32 Pianos Tour - Week 3

Week 3 – Sep 28-Oct 4

Gigs: 3 Leitrim, Clare & Kerry

Musicians involved:    7    

Cathy Jordan, Ciara Holmes, Gerry Grennan, Ken Holmes, Marie O’Byrne, Paul Dunlea, Seamie O’Dowd


After the relative quiet of last week, this week was certainly busier, with 3 gigs and an afternoon filming for the TG4 show, Imeall.  A bit of travelling involved too – Tralee will be one of the longest drives I will have to do on this tour I’d imagine.

The gigging week started in Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, Co. Leitrim on Wednesday Sep 30th.  The green and white flags were out all over Mohill in anticipation of Sunday’s Leitrim county final, which Mohill ended up winning with a last minute goal – well done to all involved. A bitter pill to swallow for their opponents no doubt.  I have been that soldier unfortunately!!

Cathy Jordan and Seamie O’Dowd joined me in the front room of the castle for a very pleasant evening of music I must say.  The warmth was there from the crowd from the beginning of the show and we all enjoyed ourselves very much!

On Thursday I hit the road to Ennis, Co. Clare, where after my phone died (and with it Google Maps), I eventually found glór – a wonderful theatre and facility for the town.  Joining me on this gig were Gerry Grennan and Marie O’Byrne, a native of Ennis and ex-employee of glór.  We in Sligo have benefitted hugely from what Marie learnt there and is now putting into practice in the Hawkswell Theatre in Sligo, which is flourishing under her directorship.  Marie is also a fine fiddle player and singer and we had a wonderful night in the small theatre in glór, which provided us with our first sell-out show of the tour!

Special thanks must go to Marie and her family for not only putting me up, but also convincing half of Ennis to come to the gig!  Jo Lynch also did trojan work in this regard, so thanks to Jo also.

Friday brought me to Tralee – to the Kerry School of Music where I came across the first Steinway Model D (9ft in length!) of the tour.  It belongs to the Kerry County Council but the School of Music house it for them and they get use of it as a result.  I filmed Iwetta’s Theme for the TG4 programme, Imeall, there and then headed for John Mitchels GAA club on the outskirts of Tralee where I got to kick football and chat with a 3-time All-Ireland winner (one as captain), Dara O’Cinneide.  Dara speaks Irish so beautifully and with such a blás that it would make you want to be able to talk back!  My Gaeilge had all but disappeared since my Leaving Cert unfortunately but it was still a lovely afternoon.

Good friends of my folks live in Tralee so they put me up for the couple of nights there (thanks Tom+Phyl!) and after a refreshing run on Banna Strand in the afternoon I returned to the Kerry School of Music on Saturday night where Gerry and I were joined by Cork-based trombonist Paul Dunlea, and also local violinists Ken Holmes and his daughter Ciara. That was Gig number 6 of the tour, and audience and musicians all seemed to enjoy themselves!

The coming week has 3 gigs scheduled also, and I will be joined by Seamie O’Dowd for all 3.  On Thursday I am heading to the beautiful Tinakilly Country House, Rathnew, where I hope enough people in Wicklow aren’t so interested in the Ireland v Germany match that they come to hear us instead!  Friday brings us first to Galway for a live performance on the Sean Moncreiff show, and then all the way back to Huntington Castle, Clonegal, Co. Carlow for a special intimate performance in the sitting room there.   And on Saturday 10th October we will be joined by the Portarlington Golf Club choir for a special once-off gig in the clubhouse.

So – calling anyone who has friends/family in Carlow, Wicklow or Laois – please let them know and judging by the reaction of the audiences so far, a good night is guaranteed!

Thanks a million – Kieran.