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England/Ireland in August: advice?

PoppaGator 30 Apr 03 - 12:05 PM
jimmyt 30 Apr 03 - 12:31 PM
Les from Hull 30 Apr 03 - 03:58 PM
JudeL 30 Apr 03 - 04:20 PM
JudeL 30 Apr 03 - 04:29 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 03 - 05:00 PM
PoppaGator 05 May 03 - 11:27 AM
gnomad 05 May 03 - 11:44 AM
dick greenhaus 05 May 03 - 11:50 AM
PoppaGator 05 May 03 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 05 May 03 - 12:52 PM
Crane Driver 05 May 03 - 01:16 PM
PoppaGator 05 May 03 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 05 May 03 - 01:35 PM
Beardy 06 May 03 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Pete 06 May 03 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,rob wright 07 May 03 - 12:01 PM
PoppaGator 07 May 03 - 01:15 PM
PoppaGator 21 May 03 - 11:32 AM
Marje 21 May 03 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 21 May 03 - 02:57 PM
PoppaGator 21 May 03 - 03:41 PM
GUEST 21 May 03 - 09:22 PM
PoppaGator 21 May 03 - 11:04 PM
Marje 22 May 03 - 11:28 AM
sweetfire 22 May 03 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 22 May 03 - 01:29 PM
Jim Dixon 22 May 03 - 04:39 PM
PoppaGator 22 May 03 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 22 May 03 - 10:41 PM
GUEST,rob wright 23 May 03 - 04:46 AM
Teribus 23 May 03 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,Elfcall 23 May 03 - 07:17 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 04 Jun 03 - 06:07 PM
Ella who is Sooze 05 Jun 03 - 05:04 AM
death by whisky 05 Jun 03 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Claymore 06 Jun 03 - 11:42 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Jun 03 - 02:21 AM
PoppaGator 09 Jun 03 - 10:01 PM
Dead Horse 10 Jun 03 - 09:55 AM
PoppaGator 10 Jun 03 - 04:06 PM
Les from Hull 10 Jun 03 - 04:21 PM
Dead Horse 11 Jun 03 - 06:55 AM
PoppaGator 11 Jun 03 - 11:01 PM
Dead Horse 12 Jun 03 - 06:01 PM
PoppaGator 12 Jun 03 - 09:00 PM
Ella who is Sooze 13 Jun 03 - 04:13 AM
PoppaGator 13 Jun 03 - 01:38 PM
Ella who is Sooze 17 Jun 03 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Guest 20 Jun 03 - 10:58 AM
PoppaGator 20 Jun 03 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Guest 21 Jun 03 - 01:26 PM
PoppaGator 05 Jul 03 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Learaí na Láibe 06 Jul 03 - 06:30 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 06 Jul 03 - 07:18 AM
PoppaGator 07 Jul 03 - 02:06 AM
JennyO 09 Jul 03 - 09:19 AM
PoppaGator 29 Jul 03 - 06:05 PM
JennyO 30 Jul 03 - 10:59 AM
PoppaGator 30 Jul 03 - 11:18 AM
JennyO 30 Jul 03 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Scot 30 Jul 03 - 03:11 PM
PoppaGator 30 Jul 03 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,TerryD 30 Jul 03 - 05:50 PM
GUEST 30 Jul 03 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 30 Jul 03 - 08:25 PM
Ella who is Sooze 04 Aug 03 - 04:19 AM
PoppaGator 05 Aug 03 - 05:13 PM
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Subject: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 12:05 PM

My wife Peggy and I are planning a trip from the US to the British Isles for the first two full weeks of August this year. I'm interested in any info anyone cares to pass along regarding musical events, pubs not to be missed, etc., that won't take us too far off our itinerary.

We will fly into London on Monday 8/4, to be met by my brother and sister-in-law, who both work as schoolteachers for American miltary dependants (Army brats) at Lakenheath RAF base, which is (more-or-less) in the area of Cambridge. We'll stay at their house for several days and sightsee the immediate area before driving west to Ireland. No exact date has been set for our departure -- we are free to be flexible -- but it will probably occur on or before Sunday the 10th.

We'll drive across the Midlands and Wales and take the ferry to Dublin, where we'll spend a *little* time (no more than one overnight stay) before proceeding west to the family's ancestral home in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo (near the Roscommon border).

After visiting for a day or two, we'll be free to tour around the west until Sunday 8/16, when I'll be dropped off at Shannon for a return flight to the states, and back to work Monday morning. (Peggy is self-employed and able to take a longer vacation; she'll stay with the kinfolk for the drive back to England and will have time to check out London before flying home.)

We are certainly interested in hearing authentic traditional music, both in England and Ireland, but we are by no means purists or afficionados, and would also be glad to learn of *any* worthwhile local music, including the most contemporary.

No three-day campout festivals, thank you, nor high-priced concerts; we're working within time and budget constraints. However, if we can avoid spending an evening in a quiet nondescript pub when, unbeknownst to us, another nearby establishment is hosting a worthwhile musical evening -- well, that's the kind of inside information I hope some Mudcatter(s) out there can provide.

Here's a summary of our tentative plans:
One week or less, starting 8/4: Cambridgeshire
One day, between 8/8 & 8/12: Dublin
Final leg of trip, through 8/17: Mayo, Galway & points SW

Thanks,
Tom Henehan


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: jimmyt
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 12:31 PM

You will get LOTS of response for England from our friends in Hull and all over ENgland with smashing recommendations on music pubs and venues, I wiould strongly recommend County Clare in Ireland, Ennis and Doolin are the main music towns. Doolin is only a small village right on the coast with three pubs, live music somewhere all the time morning to night.Gus Occonnor's is my favorite, but all are within a mile. Hope you have a grand time!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 03:58 PM

Hull might be a bit far from Cambridgeshire. I think that you might be best off checking out what festivals are happening around you. Whenever there's a folk festival, there'll be pubs full of people making music. You don't have to have a festival ticket, or even go to any concerts. Just find out where the sessions and singarounds are, and look for the street displays (dance, mumming etc).

No doubt some Cambridgeshire people'll be along with some more useful information. Have a lovely time!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: JudeL
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 04:20 PM

Try looking in Mr Red's Website

or another online place to look is the folklist page


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: JudeL
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 04:29 PM

Martin Dent's site appears to list quite a few clubs in Cambridgeshire here


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 05:00 PM

A couple of small pub instumental sessions; LION INN, Little Glemham
alternate Wednesdays (Suffolk) & ROYAL STANDARD, Mill Road, Cambridge,every Thursday (trad Irish). If you're about on 30th August there's the Tradional Music Day in Stowmarket Suffolk.
   Have a great trip, Dave Mandoman.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 03 - 11:27 AM

I'm refreshing this on a Monday morning; will probably do so periodically either until I leave on the trip, or have gotten more information then I can use.

My brother sends more info on his actual location; I've only known that he and Barb live somewhere between Lakenheath, where she works at the on-base American high school, and another smaller RAF/NATO base where Paul teaches middle school (junior high). This is their second hitch at Lekenheat; last time around they lived at Bury St. Edmonds, but this time, Paul tells me:

"We actually live just north of the border of Suffolk, in Norfolk."

An additional factor: looks like my wife and I will be accompanied by our youngest son, who won't turn 21 until February. Will his underagedness prevent or complicate our visiting pubs? He can usually avoid questioning about his age in relaxed, low-security settings, since he's about 6'1" tall. On the other hand, he's skinny and baby-faced, with extra-wispy facial hair, so on close inspection he doesn't really look any older than he is.

Thanks to all who have contributed advice; I've sent personal-message thank-yous to the three members who responded, but couldn't do that for "guest." So: Dave, thanks to you as well.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: gnomad
Date: 05 May 03 - 11:44 AM

Cannot offer guidance re Norfolk area, but rest assured being 20 is no problem in a UK pub. Legal minimum to drink here is only 18.

