A Musical Odyssey

In the evening the four of us walked back to Oliver St. John Fogarty’s in Temple Bar where tonight’s pre-reserved Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl was to meet.  On the second floor a couple of musicians were already playing to a scattering of pint-swilling patrons.

While waiting for the official tour to begin, we listened to the group and bemusedly watched a reveler who had obviously imbibed one too many pints.  His drunken imitation of Michael Flatley on the wooden floor was entertaining, but we weren’t amused when he lurched over to Mom and tried to get her to join him in his drunken dance.   Of course, she politely refused.

Next, he staggered over to me — I ducked my head away from the spit spraying from his mouth as he tried to convince the two of us to jig along. But he didn’t have a chance against our protectors; Dad and Gino moved in to shield us from further pestering.

The ticket-taker arrived and the “crawl” began.  Two musicians, a violin player and a guitarist, female and male, respectively, told the rather large group of us to convene downstairs in the street from where we were all to walk to another pub where the music would actually commence.

Upstairs at the second pub we went into a room where several chairs had been set up to accommodate us.  The ambiance was not very characteristic — it looked more like a reception room at a Moose Hall than a “traditional Irish pub.”  But we found tall stools at the edge of the room where we could at least see quite well.

The musicians began by asking where everyone was from.  There were people from all over the world, including quite a large contingent from the U.S.  They explained the various instruments and nature of traditional Irish music, demonstrating with various songs.  We were encouraged to drink as we listened.  Then it was off to the third and last of the pubs in this crawl.

The last pub was across the River Liffey (truly “iffy” after having a few pints under one’s belt) and again we found ourselves in a non-descript upstairs room.  By this time we were famished and a little music-weary — we were ready to go even though the presentation was not yet finished.  So I slipped downstairs to ask at the bar if they served any food.  No, not even a bag of “crisps” (potato chips).  But the bartender suggested Flannigan’s across the street — a proper restaurant.  Back to the group I went with the bad news.

Gino was practically fainting from hunger and we were all getting antsy. But we stuck it out until they announced that the remainder of the evening would be spent by various members of the audience offering bits of song from their native countries.  We didn’t  relish the thought of being called upon to perform, so we decided to sneak away.

The plan was to leave our seats, surreptitiously (or so we thought), one couple at a time.  But one of the musicians spotted Mom and Dad hustling out and yelled, “Hey!  Where are you going?”  They kept going.

Then Gino made his quiet retreat.  Finally, I, the last one left, slipped off my seat to follow him, but they noticed me and exclaimed loudly, “Hey, the whole table is leaving!”  I turned and sheepishly waved at them before dashing off.

I felt kind of bad, but how could I explain we were passing out from lack of dinner and that we  didn’t relish the prospect of  being called upon to perform American songs?

Quickly we crossed the street to Flannigan’s where we wolfed down huge platefuls of hot food.  Since we had already crossed the river, we weren’t too far from the Anchor Guesthouse so it didn’t take us long to walk home.

Thinking back on it now, I still feel a little shamefaced.  I hope the musicians didn’t think we hadn’t enjoyed their music.  If only the pub had served food.

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