|Working on Kells Priory|
|Old cemetery at Kells|
|One of the Mills|
|Not my way of making a Black Russian.|
|Lounging at the Tall Ships|
|Inspecting the Maybe|
|Random Street Music|
|The Colombian ship|
|Hogeye Navvy in concert|
|Carole and Ken show us how it's done.|
And so it is.
The pub people are expecting us : straight to the back room with you pirates, no lingering up here with normal people. You’ve got your own bar down there.
In spite of our much longer than necessary route, we are still the first Hogeye shirts to arrive. Two other bands are here, each occupying a cluster of prime corner couches and tables. They’re making tentative musical forays, each testing the others, but nothing’s started yet. I try to colonize a booth, but the empty tables between me and the Vagrants Crew are not to their liking and I’m coaxed up to a table within conversation distance.
Alright. Some wine in hand, a Bushmills for brotherman, and we can do conversation. The Vagrants are from Wales. They carpooled over just this morning, took the ferry, and here they are.
The place fills up. Some more tuning occurs, and a few tunes between the talk. The Hooks and Crookes captains arrive and grab the tables closest to the bar. Hogeye Navvy then occupies the very booths I envied at first, and two or three more groups fill out the whole meeting space. Around 8:45, catering vans pull up to an entrance we hadn’t really noticed and start filling the next room with food.
Now that is good food, and courtesy of the festival organizers to boot. The broiled chicken with gravy is delicious. Baked potatos, salad, cole slaw, and what’s this ? Drink tickets ! Why, yes, I just might have that Drambuie for dessert. Right after this here pint.
There’s enough of us that we don’t all have our plates full at once. Somebody starts something and others join in and the whole room gets into it. Or a solo stays a savored solo, unless a secret signal is given allowing ganging in on a chorus, or a finger indicates a lone instrument may join. By 9:30 there’s a bit of a formal introduction and it’s decided that we’ll go around the room, each band doing two songs ‘typical’ of their style, followed by a general free-for-all.
Mac explains to the room that we have to leave early ( ?? what happened to 12:30 ?), so we get to go first. That we’re going so far, far, very far away to neighboring Kilkenny county generates much ribbing and laughter. The Exmouth Shantymen are next, and I really like their second song, which uses only their voices and the sound of the chains they hold being rattled and dropped. They line up in three rows of three for it, nine chained rowers, plus the captain ? master ? off to the side, and different guys each do the verse of their life. Really neat.
Once we get around the room, Mac gets up and announces we’ll do our farewell song, as we really must go. So we do the song - and I hear comments that this is one they’ll definitely be looking up - Johnandrew announces that, er, we missed the last early shuttle back to the vans some minutes ago and thus we really don’t have to hurry away after all. To much general amusement.
But Mac is set on an early night. We have another set tomorrow, after all. A few songs later it’s announced that our taxis are here for us. Huh ?? Everybody drink up and get out.
It’s only 11. The evening is just getting going. There are still drink tickets on the table.
But we pack up and go, and while we’re downing a last swallow and having a last pee, the room starts in on a farewell song of their own, and they all stand and wave us goodbye as we file out into the night.
Almost worth leaving first for.
The best part : while I’m in the bathroom Darrell scores two different cds from the chain gang shantymen. I get one ; we’ll trade at Christmas.