Monday, June 10, 2013

Our journey to Ireland (the Gathering and Fleadh Nua)

When we had planned our trip to Ireland, we were unaware that Ireland had a tourist initiative on for 2013 called the Gathering. It is a tourism-led initiative to bring peoples of Irish descent back to Ireland.

We were pleasantly surprised that on one of the two days we travelled to Ennis by city bus, that we were able to take in one of the Gathering events, which coincided with the Fleadh Nua. The Fleadh Nua is a festival that happens in May in Ennis every year, to celebrate traditional Irish music and culture.

We were also happy that the buses weren't on strike. After our first visit to Ennis two weeks before, the buses went on strike. Since we weren't driving ourselves, we were thankful to be able to take the bus.

From our schedule of the Fleadh Nua, we noted two concerts we hoped to attend on the day (May 24, 2013) we were in Ennis. The first was called the Riches of Clare at 1:00 at the Clare Museum. Alas when we reached it, the room was full, and we couldn't get in. We checked out the next event, which was at the Old Ground Hotel on O'Connell St. at 3:00.

We found the room in the Hotel where the concert would be held. We were told that the room we were in had been a church at one point, and indeed, it looked like a church but I can't find the history of that fact. I just spent about an hour trying to find the website for the Old Ground Hotel to find out the history about this room. No luck. And I can't even find the hotel's website--all of the hotel booking websites kept coming up. No, I don't want to book a room, thank you very much, I want to find the Hotel's website. But I digress.

The concert was fantastic. There were about 40 musicians who sat in the room with the audience. I sat between a flute player and and a violinist. It was very informal, with visitors and musicians coming and going throughout the two hour concert. There was also some traditional set dancing. I made some audios of the music, including quite a few solo ballads sung by different musicians.

My sister Maureen put together a lovely slide show video of some of these ballads, along with some of the pictures I took of West Clare during our visit. The video is just under 15 minutes. The other vidos following are around three minutes long.

This last video is of the musicians. I tried to embed the actual video code here but for some reason that I can't figure out (I think it's the leprechauns they seem to be out in full force today) I can't embed the code. Here is the direct link.


  1. Check out this link Patty.

  2. Thanks Paula, I was hoping to also find out something about the room we were in that had originally been a church. Maybe someone else will find something about that.

  3. Hi Mom, I don't think there was ever a church there. Take a look:
    Love Jo
    PS - finally reading these!! :)

  4. Could be Jo, I thought I had found somewhere where it said it had once been a church, but maybe not.
    XO Mom