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Thread: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

  1. #1
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    May 2012
    San Diego CA

    Default Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    Hey all,

    I'm heading to Ireland in late May around memorial day for about a week. I'm going solo and the plan is to play as much music as possible. I don't really know anyone in Ireland and have very little planned as of yet.

    Any suggestions on places to visit that have a musical appeal (mandolin related or not)?

    Anyone on the forum from Ireland?

    I have a short list of Irish tunes to learn a friend of mine gave me to have some local flavor - any more are appreciated:
    Morrison's Jig
    The Kid On The Mountain
    The Wind That Shakes The Barley
    The Road To Lisdoonvarna
    The Rocky Road To Dublin
    Off To California
    Banish Misfortune

  2. #2
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Apr 2013
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    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    Take a rain coat and a waterproof case cover for your mandolin!
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  3. #3
    Fiddler & Mandolin Player Dave Reiner's Avatar
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    Jan 2003

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    I suggest you visit the Cobblestone Pub in Dublin. Real sessions, fine musicians, great traditions. Not oriented to tourists looking for Danny Boy :-).

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  5. #4
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Sep 2002

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    I always recommend visiting luthier Paul Doyle in Galway, 38a Dominick St. Good music scene in Galway pubs. Westport, Co. Mayo, is a small town with another great pub scene.

    My favorite craic is at Jimmy De Mille's in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, but he's open just one night a week. Requires advance planning.

    There might be a "closed" or "pro-level only" seisun here or there in bigger towns, but most musicians will welcome guests to sit in.

    And if you play well, there could be free Guinness in it for you. More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  6. #5
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    Don't be shy about asking session people if they mind you recording some tunes to bring home and learn. I picked up The Clumsy Lover that way, and it's my favorite souvenir from our trip.
    Play a lot, but make sure to get out and about and see other sights too. It's a wonderful country.
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  7. #6

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    I went to Ireland a few years ago... a fantastic trip, everyone is friendly and travel is easy (once I got used to driving on the wrong side and shifting with the other hand!)

    I went to pubs and listened to music every single night... it was great. Although I love to play at jams and sessions, I’m glad I left my mandolin at home. I never saw any jams that were open to outsiders, although I wasn’t really looking.

    A knowledgeable friend suggested just soaking up the culture and listening to the locals play... that turned out to be very good advice. There’s so much to see and do- I’m glad I didn’t spend my time looking for open sessions, I can do that at home...
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  8. #7
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    San Francisco, CA or forgotten East Galway, take your pick.

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    I second the recommendation of The Cobblestone if you're in Dublin, one of my favorites haunts that! In Galway the Crane has good sessions as well. Staying in Galway, as mentioned above, visit Paul Doyle's workshop if you can, and also drop into cafe member Kieran Moloney's shop Moloney Music. Tom Cussen's shop in Clarinbridge, just outside of Galway City is worth a stop as well, as he sells banjos, mandolins and guitars and he is the salt of the earth.

    When you say you plan to play as much music as possible, are you planning on busking or seeking out sessions? If you're new to playing irish trad music then you may find the sessions/speed tunes are played at passing you by. The Cobblestone has a Facebook page and regularly posts video from some of their sessions so that would be a good way to give you an idea of the tunes being played. You may be able to find bluegrass or old time sessions (I know the Cobblestone used to host one).

    A great resource for learning irish tunes is the Wellington Sessions website - they've loads of tunes and there's a function to slow them down if needs be. Might be a good way to prepare for session playing. Since you'll not be leaving until the end of May you might also check out any irish sessions local to you in San Diego to start getting a feel for the tunes.

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  10. #8
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    I plodded up the west coast , pocket mandolin aboard , on my bicycle 20 years ago..

    others traveling more recently probably have better resources..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Glover, Vermont

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    Ireland and the Irish are just fantastic. We'll be going over for the third year in a row this May. Neither Lynne nor i nor the friend that we stay with in Clare like big cities and spend the whole of our time in the west based in County Clare and wander up and down the Wild Atlantic Way:

    There've been some great recommendations, especially Jill's for larger cities. In Ennis there's a great little shop Custy's ( that could lead you to some wonderful lower pressure opportunities to get your fingers wet and play. I'd say take the mandolin and leave it in the case 'til someone asks about it. I figure if they're open enough to ask they're open enough to listen. Modesty helps and the Irish are the most wonderful of folks.

    Knowing some Irish tunes ... thanks Jill for that resource ... will certainly help. But have something to share of your own. We're within a snowball's throw of the Quebec border and love to play Quebecois music and those tunes have gone over well.

    Relax and have fun ... you couldn't be in a better place with better people.

    Last edited by Ryk Loske; Dec-22-2017 at 6:53pm.
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

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  13. #10
    Registered User
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    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Ireland Bound! Suggestions??

    Galway is where I spent two of my three weeks in Ireland last year, which I loved along with the rest of the country. For traditional music, the Crane Bar is great, as well as Tig Choili. Lots of street music too! My friend and I rented guitars from Kieran Moloney at a very reasonable rate. You’ll have a blast!

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