Hope you have a great trip.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 May 03 - 11:50 AM

For traditional music, I don't think Whitby Week can be topped.I loved it both times I was able to get over.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 03 - 12:31 PM

gnomad:

I'm sure my brother would have reassured me about the 18-year legal ago, but thanks anyway for your quick reply.

Drinking age in Louisiana changed from 18 to 21 a few years ago -- it was necessary in order to keep receiving Federal highway money. States have the freedom to make their own laws independent of the US federal gov't in many areas, including this one, but the feds wanted to "discourage" under-21 drinking (to prevent drunk-driving accidents & deaths) and control enough road-buiding money to strongly influence the states.

My older kids had the experience of drinking legally on their 18th birthdays and afterwards (for two years in one case, for just a couple of months in the other), and then becoming illegal until age 21. Go figure...

dick:

Thanks to you too; I'm off to look up Whitby Week


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 05 May 03 - 12:52 PM

Dear PopaGator your trip to Co Mayo/Roscommon will be all the merrier once you know that from there it is a short drive to Coleman country, the very heart of Irish Fiddling.

Matt Molloy (Chieftans), owns and runs a great little Pub out on the coast not too far from there as well... It is a place where you'd likely meet famous Irish Trad Recording Stars just hanging around holding up the roof which is about to fall in for the lack of Thatching!

They say that Clare tay is not too bad if you can already play the Concertina, however I would need more than that to be driving over there on the mere chance of hearing somebody - well anybody - play a few tunes. Be forewarned and make certain there IS a session/pubconcert before you leave.

For a great 'session' and time - esp in August - Galway City is hard to equal; now that I would recommend to you.

Norfolk UK is a little sleepy as I best recall, not much of anything and a whole bunch of nuttin- compares well to Hogwell Ark or Windless Holler Tenn, but if you can find the time to wander off to Birmingham or Manchester then you'd be dizzy with choices of things to do and places to go.

Think about Lakenheath this way, HMG (Her Britanic Majesty's Government) could not find a more inoffensive place to locate a horde of Yankee hooligans and their noisy toys, ie in the backwoods, out in the back, way way out there... lol. On the bright side there is a strong native Fiddling tradition in Norfolk, check out them Barges and 'Pointy Hat' poeple standing on street corners saying Elizabethan things such as 'Nonnnie nonnnie nou': also thinking on how one could usefully waste one's time at Suffolk, be sure not to miss the Newspaper clad 'Fish an Chips', eaten by hand from the paper and later washed down with a gallon of excellent English Ale, or if you must go 'native' use the local Scrumpy instead but do have a comfortable place to fall over when it's effect lays you down for the night.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 05 May 03 - 01:16 PM

Are you going through North or South Wales en route to Ireland? In South Wales, the Mumbles Maritime Festival is on at Swansea (ferry link Swansea to Cork, BTW) weekend of 9-10 August. Many top performers of shanty/ maritime folk, all performances free, very nice setting (if it doesn't rain) - several mudcatters present.

I'm sure you'll have a great time wherever you go.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 03 - 01:23 PM

Sorefingers: Thanks for so much input. I've heard of Matt Malloy's pub, and even seen it on TV. Not sure where to locate "Coleman country," but I'll be consulting my maps and guidebooks.

Galway City -- yes, I am very much looking forward to visiting there.

Very nice explanation of HMG's positioning of Lakenheath. Not surprising -- here in the States, we put most of our own military bases (certainly the largest ones) in fairly isolated locales.

I'm sure I can count on my brother and sis-in-law to show us around the immediate area, guide us to the best local eats and drinks, etc. They are quite unattached to the military bases where they work and their somewhat inbred communities, and have always lived "off-base" in the countries where they've been stationed. They've been doing this for a while, and have become pretty much "citizens of the world." It seems that most of their civilian co-workers are at least somewhat less internationalist than they are, and of course the military families whose kids they teach are even less inclined to enter and to understand the "foreign" countries surrounding their workplaces.

In other words, I think I can assume that Paul and Barb know about those "pointy hat people" and other local phenomena worthy of our attention.

Despite your concertina-related warning, I think that Clare "the Singing County" will remain on our itinerary. If for no other reason, it's pretty much on the way from Mayo through Galway to Shannon Airport, my point of departure -- innit?


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 05 May 03 - 01:35 PM

Sorry PoppaGator I forgot the Internet Weblink of Coleman Country

http://www.colemanirishmusic.com


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Beardy
Date: 06 May 03 - 11:23 AM

http://www.frootsmag.com/content/festivals/

Hope this may help you. A detailed list of festivals listed by month.
NB. Cambridge festival 31/7-3/8 sells out quite early.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Pete
Date: 06 May 03 - 11:49 AM

MacCarthy's Bar by Pete MacCarthy is a pretty good up to date guide on what to expect in Ireland

He tells some good stories that dispel the myths

He tells the story where there is a touristy plastic pub with fake everything which the locals use & the locals pub where all the tourists go - both groups go to the wrong one to avoid each other

Some spellings may be wrong - not sure if book available in states


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,rob wright
Date: 07 May 03 - 12:01 PM

you must visit Chester, it has a cathedral,a lovely river ,,roman ampitheatre, roman walls around the city centre, a race course, Oh yes and music of every kind everynight of the week in one place or other. Or at least within 15 minutes drive. The best are...
Monday The Prospect Club near Stanlow
Tuesday The Ship Victory pub in Chester or Alexanders Jazz bar
Wednesday The Bridge Inn Port Sunlight Village
Sunday The Cross Keys pub on lower bridge Street Chester.

For lots more info on whats on in the area visit the site called FOLK ORBIT ,cant remember the address but should come up on a search easy enough.
On the Other hand you could go to Scotland ,Perthshire in particular.
look on perthshire tourist site for info
Best are The Aberfeldy Club at The Palace Hotel on a Thursday or The Taybank hotel in Dunkeld,haunting ground of Douggie Macclean, any day or night or Glenfarg on a Monday.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 May 03 - 01:15 PM

Quick thanks to the last two GUESTS, to whom I can't send a PM.

Pete, *love* the story of the two pubs; I'll try to locate the book. (Pete MacCarthy might not be you, now, huh?)

Rob, nice day-by-day guide. I'll do a Google on Folk Orbit.

I have a limited time -- less than two weeks to visit two countries -- and the itinerary is built around homes of two family members, so I'll have limited opportunities to stray very far afield. I'm getting enough feedback for this trip and the next as well (hoping there *is* a next trip).


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 May 03 - 11:32 AM

refresh/revise

Thanks to all for the input. I am bringing this back up after about two weeks, and will probably do so again periodically until departure on August 1.

Some recent developments:

We will NOT be driving across England and Wales to the Holyhead-Dublin ferry. Apparently, it'll be amazingly inexpensive to fly Ryanair from London-Stansted to any of several airports in Ireland (probably Dublin, but maybe Knock or Galway, closer to our relatives in Mayo) and then rent a car upon arrival. This will eliminate the prospect of observing long stretches of British highway landscape through car windows, essentially saving us a whole day of our too-brief visit.

This means that our experience of England will be limited to London and the immediate area of my brother's residence (which is not in Cambridgeshire, as previously reported, but a little further north, at Methwold, Norfolk, near the "larger" (?) towns of Ely and Thetford). Paul and wife Barb both teach at American-style schools for US military dependents at RAF bases, Barb at the high school at Lakenheath, Paul at middle school (jr. high) at Feltwell.

My brother Paul was a longtime professional drummer (over a decade without a day job!) who has just recently taken up the guitar. I'm a former semi-pro guitarist/vocalist (i.e., busker/scuffler) trying to maintain my deteriorating skills despite arthritic fingers and the various demands of family and work. We're (somewhat giddily) looking forward to jamming together, working out a couple of tunes, and perhaps imposing ourselves at one or more unsuspecting pub sessions in East Anglia and/or the West of Ireland.

