Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Leading Up to Christmas...

The week leading up to Christmas was fairly busy around here. Haley and I spent the weekend in New York City where Haley performed for two nights at Symphony Space for Mick Moloney's Irish Christmas: A Musical Solstice Celebration.

Mick puts together an All-Star cast every year not only Irish musicians but also a singer from the Philippines
and a jazz singer who sings songs from the 1920s and 30s. Haley appeared as a guest for the final four numbers (three on Friday night).

Both Friday and Saturday, we arrived at the theater at 4pm for sound check and rehearsals. This is one of Haley's favorite parts of performing with a group…sitting around figuring out what they are going to play. Friday included an hour of photos in preparation for next year's advertisements. (Haley is really excited to be part of next year's cast!)

The shows were wonderful! Saturday night, after the show, the cast went to a restaurant not far from the theater to eat and have a session until the wee hours of the morning in celebration of Billy's birthday.

Sound check at Symphony Space
Monday was a Christmas version of the Sligo session so there were many Christmas carols interspersed between Irish tunes.

Tuesday we were invited to a party at our friends' Marion and Gabe's home. It was a varied crowd and the music was amazing. Everything from Broadway show tunes sung by Ciaran Sheehan (a former Phantom of the Opera), Led Zeppelin, a little jazz, and Irish tunes and songs. It was a lot of fun!!

Haley faking her way through a song for Ciaran..
The Irish music contingent…
A great picture of Haley by Denise Foley of Irish Philadelphia.

Monday, December 08, 2014

A Night with Kevin….

It has been a couple years since we have seen fiddler Kevin Burke but on Friday night we went to see him play a house concert at the home of a lady we know from the Philadelphia sessions.

There are moments in our lives when decisions are made that set us on a different path. Meeting Kevin Burke for the first time was one of those moments. It was almost eight years ago when I saw a poster in our local library for an Irish fiddler's concert and took my then four year old Suzuki violinist to hear a "different style of violin music."

I knew nothing about Irish music or Celtic music other than Celtic Woman, Riverdance, or a song we liked on a World music CD we owned. Haley was tiny so we sat in the front. She was enthralled and sat forward listening to the entire concert. The woman sitting next to us asked her up to dance a couple times in the side aisle which she loved. At the intermission they were selling CDs and DVDs. Haley begged me to buy Kevin's "How to Play Celtic Fiddle" DVD. I had already picked her up a CD and was wondering how much money I wanted to spend then the woman, who had been sitting next to us, said to Haley something along the lines of those DVDs being for adults or older people so I picked it up and bought it.

We listened to the CD all the way home and the next morning I put the DVD in the player and left Haley with her fiddle while I went to check email. A short while later I hear Haley's playing along with the first tune. The next day I did the same and put it on the second tune. We continued that way through the whole DVD. Then Haley started playing along with the CD in the car on rides to violin lessons.

Around that time we went to a Suzuki Institute in Washington DC and one morning Haley and I were early to group class and no one was in the room so she started fiddling a tune. The first little girl to walk in the room said she knew the tune and they started playing together. The little girl's mother said their Suzuki teacher teaches a tune a month during group classes at home. It got me to thinking about looking for a fiddle teacher for Haley. She didn't have Suzuki lessons that summer while her Suzuki teacher was away and wanted "new notes" to learn.

I posted a message to the Irish Philadelphia website asking if they knew of an Irish fiddle teacher in the area and was eventually led to Kathy DeAngelo, who also happened to be that woman sitting next to us  and who sold the items at the Kevin Burke concert. She was initially a little unsure about teaching a child who just turned five but once she heard the tunes Haley had learned from the DVD, she was more than happy to give it a try.

So, Friday we went to hear Kevin play and after the concert there was a session. There were a lot of musicians! Toward the end of the session Kevin asked Haley to play Paris Nights (a tune written by Cal Scott) with him. She had played it with him back when she was eight years old during a class at Swannanoa. It was neat the hear the difference now that she is older and on a full size fiddle. (I will post a video later.)

