St. Paddy's Day and the Trad Festival

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Jul 2007

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Monday, March 26, 2007

(Pictures of St. Patty's Day and the trad festival.)

St. Patrick's Day

Well, as you know, last (last) Saturday was St. Paddy's Day. Instead of spending the day in good ol' Butte, Montana, I experienced my first Irish holiday on the island itself. My friends and I all had quite a bit of anticipation for the day, but, I'm sad to say, I was disappointed. Not too disappointed, mind you, but compared to the good times I'm used to having in Butte on St. Pat's, Limerick was pretty dull.

We got decked out in all our green gear and headed to town at about 11:30 to see the parade. When we arrived, a huge crowd was piled in to O'Connell Street (the main street in Limerick town center). Soon, the parade progressed by our location. There were displays from the military, many pipe and drum ensembles, a marching band, several floats portraying Celtic myths and legends (the theme of this year's parade), and even some representatives of Poland and the U.S.! When the parade was over, people split like the Red Sea when Moses was in his prime. I'm serious; within a half-hour, downtown was even more empty than on a typical day, and this was St. Pat's! Apparently the Irish don't stick around to party. There was virtually no drinking in the streets (the Gardaí [police] were out en force), which was quite a different experience for me. So anyway, we made our way to Pery Square to get some food from street vendors and listen to some trad (traditional) music. Then we hoofed it down to good old Dolan's Pub to listen to more trad and watch the Rugby game (Ireland v. Italy, and Ireland beat down big time). Pints were drank and good times were had by all. So I guess I can't say that I had a bad time, only that my expectations were too high for Limerick; maybe next year it'll be Dublin or bust.

Gan Ainm Trad Festival

Last weekend (23-25 Mar) was the annual traditional music festival put on by Gan Ainm (translates as "no name") trad soc (traditional music society). They put on shows Friday and Saturday night in the Stables (the on-campus pub) featuring a fantastic banjo player and North Cregg, a phenomenal trad band, respectively. Both nights also showcased the immense talent of the UL music students, as they performed many a tune before the main acts. On Sunday, we were also treated to a session, which is an informal gathering of musicians to play and learn together (like a jazz jam session), at the Groody Bar. It was all very enjoyable, and, thanks to the international office, it didn't cost a thing! (The office had purchased quite a few tickets to give to study abroad students.) Now, check out the pictures and the videos posted in this posts photo album and you'll get a bit of a taste of what a fantastic experience I had.
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