Going to Ireland for the first time, should I bring mandolin or tenor guitar? Advice?
Hello all, I’ve lingered for some time but this is my first posting. If this is out of line please let me know and/or remove this, thanks! I’m a primarily bluegrass and old time mandolin player that’s been cultivating a love for trad music for some time now but have only recently getting started playing it. I’m getting married this April and will be traveling to Ireland (Mostly County Clare - Ennis and Doolin, plus some time in Dingle) from the US for our honeymoon. I’m hoping to bring an instrument and possibly catch a few sessions while I’m out there - Thus the dilemma of deciding what to bring. I have both a mandolin and a tenor guitar. I understand neither of those are technically trad instruments, but be that as it may it’s what I have.
My thoughts on taking the mandolin - it’s my main instrument, I can pick up tunes pretty quickly and it’s small and easy to transport. On the other hand, as I don’t know too many tunes yet I’m sure I’ll be playing backup mostly and mandolin kind of stinks for this role. I also would HAVE to take it as a carry on as it’s too valuable to me to check. Then there’s the tenor guitar, a newer instrument to me but one I’ve been having a lot of fun with lately. It has the advantage of being better for backup, and can handle multiple tunings, but would be quieter (possibly too quiet for a session?). Then again, if I don’t know the tunes quieter is probably better anyways. I’d have to check it, but a flight case for a guitar body isn’t too hard to come by and the instrument overall is much cheaper than my mandolin.
So that’s it. Does anyone here have any experience/advice in the matter? Any recommendations for pubs/sessions in those areas? I realize while I’m plenty experienced in bluegrass this is a whole other thing and I’d be fresh and green. I’m quite familiar with the concept of a "jam buster" and I’d never want to be that guy! At the same time this might be my one opportunity to do this so I want to try. I also believe there is a somewhat regular session at the Parting Glass back home in NY so I’ll try attending that and getting some more experience over the next few months. Thanks all!