Reading My Way Around the World

Wednesday 21 May 2014

West Coast of Clare

I had a wee post ready to go today - about being overwhelmed and out of focus and stuff ... I posted it and then thought, you know I'm only putting that up to put something up ...  and I hate putting a whine into writing ... It somehow makes it too real ... so to cheer myself up I thought I'd post a few pics from our wee trip down South last week.

The view from our room at Croc an Oir
Our first stop was in Tipperary - our friends John and Monika have a self catering farm house and rooms for people to rent  - it's called Croc an Oir which means (I think) the Hill of Gold. .... and it has a gorgeous wee music room /theatre as well.  

All our concerts for the last few weeks were for the older part of our community and at this gig, I think the average age was about 85 and we had the best of craic .... They sang with every song and we all had a cup of tea together afterwards.

Then it was on to County Clare - on the West Coast.   Clare's a beautiful part of the country and steeped in traditional music and for once it wasn't teeming with rain.
Tom was messing about with my iPhone and took this panoramic view of the horseshoe beach there.

The horseshoe beach at Kilkee
and my less adventurous pic of the same place 

Our view from the stage in Kilkee
The venue in Kilkee is in a library and part of the place has been converted into a 2 tier theatre with precisely 103 seats!  It was quite interesting because the audience here were much younger and it gave a totally different feel to the evening - still very enjoyable for us, but the very elderly have no qualms about talking back to you on stage whereas a younger audience, regular seniors as opposed to senior seniors, are more reserved and it becomes more of a theatre show.

And like a proper theatre it has real dressing rooms .... I love playing in theatres ... the lights around the mirrors in the dressing rooms make me feel like I'm in a black and white movie!
Our last stop was also in Co. Clare, in the County town of Ennis ....There's a huge Arts Centre there call Glór - and all the big bands play there - I really thought we'd never be in it so it was real treat to be there.   Our audience came in from a few centres out of the town and sang with everything we did and bought loads of CDs afterwards ... We were well pleased with the day.

Some of the audience in Glor!!!
Getting ready for a pageant of some sort 

I've been changing my focus over the past few weeks - away from everyone else's music and onto my own ..... something that I've learned out of the A to Z challenge ....I was flailing around a bit between students and choir and sessions and trying to write, and organise tours and events and recordings .... But my head's clearing a wee bit now - it's left me with a stinking cold (snuffle, snuffle) but a sense that we'll cope with everything that needs doing.  And I can finally remember the words of my own songs :)

So we have one more concert left of Just A Song At Twilight - that's next Thursday afternoon in Dublin - then we're off to Germany for 6 concerts at the start of June.   But before that I have choir starting back tonight, and one of my students has her A level practical tomorrow and I'm playing piano for that .... so that's enough to think about for today...
Focus on the details ... one thing at a time.

How do you cope with the various strands of your life?   I know many of you have jobs and families and still produce amazing art and books and projects .... Any tips?


  1. Hi Fil .. that sounds wonderful .. lovely concerts - intimate and varied ... and now the Dublin one to come. Good luck to your student - I'm sure she'll do well and that's great news for her ...

    Germany sounds an interesting tour - have fun ... and you're getting lots of exposure .. excellent news.

    I think you do have to do one thing at a time ... small steps towards your goal. Clearing the path of the brambles as we go ... I know I do that and we can only do so much ..

    Have a fun summer with all those strands of life ... and just do what needs to be done, as much as you can, without giving yourself burnout ... happy days ahead -cheers Hilary

  2. Sounds like a good little trip, I would love to be able to play music properly rather than randomly make noise, although I do like that.

    I hope the German trip goes well . . . . it worked for the Beetles.

    1. Hahaha now that would be something Rob lol
      Sometimes 'randomly making noise' is much more rewarding than the boring 'having to practice' bit .

  3. It all sounds amazing, Fil. I think it must be very difficult and exhausting building up to each performance and then recovering from the adrenalin rush afterwards or do you get used to it after a while?

    1. Our concerts are not too hectic Pempi, so it's not too bad mostly the time the instruments and gear are packed away and you've chatted with the audience the adrenalin has started to calm down .... I think it's a lot harder if you're doing jumpy up and down rock stuff ... but I'm seriously having to work on getting fitter, then it'll be a lot easier all round lol
      You must have the same in the classroom - my brother told me that teaching is every bit as focussed as a gig - being 'on' all day - you need to learn to refuel well for the next onslaught :)

  4. And there was me picturing you all in those snakeskin trousers and smashing your fiddles on stage, Fil ;)


Do drop me a line ... I love to read your comments :)