Monday, March 16, 2009
From Here to Clare
Just back from County Clare where I attended the exhibition launch of my friend Frank Golden, poet and visual artist extraordinaire. Had a fabulous time. Drove across Ireland on the Limerick Road and then north to Quin via the lake district of Killaloe. Beautiful scenery. Reminded me of Loch Lomond and the Isle of Skye. The exhibition was in Ennistymon, the town with the picturesque falls. Here's the pub we went to afterwards. A must-see if you are in the area. The owner is Eugene himself, plus his dog Toby, and the interior is even more amazing that the exterior: stained glass, antique posters, photographs, paintings, pictures, fine wooden counters and tables and chairs, and best of all, friendly County Clare atmosphere where everybody chats to everybody else. I stood mesmerised looking at a poster of the first Lisdoonvarna festival which I attended as a sprog in 1978. Ah, the memories of the big white tent, the rain, the muddy field, the queues for food and toilets in the village, and best of all, the MUSIC: Paul Brady, Gay & Terry Woods, Midnight's Well, Miko Russell, De Dannan, Chieftains, Furey Brothers, Christy Moore, Stockton's Wing, Mick Hanley and more. Oh what a blast from the past looking at that poster was. And the woman sitting in front of it had been there, too. In fact, she was at every single one of the festivals including the one with the drownings (tragic) and the one with the riots (!) in 1983. Needless to say, that last one put an end to a fine tradition. Apparently they went from folk to rock. Go figure. The next day a gang of us headed up to Bell Harbour to see the building site of Frank and Berry's house, then off to New Quay for a walk along the Flaggy Shore and lunch at Linnane's fine pub and eatery. We all ate crab - I had 'hapes' of it on a plate with salad, brown bread, and tea. Then home I went via Kinvara, my old haunt and the village I dream of returning to one day. Now that was a fine weekend.