Like last year, my friend Hana and me decided to go to Ireland again. We both love the country the same way and nobody needs to persuade us for long time to return. The main reason for a visit this time? seeing Once, the musical, again. We spent a week in the fair city with different music-related events almost every day.
Call the dancers
This is a trad session in Whelan's front bar lead by Rónán Ó Snodaigh of Kíla, Eoin Dillon and their friends. Hana and me managed to see Kíla in concert in Whelan's last August and we loved it. This time we didn't catch the band in Dublin but this is also something worth seeing. The magic of this session consists, in Rónán's own words, in the fact that there are different people everytime and you never know whom you're gonna play with. We went to see the session on Tuesday July 11th and it was packed, people watching, singing along and dancing. Exactly what you imagine a trad session to be. Different atmosphere from a gig, more intimate but you're still mesmerized by Rónán's playing. He has taken the traditional music to an exciting new level.
Here is a glimpse of what these evenings look like:
Once, the musical
It still seems unbelievable to me that this year has been the third summer in a row for me to see the show. I was so excited to see it again like it was the first time ever. People often ask me to compare this year's cast to the previous ones. It's not an easy task. Not only because the cast has changed but also the circumstances have been different everytime and so were the emotions when I watched the musical. But let's try a little comparison. Till last year the lead actors perfoming Guy and Girl were Americans (Tom Parsons and Megan Riordan in 2015, Sam Cieri and Megan Riordan again in 2016) but everything changed this year when the show has completely Irish cast. Brian Gilligan is Guy and Niamh Perry plays Girl. The unique experience is guaranteed, no matter if it's your first time or if you keep coming back. From the on-stage bar, the session at the start of the evening (when you don't know what to expect, you may feel you interrupted the rehearsal) to every single song, you laugh, cry, watch the actors having fun and enjoying themselves on stage. When you hear Brian Gilligan sing, you immediately get the feeling that he's got a really good voice and everything a musician should have. The only thing that's missing when you watch him on stage, is the smile on his face.
The emotional impact of the performance has always been there and I have to say, it gets stronger every year. Hearing Gold, which is pretty central song of the show, is a powerful moment for me and makes me think of my dear friend and the author of the song, Fergus O'Farrell of Interference, who sadly passed away last February but his music and legacy live on...
Two years ago I went to see Once with my husband, last year with my friend Hana and this year with Hana again and also with my friends Audrey and Joan from Dublin and I was delighted they all enjoyed the show very much. And who knows? We might go next year again if the opportunity arises...
Tunes in the church
This award winning concert series started in Galway in 2010 and has been in Dublin for the past two years. In Dublin the concerts take place in Unitarian Church Dublin, a breathtaking small church near St.Stephen's Green, right in the heart of the city. Not only the venue is special but also the event itself. These are not only concerts whose goal is to promote Irish traditional music and dance but it's an interactive experience at the same time where the audience can ask questions and get in touch with the artists. You're sitting near the musicians so the whole feel is intimate and intensifies the experience. Also the short history tour of the church is included in the admission and you get the chance to explore this magical place a little bit more.
We went to see the concert on Sunday July 16th when the artists of the night were fiddle player Danny Diamond, concertina player Sarah Flynn and sean-nós dancer Anna Lethert (who also gave the tour of the church during the interval). Wonderful evening that once again reminded me what Ireland means to me and why I love it so much.