Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

A few friends are planning a trip to Ireland next summer. We would like to tour by day on our bicycles and stop in to sessions by night (and forget about sleeping altogether). I’ve done a little research (never been there myself) and checked out the session schedules here but would love to hear some ideas on where we should go???? We’re looking at a one to two week tour.

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

I thouroughly reccommend the West coast.

Galway and Ennis are great. Sligo is really good (especially if you like fast tunes!)

The Willie clancy week in Miltown Malbay in July is very mental. There’s all sorts of other little Fleadhs eg. The ‘Con Curtain’ Festival in Brosna, Co. Kerry (a lot quieter than Miltown!)

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Sounds idyllic, although I wouldn’t want to be the piano accordion player, balancing that beast on the bike. ๐Ÿ™‚

A walking session tour of Connemara south to Kerry sounds good to me, but I’ve heard so many horror stories about "tourist sessions" during summer, I think I’d aim for a late fall/winter trip. Or would that doom me to a wet slog of Noah-istic proportions?

Our local guitar goddess and fluter are over there as we speak, and they opted to base their travels out of a different cottage each week, in Cork, Kerry, and Clare. Lots of opportunities for small local sessions and day hiking. Sounds wonderful.

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

West Clare is a beautiful place with a lot of music. You can stay some nights at Boghill Centre in between Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna: http://www.boghill.com/index.htm Not far from Cliffs of Moher and Doolin. You’ll find nice sessions in Ennistymon too.

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Two words:
Innis Boffin!!!

I was there last summer and it was excellent. Dessie O’Halloran and his brother were there fiddling and singing, along with some other natives to the island (of which there are 150 or so), and visiting musicians from the mainland and from America and other parts of the world. This 10 year old kid starts playing the accordian far better than most adults, and everyone’s just starring and listening, blown away. There was a very healthy mix of tunes and songs. They were still going strong at 4 am when I went to bed, with no sign of quitting whatsoever. At one point, when they brought the shutters down on the bar, an Irish guy visiting the island turned to me and said, "Did you ever see a pub close down, and MORE PEOPLE COME INTO IT?"

But you must stay the night on the island for all of this, as it doesn’t start 10:30 or 11, and the last boat back to the mainland leaves at 5pm.

I’ve been to Ireland many times and still I have the following experience when I go there. You think, have I settled into the right spot for the evening? Will anything be going on here soon? 9:30 rolls around, 10pm, 10:30, even 11. You think, man, this is not "the place to be" as freinds told me, nothing’s going on here. Then, just as you are thinking this, some people come in, take out some instruments, start playing, the atmosphere picks up, people get very social, the fun is just beginning, this goes on all night.

Well, either that, or you really are in the wrong place.

Good luck!

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

The last time I was there, staying near Shannon, I had to get used to everybody sleeping in until real late, from a North Americans point of view, I would get up at my normal hour, around 6.30 or so and not a soul in sight until 9 or even later, nothing opens much before 9 or even 10 in some places. Only thing I met that early were other North Americans wandering around, just like me, hopelessly lookin’ for someplace to eat breakfast.

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

One or two weeks will never be enough! I was there for 6 weeks, and I still wanted to stay for much longer (!) I think my poor liver started to swell-up a bit though…

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

I hope I’m not putting a damper on this idea, but cycling on country roads in Ireland is not an activity for the feint hearted! Check out this site for hostel accomadation, http://www.anoige.ie ,and don’t allways believe local advertising for trad. sessions, youll find that greedy publicans have a very wide definition of the term Traditional Irish music. If you only have 2 weeks you should consider sticking to one region, but dont feel confined to the west coast, there are lots of sessions on the east coast too! and in the midlands etc. Check out the session links on this site, but never travel without checking by phone beforehand whether the session is actually on!

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

I agree with BAcker, except for the part about not sticking to the west. If you’ve only got 2 weeks, you don’t want to try to get everywhere. ANd if you have to choose, Clare/Sligo is the place to go for music.

"If it’s music you want, you should go to Clare." -Christy Moore (not from Clare, I think)

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Mind you don’t run into "Tansey". He lurks in the west somewhere you know!!

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

You could go over and follow the Milk Ras…. and play music…and tour.

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Thank you for all of the feedback and great ideas! I’m already feeling quite excited about it. I’ll actually get to see some of the places that I knew only as names of tunes and perhaps, even meet some names of tunes ๐Ÿ™‚

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Exciting?? How exactly did you mean that, Jim? Remember we’re all from the wrong side of the road so, driving for all of us (and you) would be quite hazardous don’t you think?

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

I recommend a small amount of sleep, or you won’t have the energy to play tunes - and make it two weeks, if you can. In some places, such as Ennis, Galway and Milltown Malbay (where, of course, during Willie Week, there are sessions in every crevice), you’ll find at least one session every day of the week, so there’s plenty of incentive to stop for a few days and rest. There are a few places up the west side of Clare with regular sessions - Quilty, Lahinch, Ennistymon, Kilfenora and, just over the border in Galway, Kinvarra. In east Clare, Feakle has , in addition to the festival in August, regular sessions in Pepper’s and Lena’s.

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Moving target??? Dare I say like growing up an anglophone in French Canada?

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

i think you should take jim troy’s advice here. I’ve done some cycling in Ireland, but there are only limited stretches where it’s a good idea. Don’t try to use it as a primary means of transportation. The bus system is very good, although it’s harder to get to the out-of-the-way places (and that is where you want to go.) You can put your bikes under teh bus, and take the bus to an area where there aren’t many cars, then bike around. I recently rented a car in Ireland for the first time, and it was much nicer. You can drive stick-shift, with the car on the other side of you, right? Watch those mirrors! Just be careful, whatever you do.

Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Headlights, taillights, mirrors, spares, flags… okay, the list is growing- stick-shift lessons and (I already have a lot of practice driving on the left(wrong here) side of the road… it’ll be like driving in the passing lane everywhere we go ๐Ÿ™‚
Clare sounds like a plan… Willie week- sounds like I might find some Bouzouki lessons?? Might decide to leave the bike at home…

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Come to think of it, given where the session discussions are going.,.. might pass on both!

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Re: Session/ Bicycle Tour of Ireland

Good idea… it’s not for the faint of heart. Maybe a lawn-bowling bicycle tour of South Florida would suit you better.