The rest of our weekend was filled with a Trio rehearsal with Patrick to begin work on their new tunes. They move up an age group to under 18 because the boys are older so they need three tunes this year. After the rehearsal we went to the session at Fergies.  Then last night we saw Lunasa in concert. Haley and I were very happy when they played our favorite set for an encore! A fun Irish weekend!!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mysterious Ways??

For the past couple years, we have gone to North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving. We love seeing and spending time with all our family. It is a three day long celebration! Last Thanksgiving was a bit sad. We had a memorial service for Ritch's Dad. This year we planned to drive down as well. Until two weeks ago, we were all set to go then things came up and we decided we needed to spend the weekend at home to recharge. It was going to be difficult to get Newt back to college, the drive home on Sunday is always horrible, and I was beat from all the travel with Haley and Dylan the past couple weeks. The next few weeks are filled and I really needed to get the house back together, decorate for Christmas, and catch up here.

After we decided not to go to North Carolina, Ritch suggested we have so much and are able eat turkey any time we want, so why not help feed people less fortunate than ourselves. He brought up the idea one day while I was at work so I set him to work finding us someplace to help. Ritch made a number of phone calls and was sent from person to person until he was finally found out about a church in the neighboring city. He and Haley went there last week, talked to the pastor, and signed us all up to help on Thanksgiving.

When they went on Wednesday night before to help set up for the meals, the pastor told them that a couple months ago, the man who normally plays music for the Thanksgiving dinner  informed them he couldn't attend this year. She and another woman were talking about who else they might be able to get. The pastor told the other woman said she remembered a tiny little girl who used to play fiddle at the local deli for open mic nights and said if she could have anyone it would be that little girl though she had no idea how to get in touch with her anyway.

The pastor told them when Haley and Ritch walked in last week to sign up, she recognized Haley as the little fiddler she remembered (from six years ago) and got chills….God had answered her prayers. Some might chalk it up to a huge coincidence but it seems to me too many things decisions had to be made a certain way and too much had to happen to put us in that church this Thanksgiving Day. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

We all went to the church early yesterday morning to help peel potatoes, set tables, and fill containers with food. There were so many different people helping out from all walks of life. Everyone was friendly and helping with a full heart. We worked all day and the time flew. Ritch and Newt lifted and carried things, peeled mounds of potatoes, and talked with the people coming in to eat. I helped set tables and dished out turkey most of the day. Haley played some fiddle during dinner and helped spoon mashed potatoes (her favorite). We talked to everyone and enjoyed seeing their smiles and giving them seconds or a container to take home.

We will have our Thanksgiving turkey today and count our blessings as we head into the Christmas season and new year.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Adventures in Boston

One of the coolest things about my children's involvement in Irish music is the amount of travel we get to experience!

I love to see and experience new things but I don't know that we would do so much of it were it not for my kids. If they were into something else like soccer we might see soccer fields all over the MidAtlantic region and with wrestling, we saw a lot of high school gyms. Through their Irish music gigs and travel for competitions we have seen so many new places and met so many wonderful people!

Last week our destination was Boston, MA. Many months ago, Brian O'Donovan from WGBH A Celtic Sojourn saw a video of Haley and Dylan performing on youtube and contacted me to see if they could come up and be a part of his Burren Backroom Series. Boston is a long way away for us and I couldn't really think of a time it would be convenient with a full summer schedule but it sounded like fun and I wanted to experience Boston so I agreed they'd do it sometime but didn't set a date.

In September we were beginning to violin shop. There are a lot of shops in Boston so I figured we'd combine a trip to shop for a new violin with a night at The Burren and Brian gave us a date. Haley found a fiddle she loved in the meantime but by then we were looking forward to going so decided to sightsee instead of shop.

