Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fleadh in Cavan and other stories

No photos alert. It won't upload. Damn it. No more time. Battery low on computer and Joe and dogs impatient in car.

Days later get a couple of pics into this post. See below. Can't get them to sit in the place I want. Don't know what they're doing to the photo uploader.

We really had planned to move. We arrived back at the boat in Quivvy Marina on Sunday in amazing sunshine. A whole day of it without showers. We had a half arrangement to meet up with friends at Crom Castle on Monday evening. On Monday it rained. And rained. And rained in that persistent, disconsolate way it sometimes (often?) does when you know it's in for the day. The friends couldn't make Crom so we stayed put. Crom is gorgeous, but not the place to be on your own in the gloom.

We still haven't moved. This is because the Fleadh Cheoil na h'√Čireann is on in Cavan ten miles down the road. We were at two of the Fleadhs when they were held in Tullamore and had a brilliant time watching the whole pageant of it and playing tunes. It was particularly fabulous because the Grand Canal runs right through the town so we were in the middle of things, but able to escape (very necessary) at the same time. We didn't think we'd do much at the Cavan one with having to drive to get there, but somehow it's become compulsive again. And we can still escape.

On Sunday night the town was noisy but it was rock music leaking out of pub doorways, not trad. But by last night things were in full swing. The streets are full of young musicians in search of sessions, or teenagers in little clots bitching about each other - no no no, sorry, discussing the finer points of the reel and the jig. The pubs were full of children playing to an astonishingly high standard. But we were on the hunt for a grown-up's session.

We'd done a bit of scouting the night before and the White Star seemed a good bet. The Blessings was suggested as another venue. In the end we were in the White Star when a couple of fellows came down from the upstairs restaurant where they'd been given dinner after playing tunes that afternoon. 'You can play, can't you?', said one of them. Shit, I thought. What's the standard going to be here. We just want a few tunes. Turns out he was a guitarist who needed someone to accompany, and the other lad was a six-string banjo player with hardly a trad tune to his name. Ho hum. Guitar man also had a banjo. Joe has a banjo. So a flute and three banjos. I was delighted when a young American on a piano accordion joined us. Accordions can be good in these situations as they are loud, and this lad was competing at the Fleadh so was good. We stayed until the bodhr√°n player arrived. That's usually the time to leave, and we needed to spring the dogs from the boat.
Joe mending the dinghy

We were going to go sailing again this morning - had a grand little potter about Quivvy Water yesterday. Except for the bit where we got caught up in weed. There's a huge amount of weed suddenly appeared in the waterways. It was round the rudder and round the centre board so we had to get out the oar. Thought it would be an outboard job, but suddenly we started moving and escaped. Can't sail this morning though. The gaff which has the main sail set into it is splitting and the sail is coming loose. Joe has just been glueing it together, so we'll have to see if it holds enough to go out tomorrow.

Seagull at Quivvy
We're quite settled here now, and getting used to the idea. We've paid David for a year's berth after endless to-and-fro discussions. Would we stay here? Would we go to Cootehall? Or somewhere else? Decision made thankfully. That's part of why we're in no rush to explore Lough Erne further. We have until the beginning of July next year. It's exciting to be on a different waterway with time to get to know it. And we're in excellent company. Another beautiful timber boat lives here. This is Seagull owned by Jonathan and Daphne Shackleton. She's coming up to 100 years old, and is looking in fine form ready for the big vintage boat event happening at Crom Castle at the end of August.

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