RSS Feed
Apr 23

Not just an Irish Liquor

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 in Family, Little known facts, Music, Poems and things

I vaguely remember  ‘Carolan’ music when learning to play the violin all those years ago, but apart from that I drew a blank when it was suggested to me over the phone.

Wedding music.  The thought freaked me out, man.  Just think… all those specialist musicians out there waiting to screw you as soon as you mention the ‘W’ word, just because they’re handy with a few strings and a plec.  Everyone I researched cost at least nine hundred quid.  For an hour!!!  We’re in the wrong job lads!  But;  happily, a friend piped up one day and suggested I ask her second-cousin’s brother in-law’s nephew who happens to play in Dan’s bar in Greystones of a Tuesday night.  Apparently those fellas can do amazing things with Mandolins and flutes that would blow the acoustics right out of a church, so myself and TAT went to have a gander last night.


What an atmosphere!  Dan’s is a tiny pub that looks like it’s the household pet belonging to The Beachhouse bar/restaurant next-door.  It’s like as though somebody left it there by mistake, or maybe its neighbour partook in a course of steroids…Dan’s bar is a strange but beautiful place.

The group of lads consisted of  two guitarists, a tin whistler, a mandolin player, a box-squeezer, and a very timid bodhrán player.  That was before the Uileann pipe player happened by, bringing a Venezuelan chap with a Suzuki guitar (a cuatro?) and a very beautiful singing wife who stopped time with her songs about the moon.  A chap wandered in towards the end, ordered a pint, and drank it while singing all fifty-nine verses of a pretty comedic Irish song, then buggered off again.  The Accidental Terrorist and I were quare’n entertained, and discussed becoming part of the furniture there at some point in the future.

They played a few Carolan tunes for us to give us a taster for Churchy things to come, that might have sounded something like this:

Apparently Turlough O’Carolan was a blind itinerant Irish harper who lived from 1670-1738 and got an enormous thumbs-up from Mr. Vivaldi himself for his music composition.  He wasn’t rated much as a musician by his peers, rather for his poetry.  For example, he fell off the wagon once, and penned the following poem;

He’s a fool who give over the liquor,
It softens the skinflint at once,
It urges the slow coach on quicker,
Gives spirit and brains to the dunce.
The man who is dumb as a rule
Discovers a great deal to say,
While he who is bashful since Yule
Will talk in an amorous way.
It’s drink that uplifts the poltroon
To give battle in France and in Spain,
Now here is an end of my turn-
And fill me that bumper again!

Problem sorted!  Thank God for Irish Trad, and for the fact that I don’t have to pay through the nose to see some young wan’s Aria on my wedding day.  Now, to find a babysitter…

Apr 1

Bray School Project Roof-Raiser Fundraiser Gig

Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 in Music, Quickie

Here’s positivity for you.  Our schools are falling apart and funds have run dry, but instead of complaints, solidarity reigns and rock and roll rules.  If you’re around Bray on Thursday night,   you can see it for yourself.  Enter the mosh-pit and help raise the roof!


Bray School Project Roof-Raiser Fundraiser Gig

WHEN: Thursday 2nd April, 7pm

WHERE: Greystones Theatre

WHY: To help raise funds for a new school roof

WHO: The Juice, The Cujo Family, Blind Yackety

Tickets are €10, from BSP Office/Box Office/Door


Jan 13

January's Dog's Bollocks

Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 in Awards!, Music, Rantings, Taxi driving

I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet, but you must understand that there’s a lot of passion being supressed.  This post could go on ’till next Autumn for all the potential content involved, but time’s short and the Chinese is on its way, fair play to him.

January’s Dog’s Bollocks award goes to Mr. Rick O’Shea.

Dog’s Bollocks?  What the F….?

Rick’s radio show has been my touchstone for humanity for the longest time.  He saw me through freezing weather in my forlorn days of window cleaning… his banter kept my soul nice and toasty.  It also broke the ice somewhat given my situation – a bunch of belligerent blokes with a female driver, my territory here (you understand) was somewhat ‘spurious, but Rick levelled us to the same domain with perfection.

