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Trad Music

The following article originally appeared in The Kilkenny Reporter, June 8th 2011.

A visitor could easily have been persuaded that the recession was a figment of someone’s imagination. The ‘r’ word wasn’t even mentioned. There was singing, comedy, poetry and an orchestra to boot. Where would you get it?

In down town Kilkenny on a Monday night, Cleere’s Bar and Theatre to be precise. A 21 year tradition that has withstood the test of time, spiraled to new heights last week.A mix of locals and visitors drank a toast to a trade night that is probably being spoken about today in the once coalmining area of Pennsylvania.

Yes, we had four visitors from that region, young dentists who quickly pulled with locals and delighted in an unrehearsed show that highlighted all that is good, and certainly different, in local entertainment. But not all the audience had to jet across the world for an evening that might not win the prize for the greatest show on earth but would qualify for some sort of an award.

Singer and raconteur Jimmy Rhatigan travelled all the way from Riverside Drive. Poet extraordinaire Gerry Moran came from Cootes Lane with his brilliantly delivered ‘Bogman’s Ball’. Deirdre Gannon was pure magic with her rendering of Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma. Talk about ‘Stars in the Bars’. Down from the picturesque hills of Coon came Michael Somers and his ‘Stutterin’ Bum’ and then the man who could truly claim to be a cut above the rest, retired barber Seamie Bolger who for possibly the 100th successive week belted out ‘A Mother’s Love’. Musicians Michael Walsh and Pat Murray contributed to a night of wonder.

It was getting near bed time. But home was never like this. We were delighted we lingered.

Golfer Tom McDonald was on a par with the best when it came to comedy. Then came the piece de resistance, our very own boy band, The Wetlands Orchestra. Ninety year old Pat Shortis from Newpark and ‘the young fella’, Jim Coady from Wetlands, stole the show.

Singing, comedy and a blast from sax and accordion tested the rafters.

Our visitors were fascinated. Propsects of a tour of the US, including Pennsylvania were discussed but not decided. Jim and Pat represent one of the wonders of the musical world.

President Obama didn’t make it to our city. He will never know what he missed out on. But the lads from Pennsylvania promised to tell him!