Music from the Heart

Music in Dublin, August 2016

I wrote this for my friend's blog after our visit of Ireland's capital in August 2016.

Once, the musical

On August 18th me and Hana went to Olympia theatre to see "Once, the musical". You surely know the movie "Once" with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I was lucky to see the musical last year when me and my husband George made a journey around Ireland. We were curious about the play and didn't really know what to expect. We knew it will be great but it exceeded our expectations. Even after all this time I can't find the right words that would describe it. The fact that the play takes place in Dublin and you see it in Dublin theatre, gets you.

I wouldn't imagine in my wildest dreams that I'd get a chance to see it this year again. There are chances in life that come only once so you have to be ready to take them when they arrive. I knew what to expect this time and I was telling Hana we should be in the theatre early in order to experience a few things that makes this performance unique. Not only you can go on stage before the show, have a drink on an on-stage bar, take pictures to remember this moment but then you see musicians/actors who start jamming on stage. At first you feel like you interrupted their rehearsal but then you realize this is part of an incredible experience.

The theatrical version of the plot is slightly different from the movie but the whole performance gets more dynamic, you see how the actors enjoy themselves on stage and take you on this journey with them. The Girl character is someone completely different than whom Irglova portraits in the film. In the musical she's more courageous, makes you laugh a lot and that´s the way it's meant to be. There are a few songs in Czech and I admire the actors for the ability to learn it as the Czech language is said to be one of the most difficult. You'll surely know most of the songs from the movie but there are a few that weren't in the film. And I'm sure I won't be the only one to say the most powerful song in the musical is Fergus O'Farrell's "Gold" which is sung twice in the show. Fergus was not only an amazing musician with unmistakeable voice, talented visual artist but above all a wonderful human being with energy, with a talent for life and I feel honoured to call myself his friend. When he suddenly passed away on February 2nd, I was devastated. It hit me really hard. It was very emotional to hear his song knowing he´s not here anymore...

Sometimes you meet someone and even though you don't see each other as often as you'd like to, there are people who make your day better simply by being themselves. That's who Fergus was for me. A daily inspiration, an artistic inspiration but mainly inspiration of a person. Someone who loved life and taught everyone else to love it. He left many powerful songs and breathtaking paintings and his legacy will be living on. We, his friends and family, believe the fact that you can't see him doesn't mean he's not here...

Although I try to think of him with a smile, there are times when I get really sad and when I wish to laugh listening to his stories, to talk about life or just sit and listen... Memories of Fergus'painting exhibition held last August in Schull, west Cork, keep coming back..Neither of us could know this was actually the very last time we saw each other... I still hear him telling me he hopes to come back to Czech republic one day...


Paintings: Fergus O'Farrell Paintings: Fergus O'Farrell
Paintings: Fergus O'Farrell


This is another great event that will remain in our minds for a long time. Kíla is a big name on the Irish music scene and their shows are simply breathtaking. Of course they play Irish music but in their own way and in a rock style. If you like this kind of music and you have a chance to see them live, go! You won't regret it. These multiinstrumentalists get under your skin. Rónán Ó Snodaigh's bodhrán playing is something that's out of this world. You have to see it to know what I mean by saying that. The atmosphere of the shows is illustrated by songs in Irish language. Somebody can be disappointed that he can´t sing along if he doesn't know the language and has no idea about the content of the song. But there are moments when it's better not to know what the song is about. Sometimes when we like a song and we don't know the language the song is in, we fell in love with the song. Afterwards we discover it's a really simple song about really simple things and we don't like the song that much anymore. The Irish language is a beautiful but very difficult language which doesn't have anything to do with English and even the Irish people consider it very hard to learn.

I've known this band for a long time, maybe since my first time in Ireland but I haven't had a chance to see them live. Until now. An incredible experience that will stay with me forever. The atmosphere in one of Dublin's top venues, Whelans, was electric and the time flew. We ended up buying 2CDs and a DVD. And both would surely love to replay this evening...

Mark Geary at Ernesto's café, Rathmines, Dublin

I've known Mark for over 10 years. His lyrics are a big inspiration for me and I'd say the longer we know each other the better we get on, that's the way it goes sometimes. I first saw him at a music festival in Telc in Czech republic where he appeared as a support for Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (The Swell season) and his music instantly got me. The following year I was lucky enough to see him in Galway in western Ireland. Something completely different. Mark has been living in New York for a long time but when he comes to play to his home country, it always feels different, he doesn't have to worry about what to say and if people understand it the right way.

And this is what happened on August 20th in Ernesto's café in Dublin. Mark came with the whole band and even though the space was quite limited there were too many people but we as spectators can´t change that. I've seen Mark many times but with the band the songs got different feel, gained more energy. I'd say microphones weren't needed for such a small place but this is just my point of view. The atmosphere of the evening was pleasant, you almost felt like in a living room. Mark was joking that he knows almost everyone by first name. The audience didn't hesitate to sing along when they were asked to, even when they weren't. And the songs Mark played? Apart from his classics he also played songs from his upcoming fifth album. Wonderful evening with a taste of family gathering...

Mark Geary by Anthony Mulcahy

Photo: Mulography - Anthony Mulcahy


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