Then came my taxi driving boredom.  From hackney to cabbie, the lost hours… those spent biting nails and scanning newspapers, waiting desperately for someone to fancy the thought of being driven anywhere… somewhere… the suspense of the next fare was healed by Rick O’Shea and his inane questions – questions that levelled Ireland to the same base instincts, the same issues, the same mistakes.  I felt so at home, so entertained… I actually cursed fares that interrupted my concentration on Rick’s show between 2pm and 5pm.

Now it’s gone.

This is the facebook protest if you’re into that sort of thing. (I hope the link works!)

2fm have seen it fit to call a halt to chat radio.  They seem to think that they’re the only radio station playing pop music, that they have the edge on popular radio, but the sad thing is (from my point of view), is that the only thing they have going for them is Rick, and Nikki Hayes, the popculture guru that can be heard before Rick’s slot.  These are the shows that determine real entertainment, something worth listening to.  They call out to the general public, they hand the day’s subject matter to us, to you and me, and in my opinion it’s genius. 

“What’s the last thing you tore up?”

“When’s the last time you told someone you loved them?”

“What’s the most embarrasing thing you’ve ever done?”

It’s the closest thing to a radio blog… inviting the public to create an atmosphere that nobody else can match… it grounds us all and lets us know that we’re not alone, that we’re all human underneath.  I miss it so.

Rick’s slot is not gone yet, but his show is now lacklustre.  He has no more questions, he plays music that everyone else plays, his voice carries dampened undertones as though his baby has left home for good.  I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, but his show (since he returned from New York) has joined the ranks of banality and I sense that this isn’t his fault.  He’s been shot down.


Fuck knows.

Cut Gerry (perve) Ryan’s salary, bring back Rick.  Oh ok, I love Gerry too, but seriously… he’s not worth that much.  Ray D’Arcy fills my slot far more adequately most of the morning time, so to speak.

Long live Rick O’Shea, he is indeed the Dog’s Bollocks.

Goodbye 2fm, you’ve lost a listener.

Jan 9

I met my pet on the internet

Posted on Friday, January 9, 2009 in Humourarse, Music, Strange and Unusual

Nah, not TAT… I met him in a bar-room brawl in Finglas.

English ‘Dangerous’ Dave is the most socially unpredictable person in Wicklow Town if not the world.  Instantly friendly without a malicious bone in his body, he’s a sort of hero of mine.  To speak to him, you’d be reminded of Captain Jack Sparrow, that slightly ‘touched’ sort of free-spirit who acts as a magnet for free-floating loopers such as myself.  When I meet him out and about, I pry him for lyrics he’s written (usually by the seashore under a full moon under the influence of God-knows-what) because they’re familiar, funny, and always original; made extra cool by ‘is fick Landon accen’.

This music video below tells you exactly what I’m on about, and it’s a testament to the fact that even though a chap has no money, it doesn’t mean he can’t write, produce and sing on his very own video on the internet.  He’s got great friends and he’s loved, and that’s all he cares about.  Watch all the way through, it’s pretty damn funny with some excellent effects given their financial restraints, and the song ain’t too shabby neither, guaranteed to stick in the head.

‘I met my pet on the internet’
Dangerous Dave and the Side Effects


(‘Avin trouble wif de lyrics?  Here ye go:)

This is a tail, about a young man, looking for, companionship, on, the, in, ter, net.

I was looking for some fun, a little one-to-one
When I saw her ad, she was BAD, she had to be had.

We never met before, ‘coz she’s from Dublin 4
Me I live in Wicklow, I thought I’d say a quick hello.

She’s my pet, I met her on the internet
Her profile, an’ it drove me wild (x2)

I was lookin’ for a Leopard, but I got a German Shephard.
She’s a little moaner, ‘coz I’m her seventh owner.