As we were talking each other into this plan thorough an exchange of emails, I mentioned that, while I had no plans to bring my precious D-18 Martin along for the trip, I would certainly have my fingerpicks in my pocket so I'd be ready to play his instrument or any other we might borrow. His reply:

******

I [too] had been entertaining fantasies about playing together, but never would have suggested that you drag your guitar along. It's a real pain in airports and very risky, damage-wise.

BUT... having agreed to get a 3/4-sized acoustic for [7-year-old son] Gabriel, I marched him into the store 2 weeks ago and emerged with said kiddie axe along with a Fender Squire and Roland mini amp for me! The Squire is a beginner-range imitation Strat. I love it to death. No wonder every yutz with a pair of hands wants to play these things; it's easier'n shit.

I justified the purchase by acquiring a paid position sponsoring an after-school Guitar Club. So far it's only 7-8 kids, most such rookies that I can show them a lot. Surprisingly, 4 of them have electrics more expensive than mine. They asked me to play the other day and were amazed by my ability to do a really shitty Johnny B. Goode.   So I'm in good shape for that gig.

So, we could at least show up in places with my Yamaha, so people would know we weren't just air guitarists. If you work up some appropriate traditional stuff, I could at least back you up at a Tom Fogarty level.

This is so great! I'm stoked, dude.   There's a mighty wind a-blowin'!

********

By the way, I referred Paul to the recent Mudcat thread on teaching a guitar workshop, which he enjoyed and found helpful for his new faculty-moderator job.

So: which two or three tunes should we work up? Neither of us is especially knowledgeable about truly traditional Irish or British folk music, but we can of course learn. Some alternatives I've been considering:

Most Trad: My first inclination, probably too ambitious, was to work up "The Humours of Whiskey" (which would demand *heavy* memorization of lots of lyrics) and, because of its New Orleans connection, "Lakes of Pontchartrain" (which would best be done in an open-tuning arrangement that would demand serious effort, probably more than I would/could devote before departure).

Pop-Folk Irish: It wouldn't be too hard for the two of us to a creditable job with, say, "Wild Rover," "Black Velvet Band," etc. Too hokey? I'd like to think we'd be cut a bit of slack, since we're just a couple of dumb Yanks.

60s Songwriter Folk: All of y'all over there love Tom Paxton, don't you? "Last Thing On My Mind" is one of the first tunes I ever played on the guitar, and one that I've continued to do pretty much ever since. Then there's Ewan McColl's (?) "Dirty Old Town," popular at American Irish Pubs (sung by kids who think it's a Pogues tune), and we both know plenty of early/folky Bob Dylan and suchlike.

By the way, in response to some early responses: Paul is buying the Pete McCarthy book, so I don't have to. Also, he's been to Doolin before & knows the pubs, and will probably "guide" us there when the time is right.

Thanks to all, hope you find this amusing whether or not you have a response, over and out for now.

Tom Henehan


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Marje
Date: 21 May 03 - 12:55 PM

Very wise to fly with Ryanair rather than drive and take a ferry.

But about the repertoire (please don't be offended if I take you at your word and respond to your suggestion) I'm not sure what "hokey" means but Black Velvet Band and Wild Rover are a bit -well, we'd say "naff". Many people get quite embarrassed if you ask for them or sing them. Last Thing on My Mind is a bit better, but still very over-performed. I'm sure you have less well-known American things that people over here would appreciate - it can be a mistake to try to play what you hope will be the local "standards" and get it wrong. Early Dylan would be better, if you find the right sort of club (some welcome thais sort tof thing, while others are more traditional). Lakes of Pontchartrain would be welcome most places, I think.

Dont' get me wrong - most clubs like to see new people, and get quite excited when someone from overseas arrives (doesn't often happen in Norfolk!), so you'll be very welcome. Just try to offer some of your own favourites that they're not so likely to have heard much, and that should go down well. Or if you find a "session" where everyone just jams together, that will give you a chance to learn some of the stuff we play over here.

Have a great time!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 21 May 03 - 02:57 PM

If you plan on any sessions or clubs do check explicitly check that they are open. Between family holidays and the big festivals quite a lot give up in August.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 May 03 - 03:41 PM

Marje,

I have no idea what "naff," means, but it's probably pretty much the same as what I meant by "hokey" -- corny, tired, etc., to the point of embarrassment. Are we understanding each other?

Excellent bit of feedback, what I more-or-less expected, or perhaps, what I had *hoped* to hear. I think we'd both prefer to do our own favorites, or at least very familiar numbers. Not offended at all -- quite the opposite.

Anyone looking for the same advice I've been seeking: there's a concurrent thread (as of right now, Wednesday afternoon 5/21/03) entitled "SEEKING GOOD MUSIC WHILE IN IRELAND" (yes, it's in ALL CAPS) with different answers to the same questions I had asked earlier.

One thought that just occurred to me this morning: by flying Ryanair, are we making it more diffifult / less likely to bring a guitar or two along on the second leg of the trip, to Ireland? Perhaps so...

TH


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 May 03 - 09:22 PM

Stay home.


All of Europe in on vacation, seeking relief from the insufferable heat. It hasn't changed, since the days of the Romens.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 May 03 - 11:04 PM

Hey, we'll be on vacation too. And believe me, spending August in County Mayo rather than Orleans Parish LA will *be* relief from insufferable heat!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Marje
Date: 22 May 03 - 11:28 AM

Insufferable heat? Some chance! It's about 14 degrees here now (that's about 58 to you in our former colonies :-)) and damp and windy. It's true that early August is a busy time, but the total number of people in these islands is probably much the same, there's just more of them in transit and in the pretty places - if fact, most of them go west, so you may find the east a bit quieter. Ireland has a long school break in the summer, so I should think the holidays (vacations) are pretty spread out over there.

It sounds as if naff and hokey mean the same, so we've both learnt something.

Not sure about guitars on Ryanair - you'd need to check their terms and conditions. Often you can put instruments in the overhead lockers if there's room, but a guitar might be too long and might have to go in the hold, especially if the flight is busy. It'd certainly be over the size limit for the standard cabin baggage. One word of warning: Ryanair is said to be very strict about their baggage weight limit, which I think is just 15 kg, and charge a packet for extra weight (someone said it was £4 per kg, which is probably more than most luggage is worth). In fact their fares are so cheap that you'd be tempted to kidnap a passer-by, buy them a seat and take them with you, just to get the extra baggage allowance....Seriously, you may have to wear all your heaviest clothes and pack your hand baggage with heavy stuff (but nothing sinister like knitting needles that could be used as a weapon, or they'll confiscate it).

Don't let that put you off, I'm sure you'll sort it somehow. I should think you can do without knitting needles anyhow.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: sweetfire
Date: 22 May 03 - 11:34 AM

i see you have finally found what u've been looking for tom...


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 22 May 03 - 01:29 PM

Hi Tom, yeah the driving is like running around inside a Hedged Maze, IOW after the second little Village, you need a pint or ten. Some routes are worth the leather. Either way it's fun.

By August you should be paying one dollar plus maybe 10 for the euro but watch anyways, ya never know. Right now it is way way too high.

As an expubjammer of yonder years I know what the scene can be like, so please do not be put off, or on, by me as most of my experience came from slightly drunk friends saying things like 'hey hows about a tune thar', which nearly always involved everbody singing together.

Seriously the choice of songs can be critical esp in Irish Tourist Session Pubs - they get visitors from all over the globe and it would be a well versed Folkie who knew a song they had not heard, but your audience does not know that.

Hokey songs, Ok don't sing em. I still sing 'Weillyah Wallyah', Dubiners - giving away my age, I still do Leadbelly's 'Rockisland Line' and both of Tom Paxton's great songs which would be hokey, but I do these because I like singing them, and I ain't going to change because other folks are tired of hearing them.

