Belgian (French speaking), living in Brussels, MA in Musicology. I discovered Irish music in the mid-70’s thanks to a LP of The Bothy Band. I still love Irish music very much.
In 1998, I met Brian O’Shea at O’Donoghue’s, Merrion Row, and I found that his Joe Foley’s mandolin was a fantastic instrument. Brian couldn’t give me Joe’s address. The next evening, I met Tom Walsh who is… Joe’s brother-in-law ! He gave me Joe’s address and tel. The next afternoon, I was meeting Joe and, at my greatest surprise, he had a mandolin ready for me (still can’t believe it) ! I bought it. 2 years later, Joe made a great cittern for me, tuned DADGD. I have a band here in Brussels. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Irish music. Without it, my life would be sad… I have been in Ireland more or less 15 times, always to listen to good sessions, to meet friends musicians (and to play a little bit, and also to visit Ireland).