Category Archives: Trip to Ireland


We’ve arrived in Doolin and are very much enjoying the weather (70s and sunny), sites (Cliffs of Moher, the Burren) and the music (4 pubs within walking distance with sessions every night!). Our first evening here, John Daly came over to the hostel and led a session with us. After dinner, we wandered over to Gus O’Conner’s on Fisher Street to enjoy a session with John and Christy Barry.

On day 2, we had a morning of music, Irish language and drawing classes with Geraldine, Maeve and Cillian Cotter at the Micho Russell Community Center. Geraldine taught tin whistle and piano, Maeve taught beginning and advanced fiddle, and Cillian taught flute, whistle, and drawing. All three taught us language because we needed all the help we could get! Then we were treated to a wonderful concert by all three. I’ll post music files when I get home… too hard to upload from the road.

In the afternoon, we scatter to the wind – some going to the Cliffs, others to the Burren, followed by visits to several local pubs and another evening of great music.

On Day 3 we traveled to Oranmore for classes in the home of Tommy Keane and Jacqueline McCarthy. Though we had a little trouble finding their home, it was well worth the trek. Tommy and Jacqueline had a beautiful old place with a thatched roof (pronounced “tached”). We had fiddle, singing, dance, box and repertoire classes followed by a fun session.

Our last day was a travel day, but Sean Deighan hadn’t had a chance to see the Cliffs of Moher yet, so we quickly ran up the path before we left… maybe we ran a little too fast… as we almost lost Sean. But don’t worry Mary, Sean’s fine now and in good hands.

Christy Barry’s #2

The other evening at the BRIMS social at our house, Joe Basconi (a fine young fiddle player who is in town working on an advanced engineering degree) suggested we play Christy Barry’s set. That rekindled memories of BRIMS’ trip to Ireland in 2004 where we were fortunate enough to have Mr. Barry as our instructor in a wonderful pub in Lisdoonvarna, called the Roadside Tavern. As it turns out, our first night in Doolin we’ll be going to a session with him… ah, I can almost hear his penny whistle and taste the Guinness now! Anyway, being the nostalgic guy that I am (no comments from the peanut gallery), I dug up the recording from 2004 and thought it would be the perfect segue way as we head to Ireland. I think I’ll learn it tonight so I can teach it to folks during our layover in JFK.

Listen to Christy Barry’s #2

Next posts will be from Ireland … so stay tuned! 😉

Let the Healing Continue

“I am deeply sorry.” After 38 years, these words are late in coming, but important to be said and heard rather than left for historians to ponder. Penned by the author of “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, this Op Ed piece by Bono in the NYTimes today is one of many reflections of this historic moment. It is also a gentle reminder of the huge costs in not addressing issues peacefully that need to be addressed.

As we prepare to travel to Ireland on Wed, to enjoy the music and fellowship in the pubs, we should also reflect on the more somber side of Irish history that I thought Bono captured well here, “…for a moment, the other life that Martin McGuinness could have had seemed to appear in his face: a commander of the Irish Republican Army that day in 1972, he looked last week like the fly fisherman he is, not the gunman he became.” The words of an old fisherman’s song from Cork ring true.

“…And still I live in hope to see
the Holy Ground once more.”

Ireland and Sleep

I couldn’t resist re-posting this link on sleeping habits mixed with the writer’s trip to Ireland. In our family, we have an extreme mix of late-nighters and early birds, so it struck a familiar chord. Who knows, maybe in Ireland all clocks reset. No doubt the Guinness and disconnect from our electronic tethers allows us all to leave what keeps us up at night or wakes us early back in the states. Can’t wait!

Long Night’s Journey into Sleep (NYT Article)

I’ve been working on some new tunes recently and will record and share them next week!


As part of our fundraising efforts for our upcoming trip to Ireland, BRIMS delighted a crowd of folks at Fridays after Five on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. Fast paced tunes and dancing by our students created a family-fun atmosphere for all who came by. Here (hear?) is just a snapshot of part of our group in action. (Thanks to Sara for the picture!)

Come see us this Friday, May 21st at 7pm. It will be a slightly different group of folks, but still loads of fun! Look for us around the fountain / Paramount. And, if you enjoy the music, please donate to help us defray the costs of our trip!