Though Irish sessions are not well versed in OT Gospel despite the popularity of such in the UK, nor would they have the foggiest idea of the lefty songs which can be found - with some research - among current US singer/songwriters( Don Conocscenti, Atlanta Ga, being a good example of what I mean ) they might welcome the odd offering but because Irish comedians are everywhere do not be offended if they take the pi**.

Still if you were to chose instead to sing 'Country' in Ireland they would love ya far far more, since their preferences are slightly different to the UK. I know several members of the Muddie are experts here, so I leave that one alone. Simply, 'Adios Amigos' or similar though dated would be more welcome than some Dyl$n ripoff of an old Irish melody with communist manifesto words to it- almost certain to be analysed by the natives as they nurse their Guinness saying secret formulae like ' d ye mind that ...noooow '

RE Telford - ( in the Rain? )
The Uk oddly has been swamped with instrumental music for so long that I would be very surprised to find any decent singarounds today, still some Muddies give the impression that there exists some kind of alternatives, clog tunes and Beer etc.

I would bring my Martin if I was going. You will rarely see a decent Box, even in the UK, because the air is heavier and therefore a cheapo Korean can sound so like a good box here that you'd be scratching your head and wondering, but for response the Martin will be sneakily clearer and most folks would not notice nor know why they preferred the sound, but they just do.

WeatherGuest is off the map here, so don't pay her any attention! If you are going to Co Mayo for most of your stay, then you have nuttin to worry about. Located out in the Atlantic Ocean, there is no wind barrier for thousands of miles in 80% of the compass, the sea air heavy with salt - and BTW very very healthy - at times feels like it may knock ya off of yer feet. Also at that location you are not too far from Donegal, a very popular tourist destination.

Tunes, I like to tinker about with a few flatpicked Irish themes, mostly off the Sliabh Luachra collections such as 'Take Her Out and Air Her', what ever that means, or which ever Jig happens to be in my head when I get into it. If you flatpick on Guitar and are not shy to trying new things, then getting hold of the notes/midi/ABC of something like the reel 'Silver Spear', the longdances off the Cheiftans all 9/8 or 12/8 can be fun- using a Metronome (for a while) is almost essential since the tempo is so darned confusing, even for us folks who have played forever on the Guitar. BTW Lots of these Chieftans Tunes are on the net, but if you must get a book then Brendan Breathneach Ceol Rinca Na h'Eireann L 2 -cost 40 USD- (in English 'Vinnie Welsh's Dance Music of Ireland Book 2') would be it... if my memory ain't wore out like the rest .....lol

You may be surprised to find in some of the better locations lots of World Music these days, but I bet - like me- you are not that impressed by it, Mali, endless whiney Hymawhatsit, Cajun etc. What you will find is one helluva welcome among the folks in Mayo and Galway...
So it's no surprise that many visitors esp US Canada Japan Oz Newz and Europe are amazed that it is so international in such remote places but thats the world today -- the internet and easy access.. thank Intel, Boeing and RyanAir...


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 May 03 - 04:39 PM

See the threads Dublin - best pubs? and Real Dublin sessions please.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 May 03 - 09:48 PM

Sweetfire:

Just when it looked like I had gotten all that I wanted, here came so much more.

That's why I'll probably refresh this thread again before the trip, assuming it doesn't stay alive on its own momentum.

Sorefingers:

Yes! That was both informative and hilarious. I doubt that I'll invest much time and effort in learning anything new (new to me, that is, actually meaning *old* traditional stuff) -- it'll take all the effort I can muster just to regain a respectable level of skill. (I'm pretty rusty, and I have some damn sore fingers myself -- arthritic knuckles slowly regaining flexibility thanks to glucosamine therapy.) Plus, a major factor in this whole adventure is the prospect of working up an act of sorts with my brother the R&B drummer, with whom I have *never* before traded guitar licks. He's all full of enthusiasm over learning a new instrument, and in fact is already even doing some basic teaching(!) There are plenty of tunes we both know and love, and I suppose we'll ultimately make our selections informed by the variety of opinions being collected here. Right now I'm thinking some of the folk & country "cover" tunes in the Grateful Dead songbook might serve us pretty well: "O Babe It Ain't No Lie," "Been All Around This World," "Goin Down the Road Feelin' Bad," "Mama Tried," plus maybe some of my old favorite Mississippi John Hurt repertoire, most likely the simpler stuff like "Irene Goodnight" & "Creole Gal." As far as instrumental jamming is concerned -- I'll probably remain largely unprepared (i.e., won't be buying a metronome), but I was always able to jump in and keep time with most anything, as long as the chords were recognizable to me, and the changes in a recognizable pattern. And if I don't feel confident, I'll just sit on my hands until I do.

Despite your advice, there's no way I'm hauling my D-18 overseas. I'll be encumbered enough with basic luggage, for one thing. There'll be two guitars at my brother's house, where we'll be spending the first several days. After that, we can decide whether to drag one or both along for our Ryanair flight from London to Ireland. Also, despite my obvious interest as seen in this forum, the trip is *not* going to be all about music: there's family (including cousins I've never met), as well as all the normal sightseeing interests. But, as each evening comes around, and we're going to be tipping back creamy pints somewhere anyway, I want to be sure I've learned where and how to achieve the maximum craick! (Did I spell that right, or close enough?)

I will definitely keep your advice in mind about avoiding New Left commie lyrics set to old Celtic tunes -- I understand perfectly now that you mention it, but might not have realized atall had I not been given a hint. And, oh yeah, everybody singing together is just fine with me, assuming everybody knows the same songs.

Jim:

I actually read the whole "Dublin -- best pubs?" thread before I saw your message -- checked it out as soon as I spotted it so close to the top of the list earlier this evening. Thanks for both links. We'll probably spend at most one day/night there in Dooblin's Fair City before heading into the West, so good info is important -- we'll have no time to waste!

Again, thanks to all. I can hardly wait!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 22 May 03 - 10:41 PM

Can hep - lol - getting back at ya, sounds to me like you are a fella with lots of pickin under the belt; inwhichcase poke about in Mayo and you just might run into a spare Martin, try the 'Ruane' family which used for many years be the local band people, in Sligo you might run into the 'Henry's' - also in NY - which too are great musicianers. Anyway most of these good people would have several fancy Guitars laying around.

I use the Metronome mostly for fiddling but have by accident found it to be a great help to my tempo on Guitar. For fun I often deliberately pick back-to-front, in fact I could never have done that without the nome.

It does make a big difference - I would never ever have been able to play hard reels on Guitar without it.

I ain't that far from yall so one day perhaps we can all jam under a tree in South Texas ... there's lots of fine Parks to check out..

The fingers, ohhkay, short and sweet, for years I quit playing, then after I had donated the narrownecked Gibson - which I could not play - my missus bought me a gift of this Martin DM which I tried and HAD to have, then starting over made them fingers mighty sore. Now there are little brake pads where my finger tipes used be ...lol


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,rob wright
Date: 23 May 03 - 04:46 AM

you could always pop up to Chester by train for a few days then jump on a plane at Liverpool or Manchester Airport.
Or hire a car and go by ferry . the choice is yuors. What ever you do have fun


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Teribus
Date: 23 May 03 - 06:44 AM

In Dublin 8th until 12th August, in which case you will miss the session at Devitts (Thursday nights). There is a staged session in Temple Bar at the "Oliver St.John Gogherty" but it is very touristy, distinctly unfriendly and normally comprises of three musicians who sit around with their backs to the audience playing mainly to amuse themselves. No tunes are ever announced and the breaks between those tunes tend to get longer and longer.

Where abouts are you staying? I would recommend the Harcourt Hotel in Harcourt Street (leading off Stephens Green). Lots of people playing in Dublin that night end up there and it is a great place to find out where to go the next night.