She’s my pet, I met her on the internet
Her profile, an’ it drove me wild (x2)

She’s never alone with her mouldy old bone
That thing it keeps on minging, me I keep on singing. (x2)

She’s my pet, I met her on the internet
Her profile, an’ it drove me wild (x2)

It seemed just fine and dandy, not to mention bleedin’ handy
Three clicks, one bitch, washed down with a bottle o’ Brandy.

But now I’ve sobered up,
I’ve realised I’m not ready for a pup…

So I left my pet on the internet, I left my pet on the internet
I left my pet on the internet

I left my pet on the internet… I’ll never forget… MY PET!

Keep an eye out for Dave’s dad who makes a brief appearance somewhere around 2:46 in the song – the chap with the tambourine.  Seriously, there’s something in the water in that town.

Nov 18

Noelie McDonnell – Nearly Four

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 in Humourarse, Music, Quickie

I heard this song recently on the radio and fell madly in love with it instantly.  It’s the best caption of toddler-hood I think I’ve ever seen, so I’m putting it here so I know where to find it!

Have a listen of it if you need cheering up today.

Aug 9

The Secret Fire

J.R.R. Tolkien was a very religious man, though this isn’t a well known fact. I read a biography of his lately entitled ‘The Secret Fire’ which describes Tolkien’s inspiration for his many amazing stories, and how he believed that God speaks to us not through prayer and sacrifice, but through music and nature… secret zephyrs and sun rays for your eyes only. When we feel inspired by these things, or feel raised goosebumps on our skin as a result of something beautiful, this is God speaking to us. I would love to go into more detail because it really is an excellent read, but I won’t, instead I urge you to add it to your reading lists.


A very strange and wonderful thing happened last night.

The Cologne New Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra performed in Wicklow Town’s Parish Church. The Chinese would tell you that anything set at 8:00pm on 08/08/08 would be a very auspicious event indeed so it felt right. It felt right, in fact, from the very first moment I laid eyes on the advertisement several weeks ago, but I don’t know why. I just knew that I had to go, and that I had to bring Laughingboy with me.

We sat on an empty pew right at the back of the church beside an open side-door. Cool air flowed past us, smelling of wood and stone and Wicklow harbour, and the crowded temple shuffled in anticipation. It all began with ‘Summer’ from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. (Listen to it here)

I was so delighted they started with this… it’s one of my favourites.  As you might know, the first movement is very quiet, with awe-inspiring violinny bits intertwinkling with the theme. Laughingboy’s ears pricked up and his eyes brightened the instant it started… the high pitches of the violins spread huge grins across his face and he began to move his arms about conductor-style, his heels tapping against the footrest of his wheelchair as he kicked and jigged.

The second movement ended and deafening silence ensued, broken by a sudden long and loud giggle from the happiest child in the world. This sound blasted its way up to the rafters and then bounced around the stone walls for a bit.   A sea of heads turned, and I gave them the thumbs up and a big grin. I was happy too, just watching the impact of this beautiful classical music on my son.

The third movement began suddenly with an excited torrent of harmony, and Laughingboy jumped. His arms and legs froze and his eyes grew wide, I thought he was going to cry from the shock but he didn’t, he just stayed frozen. I lifted him out of his chair and cuddled him on my lap so that I could tap the beat on his knees, and then it happened.

He leaned backwards and locked his gaze with mine, his eyes dark and intense (his pupils alarmingly dilated), but his face wore an expression of pure love. He then began to pour God into me undiluted. I felt my soul fill up faster and faster and I thought I was going to explode – tears brimmed in my eyes and my heart raced, every tiny hair on my body danced as I accepted this pure love… no, it was more than love, I can’t explain what it was, but when I looked up from Laughingboy’s gaze, I saw colours shine through the stained glass window that I’ve never seen before. The music became so clear, like it was as natural as a breeze rustling through long grass in the summertime – I could sense the pain and the happiness in the people around us and I loved them all just for being alive.

