So we just got the news off our agent Martin Nolan of MPI agency that we will be back playing in our home town of Ennis, Co. Clare again in May!
It’s absolutely brilliant news for us as it is pretty tricky securing a slot in Glór, the main Theatre in Co. Clare. It will also be our only gig in Ennis in 2018 so we’re seriously looking forward to it.
For 2016 and ’17 we flew home during our U.S. tour to play at the Fleadh Cheoil Na hÉireann. It’s the biggest Irish Traditional music festival in Ireland and takes place once a year. It also moves location every year or so which makes it quite unique. And with this it hasn’t been in our home town of Ennis since 1977! So you could be absolutely sure that we would be flying home for it come hell or high water.
But we really didn’t know what to expect from the locals. Before we started touring the U.S. in 2014 we had only really played some small venues and sessions around the county. So when we played on the Gig Rig for the Fleadh in 2016 we hadn’t expected much… The place was mobbed, and not only that, it was pouring rain. So to see people staying out in the wet and cold just to hear us play was not only unexpected but very heartening for us all. Maybe we were doing something right with this music stuff after all!
But, by far the best gig of our lives came in 2017. After experiencing a small bit of the madness of the 2016 Fleadh we had no arguments about flying home mid-tour again to do it all again. So after a two hour set at the Michigan Irish festival where we played to a dancing crowd in the middle of a sun shower, Fiachra managed to snap a big chunk of wood off his fiddle! But there was no time to think about that because we had a plane to catch. Off we set from stage to taxi, our bags already packed and ready we headed straight for the airport. Taking the only flight out that night we flew to Reykjavik in Iceland, onto London, into Dublin and a final three hour bus journey across the country to Ennis… Where yes, we took out the instruments and started into the start of a week of music making. Insane? – most likely. Regrets? – Zero.
The week was absolutely manic. TV & Radio performances, multiple collaboration gigs, random sessions here and there as well as the obligatory drinking time. Somehow we survived until Sunday where we performed for the finale of the Fleadh TV with Sharron Shannon. But that wasn’t the end of it. For us it was only the start as we had been given a slot in The Shannon Aerodrome. A 2000 seater venue. We had been given the Monday lunchtime slot, arguably the worst time slot of the whole festival as most of the crowds would have went home and those who didn’t would undoubtedly be too hangover to even contemplate venturing to an early performance… Not only that, there was an entrance fee. Now that might seem pretty standard, but for Irish people to pay money to see Irish music in Ireland where Irish music is everywhere and particularly during the largest Irish Festival where Irish music is literally being played on every street corner, it’s a tough call to charge a fee.
I can’t explain how apprehensive we were about it. It was at the back of our minds for the whole summer and the day had arrived. Would anyone show up? During sound-check we looked out at the 2000 empty seats and genuinely didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into.
We were back stage when the mumble started. Just a buzz of activity. We had first thought it was the sound & lights men making a bit of noise, but then the producer came running into the green room with a big smile of his face. “Lads, you’ve sold out!”… We simply didn’t believe him. He told us to go out the back door and take a look…The crowd was immense. They were streaming left and right from the front entrance, around both sides of the building and then the queue continued around the back.. We were gobsmacked.
The producer confessed that they too had expected at most a few hundred and that they hadn’t actually printed enough tickets! They were now reusing the ticket stubs at the entrance to let the surplus crowd in!
With both of our families sitting front row centre we played the gig of our lives. We jokingly say we should have retired after that performance. It was truly incredible to experience so much support and love in our home town. Fiachra and Shanes house was literally a 2 minute walk from the venue. It was just perfect. The perfect gig. The three of us stood together centre stage to a full standing ovation. Thanks to Shane I’ll never forget that moment. I was going to go through the usual process of quickly packing up but he shoved me in the side and said “Just take it in man. Look out into the crowd and remember this”. It was genuinely overwhelming. It will go down as one of the most special moments in our lives.
And now, we’re coming back! Ennis, May 2018, bring it on.
Tickets can be bought HERE at Glor.ie.
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