Last Wednesday night Haley and Dylan opened the show for Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely, two musicians who fall into our favorite Irish musicians category! They were so excited! We arrived in Boston around 2:30pm, checked into our AirBNB rooms and headed over to The Burren around 4:30pm. The guys were doing their sound check first so the kids headed to the backstage room to unload their instruments then we went upstairs to listen.

Kevin, Cillian, and Patrick sound check.

Once they finished, Haley and Dylan did their sound check then we went into the dining area for some supper. The food at The Burren is amazing. The place looks like an old pub where you'd expect burgers, chips, and greasy appetizers but we had grilled salmon and a tuna steak salad with mango salsa. I do not usually like rare tuna but this was really good. Yummy!!!

After supper, we headed back downstairs where Haley and Dylan sat with Kevin, Cillian, and their guitarist Patrick to work out a set together for the end of the show.

When show time came Haley and Dylan played an amazing set. They performed four sets. Since the show was recorded for later broadcast on the radio, Brian asked Haley some questions after their first set then they performed the other three. The show was sold out and the crowd was awesome!

We went back in to listen to Kevin and Cillian. They do a great show and Kevin is so funny he could be a comedian! After their set, they called the kids up for their encore set together. It was a great night!

On Thursday, we went to see Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II. It was a crisp but beautiful day. There were a lot of school children on field trip at Plimoth but we saw everything we wanted to see then headed to the Mayflower which was not as crowded.

Plimoth Plantation

Mayflower II
We finished up our tours around noon then drove to Providence, RI for an appointment. The kids are beginning work on a little project…news about that in a future blog post (maybe in a few months). Haley loved Providence. I think she is a city girl at heart.

We drove back up to Boston and finished the evening with a few tunes at one of the local sessions. We didn't stay long. The kids were tired and we had a busy day planned for Friday.

Friday was our day to see the historic section of Boston. The day was very cold and windy. We parked near the Tea Party Museum but saw a busload of field trip kids heading that way so decided to take a walk first. We walked to see the Old State House and Fanueil Hall.

We went back to the Tea Party Museum. The tour there was very fun! We followed it up with some hot chocolate for the ride to our destination for the weekend. (I am stopping the blog post here because the rest of our weekend was spent working on their "secret for now" project.)

Friday, November 07, 2014


A number of months ago Haley and I were at a house concert where we saw Donie Carroll. We listened intently to his stories about the children at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok. He had recently returned from a visit there and was describing the children and the work done at the Centre to help them. Haley was intrigued so I asked Donie for more information on what he does to help the Centre. He sent pictures and video of the children he met during his visit and asked Haley if she would like to participate in his benefit concert this fall.

That concert was this past weekend. We drove to New York early in the day so Haley could fit in a fiddle lesson then headed into the city for the concert. It was a rainy, windy, cold evening so not the best for driving and walking.

We arrived early for the sound check not knowing exactly what Haley would be doing or who she would be playing with. Mick Moloney greeted us at the door and suggested Haley sit in with his band for the first half of the show. They went backstage after the sound check and worked out their sets and set list. The stage was very small so Haley and Dan had to sit in a back row. They played a number of tune sets sometimes with solo tunes and various combinations of musicians on other tunes. There were some songs as well. Haley was excited to be able to play a duet with Dan Gurney, an amazing young (young compared to me but old compared to Haley) accordion player we've met and seen in concert a number of times but whom Haley has never performed with.

The concert ended late in the evening then we stuck around to talk to the audience members and musicians. We headed home around 11pm but hit an hour delay going through the Lincoln Tunnel so it took longer than expected to get home. Since it was the end of Daylight Savings Time, I decided to call it a draw…hour wasted in the tunnel balanced out with the hour gained.

Sunday we woke a little later than usual since we had arrived home around 2:30am the night before. Haley got up and practiced a bit before we headed into Philly for the second fundraising concert of the weekend. This concert was the 27th Annual St. Malachy's Fundraising Concert to raise money for the school run by St. Malachy's. Again, the band was Mick Moloney and friends.