Instead of exploding however, I felt as it all began to slowly soak through me and radiate from us both as we sat, bathing in the energy, cuddling and bopping for two hours, floating out of the church when it was all finished. I pushed Laughingboy really fast… running all the way up the hill back to the car like a madwoman. We laughed belly-laughs as on-lookers stared and smiled.


When I got home, I found that I was interrupting a Wii night in with the Lads, but the Wiimotes were suddenly forgotten as they flocked to Laughingboy like moths to a flame. One of the lads – a regular visitor of Medjugoria and follower of all things God – stood beside Laughingboy for a long time, watching as he flapped his arms and legs and contorted his face into all sorts of grins and smiles. We spoke about autistic children having extra sensory abilities and put a heavy bet that Laughingboy was a definate contender for the theory, and agreed that there was something new about the kid, a fresh energy, knowledge… who knows what. It was certainly something amazing and I felt it, it’s still there, topping me up every now and then… it’s so hard to explain.

I finally found a way to communicate with my son and I’m the happiest mother alive. That’s all I know.

Jul 21

Ooo-er, Bryan!

Posted on Monday, July 21, 2008 in Music, Strange and Unusual, Taxi driving

I get these Phoebe moments from time to time… like discovering that the expression isn’t ‘for all intensive purposes’ but actually ‘for all intents and purposes’.  It’s vital that if you want to show off your big lexicon you at least spell it right, so that was a swing and a miss for me for many years.

The latest boo-boo I discovered relates to Bryan Adams.

You know that song ‘Summer of ’69’?  Of course you do.  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this song but I have only just discovered that I was drastically wrong about the lyrics.

I always thought it was a very kinky song with pretty shocking lyrics… I wondered how he got away with it, but hey, there’s plenty of stuff out there that’s worse.  It was only when I picked up a kid and his dad in my taxi yesterday that I realised my mistake.  Turns out this kid loves Bryan Adams, and sang me the first few lines of the song which was highly inappropriate I thought, given that he was singing it in front of his dad… that was, until his dad applauded the effort.  I was disgusted.

Here’s how I thought the lyrics went:

“Got my first real sex-dream, boy I had a fine old time.  Played until my fingers bled… etc.”

Apparently I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Apr 7

Observed stuff

My, but aren’t Irish men horny on Sundays?!  I made €32 on tips alone, just by flirting behind the wheel today, as opposed to €8 yesterday and €12 on Thursday.  What’s so special about Sundays?


I heard a snippet of news on the radio that made me giggle:  Apparently when Bertie told his co-workers he was going to throw in the towel, they “wept openly”.  Grown men?  Politicians?  I don’t think so.  I think Bertie pre-empted it.  I think he ate an extra-hot vindaloo and washed it down with five pints of Guinness the night before, then stuffed his pockets with onions the next morning before work.  It was the gas that made them cry… the gas.  Either that, or politicians are damn good actors!  Oh wait… right, never mind.

I heard a most excellent song on the radio today… several times, in fact.  It’s a version of House of Pain’s ‘Jump!’, which is a song that sparks the dancing flames into almost everybody when they hear it.  It is possibly the no.1 best song that one could hear in a nightclub and I love it.  This version is in flagrante as Gaeilge.

You Oirish readers out there know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s Des Bishop, fair play to him… he’s learned the language in 4.2 minutes and has now taken on the coolest song known to mankind.  Here’s a link to the song on Donncha O’Caoimh’s site, Holy Shmoly.  (Don’t listen to this video if you are over the age of 50.  You will hate it.  Especially you.)  I can’t find the radio version, but I’ll buy the single if it’s released because it’s a pretty darn excellent version.

Thing is though, everything the Irish try to coolify ends up being naff in some way.  I’m eternally proud of their efforts and of the language itself, but somehow there is nothing that will entice us to relinquish that final little bit of British rule… the English language.  This song might just be enough to entice our schoolkids into pricking up their ears regarding the old Gaeilge, but that’s because they’re Irish.

As for the rest of the world… they don’t know that ‘Léim’ means ‘jump’!  All they hear is: ‘LAME, LAME, LAME, LAME, LAME!’  *sigh*  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the definition of irony.

