Many things come to the minds of many people when Ireland is the subject being pondered. For our traveling crew, traditional Irish music was one of the trip’s highest priorities. One week into the trip, still weary from the pace of big city travel, we would be revived by the buzz of the smaller but lively Galway City.
We arrived in the heart of Galway in the early evening, on a Saturday of an Irish Holiday weekend. Upon checking into our B&B (Prague House), we were greeted by the friendly Charlie, who was quick to give us restaurant and pub recommendations. His highest recommendation was for his own favorite pub, the Crane Bar. And so we went.
We walked in and knew right away that this was the music we had been looking for. A band of older locals was engaging the crowd to sing along as they played accordion, violin and flute. Pints of Guinness in hand, we did our best to master the lyrics. Upstairs, various musicians gathered for jam sessions, which we tapped our feet along with later in the night. We met new people such as Logan from Germany, as well as a Mountaineer fan from the South. Together, we made up the guestimated 10% of the non-local crowd. And, in typical small world fashion, Aaron happened upon someone who will soon move to Pittsburgh to be the bar manager at Claddagh in the Southside Works, a place we had all been before.
After other excursions the following day (more to come on that), we couldn’t allow ourselves to walk past the once again bustling Crane Bar on our second night. As the same locals from the night before performed downstairs, a foot-stomping band (“The Atlantic Pirates”) performed upstairs, and another great night was had by all.
Though we lost hours of sleep in Galway and the Crane Bar, I couldn’t help but be energized by the great music we heard and the people we met. Since I couldn’t pack it in my suitcase and bring it home, I’m happy to share this in hopes that another lucky person will enjoy the same experience.