We arrived early for a delicious lunch and sound check. Mick had driven down from NY with the Irish Consul General who is wonderfully down to earth and friendly. We liked her immediately and enjoyed her stories during lunch. She was very interested in getting to know the musicians and Philadelphia Irish community.

Haley and her buddy Paraic performed with the band through the concert. They played many of the same sets they had done the previous night and then some additional guests provided songs of their own. The concert was wonderful and the fundraiser a huge success! We enjoyed a nice reception afterward where we were able to talk to everyone. We drove home rather than go to the Sunday night session because Haley insisted she had more practicing to do. We got home and she practiced.

Haley is very interested in being able to use her music to help people. When she was really little, around six years old, she saw a commercial for St. Jude's and kept asking to go there and play music for the sick children. I called the local children's hospital but was told she'd have to be sixteen before she'd be allowed. Since then she's been able to play at a number of different fundraisers in the local and broader community and also helped raise money for a fundraiser using her decorated violin and viola mutes. (

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Converse Trio Re-Shoed?

For the past three years, Haley has competed in a trio with her friends, Alex and Keegan. The first year  while playing in a session, they decided at 10pm the night before the trio competition to pick a couple tunes and compete the next morning. It took them until sometime after midnight to come up with tunes they all knew (the Super Mario Bros theme song seemed to be the only thing they could come up with for awhile) and they went with it. The judge told them afterward they all played amazingly well but they weren't "together" in their variations. (The point of a trio being to be in sync with every note and variation in the tunes.)

The following year, they planned ahead. The rehearsed a couple times in the months leading up to the MidAtlantic Fleah so they had their tunes together and their variations worked out for the most part. Keegan's pipes teacher, Patrick, met with them the night before the competition and helped them work out a few kinks. They took 2nd in the under 15 age group. They all wore Converse sneakers and called themselves The Converse Trio. It became a bit of a joke but the name stuck.

This past year, they were a little more serious. Patrick, offered to work with them more regularly. They picked tunes early and rehearsed about once a month in the 4-5 months prior to the competition. Patrick worked with them without us parents in the room. They had a lot of fun working and playing together. They performed a few gigs together with Dylan backing them as well. They placed 1st at the MidAtlantic competition in under 15 and the judge told them she would buy their CD when it came out. We all went to Ireland where they placed 3rd. It was the highlight of Haley's trip!

We came home from Ireland and the following month the Converse Trio plus Dylan were asked to perform at the Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival. They rehearsed and arranged their music. They put on an excellent set! After their set, a man at the bar called them over. He told them he works for Converse and would like to create custom Converse sneakers for them all. We weren't sure what to expect but they gave him shoe sizes and on Friday four boxes with shoes arrived at a friend's home for the kids.

They are awesome!

Haley and I picked them up and yesterday gave them out at our joint rehearsal/Studio2Stage viewing party. Look at all those smiles!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Haley's Blog...

Back in August, I posted my take on Haley's participation in Studio2Stage, a camp where they put together an Irish dance production in nine days featuring 85 dancers and 5 musicians from all over the world. Here is my blog post from August.

Haley just uploaded her post about the experience on her blog Tuneful Journeys. Here is a link to her new post.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New York Trad Fest 2014

Imagine many of the best of Irish music (and other traditional music styles) in the New York area all in one venue on one night! That's New York Trad Fest and heaven for my young fiddler!

Haley and I arrived in NYC early in the afternoon. We walked to the Cake B*ss Bakery for a delicious snack. Haley loves to watch the TV show for ideas on cake decorating. (I think one of her other dream jobs besides fiddler or make-up artist is baker.)

After we found a quiet place to enjoy our desserts, we walked blocks and blocks stopping into different stores to try out make-up with mini-makeovers or look at knick knacks or clothing. We saw Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Radio City Music Hall.

