From Galway we traveled to Ennis, conveniently located about 30 minutes from Shannon Airport. We stayed at the Rowan Tree Hostel, which is right on the Fergus River in downtown Ennis. It was probably the nicest accommodations on our trip. Unlike all the other hostels, the Rowan Tree was quite spacious. It also had a wonderful kitchen and bathrooms and the owner/managers obviously paid great attention to detail. Rowan Tree and Aille River in Doolin were definitely the top two hostels in my opinion. Though I’m probably getting a little too old for hostels (and have always been a bit too tall for the beds), there’s a wonderful sense of “gathering” that you just don’t get at hotels. And, of course, they are very affordable!
After a quick lunch at Brogan’s pub, the next stop for me was a visit to Custy’s Music Shop. They had expanded some since the last time I was there (I think… or maybe my brain contracted… also a distinct possibility). Picked up several CDs there and drooled over some bouzoukis. Theresa drooled even more though… and came very close to bringing one of those home to keep her 5-String banjo company.
In the evening, we had a full gathering of the group at the restaurant connected with the hostel which was a great celebration of a wonderful trip. I can’t believe how much we managed to do in two short weeks. Our trip leaders, Lori, Alex and Sophie, did a fantastic job connecting with all the amazing musicians, and arranging all the logistics. Far more goes into planning a trip like this than any one person realizes. Lori deserves a special thanks as our Executive Director who oversaw the entire planning process and was ultimately responsible for the huge success of the trip. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ll be compiling the recordings of tunes over the next week and post them as I get them organized, so keep a look out for some wonderful new tunes from our instructors!