Friday nights Merchant O'Sheas on the Stephens Green side of the Liffey - go down to the river and turn left, keep walking up river until you come to a bridge, Merchant O'Shea's is on one side of the road and just opposite is the Bray Head Hotel (oldest in Dublin) of the two the Bray is the better, also good on Saturday night.

Sunday - O Donaghues (of Dubliner Fame) session (mainly tunes) on the Sunday afternoon from about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, its a small pub so get there early. Before going to O Donaghues try Mother Redcaps near Christchurch - best singing session I have ever listened to. This starts earlier around 1 o'clock and ends about 4.

Enjoy your trip

All the best.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Elfcall
Date: 23 May 03 - 07:17 AM

I think the bar opposite O'Sheas is the Brazen Head both of which are just of Wood Quay if my memory serves correct. When I was last in the Brazen Head they also had a session on a Sunday lunchtime which was fairly inclusive.

Elfcall


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 04 Jun 03 - 06:07 PM

efersh


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 05 Jun 03 - 05:04 AM

Wow... there's loads to do in May-O

.... my fave is the seaweed baths in Strandhill -

info on strandhill

I've been to them loads - very clean and very very very relaxing!!!

Go see Benbulen mountain on the Sligo road - and there's a fab little pub there which does good food.

Sligo town - for some great pubs and sessions

searchable what's one thingy

Galway - and Conemara.... ooooo sooo much to doo!

Ella


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: death by whisky
Date: 05 Jun 03 - 05:03 PM

I'll be playing in Killarney,Towers Hotel,fridays/Mondays,alternate Sundays. Dingle,Murphys Bar on Saturdays.This is with a ballad group and we do a lot of requests which includes "the usuals".On Tuesdys I'm in Castlegregory in Ned Natterjacks with a box player.Anyone welcome to join that.Regards DBW


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 11:42 AM

A couple of quick comments gained from a series of experiences on a trip to Ireland a couple of years ago. We went with some twenty very good musicians from the West Virginia area and a couple of clog dancers. We played all over, but only after figuring out a couple of rules:

1. Do not attempt to play Irish music, even if you have been doing the American form for some twenty years. We play at what I will call Contra Dance speed, they play about twice as fast, at what I will call Ceili Dance speed. There is simply no point in screwing up what they do best, though many of the American versions of their tunes they truely appreciate (expl: "Star of the County Down" as a waltz stunned them)

2. The good news is that they love Old Time and Country music, as long as its done well. But be prepared to "trade" songs, rather than participate on every one of theirs.

3. Many places have their own crowd, such as Doolin, which is well worth going, but don't expect play in one of their sessions, as the Pubs are crowded in a way no American can imagine, and the musicians are a clannish lot, set in a corner, and with little opportunity to interact. Besides, every person who gets three beers in him believes himself to be a musician - and while this statement is generally true for the Irish {like Aussies, they're not "tuned" till the third beer} it is not true for the Americans.

4. You might try the way we pulled it off in Doolin, which worked for us. The Allee River Hostel is a good cheap place to stay and quite scenic. After surveying the pub scene, we decided to hold a jam in the hostel, just doing American Old Time, and let our cloggers just do their thing. All hell broke loose, with our dancers teaching clogsteps and contra dancing to a mass of kids from Germany, Italy and France. The word got back to our B& B hosts who knew the owner of McGanns. The next night we did the intermission at McGanns and from then on it was history. We made no attempt to play Irish badly, but do Old Time, fresh from West Virginny. The cloggers brought the house down.

(Later we discovered that one of the antecedents of clogging is a relatively obscure form of Irish dancing called "sean nos" or literally "Old Time". The funny thing is, that our cloggers know a hell of a lot of steps the Irish never dreamed of, and they have now been invited back twice to give classes on steps the Irish are now incorperating into "sean nos" - talk about bringing it back home).

Later, we went to the Fleadh Ceoil in Listowel and ended up on Irish TV and their National Radio, as examples of what those Americans had done with the music they sent us two hundred years ago, but that is indeed another story...


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Jun 03 - 02:21 AM

Bring wellies and a thick jumper.

LTS


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 10:01 PM

Thanks for refreshing this thread for me -- I had planned to do so within the next week or so, but you were kind enough to save me the trouble!

Claymore, your experiences must have been quite a kick! Our circumstances will be quite different, of course -- whereas you were traveling with a large troupe of performers, we'll be a small family group of tourists, two of whom have some semi-professional past experience as musicians. (My brother was a serious pro for many years as a drummer, a much more accomplished player than I ever was, but as a guitarist/vocalist, he's still pretty much a rank amateur.)

I had never even considered horning in with true hard-core traditionalists -- don't really know the songs, customs, etc., etc. nearly well enough. While I have no idea what to expect, I've gotten the impression that a fairly wide variety of different kinds of sessions exist, some allowing greater latitude than others. Perhaps we'd find one or two where we might participate -- maybe more likely in the cities and towns than in the most rural areas.

I expect that my brother and I will be far more likely to err on the side of reticence than to impose ourselves where there's the slightest possibility we'd feel less than welcome. We might, after a drop or two, let it be known that we could be persuaded to participate, but someone would actually have to go through the motions of twisting our arms before we'd step forward to make fools of ourselves.

Let me also note that, while we look forward to immersing ourselves in true traditional culture as *part* of our experience, we have much broader musical interests, and would also be glad to witness an evening or two or three of more contemporary Irish music, whether or not there were any possibilty of sitting in.

Liz: my sister-in-law advised us not to pack coats and sweaters, because, she says, they have enough warm clothes to lend us. We do plan to bring some rainwear of course.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 09:55 AM

I should start acclimatising now.
Sit next to an open freezer for an hour a day, while inhaling clouds of cigarette smoke.
Once you can manage that, try the same, but standing. And get other members of household to push past you every few minutes, carrying smelly rubbish etc. Get them to spill beer on you and your gear.
Once this has been mastered, go on to the next phase - noise.
Have a very loud drum & bass banging in your ears during this period.
Then you will be ready for the "pub experience". There is no concept of air conditioning, personal space, or ear protection.
Once you accept that, you will be free to enjoy the truly wonderful experience that is coming your way. Nothing like it.

P.S. Liz was right. Bring wellies and thick jumper. It is summer!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 04:06 PM

Hey, the chill in the air is part of the attraction! We'll be escaping from August in New Orleans, where neither the temperature nor the humidity ever drops below 95 (that's degrees Farenheit and percent, respectively), not even overnight, and where there's a nice warm thundershower for an hour or so every afternoon.

Just how cold can it be over there in August? (Anyone who cares to answer, please use "F" degrees, not "C.") As long as it stays above freezing, we'll find it a welcome relief and enjoy it.

Noise and beer spillage shouldn't be that hard to take; it can't be that much different from what we expereince during our occasional forays into the nightlife here on the homefront. The tobacco smoke might be more of a problem; even though there's plenty of it fouling the air in our barrooms hereabouts [this ain't California], I'm afraid it'll be much worse in Ireland. This is the one thing I'm dreading, the only area where I don't expect 100% enjoyment... Perhaps the best antidote will simply be more whiskey, until I no longer care.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 04:21 PM

Well it can reach 95 but variable is the best word. It's our hottest month, probably. T-shirt weather.

One thing we've always done when visiting Ireland and going into a music pub, is to keep our instruments in their cases till somebody asks. They always have done! The Irish love their music. Even if it's a paid gig for somebody you can end up doing a sort of 'open mike' spot.

The whiskey is a good idea. Get a bottle of Irish and get your taste buds ready. Irish is available in most pubs in England but there's a much greater variety in Ireland.

