Thursday, August 23, 2012

All Ireland Champion 2012!!!!!!!

Four times is a charm for Haley at the All Ireland Competition.   She qualified and competed in Ireland for the 1st time when she had just turned 7 years old and each year has gotten a little bigger which meant a bigger fiddle and learned to play better.

This year she placed 2nd in the under 12 solo fiddle competition after being recalled (having to perform another tune because of a tie for 1st). She played beautifully and we are so proud of her. The judges said the standard was astoundingly high in the final two competitors (Haley and the boy who ended up with 1st).

Haley and Dylan along with their friends, Jayne and Bram, took 1st in the AngloCelt Fleadh Busking Competition in the under 15 age group which was a prize in euro. They had taken 1st last year as well so were really happy with that prize!

Our trip began a little yucky. Just a few hours before we were to board the plane to Dublin, Haley mentioned she had a slightly sore throat so I packed some Advil and had her take some Emergen-C just in case.

We arrived in Dublin and after getting through Immigration and Customs and obtaining our luggage then waiting for the bus into City Centre, we got to the hotel around 11am.  They didn't have a room available yet but did store our luggage. We had all gotten quite a bit of sleep on the plane between "meals"... I think Haley slept almost the entire ride. We decided to walk around a bit, do a little window shopping, and get some lunch at a restaurant we enjoyed the year before. We got back to the hotel around 2pm exhausted and sat in the lobby. The lady at the desk soon called me over and gave us a room. After a two hour nap, Haley was feeling worse with a headache so we got showers then went for dinner and stopped at the only open store, a grocery store hoping to find some cold medicine (uh, not...I think all they had was some cough drops). We went back to the hotel early to go back to bed. Throughout the night, Haley had a really high fever and woke numerous times for a drink, more Advil, or a cool cloth. She started coughing and wheezing with a tight chest (a cold is never just a cold with Haley...she doesn't get sick often but when she does she wheezes and usually gets a secondary infection). I started to get really afraid because we didn't have her nebulizer with us.

She finally fell fast asleep around 5am and I let the kids sleep until noon because I wanted her to rest. I knew there was a pharmacy at the end of the road the hotel was on so when Haley and Dylan were up, I locked them in the hotel room and ran to the pharmacy to see what they might have there. In Ireland, well at least where we were, all the medications are behind the pharmacist's counter so you have to tell them your symptoms especially if you have no idea what kinds of medications they might have. The pharmacist gave me an expectorant for Haley after telling me how important her breathing is and that I should take her to their equivalent of Urgent Care if she gets worse (duh!). This particular medication was not available in the US but it happened to work really, really well along with a steamy shower and a cup of tea and though she still coughed and her nose ran like crazy, she stopped wheezing for the most part except for a tight chest after our walking. In the meantime, I contacted my husband at home through Facebook messages trying to get information on what we had to do to make sure any medical care she might need would be covered just in case.

By about 2pm Haley was fever-free without medication (her last dose had been back at 5am). We decided to walk a couple blocks to Dublinia, a small viking museum in Dublin. We toured the museum which only took about an hour, went for dinner, then went back to the hotel to go to bed early. Not exactly what we had planned for our trip (which was late night music sessions) but I figured the more rest she got, the less likely she'd get worse.

We slept in a bit on Wednesday then packed everything up and started out of the hotel in the cloudy weather. We had gotten only half a block away when it started pouring so we ducked into a cafe and ate a delicious breakfast figuring the rain might stop before we had to walk to the bus station. It didn't so we walked out of the cafe and hailed a cab. I intended to take the cab only to the bus station but the cabby offered to take us to the airport for only a euro more than the cab ride and bus would have cost so we took him up on the offer. He dropped us at the airport, we picked up our rental care, and headed out in the rain and wind to Cavan.

We checked into our B&B then headed into town to check things out and eat dinner. The kids met up with their friends Jayne and Bram who had signed up for the busking competition so they busked during the competition time then we just walked around a short while checking out music stores and seeing old friends. We later found out they had taken 1st for the day in the competition so would be in the finals on Sunday. We headed back to the B&B early. The Wednesday night of the Fleadh falls on the time when kids in Ireland get their testing scores that determine who will go on to University so there are always massive amounts of "high school age" kids in the streets that night and it gets a little hairy.

