In Search of the Craic

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In Search of the Craic: One Man’s Pub Crawl Through Irish Music by Colin Irwin |

Either way, within pages you will meet the real, the rare and the products of drink-induced fantasy. His first stop is my hometown of Wexford and, sad as I am to admit it, he gets the description almost right. This is a town of great history, heritage and music, but we are losing it to the pre-packaged, anodyne and boring. As he notes when searching for the elusive craic, he sits "glowering over a pint trying to blot out the banal Ibiza thud coming from the speakers.

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Irwin has a knack for inserting potted biographies into chapters where if we analysed it they would seem out of place. While talking about Wexford he gives us his memory of the great Margaret Barry who in her time sang "at fairs, football games, pubs and queues outside picture houses cinemas. He also sits in the parlour with Liam Clancy, although some years earlier he had written disparagingly about the Aran Sweater group.

He visits Tralee during Rose Week and gives us a unique description of the experience from seeking accommodation to the various versions of the history of the original Rose of Tralee. He seeks out King Puck and bamboozles a lady about the song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" on a street in Carrick-on-Suir -- only to be given his comeuppance when told that he was on the Waterford side of town and not in Tipperary at all.

As we say in Ireland, "that shook him. He uses a few pages to take a swipe at players of the great Irish musical instrument, the bodhran.

In Search of the Craic One Man's Pub Crawl Through Irish Music

There's nothing quite like hearing Irish music in Ireland. Not on big concert halls or grand arenas, but in the small pubs in remote areas where the locals habitually gravitate for those informal sessions that invariably develop into a serious social occasion universally known as the craic. For those who play it, it's not a style of music, but a way of life, producing its own culture and characters. After 25 years visiting Ireland both as a music writer and a tourist, Colin Irwin goes in search of the craic. This is the story of his journey into Ireland's musical soul and the extraordinary characters he meets along the way.

Not in concert halls or popular tourist taverns, but in the small pubs in remote areas where the locals gravitate for those informal sessions known as the Craic.

In Search of the Craic: One Man's Pub Crawl Through Irish Music

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