We had been warned, before coming to Ireland, that the romantic notion of walking down to the local pub to listen to original Irish music was a thing of the past, that all the pubs had been turned into sports bars and that no one would be chatting with us.
And since this week marked the beginning of the World Cup, I figured it was a reasonable
expectation. But I am pleased to say that, after two days in Ireland, we have not been disappointed.
We heard the first music being played when we walked past O’Donoghue’s Pub on Sunday afternoon. A group of musicians shows up every Sunday – apparently the places are interchangeable, and the barmaid said we could sing a song ourselves if we wanted to.
Next, as we walked toward St. Patrick’s Cathedral from St. Stephen’s Green, near our hotel, we found a men’s chorus, all in tuxedos, singing Aretha Franklin’s “I say a little prayer for you.” Finally, all in the same afternoon, we happened into St. Patrick’s for Evensong – so I can tell you first hand that music is doing OK despite the World Cup. Our tastes are flexible.
More flexible, perhaps, than that of the cab driver who took us home from the Cathedral. When we told him how we’d spent our day, he said he didn’t really like what he referred to as “diddle diddle music” – his term for Irish music. He said he remembered fondly the 1967 “summer of love” and that his preferences were the Mamas and the Papas and the Lovin’ Spoonful.
Dublin was the first stop on our trip to Ireland. We headed from there to Belfast, and then we will go to Derry, Galway and Kenmare. I am including a map of the route. More on Belfast is coming up
in the next post.