The summer is flying along far too rapid. After the marquee in Cork I blinked. In an inst a fortnight has passed. There has been a brace of giglets to keep the fingers hard and the throat well oiled. First up was Aras an Uachtarain where President McAleese invited me to sing to guests whom she had invited from the four corners of Ireland. Mainly people involved voluntarily in the service of care. The President welcomed us all to The Park before introducing The Drogheda Brass Band, the soprano Laurie Lee, The Riverdance Troupe and yours truly. “There was lashings of drink, wine for the Ladies, potatoes and cake, whiskey and tae”. I also got the opportunity to sing privately for The President and Dr.Martin McAleese – that man who remains gallantly by her side through all the tasks that are performed so generously and graciously.
The following week there came an entirely different private performance. I entered a small room where gathered were The Kildare GAA Senior Football Squad. As part of their preparation for The Leinster Final against the Mighty Jackeens I was invited to give them a “workout” of songs. What a buzz this was for me. My head kept returning to the final of 1956 when I was in The old Cusack Stand with my father. I was only 11years old yet I can recall every man who donned the “Lilywhite”that day. To sit in their midst 53 years on was an uplifting and memorable experience. They knew my work well and the requests kept coming. Our Chieftain, Kieran McGeeney, sat at my shoulder for the hour and our Captain, John Doyle, joined me for “Ride On”. There was great banter and wind-up particularily when I mentioned the lads from my own local GAA club “Moorefield”. By the time you read this the whistle will have been blown, the result will be known,….. Win, Lose or Draw, I will never forget my evening with the Lilywhites.
I also got to sing for the residents and staff of Simpsons Hospital in Dundrum on Wednesday and the seniors at Monkstown Community Centre on Thursday…..all in all a busy week but a time of learning and fulfillment, cameraderie and laughter. Joe Power joined me in Simpsons Hospital for a mighty version of Patsy Fagan where I also got to spend some time with my comrade Sean Hogan and sing for him “The Galtee Mountain Boy” which references his father.
Watched Leonard Cohens recent concert in London on DVD last night. We caught his gig here last year but nevertheless were mesmerised once again by his artistry and generosity, his skill at communication and by the wonderful band that surround and support every move he makes. We anticipate his return next week. May his light shine upon us for years to come.
Thats it for now, Paddy is gone to the Boston Fleadh, Johnny’s at the hay in Rossnowlagh, Jeff is at the lights on Sandymount Green, Mick is with the Dubs on Hill 16, Davys on the road mixin Altan songs, Dikons at the Black & Decker hammer and thongs, Declans out with The Grateful Dead, I’m divin for the crack on The Old Sheepshead…..theres talk of a few solo gigs before the year is out, there are many songs that need an airing before the moth balls kill them altogether…..Bruce is in town today,they’ll all be born in the USA……..