We arrived in Dublin on the 17th of Jan after a hellish long haul flight (nothing happened to make it particularly hellish, but 24 hours on a plane isn't a wonderful experience let us tell you, although Seamus does actually seem to like the food...?) We spent a few days in Dublin catching up with friends, fellow musicians and drinking in the sights (and drinking in that marvellous black stuff), we sang in the streets at midnight, soaked up sunshine in the cobble lined streets, attended a political protest and visited the graves of some of our personal heroes, Writer Brendan Behan and musician Luke Kelly of The Dubliners. Then we trundled down to the station and got a bus out to Trim in Co Meath to spend some time with our friend and fellow muso Danny.
We were on to Cork city next in the south, which a fabulous city teeming with great music and great food and the thickest of Irish brogues... Needless to say we could barely understand a word. We caught a traditional Irish music session at Sin E, explored forts, and sampled local delights in the old English Market and of course had a few pints of Beamish which is Co. Cork's locally made stout (trust us you will always get flack in Cork if you order a Guinness over a Beamish. As they say, when in Ireland, drink as the locals drink).
Then we were on to Kinsale, a tiny town on the coast, to treat ourselves to a few nights in a proper bed (not sure at what age it becomes inappropriate to stay in hostels, but I feel like we're not far off) Kinsale is a foodie haven and here The Great Kroovs Irish Oyster Adventure of 2017 really began with a dozen salty molluscs by a roaring fire. Which is pretty much our idea of HEAVEN. After a few days of pampering and defrosting in the steam room of the spa we headed back up to Cork.
McDonalds Hotel and Spa in Kinsale overlooking the inlet. Oooh fancy!
Next stop was Killarney in County Kerry for a few days. We sampled some fantastic Irish whiskeys, and then sampled some more. We shook off the whisky hangover with a brisk walk (in the sunshine?!) around Killarney National Park which circles a huge loch and has miles of walking tracks. We packed it in after a few hours and decided to be sensible and head back to the pub. We were back in Cork another couple of days before heading on to Waterford for two nights, where we visited one of our favourite pubs, An Uisce Beatha (there seems to be a pattern emerging here? But what else is one to do when its 3 degrees and raining outside). An Uisce Beatha means Water of Life in Gaelic, and is pronounced "Ishka Baha". I think. Kinda. Ish.
Dont get us started on trying to pronounce things in Gaelic, its pretty much impossible. I'm fairly sure the language was invented one night by a drunk guy down the pub. Or more likely its the greatest joke the Irish ever told, and they've just been messing with the rest of us for hundreds of years, and laughing at our terrible attempts to understand it. In seriousness, it is actually a very beautiful language and we are lucky enough to have a few friends who speak is as a first language, its quite remarkable, and wonderful to listen to.
From Waterford we went on to Wexford and it was time to get our game face on! The wedding! We were excited and a little nervous to be performing our stuff for an Irish audience but thankfully the evening went of without a hitch! We had a fantastic time and made lots of new friends and got some great feedback. PHEW! We spent the next evening at a tiny pub at a crossroads with all the wedding guests having a fantastic time, enjoying the craic. We got up and played a few tunes throughout the evening, listening to some amazing young talent and Rabbit got up again MUCH later in the evening with a local muso and smashed out some AC/DC on fiddle... Rock n' Roll.
James Boags and Sunshine and AC/DC!? Where the heck are we?!
We bussed it back up to Dublin to meet up with our great friends Liam and Roisin for the last 10 days of our trip. One more night in Dublin, some fabulous food, many pints, some heated games of Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit and a couple of cocktails and we fell in to bed. We were up bright and early the next morning to head west to Galway. We were on a pilgrimage. A seafood pilgrimage. And the first port of call is the famous Morans Oyster Cottage near Kilcolgan, Co. Galway. Moran's has been visited by just about every oyster loving celeb who has ever visited Ireland, and there is a TWO YEAR waiting list for a table during the annual Galway Oyster Festival... Thankfully we were there on a weekday in winter so they allowed the likes of us scruffy bunch in. We ordered Chowder and Oysters and got to try our first ever native Irish oyster, found only in Galway Bay... It was unbelievably delicious... Particularly when paired with Guinness. If you don't like seafood then just switch off now, sorry folks! We were just getting started!
Guinness in the sunshine at Moran's in Co Galway
After lunch we made for Galway city for the night. We had McDonoghs famous fish and chips for dinner and then wandered up to Rabbits favourite Galway pub, The Crane, for the nightly traditional Irish music session. The next morning we were on to Donegal in the north west of Ireland for more, yep you guessed it, oysters....
And Guinesss.... Donegal oysters are also very well known, it would have been rude not to really. We hit another trad session in Donegal for the evening. Taking along her fiddle Rabbit sat amongst the locals and played a few tunes, and Smoose got up and sang a couple of songs, it was a fantastic evening and we met some lovely people! The next morning we crossed the country into Northern Ireland, collected another mate at the airport in Belfast and spend a few days in Ballymena catching up with some friends. After a night out in Belfast for some fabulous food and cocktails we headed down to Cushendall for two nights on the northern Irish coast, explored the spectacular Giants Causeway, played innumerable games of Trivial Pursuit and drank red wine be the open fire.
The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland
Now THAT IS LIVING! With only a few days left on our trip we headed back south to Carlingford for the last batch of Oysters and tunes. Neither disappointed! The next morning we made our way back to Dublin Airport to wait for our flight home. After discarding our winter clothes we boarded and headed home via Dubai and Sydney.
We had an amazing time on our trip and enjoyed everything Ireland has to offer, craic, Guinness, whiskey, music and the friendliest people. It's great to be back in north QLD in the warmth and we're looking forward to a huge year! We have loads on the horizon, all will be revealed in due time ; ) in the meantime keep an eye on our Facebook, we've got loads of gigs booked. See you there Rock and Rollers!
x Rabbit and Smoose