Sunday, May 11, 2014


  I hummed Galway Girl for three days on the Arans until I wore it out on the turntable of my brain and it started to sound like Joy Division. Like a photo, color dead, in a sunny shop window.
  Country Road keeps coming in uninvited because the Irish love it for some reason and play it everywhere.
   I couldn't remember the melody to Do I Wanna Know that Arctic Monkeys tune as I tramped up Slieve League but I remembered the lyrics, which is unusual for me. I spoken worded them in the rain.
   I sang I Left My Heart in San Francisco walking around the cairn grave of Queen Maeve on the bluff above Sligo and then on the way down Riders on The Storm suddenly jumped into my head and bizarrely the voice of Ray Manzarek talking about Jim Morrison's genius in an interview before he died. (Ray not Jim.) Manzarek chattering away as a score of lambs did bleat for mommy on either side of the path.
   There's a long set of stairs out of Giants' Causeway. Overlooking the North Sea I hummed I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart and then Solitude and then I started cursing these two Dutch guys who couldn't quite get the right selfie off their I-Pad facing away from a 400 foot cliff I wish they'd leaped from for love instead.
  Dirty Old Town over and over in Belfast till this guy who owns the oldest record shop in Ireland told me with a laugh that it's about London.
  Get Lucky occasionally pops into my head but I can't seem to keep it there. So last summer sadly.
  I got back to Dublin yesterday, off the train and hopped into a cab, driven by an older fellow who was half something, maybe Lebanese, with the smoothest Dublin accent I've yet heard and as he swore the road closings up and down he sang along with what I think is one of the great dance tunes ever penned-Why Waste Your Time- You Know You're Gonna Be Mine.
  When I'd arrived here three weeks ago thereabouts the cabbie - and for a minute I thought it was the same guy- the cabbie after I'd told him I was from Pgh drove me straight not to my hotel but straight to the statue of Phil Lynott.
  For those of you who don't know who Phil Lynott is…. ah the shame the shame….he was the lead singer and guiding creative force behind one of the 70's great glories. Thin Lizzy. Led by a black Irishman, son of a soldier, mother a local, kind of the Franco Harris of anthem rock.
  I have a rule that I won't ever listen to The Boys are Back in Town unless I'm in Pittsburgh. It sticks me too hard back into the beautiful closed closet of my childhood and I only want to go through that emotional time travel if I'm near something when I grab it I know I can trust it.
  So there we were, he put the meter on hold and double parked up on a curb, me and the cabbie standing in front of the way too realistic brass (?) tribute to one of my favorite singers.
  " 'Guess who just got back today'…" I  said, "So how'd you know? I mean why'd you bring me here?"
    "Lad you were humming the opening to Jailbreak when you sat in the back, dint ya notice?"
     Not me.
     And I ask you friend, what's a man to do, when her hair is black and her eyes are blue.


  1. Ah, the Dubliners... they used to be soo good live on stage. Great choice of music you got there, seems like you lost your heart to Ireland in one way or the other. Personally reminds me of Good & Gone, which has been on my mind a lot lately. Guess we all have our own personal music collection of memories, full of songs for all the good and bad times we've had.

  2. There's an image of you, wandering, exploring, striding through Erin and knowing the place through song. Maybe even more yours than theirs, Phil Lynott, not withstanding, but that's the power of music—the way it evokes a time and place and connects us to them. Again, you paint pictures, arouse feelings and drop coins of information into the fountains of our minds. This way with words is a gift, and I hope you are able to keep on giving.

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  4. I always wanted to visit Ireland, and reading these words from you makes me want to visit it, like now, right now, either is so magical there or you make it sound that way! Either way I will visit Ireland someday. Not so much for the city part, I love landscapes, I hear they have great natural landscapes, did you get to see any?

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  6. Brilliant post. I'll be in Dublin by the end of June and it will be for the music. Scottish music though live at Royal Hospital Kilmainham ... cannot come fast enough.

  7. Never had the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland. My mother and the rest of the family is from Ferns, County Wexford (SE Ireland) and my father is from a tiny town along the Kiskiminetas near Pittsburgh. It's been 10 years since I have been to my mother's village in Ireland. The unbelievable Ferns Castle and her family's pub make me feel at home in a place where I could feel like an stranger. If you have the opportunity to visit Ireland again, just drive 2 hours south of Dublin.