nimble-footed dancer has the guests captivated with her grace and spirit.
This evening transformed into an experience... a valuable insight into the world of Irish music and its influence on world music. It draws to a closure but the music journeys back home with us and becomes an essential on our play-lists.
Irish traditional music Irish traditional music playing to the Brush dance
New discoveries / learnings
???? The mesmerising Sean-nós (old style) performance, traditional highly ornamented style of singing aimed at promoting Irish culture and traditions surrounding the music. It was amazing how the overzealous gathering fell abruptly silent and remained so till the very end of this performance.
???? We watched, in awe, the musician play the Uilleann Pipes (nation bagpipe of Ireland). Astonished, we wondered how he managed to pump, control and play this complexity of an instrument so effortlessly and flawlessly.
Things to note
Location - The Lansdowne Hotel, 27 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4. Please note that there is no wheelchair access. There is parking available subject to availability.
???? Dinner and Show - €50 adult / €25 children under 16 years. Arrival time is 6:30 PM. Dinner is served at 7:00 PM. ???? Show Only - €25 adult / €12 children under 16 years. If you have booked 'Show Only' tickets, you need to arrive by 8:15PM.
???? By Taxi - 10 mins from City Centre ???? By Bus - Bus no. 39 and 39A from O'Connell Street ???? By Rail - Nearest station to the Lansdowne Hotel is on Lansdowne Road
Popular Irish Music Bands
???? The Dubliners ???? The Horslips ???? The Cranberries ???? Snow Patrol ???? The Pogues ???? U2 - the greatest Irish music group ever!
Irish Music Radio Stations to follow
???? All Irish Radio ???? Irish Pub Radio ???? ICMR (Irish Country Music Radio) ???? Eirewave ???? MaggiesIrishMusic
So long, farewell! Until the next post, that is.