Another very full day!
In the morning I got to meet someone I’ve know in an online community for a long time, but seeing as she lives here in Dublin, we had never met in person. We went to Kilmainham Gaol (jail) which is a very old prison that was the site of a series of executions which really were a key turning point in what would eventually cause the Irish people to fight for and win their independence from the British. It’s a very well run museum now. You go on a tour with a guide, who talks about the history of the jail, but with a particular focus on the events which lead to Irish independence. It was a surprisingly powerful experience. I’m not sure to say that I enjoyed it is the right word, but I’m very glad I went.
It gave me a real sense of Irish history that I didn’t have at all. And I was particularly glad to go with an Irish friend, both because it’s the kind of experience that’s nice to have someone to discuss it with and because of her perspective as a decedent of the people who were involved.
The Mooney Show
After the experience of the morning, I headed out to RTÉ Radio Center to be interview by Derek Mooney for his daily radio program.
A bit of background here – RTÉ is the Irish national broadcasting company – they do both TV and Radio. The orchestra I’m doing “The Planets” with is also a part of the organization.
I’ve spent enough time as an interviewer and also recording engineer to be very comfortable in those roles (at least when I’m doing something I know I can edit…) but I’m NOT normally in the interview subjects seat – it’s quite a different experience. It did go very well, though. Derek and I really enjoyed talking together, and that made it easy. I was shocked when we finished and he thanked me saying we’d done a full 1/2 hour. (I was expecting 5-10 minutes.)
At night I went to see a dinner show called Celtic Nights which had been recommend. It takes place in the restaurant of The Arlington Hotel which is right on the River Liffey which runs through the center of Dublin. They actually have 2 shows, at 2 hotels that are not far apart. One is described as “traditional” and the other as “contemporary”. I’m not exactly sure what the difference is, but I knew I was interested in seeing traditional Irish music and dance so that’s the one I went for.
As I was finishing dinner, a couple of the musicians started to arrive and set up. For those who know the music world, it is sort of set up like a typical bar gig, but with a larger (though not huge) stage. The musicians do their own sound and lighting (which is to say they get it set the way the want it and then don’t touch it for the rest of the night. So it ended up being somewhat simpler and with less production then I expected.
However, it was far from disappointing. The band is a 5 piece called Púca with bodhran (traditional Irish drum), banjo, accordion and guitar plus a lead vocalist and 2 of the instrumentalists also sing. And let me tell you, these guys can PLAY and they put on a GREAT show. Add to that 4 extremely talented dancers in the 2nd half, and it really made quite an evening. A solid 2 hours with no intermission. Very engaging, very well performed and thoroughly enjoyable.
It may not surprise you to hear that on returning to my hotel, I tipped over into bed 😉