Although we aren’t staying in Tralee, we had such an amazing day in Tralee with Michelle O’Sullivan, Michael Murphy, Mairead Curran, and Paul de Grae, that it really does deserve its own post.
We left Killarney around 8:30 and we arrived there pretty much on time, though we had to ad-lib a bit on the directions provided by the hotel. The dancers (and Sean O’Brien’s right foot) spent 4-5 hours with Michael Murphy in a huge room at the Ballyroe Hotel (wouldn’t it be nice to have that space for our dance classes in Charlottesville!). While the dancers were working hard, Eddie and I went upstairs with Paul de Grae, and later were joined by Katherine, Monika, and Alex. Eddie had a great lesson. I have to remember to give him Paul’s book when we get back to Virginia.
Later in the afternoon we met with Mairead who taught us some absolutely gorgeous songs. First we met in the dance room, but later moved to the piano, which was much more intimate and Mairead’s accompaniment added to the beauty of the songs.
After singing class was over, we were invited to have dinner at Michelle and Tom’s beautiful home which was just down the road from the hotel. Tom’s lasagna was superb, so it only seems appropriate to have a picture of him passing out 2nd helpings.
I don’t think I have ever been to a party with more gracious hosts. Not only did they invite our whole group (25), but also many friends and for dessert all of her students. The kids played outside for awhile with Eddie showing them Michael Jordan moves on the basketball court. All of a sudden it was time for the session and Michelle’s students came streaming in. It was an incredible (to me) assemblage of accordions and concertinas. Shaheen counted 26 in all. We practiced some common tunes for the concert the following day. Then the adults joined in for a rousing session with Paul’s amazing guitar for rhythm. Alex wowed them with a couple of old time tunes which our hosts thoroughly enjoyed.
We could have played alot longer, but it was a good hike to Dingle and it was raining fairly hard, so we decided it was best to get started on our next journey. I would have loved to have played another hour, but about halfway to Dingle, it was clear we made the right call leaving when we did.
The following afternoon, we headed off to perform at Michelle’s School concert at the St. John’s Theater for performing arts in Listowel, which is about 30 minutues north of Tralee. The theater is in the town square in a converted church and an absolutely gorgeous location for a concert. We had a great time and were extremely impressed with the students. Here are a few pictures of Michelle getting everyone organized before the concert and our group performing with our new friends from Tralee. Thanks again Michelle for a magical two days with you, your family, and your students!