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July 3, 2007

corey says…Today I met up with Theresa for my second lesson on the tin whistle. This time I went to her studio in Roscrea. It’s an old purple row house at the top of the town. The sign on the side announces “classical and traditional music” written in Irish and the plaque on the door reads,“Theresa Larkin, Music Teacher, LLCM, TTCT, ALCM. I have no idea what all those letters mean, but they must be important.

Before the lesson we met for breakfast at the Racket Club. There I met her “almost twelve” year-old niece, Jade. The three of us has a nice chat over tea and eggs on toast. Jade also plays the tin whistle (we already had something in common), but she will be trading it in for a guitar soon.

Heritage Town & Craic
After our meal, we explored a few of Roscrea’s well-known historic sites. The Black Mill, round tower and church facade are all right next to each other. Combine those with the castle, various carved stones and abbey ruins in the area and it’s quite clear how Roscrea got its heritage town status.

As we were walking, Jade took great interest in the practical jokes that had been exchanged over the last few weeks. She revealed some of the best one’s Theresa had pulled on the family. Both were giggling a bit as the stories were told.

It was then off to another Roscrea church. Before we went in, we traveled a road where Theresa had almost been run down by a drunk driver the night before. Inside the church, the three of us knelt down to say a little prayer. After a moment, I looked over to Theresa and said, “I just thanked God that you hadn’t been killed by that drunk driver…it would have been absolutely terrible if you missed my tin whistle lesson.” That kind of humor seems to come completely unexpected to the Irish.

Outside the church, I could see a large cemetery that sloped up the hill. Theresa asked if I wanted to check it out…of course I did. I stopped to read a plaque at the entrance, and Jade came up to me and said, “This is where aunt Theresa’s ex-husband is buried.”

I thought for a moment, “Theresa has an ex-husband? Did I hear that right?”

“I’m surprised she’d go in to the cemetery,” Jade continued.

Suddenly, I had second thoughts about the cemetery. I mean, was this going to be uncomfortable for Theresa.

“Would you like to go in?” Theresa asked from the entrance.

“Only if you’re up for it.” I said, kind of giving her an out without revealing that I knew more than she thought I did.

“Yeah, we can go in. My ex is buried here.” As soon as the words came out of her mouth, I knew I had been had! Music wasn’t the only thing Jade had in common with her aunt. She liked the craic as well, and her aunt put her up to the ex-husband line. And here I was, only moments ago, thinking that I’d have to find a way to ask her about her ex.

After that, it was time to head back to her studio for the lesson. Jade stayed in the sitting room watching TV and playing her video game. I was sat on a stool and began working on my tunes. I had improved greatly from the week before, but just as I had gotten them down, Theresa had me take them up a notch by adding ornamentation. Suddenly, my easy songs got a lot harder.

On the way home, I called my friend my American friend Liza to see what she was up to. Tonight she was making dinner for her neighbors, but invited me to stop down.

She took a break from cooking to go for a walk with me, then she was back in the kitchen and I headed to Knockahopple. Liam’s guests were there, so I visited with them a bit. Then it was back to Tony’s cottage for some R&R.

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