The next morning we had a lovely breakfast, said bye to our hosts, and headed to Killarney in County Kerry. On the way we drove through the city of Cork, and visited the Drombeg Stone Circle and Timoleague Friary. We arrived in Killarney mid-afternoon and checked into our hotel then drove into the city for dinner and then tracked down a pub with an Irish session so the kids could play.
The next day we visited Muckross House, Muckross Abbey, Muckross Farms, and Torc Waterfall. The farms was really fun for the kids with people baking bread in the little farmhouses, people working the farms, and animals to pet. We went back into the city that evening. The kids wanted to try busking after seeing a number of performers on the streets. We walked past a small group of teens putting their instruments away then decided to go back and try the spot they were leaving. They walked up to us and asked if Haley had been in Cavan last year. They happened to be a group of teens she had played a session with in Cavan last year and remembered her. The kids busked for about 20 minutes then we went for supper and found a different session for them to join in with later that night. We met 3 people from Australia in that pub who'd seen the kids busking and Ritch and I talked to them while the kids played.
Our next stop was Doolin Village. On the way we drove around the Dingle Peninsula. Talk about beautiful...mountain passes, water, cliffs, summer flowers all over the place. Also talk about scary driving...the pass from one side of the peninsula to the other had segments where only one car could fit at a time. On one side was the mountain wall and on the other a shear drop of the cliffs. We had to look along with mountain to see if a car was coming because there weren't any turnoffs so if the cars met, one would have to back up to let the other pass. To top it off there were lots of bikers as well (why anyone would want to bike up those mountains, I have no idea) on the roads barely wide enough for one little VW Passat.
Our B&B in Doolin was very nice. The farmer who ran it told us about the pub where we'd find a real Irish session. We took the kids there for the session at 9pm and the pub was packed with tourists. The kids had a great time meeting the other musicians and playing with them.
|Doolin session at O'Conner's Pub.|
|Haley, Dylan, Jayne, and Bram busking.|
Our next few days in Cavan kind of followed the same plan. We drove into town from our B&B early enough to get parking, the kids played on the webcam stage, we walked about town, they found someone to play with in the hotel, they busked, dinner, then night sessions. Friday, Haley had a quick lesson with Brian to check her competition tunes. A lady from RTE radio heard her practicing and asked the kids to come to their truck to record a few tunes for the radio later that day.
The competitions were Saturday morning. Haley played her best but didn't end up placing. She was a little upset because she knew how well she had played but she bounced back quickly. Dylan also played very well but didn't place. Only pianists placed in his accompaniment competition.
Saturday evening we ran into their friends, along with a new Scottish friend, Benedict and all the kids played in the streets together. They had a blast learning some Scottish accent and teaching Benedict to talk American.
Sunday Haley, Dylan, Jayne and Bram competed in the Street Seisun finals, a televised event on the "big stage." They were really good together. They hadn't had time to rehearse so came up with a couple sets and went out and played amazingly well together for kids who see each other twice a year. The judge said, "When you are asked to judge an event like this, coming out and seeing an act like that makes it all worthwhile." He went on to comment at how he liked Bram's dancing and how well Haley and Jayne were in tune especially with Haley on a half size fiddle with very little room for error as they shifted into 3rd and 5th positions. The kids ended up winning the under 15 age group!
|Kids at the Molly Malone statue.|
The kids played in Gogarty's pub on Monday night. The people playing remembered Haley from last year. We tried to meet the retired fiddler for the Chieftains but were unable to coordinate our schedules and we had turned in our rental car so had no way to get out to his home anyway. He did talk to Haley on the phone and said a few things that made her feel better about the competition. Hopefully we will be able to meet him next year.
|Haley and Dylan posing outside Ireland's Natural History Museum.|