On a different note, a good blogger buddy of mine has been censored.  Yes!  Censored!  Read all about it here: Brianf; the hate monger blog  (Oh my lord!  Somebody else is on to us!  Kill it!  Kill it!)  Seems as though Bush -the big bad rookie himself- has found some more bitches.


On another different but equally irking note,  I read this on Going Like Sixty’s site: Bloggers are being sued out there… read all about it!  I’m pretty sure that this sueing pillock is only after a domain name, but like I say… I’m naive.  The offending site is at Neurodiversity.  It makes for interesting reading.

Bloody hell… I only came on here to write about my extra tips!  Wine is excellent blog lubrication I find.

To finish up, I would like to quote a rather insightful spam I received today;

Humph. Someone has to force me to read this post. It’s too big and boring. Brevity is the sister of talent, remember that.

Thank you, Adriana Naked Lombard xxx, I shall remember this to the end of my…


Mar 6

Robyn Kavanagh at the Sailing Club

Posted on Thursday, March 6, 2008 in Music, On the box, Poems and things

There’s an arts group here in Wicklow that encourages local talent and gives a leg up to poets, artists and musicians alike.  Their ‘Space Inside’ magazine can be found free on various shop counters around Wicklow and advertises local theatre, exhibitions and various music shows with the odd book review thrown in.  The group also holds a ‘Live Night’ on the first Wednesday of every month down at the Sailing Club in Wicklow Town.  It comes with my badge of approval.  (Jefferson Davis, I’m still mulling over your email… I think this place would be well worth a visit on your travels!)

I’ve been meaning to drop down to one of these live nights, but somehow never got around to it until last night.  I was so glad I went, and will certainly be going again. It was fantastic, and this particular session drew a large crowd because of a promised performance by local singer heroine Robyn Kavanagh of ‘You’re a Star’ fame, so the atmosphere was electric.



The evening started with dimmed lights and poetry.  Various people stood up and read their pieces while the audience listened and basked in the atmosphere.  Heaven knows how the eight year old Robyn-devotees up at the front row stayed still for so long- perhaps it was a testiment to the quality of the poetry?

After a short break, a young lad named Neil Tierney sat down with his guitar and began to play the most capturing music, it was Jazz-Blues style, but what made it so unique was the rhythm he incorporated into the music by thumping the body of his guitar while demonstrating extremely complicated finger-styling at the same time.  It was seriously hypnotic, seeming as though there were seven musicians playing instead of just one – he held the audience in the palm of his hand and recieved an ovation at the end of his set.  I’d seriously recommend you keep an ear out for this chap- his music is a feast for the senses.


Suddenly the room filled to capacity and I knew it was Robyn’s turn.

I hadn’t heard her sing before, not having RTE at home, but I had heard rumours that she was a great singer with a strong chance of winning this ‘You’re a Star’ extravaganza.  I had also heard vicious rumours circulating regarding her ‘knacker’-like accent, and was curious to hear her speak. 

The strange thing about Ireland is the enigma that is the changing accent.  Once you’ve gotten used to the Cork accent for example (which is no mean feat), you could travel thirty miles up the road and find yourself listening to completely different intonations.  You have the sing-song style Kerry accent, which sounds worlds apart from your northern lilts, and Wicklow is just as unique. 

I found it hard at first to understand the Wicklow accent, it’s like somebody a long time ago told Wicklonians to choose two notes and see-saw each word around them… remember the ‘Pirates of Penzance’ song; ‘I am the very model of a model major general’?  Wicklonians sing their words much the same way.  Once you’ve become accustomed to it, it’s quite pleasant to listen to.

Robyn’s speaking voice is possibly the cream on top of this accent.  It’s pure and sweet and innocent and absolutely nothing like the accent of a traveller, and trust me, I speak from good authority here.  Those that choose to make fun of the way Robyn speaks truly haven’t a clue.

