Music and Memory in Ireland

April 19, 2019, 12:05 PM · I'm posting this blog in honor of the Mountain View High School Chamber Orchestra, which has been touring Ireland for the past week with violinist Chloe Trevor.  My 15-yo son plays the cello in this group. My school spring break and his don't coincide, so I couldn't chaperone. I'm a little disappointed, but this may be for the best. My son is at the age now where he is needing his own space, personally and musically.


The whole group at the Cliffs of Moher


Send-off concert

And, I have been to Ireland too. Twice. The first time the kids were pretty little and we took our au pair along. We visited the Cliffs of Moher on a very windy day, and the visit, while gorgeous, wasn't entirely stress-free.

Cliffs of Moher



Uh-oh!

I was just starting to play the violin again after a long break, and I bought a nice book of Irish fiddle music to learn, complete with CD. This video was recorded in 2010 at the Belmont Farmers' Market, by my son who was 7 at the time. I think the intonation is decent, but stylistically I am not really playing fiddle style, but more classical, which is how I was trained.

Fiddling was a nice way to play with my kids when they were younger, and I continue to love this type of music. This video was taken before my son had started playing the cello, and he wasn't yet able to play with us. He looks pretty bored back there!

Bright red, and decorated with nice fiddle icons, the Temple Bar area in Dublin is a great place to find live music. I visited there on my second trip to Ireland, in the summer of 2018.

TempleBarDoorTempleDoorCorner

The Temple Bar area is located on the south bank of the River Liffey in Dublin. It is a major cultural center and tourist attraction. Temple Bar Pub isn't the only establishment.

Bar1

You also find buskers playing as you walk the streets. They aren't all playing traditional Irish music; these were playing the theme from "Game of Thrones."

Buskers

Here is the Mountain View High School Chamber Orchestra playing "Irish Junkyard Jam" by Brian Balmages at one of their three concerts. (And there is my son, now all grown up, leading the cello section!)

Their tour included a visit to Bunratty Castle, shown here when the kids were little, and most recently, a picture of the castle taken by my now-15-year-old son.


I asked my son, when I picked him up at the airport, if he remembered the earlier trip. Not at all, he said wryly.

Whereas to me these visits are almost all mixed up together, with few boundaries. In spite of years of violin and viola practice and child raising in between, I was pretty much the same person who visited Ireland then and now; and he is not.


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