The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Valentine’s Day

Yesterday we went across the Burren on a frozen tour of Norman monasteries, churches, and castles. The sky was solid gray and our aches and pains were magnified by the cold as we explored Corcomroe Abbey, Kilmacduagh, and the Dysert O’Dea castle grounds. (There are a few shots of our trip under “Photos” to the left).

At the end of it, we found ourselves back in Ballyvaughan, musicians.jpgwhere all the businesses are now open, because the traditional musicians are in town for Valentine’s Day weekend. By the oddest chance, we found a seat in the same room as the musicians in one of the pubs and sat entranced for almost three hours as they played. Some of it is improvised. One starts a tune and the others pick it up. As everyone catches on, there are smiles all around and it swells to a peak. Then, seemingly out of the blue, it dies down again like a fire among the rocks, and the musician who originally began the piece creates a new variation, which the others pick up once more. I remembered how my son and his friends used to play like this far into the night. Maybe it was that or maybe it is because traditional Irish music is so affecting, but, whatever the cause, after a cold day and a Guinness or two, I had tears in my eyes.

1 comment

1 Angela { 02.16.08 at 12:29 pm }

The photo conveys the atmosphere very well. I can hear the fiddles run along and give away reels and melancholy songs.