Enjoy, Les


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 06:55 AM

Iffen you'all is in N'awleans, can we do a swop?
I would even be willing to walk the last few miles to Lafayette!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 11:01 PM

Les: I won't even be bringing my guitar across the ocean, just my picks. My brother (based in England) may or may not bring one or two guitars along to Ireland -- when we first thought we'd trvel via auto and ferry, we figured we could haul plenty of stuff along, but now we've decided to fly via Ryanaire, which might cause us to travel a bit lighter. Also: I've *already* cultivated a fairly serious taste for Irish whiskey -- won't need to do any *extra* study in preparation.

Horse: We often talk about how great it would be to swap houses as an economical approach to vacation. Finding anyone willing to spend *August* here in subtropical hell, thereby allowing us to escape to any more northern clime, would be too good to be true. The question is: could such a gullible soul be trusted with our property?

Let's explore this a little further. I'll promise not to blather in my obnoxious stage-Oyrish accent if you don't try any more of that lame-ass southernism!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 06:01 PM

Suitably chastened, I offer my humble abode in exchange during month of August. Please bring your own gators (and remove them after) as we dont have any pond life of our own.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 09:00 PM

Well, you know, if it wasn't for the alligators, I'd sleep out in the wood.

So, where exactly are your pond and abode located?


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 13 Jun 03 - 04:13 AM

Poppathingumummy...

It doesn't get that cold there in August. I've been there in August and it's been scorching hot. All you'll need is a couple of jumpers (or a fleecy top) and a rain coat. Me thinks dead horse is pulling yer doo dah about sitting infront of the fridge. Saying that though weather over here is positively potty and inclement sometimes so it's best to say it will be a mixed bag!

So jumpers probably advised for evenings!

Oh and seaweed baths...seaweed baths!

Dingle is a lovely wee town - and I've a soft spot for Kerry area and it's beaches....sigh!

Fleadh cheoil Na eireann festival last weekend in August in Clonmel this year! Claymore'll tell you, it's an experience and a half!

Cheers

Ella


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 13 Jun 03 - 01:38 PM

Ella, et al:

I should have asked earlier, but as a dumb "Yank"* I have no idea what you mean by a "jumper." Where I come from, a jumper is a female's garment, sort of a skirt plus overall-type top worn over a blouse, usually as the main element of a Catholic schoolgirl's uniform. Usually plaid or solid blue.

I'm guessing you mean a sweater or light jacket of some sort -- ???

As noted earlier, cool weather in August will be a welcome novelty and we are determined to enjoy it, even if rain and cloudiness are involved. (Can always duck into a pub, eh?)

I'm intrigued by the seaweed baths; this is the first I've heard of 'em, despite extensive guidebook reading. Is this a local phenomenon in one particular area? -- more info, please.

Pops

* Here in New Orleans, we don't take kindly to being called "Yankees" -- even those of us who were born and raised in the frozen North but subsequently moved to the South. However, I fully realize that this is not a meaningful distinction in Ireland, where all Americans are Yanks.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 17 Jun 03 - 04:12 AM

yes, Pops... It's what you'd call a sweater! Wooly, fleecy or other...

The seaweed baths - well, there's a few around Ireland... Ballybunion in Kerry is another one. It's a beauty treatment that's been around for ages, and is good for the skin and hair.

I think in the victorian times (and before) they'd go to baths to bathe in it. The seaweed is collected from the shores around Ireland, around Sligo where the water is particularly good and fairly clean(ish) they grow good seaweed.

My friends 90 year old Auntie ( known to us as Auntie Peggy) would leap over 40buses to get her hands on a good bucket of seaweed. She swears by it, and uses it on her skin too - must work because she looks fab - and can still dance a reel!

Anyways, there are now more modern seaweed baths about. The one near Sligo I have been to lots, is a particularly good example, friendly staff, clean rooms, and nicely decorated private bathrooms with a steam room incorporated. FAB!!! You come out after your hour session all glowing, soft and silky! (Even the blokes).

And back to the weather...oh yes, there will be plenty of pubs to duck into if it rains - prepare for the locals to ask you lots of questions... they usually do if you are new about town - well in smaller towns.

Lucky toads!

:-) Ella


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 20 Jun 03 - 10:58 AM

While in Dublin - Johnny Foxes, Glencullen, Dublin Mountains
(if you bring the car) about 40min drive from city centre
sessions everynight 9.30pm, also great seafood & views of the
city. A bit touristy..

and another a secret pub called the Blue Light (Dublin Mountains)
as of now all Mudcatters are in on it

enjoy bye


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Jun 03 - 11:45 AM

That's two venues, both in the same area of Dublin Mountains? Will we need more information (address or directions) to find that "secret" pub?

We'll be renting a car upon arrival at Dublin via air, so a trip 40 minutes outside of town is very feasible. Perhaps we'd find more economical lodgings in that area than within the city limits (??)

Thanks for the tips. Further info would inspire further thanks. ;^)

Pops


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 21 Jun 03 - 01:26 PM

I thought I'd get you going about the secret pub - ask anyone for
directions once you get within the area and beware of the south side creeps(Men) and their cretions (women). They pepper their speech with
"wonderful" and "fabulous", especially on a Tuesday night. That snob
(did ya ever hear anything like his affected accent)Adam Clayton of
U2 has been known to frequent, one night there was a police raid and
they hid him in the boot of his Bentley. You do get locals and a
good session though and it's all nooks and crannies with granite
walls and wooden benches.

If you want to treat yourselves stay in Jury's Montrose Hotel
or go for a budget B&B near the stillorgan duel carrigeway you
can get the Lonely Planet guide to Dublin (% of profits go to
Human rights) or look up B&B Dublin South side on the net.
Happy trails


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 03:48 PM

Plans are starting to solidify as the departure date approaches. Peggy (wife) Mike (son) and I just got our passports in the mail, and excitement is building. We have made contact with relatives still living on the farm in Co Mayo from which my grandfather emigrated, and will definitely be visiting them.

The three of us leave New Orleans for Newark Friday night 8/1, pay a brief visit to family in NY/NJ area, and fly Newark to London/Heathrow on Monday 8/4, where we'll be met by my brother Paul, who is living with his family north of Cambridge at a tiny dot on the map called Methwold. (Nearest train station is Ely.) We'll stay there for about a week.

Paul, a longtime drummer, has taken up the guitar and has two of them now, so we will definitely be doing some picking together. I'd love to know about any song circles, pub sessions, etc., within reach of his location during the week of 8/4-8/10.

Early Monday evening 8/11 we fly London-Dublin, taking advantage of Ryanair's CHEAP after-5pm fare -- 11 pounds one way! On the anonymous advice of GuestGUEST (above), we'll be staying at a B&B in Enniskerry (?)in the Dublin Mountains for two nights (Mon/Tues). We'll definitely check out Johnny Fox's and/or the Blue Light that first evening, but what we need to know is:

WHERE SHOULD WE DRINK OUR FIRST CREAMY PINT IN IRELAND? The airport is north of town, while our lodgings and the abovementioned pubs are well south. We'll probably arrive about 7:30-8 pm and rent a car immediately. We will probably need a taste of stout before completing our journey all the way across the city to the south suburbs. I should think we could do better than the airport bar for atmosphere; who can recommend a suitable venue, somewhere nice where we could drop in for a quick pint without straying far from our route from the airport to the Dublin Mountains area?

Tuesday we'll go into the city, see as much as possible of the standard recommended sights, and return to the same B&B for a second night. After breakfast, we'll be off to the West.

Our second two days and nights (Wed/Thurs) will be spent in the villages outside Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo. We found a nice B&B in Tooreen, and will be visiting our relatives in Tullaughan and Derrintougher. We'll probaly make day trips to Achill Island and Westport, and maybe up to Sligo to Yeats' home.

Still to be nailed down: a third site for our last two nights in Ireland, Friday and Saturday. I think we want to be somewhere in Co Clare -- we'd arrive there after leaving Mayo and visting Galway City, and use it as a base of operations for visits to Doolin, the cliffs of Moher, and maybe the Burren before flying out of Shannon on Sunday 8/17.