Some sites we'd rather not have seen like the naked cowboy at Times Square…okay, he wasn't completely naked but it was disturbing nonetheless.

Haley and three of her young fiddling friends, Jayne, Joanna, and Bram, opened the show as representatives of the next generation. We usually only see these kids once or twice a year so it was nice for her to re-connect and share some tunes with them.

What followed was a wide selection of musicians playing Irish, Scottish, and Bluegrass music for hours! The crowd was lively and the venue, Connolly's Pub adjacent to Times Square, was really neat. We stayed until nearly midnight and there was still music going on.

If they have a 3rd annual New York Trad Fest, I'd highly recommend it!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Weekend Ramblings

Haley has grown a lot this year so we have been seriously shopping for a full size fiddle for the past couple weeks. This has been involved a lot of research, driving, and for Haley, playing fiddle after fiddle after fiddle. Last week, we drove to Long Island and Haley spent the day playing fiddles…a whole lot of fiddles then went to White Plains for a fiddle lesson and session at Dunnes. We spent Tuesday afternoon visiting two other violin shops and playing what they had to offer. At one point we had six different violins in the house…some she preferred for fiddling and others she liked with her classical music. Friday we drove to White Plains to have Brian listen to the fiddles then returned the three we'd taken from the shop on Long Island the week before.

About halfway between NY and home, Haley played a lovely house concert gig with the guys (see photo above). It was a beautiful home and an attentive, enthusiastic audience. The hosts had gone all out. They had the entire home decorated, Irish snacks and foods, Irish books, and a video beautiful Irish scenery played in the background. The "band" played some fun sets of tunes with John singing songs between. (I love his voice.) We had a late night.

Saturday morning we woke early and drove to Fortescue, NJ on the Delaware Bay. When I was young we always took the family boat out of Fortescue to go fishing. Two years ago, Hurricane Sandy damaged much of the town including The Charlesworth Inn, a restaurant whose owners are supporters of Irish music. Unfortunately, the State of NJ forgot about Fortescue when handing out grant money to rebuild. Recently, the owners of the Charlesworth were informed by the state they must be open and running before the new year in order to receive any grant money so work crews of volunteers have been helping clean and repair the Inn. We decided to join the volunteers for the day and help out where we can. Haley and I packed up dishes then helped paint in the basement where the flood waters had damaged the floor and walls while Dylan and Daddy helped break down damaged chairs, scrape floors, and caulk windows.

Haley helping paint.
Putting in a window and caulking.

 We rode back home, got showers, then headed to the kids' gig at Emley's Hill Methodist Church where they were playing at a coffee house to raise money for a food bank. Some local children sang, Haley and Dylan played a set, and a band, including our friend Mike, played Civil War era music to finish off the night. Haley and Dylan joined them for Ashokan Farewell. It was a fun concert.

Today Haley's friend Emily and her mom came to play. Emily is an amazing Irish harper who won an All Ireland under 12 harp slow air title in 2013, the same year Haley took home the All Ireland trophies. The girls played some music together and worked out a couple sets for a gig they have in March but mostly they spent the afternoon decorated, and eating, cupcakes and hanging out together. 

One last photo just because it looks really fall-like and Halloween-y.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bethlehem Celtic Classic 2014

For the past six years, Haley and I (and often Dylan though not this year) have attended the Bethlehem Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, PA. It is one of our favorite Celtic fall festivals and celebrates all aspects of culture and heritage from Ireland and Scotland. There is everything from the "showing of the tartan" parade, pipe band competitions, dance competitions, the US National Highland Athletic Championships in the main field, Haggis eating competition, fiddle competition, workshops, a kids area with crafts, and music on a number of stages from the huge Grand Pavilion to quieter, more intimate stages in venues throughout the festival grounds and the main street of town. Add to that vendors selling all sorts of wares from kilts to swords to hand-made jewelry, food from haggis to corn on the cob on a stick, and about 30,000 people and you have one really cool festival.

