Friday, August 22, 2014

Sessions and Castles and Kittens, Oh My!

It's been a great Summer in Ireland - probably our busiest ever. After dashing off to the UK for six weeks (see previous post), we settled in for a summer of sessions and medieval music.

Sessions ran all through the summer, and weekends saw us travelling to play music in castles all over the country, from south (Ormonde Castle, Carrick-on-Suir) to north (Dunluce Castle, Bushmills), east (Narrow Water Castle, Newry) to west (Athenry Castle, Galway), and points in between (Fethard).

Traditional Irish sessions:
New Ross: Nan, on the flute, came from India to stay a couple of weeks - always a high point in our summer.

Ballywilliam: Yes, that's the same young piper, Eoin. Saw him a lot this summer; he's turning into a serious player!

We made up a variety of medieval ensembles for performances in castles all over Ireland.
Tania and Mike in Ormond Castle, Carrick-on-Suir
Sam Burke (Nuada) travels and performs with an even bigger collection of unusual musical instruments than we do,
Rehearsal time at our house.
so when we get together to practice for some summer gigs it's a real stringfest (plus a few whistles, reeds, and of course drums!)

Leading the procession around Fethard's medieval walls.

Tania went up to Northern Ireland for a couple of days to play with Sam and Ferris at:
Dunluce Castle, perched dramatically on the rocky North Antrim coast.

Narrow Water Castle has less impressive surroundings (a dual carriageway),
but unlike Dunluce it has a roof. And we had fun in the great hall.

Then it was back to Mike and Tania, the duo, as we finished our medieval "season" in Athenry Castle, Co Galway.
Mike, exploring the grounds.
Tania, setting up in the great hall.

At home in Inistioge, we took advantage of some barbecue weather, celebrated the christening of our neighbors' new baby, and got adopted by a pair of absolutely adorable barn cats.

Don at the grill

'Pearls' and 'Rocky'

Somehow, in between all that, Mike managed to get a lot of work done on the house. I'll try to get a new update to our house restoration blog soon, but here's one of the highlights - a working wood stove. That's in addition to the underfloor heating he installed last year, so now if we ever have time to stay put through the Winter, we'll be nice and cozy!

The summer's ending. Mike is staying a bit longer to finish up some of the good progress on the house, but Tania has said goodbye to friends, neighbors and kittens, and is saying hello to our Pacific Northwest friends as she travels solo in the coming weeks to two festivals and a performing arts showcase. See our calendar for details.

'Bye for now!