Saturday, July 19, 2008

Great Things About Northern Ireland Part 1

Last night Ian and I went to see the Hothouse Flowers in a wee bar in Castlewellan. We got a perfect spot right beside the bar and about a metre away from where Laim O'Maonlai was sitting playing his piano. So close that a couple of the women beside us were seriously contemplating stealing his cardigan which he'd left behind him out of his line of vision (they picked it up and put it back a few minutes later!) It is the only gig I have ever been to where an audience member was playing air uilleann pipes. I think I have would have enjoyed it if only for that, but of course there was much more.

Liam's voice is like angels. There was a little moment during a song I'm not familiar with when he sang one long note to the audience, repeated about four times, and it was like nothing earthly. I thought, that's it, I can leave now. We stayed to hear a bunch of songs we did know and then the Lakes of Pontchartrain and then, this: Si do Mhamo(a traditional irish song, the chorus of which translates as 'she's your granny, she's your granny, she's your granny, the hag with the money').

What's this got to do with the north? Well, half the bar (including my presbyterian husband) were singing along with gusto. It was sort of great. I like being Irish in part because of the great stuff we have that no-one else has, and because the good stuff that we have is very very good! Many protestants in the north have embraced and are embracing their Irish heritage and finding out that it belongs to them as much as soda bread and the Giants Causeway and all the other things you were allowed to enjoy as a kid (OK, there weren't that many....)

When you listen to the news it is easy to forget the good stuff. So I'm challenging myself to think about it a bit more often (such a hardship- it might involved going to more pubs..).

Any joiners?

6 comments:

paulwchambers said...

CS is there! god, this is beguiling and beautiful...a meter away!!!!!
stunning....look forward to part 2

mister tumnus said...

his voice is really something.

looking forward to having you here to help the research!

Rainbow dreams said...

haven't heard Hothouse flowers in ages...

It's always good to look out the good stuff and pubs would seem a fair place to start! Ireland holds a certain attraction, I just haven't made it over yet

kellie said...

Man, they're still about?! On a political-tumnus fave note, it turns out that The Boss is the man who could unite Scotland as in some survey it turned out that he is universally loved by all the Scot politicians. Fancy that. Keep rocking and more importantly, rolling.

mister tumnus said...

haha. brilliant. stuff bono, what we need is for bruce to get over here now and tell iris what's what!

yep, the flowers play belfast pretty regularly and sell out pretty quickly so we were more than chuffed that we got tickets AND a babysitter for the evening when they were playing 10mins up the road from us. almost unheard-of good fortune that one!

rd, i would recommend a trip some day but be sure to stick your neck up in the north if you're doing ireland :)

Rainbow dreams said...

don't worry, we would :) cheers, Katie, x