Mortified, I was.
Rockaway Park, NY, Feb 28th, 2023
“I haven’t seen you in a thousand years,”
“Well, you went to ‘Merica and I stayed here. That’s how that works. Do you understand?”
“I do, Sean.”
“Try to be good on the plane on the way back , will ya? No screaming and shouting this time.”
“I will Sean”
“Maybe bring a bouncy ball or something to distract yourself.”
Actual conversation with a retired publican in a small drinking village with a fishing problem.
I’m back in New York after a much needed return to Ireland. I played my first Irish gigs since the pandemic. It felt triumphant to be singing in these rooms with friends old and new. I wrote no set lists. I tried to read the room. Gauge who knew my music from what period. I did my oldest and my newest material and everything in between. I played something from all 9 albums and the EP. I wish I had more time to spend with everyone I met. I wish I had more time to meet those I didn’t get to see on this trip.
Thanks to everyone who came to the gigs.
I’ll be posting some official bootlegs and hopefully some video on my Patreon page soon.
Because Everyone Enjoys Someone Else’s Embarrassing Story.
We stopped at Roscarberry Traditional Fish and Chips en route to Levis, in Ballydehob. Myself, my wife and child, and my sister, her partner and their 3 children travelled together in two cars. Saoirse was thrilled to share the journey with her cousins. The chipper is right next to a petrol station on the side of the road ( N71, Creggane, Cork, P85 TV12, Ireland). It’s quite possibly the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. We ate on the picnic benches outside the petrol station. My brother in law, Paul, got some alcohol free beers in the petrol station and we washed down our food with a couple of those. It was chilly, but just about warm enough to eat outside. The families loaded into the cars and I went inside to use the bathroom. I came back out and picked up the two empty beer bottles with the intention of recycling them.
I crouched down next to the black car that Saoirse and her cousins were travelling in. I leaned towards the back passenger seats to make silly faces at the children. Despite the misery contained in my songs, I regard myself as an Olympian Of Silly. One of the children’s hair was blocking their face, and for a moment I couldn’t tell which of my nieces it was. Until they turned around. It was none of my nieces. My three nieces and my child were all buckled in and ready to go…. in the car NEXT to this car. There I was, a bearded middle-aged man with two empty beer bottles ( Non alcoholic, I’ll have you know) making faces at a random stranger’s children in the middle of the afternoon.
I’ve still got it.
I slithered away, mortified. I attempted to make myself invisible as I recounted my faux- pas ( Fake da?) to my actual family. Deducing I was merely a visual idiot and not a kidnapper, one of the adults in the neighbouring car called over, “Sure, come on away with us, we are way better craic.”
Live from Levis, Ballydehob, Photo by Declan Murphy.
Go To Ireland
We were only home for the week. The real magic for us was getting to see family and friends. We also got to see a castle, a very swanky hotel, a thousand young musicians lugging instruments around towns, beautiful artwork, idyllic playgrounds, great food, excellent coffee, too much chocolate, and very friendly people. Yes, we have all the problems you’ll find elsewhere, but the old cliche of Irish people being very friendly, is to my mind, still absolutely true.
I’ll be back in Ireland
Dublin, Whelan’s – Dec 27th ( TBC)
Coughlan’s, Cork – Dec 28th ( ON SALE NOW)
Levis’, Ballydehob – Dec 30th ( BIRTHDAY GIG!)
Upcoming New York Dates This Week:
Uncle Lefty’s – Tuesday Feb 28th, March 14th, 28th 7pm -9pm
Sayra’s, Rockaway – Wednesdays 8pm -10pm
The Vale, NYC – Big City Folk Song Club – Thursday MArch 2nd and 16th
Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 – Sat March 18th TICKETS
Irish Arts Center – Fri March 24th, 7pm -10pm Big City Folk Song Club
Nellie’s, East Durham – Sat March 25th, 6pm -9pm
German/ Austrian Tour Announcement Coming Soon:
April 26th – May 5th
Tickets for Bielefeld on April 27th on Sale Now
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