Mike and I will be heading home, so I can return to work (yucch) in time for Monday morning and he can get ready to start back to college. Peggy will leave Shannon with Paul, back to England for another couple of days, then she proceeds to Newark for visits with my mother and our son before finally coming home to New Orleans a full weeks after Mike and me.

While we certainly look forward to enjoying plenty of music in Ireland as listeners, and perhaps as happy singers-along, we won't be carrying instruments along. Neither of us are particularly knowledgeable in the traditional genres, anyway. Any participatory sessions we get into will have to occur in the first half of the trip, in England. Any opportunity to meet up with any of you characters, whether or not in involves playing, during any portion of our travels, would certainly be a treat. This is going to be fun, big time -- can't wait!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Learaí na Láibe
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 06:30 AM

Hi Poppa,
Well you've certainly got plenty advice. Here's my bit. As I'm from the deep south, I can't really give any up to date suggestions about Dublin and places west. However please be aware that as August is the busiest tourist month, a lot of entertainment is put on specifically for the visitors and is not what I would recommend. Don't be afraid to ask as many people as possible about places to go. Traditional music is very much a minority interest in Ireland so many people will not be aware of the best venues. Say you're looking for the real stuff and not just tourist gigs. I sometimes think I must be living on an alternative universe when I hear mudcatters enthuse about the great music scene here in Ireland. Travelling aroud, I find it often difficult if not impossible to find any sessions at all. Singing sessions are a thing of the past in many areas. Anyway you've had many tips about good places in previous posts so I sincerely hope you'll find some mighty craic on you vacation. One last tip though - when talking to people in Ireland 'twould be better to say you're travelling around Britain and Ireland - not the "British Isles". You'll be understood but someone might take offence as that geographical term has unfortunate political implications.

Bon Voyage

Learaí

Thar n-ais don láib liom anois.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 07:18 AM

Can never get used to how many Americans have to get passports before the big trip! In most parts of the developed world people have 'em already....

If you're going through central Dublin from the airport, you might try Hughes bar behind the Four Courts for that first pint (tel 01 872 6540). They've got sessions most nights - probably the best in Dublin, these days, and the genuine article, which is more than you could say for the music in the Temple Bar pubs. (Though if you're going to Johnny Fox's, maybe you like things a bit touristy.)

As for the sightseeing in Dublin, if you had only half a day to spare, you could do worse than give the whole half day to a conducted tour of Kilmainham gaol. (The tour doesn't take half a day, but you need to allow for getting there and back - it's a little way out from the centre.)

I'm slightly curious about how long your wife has allowed to "check out London." My stints of living there add up to 13 years and I've barely scratched the surface.


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Jul 03 - 02:06 AM

We'll undoubtedly take at least one "day-trip" into London from Methwold, and probably two, during the first week when we're all together. Later, after my son and I have left for the states and Peggy has returned to England with her bro-in-law, she will undoubtedly spend one of her three additional days in one or more museums in London.

Of course, we know that the few days we have to spend are inadequate to really learn much about any one locality, let alone two capital cities and a half-dozen other locales in two countries. But, we will do what we can.

As far as the dichotomy between tourist-trap entertainment vs true-blue traditional music -- I really hope to enjoy a little of both, but also to stumble upon an evening or two that fits *neither* category! Surely there are musicians in Ireland presenting some sort of creative contemporary stuff -- no? (What I'd *really* love would be to attend a Commitments gig, at a parish hall or preferably a roller rink. Too bad they're only fictional!)

I don't mind indulging in a bit of hokey tourist fare, just to experience some of whatever the average Irish-American visitor sees and remembers from a typical visit -- as long as it's not every night. My worst fear, I suppose, would be to get caught up in the same lengthy drunken conversation with a tourist from Chicago that I have already had many times before here in New Orleans! I'd much rather have a stupid drunken rambling conversation with someone whose type I *don't* already know all too well, i.e., anyone local.

I'm most excited, not about anything musical, but about meeting my relatives and seeing the family farm where so many generations of my forebearers lived and died. I also cannot help but be intrigued by the fact that my siblings and I are eligible for Irish citizenship (actually, dual citizenship -- it would not be necessary to renounce the US) as grandchildren of native-born Irish. After never crossing the ocean for the first 55 years of my life, I can't be sure I'll ever make the trip again -- but then, on the other hand, this could be the beginning of a whole new chapter, with more and/or wider travel. We could conceivably retire in Ireland, able to live more cheaply there than in the US, and there's also the possibility of persuing Irish citizenship (which would include EU citizenship) before retirement, with the eventual ability to live and work anywhere in Western Europe. Will it happen? Probably not -- but just being able to give serious consideration is quite interesting.

If I don't take another opportunity to say so, let me do it here and now: Thanks to everyone for the advice and the ongoing conversation leading up to this experience. I've learned a lot while gradually building and revising a plan for this trip, and you all have played an important part. I think we are very nicely prepared by now to take the best possible advantage of this opportuinity, so thanks to everyone who has contributed.

PS: There is NO danger of me or anyone in my family referring to Ireland as part of the "British Isles" -- even the younger generation has enough political consciousness not to commit *that* faux pas!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: JennyO
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 09:19 AM

Doolin is a lovely musical town, where you can also catch a ferry across to the Arran Islands. We stayed in an excellent B&B there, called Pairc Lodge, from where you could just stroll into town - nice friendly people, lovely touches in the rooms, good breakfast, and quite cheap.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 06:05 PM

Refreshing this ONE LAST TIME -- we (me, wife and one son) fly out of New Orleans in just three more days for a quick visit to family in NY/NJ, then off to London on Monday!

Thanks to all for the good information, encouragement, and good wishes.

Week One, at my brother Paul's home in England (Methwold, near Ely, north of Cambridge), remains unstructured. We'll have plenty of time to relax, recover from jet lag, visit, and hang out with Paul and his family (Barb & 8-year-old Gabriel, whom we haven't seen for 2 or 3 years).

We'll make a few day-trips (Stonehenge and Stratford-on-Avon, maybe, as well as Cambridge and London), but I'm not sure we'll be able to fit in nighttime activities (drinking and singing) very far from our home base. Paul is in charge of the intinerary, I ain't worryin about it at all.

Week Two starts with a Monday-evening flight to Dublin; brother Paul will accompany the three of us Yanks as tour guide and driver. We'll rent a car at the airport, and stay two nights at a B&B in Enniskerry, just south of the city -- thanks to a completely anonymous tip from a "Guest" who recommeded a couple of pubs in the area. That will be our base of operations for forays into Dublin all day and evening Tuesday and also probably Wednesday morning. We plan to tour the Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) and the Jameson distillery, probably visit Guinness but not take the tour, and see what we can of the usual attractions in and near the center of town.

Next stop is our ancestral family farmstead near Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, where I'll meet my second cousin Tom and his wife Annie. We'll stay at a nearby B&B for two nights (Wed/Thur) and see how much time we spend with the (relatively elderly) relatives and how much time we can spend driving around the area -- Westport, maybe Achill Island, perhaps the seaweed baths in Co Sligo, etc.

Nights 5 & 6 (Thur/Fri) will be spent at one more B&B, between Lisdoonvarna and Doolin near the coast in Co Clare. We'll probably visit Galway City for a while on the trip from Mayo to Clare.

Sunday we go to Shannon and fly back home.

Actually, only my son Mike and I return home at that time. Peggy will go back to England with Paul for another week, and will spend the fourth week in New Jersey with my mother and visiting our other son in Brooklyn. She's self-employed, and her boss is giving her more time off than mine is -- I have to return to work Monday morning 8/18!

I'll have a computer and internet access as long as long as I'm at Paul's house, so feel free to keep posting interesting stuff!

