The carpet was stained and the walls yellowed. With a decor out of the 50s, the room was a cheap dump, but Dublin wasn’t. Dublin’s atmosphere grabbed you and wouldn’t let go. It was easy to be swayed by its good nature.

We started our hunt for the Irish experience in Temple Bar. Entering the oldest and most famous bar in the area, we made our way across the floor. Irish music was blaring. The crowd was young and old, of all shapes and genres but mostly foreign and tourist. No matter. We tapped feet as we ordered our first pints of Guinness on Irish soil. As we took our first sips of the dark creamy liquid, the leprechaun across the street took off its head and leaned on the wall puffing on a cigarette, his pot of gold filled with coins before him.

As we took our first sips of the dark creamy liquid, the leprechaun across the street took off its head and leaned on the wall puffing on a cigarette, his pot of gold filled with coins before him.

Later, sites were visited, more beers drunk and food consumed. Meat pie and Guinness stew and Trinity College and beer factory are a mish and mash of memories. But better remembered is our discovery of an underground bar showcasing the 68s. Self-explanatory name; they played a set of 60s rock music. As the sound check ended and the pub filled up, the music reverberated across the tiny space, making the furniture vibrate and the walls sweat like a forehead under a scorching sun. We cheered along with the crowd that had filled the dingy bar and watched as candle flames danced at the rock n roll beat.

We left Dublin. Kilkenny was unexpected. We had driven here for a silly South Park joke but it was sunny and we were hungry so we followed an arrow to a hostel where we booked a triple room. We walked through antique stores, chasing an old tin of Golden Virginia between a breakfast of strawberry jam, scones, cream and tea. In the evening, we showed up to the hostel for dinner and accompanied the food with Kilkenny cream ale. A band set up. Introducing themselves as the Kilkennys, they threw themselves into a cover of “Could not come at a better time”. Irish rhythm filled us as we ordered whiskey and girls danced. After a while, a dance floor of utter chaos had formed as young people and old swinged with less and less grace as the night wore on and the music reached its peak.

In the evening, we followed a promise of live music – it was a very persuasive poster - into an empty bar.

We drove to Cork for a few badly sung tunes and a round of laundry. We continued our drive to Killarney. There we left the car behind and entered its national park, discovering ruins of grey stones covered in moss. The woods were calm.

Then Dingle happened. Lovely peninsula of Dingle. The streets were deserted. We biked along the coast surrounded by green hills. We took a boat ride to visit Fungi the dolphin, the Dingle mascot. In the evening, we followed a promise of live music – it was a very persuasive poster - into an empty bar. As we nursed our drinks, an aged couple came on playing accordion and guitar to the woman’s melodious voice. We listened to lyrical notes. It was plaintive music covered in emotion.

Nights mingle, as it might have been this night or another, when we were in a different bar. Two young lads ordered a pint, sat at a corner table. An accordion unfolded its notes and a guitar left its leather case. Fingers strummed and people danced Irish steps. A man in a flat cap jigged and asked me to dance. I looked at my father who laughed and turned away.

A man in a flat cap jigged and asked me to dance. I looked at my father who laughed and turned away.

Again, into a different pub, similar to the previous scene; two guys sitting at a table, an accordion and a guitar, two pints - the fuel of Ireland. As the guitarist’s hand disappeared into movements of enthusiastic strumming, voices sung popular songs with an Irish twist. Again, the same man sporting his flat cap clapping and tapping and people joining in on a makeshift dance floor. We laughed as young ladies were twirled again and again. No need to be self conscious or shy. Irish music is upbeat, fun and demands no sophistication.

- “Shouldn’t you get that checked out”, when noticing the guitarist’s bloody fingers.

- “I should man, but the vibe is too good.” Picking up the guitar again to strum at incredible speed, we lost sight of the hand all together as strings were jolted into notes and the show carried on.

We left Dingle’s music behind on to Galway where we were welcomed by Irish rain. We had been too lucky with blue skies anyway. Here our music hunt ended with a return to London and my desperate search of a Spaghetti House. Different story.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go. Truman Capote