Life on Tour
An Occasional Diary - Week 2
Week 1 | Week 2
Donard Duffy (Ralph's tour manager / sound eng. ) has started the tour diary......

Day 06 - 16 September 2002

Still based in Tralee we drove cross country, through Newcastle West (home to Ballygowan water), Adare and on to 'Dolan's Warehouse' in Limerick. Although it was not one of the best suited venues for Ralph it proved to be a good night.

'Dolan's' was s a hive of activity with traditional sessions, Scottish pipers and a tribute band all playing at the same time, in different rooms of course (only in Ireland!). Met some great people including the owner Mick who has a great attitude to his work life; Yesterday we had a day off from the Rocky roads so Ralph stayed home, practiced for his up coming Blues set in Jersey and I headed into the west in search of Dingle.

I crossed the winding roads of the 'Slieve Mish Mountains', rural Ireland at its best and dropped down to this little costal town. Not what I expected it has all the usual shops and souvenirs on sale but well worth the trip for the drive back over 'Connor Pass'. What unfolds before you is breath taking. I won't try and put it into words all I can say is "you will have to see it for yourself one day".
I slowly made my way to 'Brandon Point' and along the coast to 'Castlegregory', eventually ending up back in Tralee after the best four hour drive ever.
This chapter wouldn't have been complete without a final visit to 'Jess McCarthy's' where we thought we could find a quiet pint. It wasn't long till the craic started and Vince, Johnnie and a few others kept us entertained with stories about life out west and where we might possibly pick up a drop of the "Creator" otherwise known as 'Poiteen'...

Day 8 - 18 September 2002

We had a pretty non eventful journey from Galway to Ennis. Not that much to look at, the only interesting thing we did was call in to a Toyota garage to see if we could get some replacement wiper blades. After spending twenty minutes trying to trace the part the guy we were dealing with recognised Ralph.

The gig was in Glor Arts Centre, a fantastic venue in the middle of Ennis. We arrived a little late so load in and sound check was a little rushed. The gig went down well however we had a few of the same technical difficulties encountered the night before.
All in all it was a good show but not as colourful or exciting as the previous one.

Day 09 - 19 September 2002

Yesterday we did our own wee "trip to Tip". We left 'Ennis' drove south through 'Limerick' and an hour later arrived in 'Tipperary'. After hearing this town mentioned so often I was expecting something totally different. I have to say I was disappointed! I expected a sleepy little town with a musical backbone!

We continued north through 'Cashel' and then south east to 'Kilkenny'. The only two things I have to report about this town are firstly Christy Moore recorded his last studio album here and secondly Bob Dylan visited recently, Oh and before I forget Paul McCartney is visiting in October (maybe I'm Missing something).

We played the 'Watergate Theatre' a lovely little venue and went down a treat. We had a trouble free show and afterwards sampled the local Indian cuisine, very nice! Today we make our way to Roscommon for this evenings show...

Day 10 - 20 September 2002

We left 'Kilkenny' early enough and with regard to scenery there's not much to look at before reaching 'Roscommon'. We travelled through three counties to get there and I have to say neither of us were very excited about the trip.
The reason for this was a conversation we had the night before with a friend.
He pointed out that in his opinion 'Roscommon' was not the centre of Ireland's music scene. I won't say much more on that point other than the only advice he could offer to prove his point was, upon our arrival ask some of the locals if they knew who Elvis was! If the answer was yes (which he doubted it would be) then I was to ask if they knew he had died! Need I say more...

The gig went well and the 'Arts Centre' is a brand new development with state of the art facilities. The response was amazing and the town seems to have a busy little music scene. Afterwards we went into a local pub and listened to some Jazz, what more do you need after a nights work!

The craic was good and we met some really nice people and I have to say the 'Roscommon' we saw was very different to the picture painted the previous evening. This morning we left for Dublin to play the famous 'Whelan's' in Wexford street.

It took us an hour and a half to make our way through the city and if you think there are traffic problems in the UK, check this out! I'm not sure what to expect tonight but it should be an interesting one.
Watch this space..

Day 11&12 - 22 September 2002

Due to "the nerves getting the better of me" you're getting our last two days rolled into one.

The trip from 'Roscommon' was frantic, the journey into 'Dublin' city was crazy and by now I feel absolutely exhausted. 'Whelan's' was a strange show, not the best gig I've ever done but somewhere I'd love to visit again.,
From a technical point of view it was a nightmare, Ralph's National guitar decided not to work and the in house PA was also giving trouble however from a performance point of view, the audience loved it and the majority seemed totally oblivious to our concerns.

Afterwards Ralph spent some time with old friends and the general consensus was 'another good show'.
We had a late night; as a matter of fact I had a very late night... Next morning after very little sleep (not advisable when on the road) we left 'Dublin' bathed in glorious sunshine.
We couldn't have wished for better weather as we drove north taking in the scenery and the famous 'Mourne Mountains' which 'sweep down to the sea'. We decided to stop for lunch in 'Carlingford' a small sea side village and then at Timoney's in Newry a locally renowned Ice cream parlour. If ever you visit, try a cone dipped in chocolate or nuts, "fantastic".

An hour later we arrived in 'Newtownards' for 'The Peninsula Festival'. We played the 'Queen's Hall' where we had a long sound check, rectified the problems from the night before and then had a brief rest before doing the show.
Afterwards we had to make our way to the town hall where Ralph was giving a second live performance on local radio.
At exactly 11.58pm we closed the guitar case for the last time and brought the Irish leg of this tour to a close.. We've had a great time, plenty of laughs and lots of fun.

We've met some fantastic people, visited great places and enjoyed this very successful tour. Best of all I've recharged my batteries and my appetite for this country remains very much intact!

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