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My wife has been a fan of Glen Hansard for maybe the last half dozen years or so. My first impressions were that he was overwrought. A little too moody for me. Not inventive. Songs sounded too similar. Meh. But....I love my wife. And she's indulged me in my fascination with metal. And besides, I generally love Scottish and Irish music. I'm a huge Silly Wizard fan, for example. So when she suggested we see Glen Hansard at The Anthem, while I initially was not wild about it, I remembered these things and remembered that she's also turned me on to many bands and other performers that I loe dearly so, of course, we set the plans in motion. This concert was a week or two ago. It was GREAT. Tremendous performer and band. A storyteller. Inclusive. Infectious. And clearly I had been doing things wrong. Many songs, while unfamiliar to me absolutely were great. I need to listen to his stuff MORE LOUDLY. And some blew me away. Like this absolute gem. I think they stretched this to about 9 minutes. To say I was elated to see this performed by folks at the top of their game is an understatement.
It being 12 years since I lived there I doubt I have more recent experience but I'll give it a try (I do have the advantage of going back once a year). Theres also a few fairly good Egulletthreads on dining in Ireland but they tend to skew a little high-end. Go to Roly's Bistro in Ballsbridge and have their lunch special. 3 courses for 20 euro and without a doubt the best dining value in the whole country - there are some real gems on that menu. Before you go go to Eamonn's in Old Town Have some fish and chips or a batter burger and then do the same at Leo Burdock's to compare. Go to Sheridans on South Anne St (just off Grafton St) and pick up some great cheeses and bread and have a picnic somewhere. Go to the Temple Bar Farmers/Food Market on Saturday morning. A nice lady from this farm sells some fantastic cheese there. I'm sure my memory will dredge up a few others but this is a start.
I just heard the word "Donnybrook" used for the first time (that I remember) to describe a chaotic event. I looked it up, and it turns out that the Donnybrook Fair was a multi-day, public drinking-fest held in Dublin, Ireland beginning in the year 1204, when King John (*) of England granted permission for the event - it lasted up until 1855, when it was purchased by The Committee for the Abolition of Donnybrook Fair. I tell you, those people in the Middle Ages - they might not have had cell phones, but they sure knew how to have a good time. This fair sounds a lot like the Maryland Renaissance Festival, except it was the real thing. (*) An interesting sidebar about King John: He was also known as "John Lackland," and in Norman French, there's a literal translation of that name - he was called Johann sanz Terre ("John without earth"). That's probably only interesting to about five people in the world, but I'm one of them.