For a number of years, our main reason for attending was the fiddle competition and hanging out with Haley's fiddle playing friend, Alex and his family. Last year, Haley was asked to perform during the fiddle competition rather than compete (she had already won the under 14 age division four times and had three more years to go). She liked the idea of being able to perform rather than compete because she still had a reason to go and hang out with her friend, Alex, and Livia (who was going for her 1st time) plus Patch and Alanna.

This past spring, John Whelan invited Haley to perform with his band in the Grand Pavilion at this year's Classic. She jumped at the chance….she loves to perform with John as part of his band. After months of waiting, we rose super-early on Saturday morning to drive to Bethlehem so we'd arrive in time to watch Livia compete and Alex perform during the break in competition (he'd won the under 18 age division a couple years and had a few more years to go so performed rather than competing). Livia did a great job and won the under 14 age group.

After Livia and Alex finished, we walked into town for our yearly lunch at the Brew Works. We had the biggest table in the place...table for sixteen, please! Lunch took a really long time but we all had fun.

From lunch, or maybe "lupper" by the time it was over, Haley and I checked into our hotel, she made herself beautiful for the night's performance, and then it was time for rehearsal. She still thinks rehearsal is as good as the performance itself. The band was minus a fiddler, Kathleen, this gig so they had to divide Kathleen's "parts" between Haley and Genna and they had a new flute player, and awesome dancer, Jonathan. They worked hard for a little over two hours putting together the set.

Haley and I rode back into the festival with Genna, had a bite to eat, then watched the Glengarry Bhoys performance. They packed the huge Grand Pavilion tent with more people, unable to fit inside, lined up around the perimeter and had them waving their arms and screaming. Incredible!

Glengarry Bhoys

Haley with D'Arcy, the fiddler for Glengarry Bhoys
The John Whelan performed the final act of the night (9:30pm).  They were high energy and fun with great music, most of which John has written himself. At the finale, John invited Haley's friend, Alex, on stage to play a slow air then join the band for a few tunes.

Here's a little video I took of their first set…

After the performance, everyone walked back into town for a late night session on the 2nd floor of a pub. It was a huge session with a lot of great musicians/performers and ran until the wee hours of the morning…we left around 2:30am and it was still going strong.

Sunday morning, Haley and I slept in a bit then went to breakfast with John and the Srour family. John left to head back to CT for a day of teaching and the Srours took Jonathan (flute player/dancer) to the train for NYC. Haley and I went into the festival to enjoy the day. Haley wanted to see her friend Rose's band Burning Bridget Cleary so we headed to the Grand Pavilion first. Rose asked her to join them onstage for a set during their show and afterward we watched the rest of the performance. 

Haley and Rose
We walked around the festival for while, looked at all the vendors' displays, watched a bit of Timlin and Kane's performance…

…and caught a little of Mick Moloney and friends before we had to be at the Highland fields for Haley to receive a scholarship from the Bethlehem Celtic Cultural Alliance. Exhausted after the awards presentation and our day in the crowds and sun, we walked back into town and headed home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


This fall is full of changes for our family.

Newt is off to college. Instead of seeing him, I have to make do with talking or texting him daily. The whole family is looking forward to seeing him in a couple weeks on his first visit home.

Dylan is no longer playing football. The time came where he had to chose his music or sports because one took up time he needed for another. He chose music.

It is pretty easy for anyone to see the changes in Haley…she is growing up. Her face is maturing…along with the rest of her. Besides the physical changes, she has had a lot of other changes this year.

For the first time since she was seven, she is not involved in an orchestra. She decided she wanted to spend her time doing Irish music. I was initially a little worried about her not having time to make music with kids around her age…since she spends most of her music making time with adults but opportunities have come up in the last six months that allow her to work, play sessions, and perform with her young Irish music playing friends regularly.

