Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Traditional music, indeed

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Last night, I went to the Temple Bar district with fellow traveller Hillary Kaell. We walked into Oliver St. John Gogarty's hoping to listen to tin whistles and fiddles playing jigs and reels...

Well, what should the band start playing within minutes of our arrival? Why, Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," of course. Hillary and I signalled our approval with hoots -- as all Canadian tourists should when a Canadian person/place/thing is mentioned. (Also, on TV last night, a documentary on Nelly Furtado, who I think is more popular here in Ireland than at home.)

Now, I should note that the words the Gogarty Band were singing to the classic Lightfoot tune weren't what you would hear in Canada. Here they call the song, "Back Home in Derry" and its lyics are entirely different from the original. It's about a group of ill-fated Irish sailing from Derry to Australia, not the ill-fated North Americans who sank with the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior, November of 1975.

Post-script

-- The real Oliver St. John Gogarty's was a Dublin writer and politican prominent in the first half of the twentieth century. So what... What's more interesting to those of you interested in literaure is that Gogarty was a good friend of James Joyce's and was the model for the character of Buck Mulligan in Joyce's Ulysses.

-- I was prescribed a remedy for my travel cold last night at Gogarty's: Irish Whisky (Jameson's, of course), hot water, and a slice of lemon studded with cloves. Worked like a charm.

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