Island Music

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Island Music

On the west coast of Ireland is the wee town of Doolin. You can catch some TRAD here, seven nights a week, or catch a ferry to Inisheer. Just a 30 minute boat ride to the tiny village. If you’re lucky, you might catch what we thought was the most traditional of Irish music.

Inisheer doesn’t draw the crowds that Inishmore does, but as the Aran Islands go, it’s worthy of an overnight stop. There are a handful of sights, a few B&B’s, a hostel, and three pubs. All in walking distance. As a matter of fact, it’s all walking distance. The island is only three miles around. Locals get around by trap~a horse pulled wagon.

From the pier, hang a right, and head for Ned’s place-Tigh Ned(House of Ned). Grab a pint and ask for Ned. If he’s in, you’re in for a treat. This guy will CRAIC you up. If he’s not in, have a local point to a picture on the wall of Ned. It will crack you up. That’s Ned with the funky grin.

No time to hurry, you’re on island time. Even if the B&B’s are booked, there’s always the hostel next door to Tigh Ned. I was hoping to make this a hostel night, Hali opted for our own en-suite room, full Irish breakfast. No problem. There’s a room over a pub a short walk away. We check in, then check out the ruckus below in the pub. Just a few guys, having a few pints, before they take the ferry back in a few minutes.

From our room we can see a ruined castle atop a hill. Gotta see this!! We passed the castle gate and were heading toward a “newer” ruin. Something Napolean had built for his Army. Just down the way, along the rock fences, we hear music. It’s coming from the castle ruins. Under the towering ruins of the castle was a large group of school-aged children playing traditional Irish music. With their pipes, drums, squeezeboxes, and bare feet, they played. In between songs the adults would assemble the children on the grass for traditional Irish dance, in their bare feet. No fancy costumes, headwear, or big shoes- in their bare feet! Real Traditional Irish dance.

Stay a while. Check out the breathtaking landscape sweeping into the Atlantic. Step into your imaginary time machine, and go back 1500 years. You’ll be visiting the O’Brien clan, atop this hill, 20 miles from the mainland, watching children dance to island music.

About Woody

The travel bug is contagious. I caught it in 1985 while traveling with Hali on a three month backpacking trip through Western Europe. Having a passion for geography, local history & culture, and with a journal in my back pocket, I hope to share our experiences through this blog - whether traveling the well worn rail, or off the beaten trail.

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