Since arriving to Ireland I’d been wanting to have a traditional pub experience. I asked James, the owner of the house where we are staying, (not to be confused with the baby), if there was a good pub to visit in the nearby town of Athy. “What night is it… Thursday?” he asked me. It was. “Oh, go to Clancy’s. You’re in for a treat. There’s music.”
So, Daniel and I went.
When we got to Clancys we first, (of course), ordered a couple of pints of Guinness at the bar. Then we walked to a back room where the music was already in full swing. Nearly twenty energetic locals all played and sang together in a tiny room decorated with living room furniture and fixtures. Sheet music of traditional Irish folk songs plastered the walls. Fiddles, banjos, flutes, harmonicas, and accordions all played enthusiastically in unison. It was crowded. In fact the room was so packed with people playing that there was only seating for about five spectators. Daniel and I lucked out and got some seats. We sat, listened, and drank our ales completely engrossed in the lovely cultural experience.
Every five songs or so one person would volunteer to sing a tune over a quiet guitar or mandolin. Even the most unsuspecting individuals took the reigns. I’m not sure if I was more impressed by their passionate vocals or their unabashed approach to public singing.
This year Clancy’s celebrates 50 straight years of folk music sessions every Thursday. They haven’t missed one week. While I’m here, I hope not to miss one either.