Another change has been her violin teacher. We have known for a while she will eventually need a "violin" teacher because her teacher is a violist. Her teacher came up with a solution, after Haley decided against her first idea of a solution. So at least for the next few months, she is working with a new teacher. She enjoys her lessons with him and having someone new to play for has motivated her to practice even more (even using her Dr. Beat without me bringing it out…Miss Gerry would be so happy). I am not allowed to attend her lessons so she has also taken control of her violin education and practice….though she still often asks me to listen while she is practicing or comes and plays for me to show me what she is working on. I don't know what will happen when our time with him is over but for now she's in a good place.

Change #3…I thought we'd be unable for her to continue with her writing tutor due to finances (college) so had come up with a writing program for her myself. This week her writing tutor asked us to visit for tea because she had a proposal for Haley. Turns out she is publishing a book (Christian home schoolers might enjoy checking out the link) and would like Haley to provide the music for her audiobook version. In return, she will continue to work with Haley on her writing.

One last change…hasn't happened yet but is in the works…a new full size fiddle. We are doing a lot of shopping. It isn't easy.

Amazing how God provides so things fall into place. I feel like Haley's entire musical life has been one "accident" or "coincidence" after another. I have to think maybe God has a plan we don't know about because I surely couldn't have planned any of this.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wild Weekend…at Wildwood

This past weekend got off to an early start.

Haley and Dylan were asked to do three performances throughout the weekend in Wildwood, NJ as part of their Irish Weekend. We drove down late Thursday afternoon to check into our hotel before the kids' first gig on Thursday evening, opening for Derek Warfield and The Young Wolftones.

Haley and Dylan played a great set together then we listened to the rest of the concert. Haley and I walked back after the concert while the boys took the van back. It was a lovely cool evening and I love the atmosphere at the beach so I walked as much as I could all weekend…not hard to do because Tinkerbell went with us and couldn't wait to walk, leave her scent, and smell all the other dogs around the island.

Friday morning Tinks had me up early so I dressed and took her for a long walk along the beach road. We must have walked for an hour. The sun was just coming up and I took some beautiful photos on my phone.

We used to spend a couple weeks camping at the beach every summer back before our trips to Ireland and music camps took up all our funds and vacation time. I forgot how much I enjoy just being at the shore.

The rest of the family woke up when we returned to the room and we all got ready to go out to a pancake house for breakfast. After breakfast we walked up and down the boardwalk. There was an old car show going on so the boys were happy. We took the kids back to the room so they could put on their performance clothing then went down to the festival which was already pretty crowded for a Friday afternoon. We walked around and looked at all the vendors goods, had some food, listened to some music, Haley did some dancing, then it was their turn on stage.

They did another great job. Some friends did a set dance to one of their tune sets and they had a crowd of people talking to them afterward. We escaped as soon as we could because they were hungry and we had plans for dinner at the Lobster House in Cape May…a family tradition at least once a year. We ordered take-out and ate outside on the deck. After dinner we drove back to Wildwood, had some ice cream for dessert, and took a walk in the dark along the beach before retiring for the night.

Our day repeated again on Saturday….early morning walk with Tinks, pancake house breakfast, walk on boardwalk where kids rode a couple rides (weren't running on Friday morning), and festival with performance. There were way more people at the festival on Saturday. Due to a bit of a scheduling issue, the kids were able to perform a little earlier on Saturday so right after they finished their set, we jumped into the car and headed home to drop off the dog. They wanted to try to make it to PA for the CCE-DV Ceili because John Whelan was going to be there to play with the Sligo Six.

I think most people who would normally attend were back in Wildwood where we left them at the festival but it was a nice quite gathering like a house party. The kids danced and played music and we all enjoyed the company. We didn't get back home until the wee hours on Sunday morning but had a quiet day at home planned cleaning, catching up on schoolwork, and, for me, reading. The day didn't quite go as planned though because Haley got a call asking her to come help host the session at the Plough. The regular host had called out and Tom needed someone with a melody instrument. She decided it would be fun so she and I spent our evening there.