She launched into ‘Feeling Good’, and ‘Natural Woman’, and though her nervous voice faultered slightly on lower notes, the power behind her voice at the emotionally laden choruses was awesome.  The girl has the sort of voice that makes your breath catch, and the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  She smiled after the song and fidgeted nervously.

“I’m going to sing Summertime, now, so I am…” 

She smiled shyly while I wondered how on earth such a young innocent would pull off such a tough song.

Robyn did indeed pull this off in such a way that if you were to close your eyes, you could imaging Ella Fitzgerald herself, sitting on a stairwell nursing a bottle of Gin and singing with her tortured soul wide-open.  Robyn Kavanagh is a girl that sweats talent, and I’m starting to think that if she doesn’t win this ‘You’re a Star’, it’s because she’s far too good for it.  Kudos to her, I know she’ll go far.

Feb 22

No L8 L8 for K8 the Gr8

Posted on Friday, February 22, 2008 in Music, On the box

You’ve read, I’m sure, plenty of material on this here Bloggysphere slating Pat the Plank and his Late Late show.  When I moved into this here house of no cable, let’s just say that the Late Late show wasn’t a sorely missed programme.

Tonight is different though.  Tonight, there will be a tribute song of epic proportions for our most loved singer Ronnie Drew and I am pretty sore about missing it.  Written by Robert Hunter of Grateful Dead fame with Bono, The Edge and Simon Carmody, the song will be performed by U2, Sinead O’Connor, Kila, Christy Moore, Andrea Corr, Moya Brennan, Shane McGowan, Bob Geldof, Damien Dempsey, Gavin Friday, Jerry Fish, Paul Brady, Paddy Casy, Mick Pyro from Republic of Loose, Mundy, Chris de Burgh, Ronan Keating, Jack L, Eleanor Shanley, Mary Black, Declan O’Rourke, Mary Coughlan, The Dubliners and The Chiftains!  I mean seriously… barring one or two lemons from this bunch, my cup overfloweth!

Ronnie is a smooth Irish folk singer with a unique honey-sweet gruff Orish voice whos beard is now a household name.  Born in Dublin in 1934, he spent a spell in Spain teaching English and learning flamenco guitar before returning home and forming the well known band ‘The Dubliners’ with Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna and Ciaran Bourke.


Ronnie himself was originally to be part of this crew, but is unfortunately a very sick man.  Diagnosed with Throat Cancer in November 2006, he is fighting strong in typical stubborn Irish form;  He has appeared a few times on the Late Late and was interviewed on Ryan Confidential sadly missing his signature beard in 2007. He was due to perform his comeback ‘Legends of Irish Folk’ concert in June of the same year which was sadly thwarted by the death of his wife, Deirdre. 

Ronnie is truly a legend, and his music will live on for all time in the eyes of us Irish.  In Bono’s words:

“The idea was that we would all try to write a song for Ronnie to sing, but then it changed to writing a song about Ronnie himself. Ronnie is like the King of Ireland, and we are his subjects. This is a big fight for him. But like any fighter, it’s easier if there’s a crowd cheering.”

The Accidental Terrorist himself even claims that Ronnie turned up for many a session at his his dads grandmothers house in Monkstown. 

The song will be released on CD from the 29th of February with all proceeds going to The Irish Cancer Society at Ronnies Request.  Fair play to him, and long live the King.

Late Late Show.  RTE1 tonight. 9.30pm.  Turn on, tune in, and cop out.  Man I never thought I’d say those words…

Let’s hope the Plank doesn’t fuck it up!


Addendum in hindsight:

I’ve just found a link to the song’s download: HERE

I’m annoyed.  It’s really nothing new, just a standard Irish tune that happily garnishes itself in the usual cheezy dip.  I stopped downloading when I heard Shane McGowan sing “Awatch inyer win nerinall, Willer yer eyes in yer willer prin schwimmer…”.  I nearly puked with embarrassment.  *sigh*  Oh well.  I’ll buy the single anyway, it might grow on me.

I’m now happily back in the world of not missing television one little bit…

Gravityscan Badge