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School’s Out & Music Lessons

June 27, 2007

corey says…Today was a very full day. We started out by helping our friend Kathleen clean out Portroe National School where she works. Today was the last day of class, so when we arrived, there were swarms of parents picking up some very excited children…and I’d say the teachers were looking pretty happy as well.

The first couple boxes we moved were pretty easy, but some construction planned for the summer meant some uncertainty with a few other items, so Kathleen and the other teachers decided we should head to the pub until it was all worked out (the plan was to go to the pub…for lunch…after the work was done).

We enjoyed a great meal with five of the teachers, the principle and the local priest. Then it was back to school for some heavy lifting…well, it wasn’t really that much lifting. We just had to move a few shelves and move items to the center of the room…pretty easy stuff.

When our tour of duty at the school was completed, we headed to Kathleen’s for our music lesson. Liam and I stopped for some diesel…this Peugeot we rented is amazing on fuel. Tony and Kathleen waited for us, but as I went in to pay, Kathleen saw Liam hop in the car and she took off to lead us to her house. We had a great time teasing her that we like to pay for our petrol when we fill up.

At Kathleen’s, we met up with our friend Theresa and Kathleen’s mother Breeda. Theresa is our music teacher, and she wasted no time getting me started on the tin whistle. Kathleen’s mother was the ultimate Irish host, popping in first to give me a glass of whiskey, then to give Theresa a Diet Coke, then to check to see if everything was alright, then to see if we needed refills, and then to ask we wanted tea.

As an absolute beginner, I had to start with the basics. Theresa did a fine job and by the end of 45 minutes I was reading music and playing tunes. Imagine that.

Then I had to go upstairs and practice while Liam had his tin whistle lesson…he’s a more advanced student, so we were kept separate. Meanwhile, Kathleen was going over some session tunes with Tony on the fiddle.

Breda was almost beside herself, as two hours had passed, and she hadn’t been able to serve anyone anything, so it was time for tea. Anyone with visions of tea being a hot cuppa and a few scones, hasn’t been to an Irish household. No, Breda had brought over plates wrapped in tinfoil she prepared at her house. There was chicken, ham, salad, carrots and potatoes. When she brought out the second dessert, we were officially stuffed.

Bursting at the seems from all the delicious food, we went into the living room to have an impromptu session. I even managed to squeak off “Down By the Sally Gardens” with the rest of the group playing along. It wasn’t pretty, but it was recognizable.

For the rest of the songs, I played the bongos…much more my speed.

Theresa had to head off for a session she was playing. We were all going to join her later, but Theresa had to pick up her neighbor, and we were going to call in on Eddie and invite him to join us. It was pretty much a guarantee that he would say yes.

Sheelagh met us at Eddie’s and we all went to Larkin’s in Garykennedy for another great session. The Irish dancers were there again which adds a nice element to the whole experience.

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