I'm so freaking excited I don't know what to do.

Thanks again to all,
Pops


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: JennyO
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 10:59 AM

I don't blame you for being excited. I would be too. When you get a chance, post us some interesting stuff, about your trip. I for one will be sitting here turning green (with envy).

Have fun, Jenny


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 11:18 AM

Jenny (& all),

For the record, Pairc Lodge is no longer inexpensive -- their rate is 60 euros per person, sharing, more than double the 27.50 we're paying at the BurrenBB a few kilometers away, on the road between Doolin and Lisdoonvarna.

More later...


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: JennyO
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 12:23 PM

Hmm. I guess it didn't remain Doolin's best kept secret. What a shame! It certainly seemed cheap at the time for what it was.

I had the same thing happen with Korean Air. In 1994 I was impressed with their quality and comparatively low fares. In 2001, the fares had caught up and were no longer low. Oh well........


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,Scot
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 03:11 PM

advice ? My advice is go to Scotland too !!

Check out www.ryaniar.com and get a cheap flight over to Glasgow ( Prestwick airport ) . You will not regret it !


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:17 PM

Hello Scot, you Scot!

Too late to change itinerary -- maybe next time. I wish I had not two weeks, but two months, and unlimited funds, too, of course.

Of course, I'm not a Scot myself, but 3/4 Irish and 1/4 Alsatian by ancestry. (All four grandparents were immigrants to the US.) I have relatively close relatives to visit in County Mayo, but none in Scotland.

Ryanair is indeed a great deal; did you know their rates vary by time of day? We are flying London-to-Dublin after 5 pm for only 11 pounds!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,TerryD
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:50 PM

Hope this is not too late or that you/Paul may already know about the Cambridge Folk Festival starting this coming weekend (Sat.02/08/2003 sorry, you will just have to get used to our funny way of presenting the date) One day, hopefully, we will all adopt Capt. Kirk's Star Date system, whatever that is!!

As you will have InterNet contact try the following for more info.
www.cambridgefolkclub.com and www.acousticroutes.co.uk

Weather forecast for Cambridgeshire 50% chance of rain and 50% chance of possible rain - invest in an umbrella, but wait until you are here - they are cheaper here. Don't put your umbrella up if its blowing more than Force 5 at the Cliffs of Moher or you could find yourself back in the US sooner than planned!

If you want to sample a traditional English Sunday Lunch (Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding etc.) come over to "The Black Bull at Brampton", near Huntingdon, (home of the "Mighty Eigth" USAF in WW2) for a quiet rest after a hectic Saturday night.
Best Wishes and have a great holiday
TerryD


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 08:16 PM

Hi Tom, you probably have this one, and I hope it ain't late.
http://www.comhaltas.com/seisiun/seisiuntrail.htm

Re: CCE meets, they won't let anybody play except by invitation - IOW you can't take out yer Tinwhistle and join in. A little serious I know, but well worth the time.

Just in Co Mayo here is the list! Thanks to Irish Music Magazine
http://mag.irish-music.net/Sessions/Sess4.htm

Have a great trip

:0)


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 08:25 PM

ooopz forgot me nickname above, and also I forgot this link to a past festival but reading the list of players - all from about that area.
http://www.mayo-ireland.ie/Mayo/Towns/LouisB/Festival.htm ..
know you'd be 'spoilt' by hearing them!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 04:19 AM

Erm... Hi Guest...

I've never been to a CCE session where the musicians WON'T let you play...

I've been to loads and they are all very inclusive of all players who want to join in... And also inclusive of those who are learners and want to have a go...

Well, that has been my experience - I also teach at a CCE teaching session and I help to organise a CCE session local to me - we are very welcoming of all who attend, and if we know there is a learner in the session lurking or otherwise, we ask them what tune they know and would like to play.

Which session are you referring to guest?

All the best

Regards

Ella (slightly astounded - the whole idea of a session is that it is an inclusive enjoyable event?)


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: PROGRESS REPORT
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 05:13 PM

Hello All,

It's Tuesday evening, almost 10 pm GMT here in Methwold, Thedford, Norfolk -- we've been here at Paul & Barb's house for just about 24 hours.

Great sleep-deprived weekend in NYC with our two sons prepared us well to minimize jet lag. Late Sat night into Sun a.m. at CBGB on the lower Bowery, where friends of our kids (The Witnesses) were headlining. Also made it to Shea Stadium for Sunday afternoon's Mets game (a rare victory).

Flew out of Newark early Monday (8 am EDT), arrived 6 hrs later at 8 pm Greenwich Time, met at the gate by brother Paul, 2 hour drive home and we were ready for sleep. Up this morning about 9, almost completely readjusted and ready to go.

Excellent day sightseeing around East Anglia: first north to Castle Rising Castle (nice redundant name, eh?), then south to Lavenham (nifty medieval town), excellent dinner at the Red Lion Pub out in the middle of nowhere at Icklingham. We recommend it highly to anyone who might pass through the area.

Tomorrow: surprise trip by train into London -- Paul and Barb booked an overnight stay at a B&B and got theater tickets to Joan Plowright's current play, at a theatre on (I believe) Charing Cross Road. The play may or may not preclude any other nightlife for our one night in the big city. If there's any can't miss after-hours fun to be had nearby, perhaps we an stay awake long enough to enjoy.

Back to Methwold Thursday evening. From Friday morning to Monday early evening (when we depart for Dublin), we'll probably squeeze in trips to Stonehange and Stratford-upon-Avon, leaving just a few hours for other adventures.

Gotta go pick some tunes with my brother -- later!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: Noreen
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 05:59 PM

Wonderful! I'm enjoying following the story, PG!


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: JOURNAL ENTRY II
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Aug 03 - 08:30 AM

Back in Methwold after an overnight trip to London. Lucky us -- we were there for the hottest day in recorded history! Just about as warm (although not nearly so humid) as a typical August day in New Orleans, until the sun went down. London cooled off a bit whereas overnight temp in N.O. rarely drops below 75-80 F.

THe near-universal absense of air conditioning, of course, made things a bit more uncomfortable in London that what we're used to. Had a hard time staying awake in the theater for the Pirandello play featuring Joan Plowright.

Being called to lunch -- more later. I want to ask why Victoria Stqation was closed yesterday, complicating our return journey...


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Subject: RE: England/Ireland in August: advice?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Aug 03 - 09:53 AM

OK: Yesterday we took the "Original" double-decker bus tour, with a stop at the Tower of London. Yeah, right, I know -- tourist stuff; but of course, we ARE tourists. A highlight: the bus tour guide pointed out the roundabout where Chevy Chase and the Griswold family got stuck for hours in Nat'l Lampoon European Vacation ("the worst of the Lampoon Vacation films," as our guide conceded).

As we approached the end of our tour, right where we had begun hours earlier at Victoria Station, we began to hear many sirens from all directions and watched as police cars and ambulances converged on the area of the station, and even saw a helicopter land in the little park at Grosvenor Gardens to deliver a crew of orange-clad emergency personnel, all charging into the station. We retrieved our luggage and tried to enter the tube station for a quick hop to Kings Cross and then home via Nat'l Rail, only to learn that the underground was closed due to a "passenger incident."

(We walked, dragging luggage, to the nearest station {Winchester?] and had to take a slightly more circuitous underground route, but arrived at King's X *just* in time for a train to Cambridge with instant connection to Ely and home.)

We were sure that the evening news, or the next day's newspaper, would reveal what had happened, but we were wrong. Apparently, it was just one of so many heat-related screwups that it wasn't even newsworthy.

Can anybody tell us: "Wha' happened?"

Slept late today. Scheduled vacation/sightseeing activities are temporarily suspended in favor of rest. Might as well relax and enjoy a day of inactivity while we can. i.e. while we're at home at Paul & Barb's house -- next week it's off to Ireland and a new B&B every second day.

Pops


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