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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Headed into the Last Weekend

A big hello from Ireland!

All I can say about this trip is WOW!
It has totally exceeded my expectations.
As we head into our last couple days I thought I might post some personal thoughts about our experience here.

1. The people
Everyone here has been great. If you are lost (which has happened to me a LOT!) people gladly give directions.
Liam's band mates are just simply the nicest people you will meet on this earth. Their assistance with PA, back line gear, instruments and logistics has been greatly appreciated.
Our hosts, Bernard and Jenny have been a Godsend. Mark, Mary, Patricia and myself can not thank them enough. It has been so great to share stories with them over tea late into the night.
To all the great people we have met in the pubs - thank you for your kind words about the band. It has been an honor to perform for you.

2. The Country
So rich in history and scenery. When we were at the Trinity College Book of Kells display I saw a chronological listing of major events that have taken place in Ireland. It kind of makes you think from a different perspective when you compare Ireland to America's brief 200 year history:
c.3000BC Megalithic tombs first constructed.
c.700BC Celts arrive from parts of Gaul and Britain. Ireland divided
into provinces.
c.AD350 Christianity reaches Ireland.
432 Traditional date for the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland.
700-800 Irish monasticism reaches its zenith.
795 Full-scale Viking invasion.
1172 Pope decrees that Hery II of England is feudal lord of Ireland.
1366 Statues of Kilkenny belatedly forbid intermarriage of English and
Irish. Gaelic culture unsuccessfully suppressed.
1534-40 Failed insurrection by Lord Offaly.
1541 Henry VIII proclaimed king (rather than feudal lord) of Ireland
1558-1603 Reign of Elizabeth I. Policy of Plantation begins. System of
counties adopted.
1595-1603 Failed uprising of Hugh O'Neil.
1641 Charles I's policies cause insurrection in Ulster and Civil War in
1704 Penal Code enacted; Catholics barred from voting, education and the
1782 Grattan's Parliament persuades British to declare Irish
independence, but in name only.
1798 Wolfe Tone's uprising crushed.
1801 Ireland becomes part of Britain under the Act of Union.
1845-48 The Great Famine.
1916 Easter Rising. After the leaders are executed public opinion backs
1920-21 War between Britain and Ireland; Irish Free State and Northern
Ireland created.
1922 Civil war breaks out.
1969 Rioting between Catholics and Protestants. British troops called in.
1971 Provisional IRA begins campaign to oust British troops from Ireland.
1972 UK and Republic of Ireland join European Community. 'Bloody Sunday'
in Derry.
1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement signed.
1994 Peace Declaration and IRA ceasefire.

3. The Pub culture. Again so different than America. More than just a place to drink, there is a true feeling of community in these places. Old and young, rich and poor all come together to reflect on the day and share their thoughts about everything from politics to sports.

We have one more gig tonight (Saturday), a day off tomorrow and then we head back to Phoenix on Monday.
I will try to post some more images before we leave.


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