Thursday we drove into town and walked to visit Mary and Paddy (the people we stayed with our 1st year in Cavan). We had a really nice visit. They are sweet people. We then went into town, let the kids busk, played around with instruments in the music stores, had dinner, then found a pub for a session. There are probably over 20 pubs in Cavan (which is not a very big's possible to park in one spot and walk everywhere else) so it was just a matter of walking into some of them and seeing who was playing. The one we stopped and decided to stay in had an accordion player who knew a lot of tunes and played well plus a couple flute players at first. Dylan liked that there were no other guitar players and Haley thought it was probable he'd know a lot of the tunes she likes to play so they sat. It wasn't long before a huge crowd formed around the session and a number of other people joined in who were all good players. It was a great session. Haley started getting tired around 9:30pm so she started her last tune set. Everyone played along with for the first two tunes. Then she went into The Contradiction which has some shifting on the fiddle. Everyone except Dylan stopped to listen to her and when she finished the crowd roared. As she was packing up her case, a woman approached us and asked me to bring the kids to the Court House the next morning because she wanted them on her radio show broadcasting live from 11-12pm on RTE radio. She said she had a full line-up of bands and groups playing but would fit them in.

So, the next morning we headed in for them to play on the radio. We listened to a number of the other performers and they did their tune set. Afterward we walked into town and looked in more music shops then they set up and busked for awhile before dinner. In Cavan, there were people busking everywhere. Every store front or space had people in various types of groups or soloists busking. Some were "professional" buskers who we would later see in Dublin or who went around to festival after festival but most were just kids playing music with old friends or new friends or by themselves. The people at the festival were very picky about who they'd stop to watch and if you played "good" music huge crowds would form around you. Haley and Dylan always had a huge crowd. They could play for less than an hour and come away with a case full of coins. Haley spent some of her busking money on a new, slightly smaller bow and Dylan spent quite a bit of his on a travel case for his guitar.

Friday night was an early night for us. I think we went back around 6pm, not even bothering to find a pub sessions since it was really crowded on the streets and competitions were the next day. Saturday morning, we sat and listened to the under 15 competitors then Haley warmed up with her teacher, Brian, before her competition. She went 10th out of 14 kids. Then the room steward announced that they needed to do the recall to decide 1st and 2nd and called Haley's name. It was great knowing she'd placed and we felt like she'd already won so playing another tune would just be fun for her. She played her recall reel even better than her original reel. The other boy played an entirely different style of fiddling...not the strong downbeat, highly ornamented Sligo style Haley plays. But those judges on that day liked his style better.

That evening the kids joined up with Jayne and Bram again to busk on a little stage they found unoccupied in town. The crowd formed and the videographer from Comhaltas recorded them for a long while then recorded Haley playing by herself. He'd recorded her back when she was 7yo at a Comhaltas Convention back in NJ and knew she'd placed earlier in the day so was thrilled to find her on the street.

Sunday was the busking competition finals.  It was held on the Gig Rig, a huge stage in a parking lot in town and broadcast live on web stream. The kids had worked on their 6 minute "set" most of the morning and were really happy with what they'd come up with. It rained off and on during the competition but we stayed around and watched it all. There was a man from Australia who played 7-8 different "instruments" at the same time...a really good "one-man band." He ended up placing 2nd in the over 18 age group. After the competition, we went to get some dinner then they busked a bit with a large group of friends then all bought ice-cream with their earnings. We walked around for a long while trying to find a pub session the kids could get into but the pubs were all too full and the streets were full of drunken people so you could hardly walk. We decided to head in for the night.

Monday, we headed to Co. Meath and took tours of Newgrange and Knowth. Haley and I had seen these ancient passage tombs a couple years ago and wanted Dylan to see them. I could see them every year and never stop being amazed at the marvels they are or stop being fascinated by the questions they bring up about ancient life in Ireland. We drove from there back to our hotel at Dublin airport, checked in, turned in our rental car, and ate a late dinner.

Tuesday we spent our last day in Dublin. We shopped and ate. We found brown bread ice cream. Yum! The kids were asked to play a tune by the people in the ice cream shop. We were going to try to find a session but Haley was still not feeling the greatest and getting tired easily so we went back to the hotel early and caught up on our emails using the free wifi. Then yesterday we flew home!

Here are a few pics!


Pub session

Playing for RTE radio broadcast

Just a cute pic of Haley...waiting for the bus to Knowth

On top of Knowth passage tomb...Ireland countryside

Passage tomb at Knowth

Dylan on the plane

Photo out our plane window


reei said...


Jenny said...

Wow! Do you have any audio clips?

ptmom said...

No audio of the competition but she is playing one of her competition tunes with an accordion player in a video clip of her trip to Ohio this summer and her other tune is in the clip of her playing by herself in the same post.