old time music, new and vintage, with early Red Clay Ramblers favorites

Reports from the trip to perform at the 14th Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival, Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone, N. Ireland.  SEE PICS FROM THE TRIP!
>1:39 PM MONDAY from Joe (back in the USA!)
We had a long, but uneventful trip back home from N. Ireland.  We left the Folk Park Tuesday morning (Ireland time) around 5 a.m. for the bus ride to Dublin (our flight didn't leave until 1:30 p.m., but King Wilkie had to be out of their stalls in the stable and on the plane by 11 a.m.  Given that it was a three hour trip, plus two hour minimum before an international flight, 5 a.m. made more sense)

One of the fun things about the trip for me was discovering what good traveling companions Hicks and Craver are. (I already knew how much fun Watson can be from road trips here in the States).  Not only are they great musicians, they are great guys.  Our new friend Mary Lee Porterfield, who is on the Board of Directors of the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, http://www.pinecone.org, traveled with us over and back.  She was a great help on the trip and a lot of fun to boot.

The perfect ending to the trip came when we were standing at the baggage carousel at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Tuesday night about 11:30 p.m.  A security guard came up and asked us what the difference was between a fiddle and violin.  I told him, jokingly, that you don't spill beer on a violin.  He responded that he had never spilled beer on his fiddle, either.  He introduced himself as Steve Reed.  Steve is the grandson of famed Virginia fiddler Henry Reed, who was the source for a lot of the tunes learned by the Hollow Rock String Band and the Fuzzy Mountain String Band.  We exchanged information, and left for home feeling that it is a small world indeed.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 (2 entries!)
>6:36 PM MONDAY from Joe (USA time)
We have had a great time in Northern Ireland.  Saturday found us doing workshops, performing an afternoon set, then an evening show at the Big Tent, or as they call it, the "Marquee."  We had a great time, and the Irish folks loved it.  King Wilkie, Robin and Linda Williams, and the Leather and Lace Cloggers shared the bill with us, and it was a great show.  Sunday was cool...we particpated in a discussion with Professor Jack Bernhardt, an old friend from North Carolina, followed by an acoustic set (well, okay, Craver's electronic piano was amplified) at the barn in the New World section of the Ulster American Folk Park.  We took a couple of hours off, then participated in a Gospel concert at the Marquee.  We were in awe of Sister Lena Mae Perry of the Branchettes and the Jerusalem Travelers.  Woo hoo. We leave for Dublin at 5 a.m

>5:39 AM MONDAY from Bill (USA time)
The folks just left for Dublin, cept for Mike and I (and Joe, but he's staying somewhere different).  Foggy today.  Some talk of going to see the Giant's Causeway and later a session at a pub in town.  Our shows yesterday were fun.  We played acoustic in the park at The Barn, one of many buildings in the park that depict life in the old and new worlds for the Irish about 1850 or so.  Fine audience.  Later we participated with Sister Lena and the Gospel Travellers in a two hour gospel show (also Robin and Linda).  Our friend Declan Forde drove me around County Tyrone for a couple of hours in between.  The Tyrone football team was playing in Dublin and all the county had flags out and were packed in the pubs.  Tyrone won with only seconds to go, which we announced during the gospel show to great cheers.  Declan took me to stone circles left by the ancients from the time of Stonehenge more or less.  Reminded me of Libby and my trip in the SW, where we saw petroglyphs.  Day by day we watch the awful news from Louisiana and Mississippi and the incredible incompetence and worse exhibited by our government.  Heard the situation in NO described as Strom Thurmond's Rapture.  Horribly true.  Well, that's about it from this beautiful emerald isle.  Back to the US in the very very early AM.  --Fiddlin' Bill

>4:50 AM SUNDAY from Bill (USA time)
Our two sets yesterday went very well, a huge packed house for the evening one.  I also did a very fun and too short fiddle class--too short because it's hard to do but so much in an hour.  I had 5 good students, all fiddlers, one in a band in England called Lucid that even has a website. I'm still suffering from jet lag, but it's better today--I slept later.  We're all very aware of the New Orleans story and watching closely, reading things, etc.  Soon I'm off to do a lecture thing with Jack Bernhardt of the News and Observer.  Then we have a set, and then that's about it.  Been a wonderful weekend here, and Northern Ireland is Beautiful!! 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 Short note this morning as the O'Blurs have a big day of performances.
>2:23 AM SATURDAY from Bill (USA time)
I'm up early and about to have breakfast, then it's off to the fest site as I have to teach fiddle first off for two hours, then straight on to a big set with Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry -- maybe about 4 our time I'll be done till another set this evening.  We had a great time at the concert last night, saw two super bands, Prison Love and a band from Austria that was as good as it gets bluegrasswise (believe it or not).

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2  It's no surprise the guys are finding more to do than be on a computer!  But we do have a small update from Bill and can thus infer that they got there safely.  Here's the rest:
>8:22 AM FRIDAY From Bill (USA time)
It's going real well here.  Gorgeous place and country.  We drove over to Donegal this AM, sort of a woosh there and back, saw the ocean, surfers even.  Everyone is taking a lot of pics for the website.  Today we're doing a radio interview in a few minutes, then get to see a good concert tonight.  Lots of playing tomorrow and Sunday.  Even the weather is wonderful today.  We're at a sweet B&B, looks like a cross between VA and PA. 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31 Jim and Anne left for Ireland on Tuesday with Bill, Mike, and Joe flying out on Wednesday.  At the time of this posting, the latter are over the Atlantic. 
>8:39 AM WEDNESDAY From Mike and Joe (USA time)
We're getting ready to head off to the airport, prefaced by a much needed haircut for Joe (what's the old joke about a bald man getting both of them cut...) and some belly timber for Mike at the famed Ninth Street Elmo's Diner in Durham. 

We'll fly into JFK from Raleigh Durham International, then hop an Aer Lingus flight that goes directly to Dublin.  We'll meet up with a number of the folks who are performing at the Ulster American Folk Park for the festival, then catch a bus (kindly provided and driven by our hosts) and make the three hour trip to County Tyrone.

The four of us, along with the other featured performers, will attend a reception Thursday night and will do some press stuff on Friday during the day.  Friday night at the Folk Park will feature European bands (all of whom play trad. American music).  We're looking forward to hearing that, for sure.  Then, our duties begin on Saturday morning in earnest.

More about that later...

The locale is the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland.  Susan Newberry shared this info with the bands. More details are on the Ulster American Folk Park website
"It is a wonderful museum, telling the story of Irish emigration to America. There is also a genealogical research center with skilled staff to help you trace your Irish ancestors.  The town of Omagh is typical Irish town, with nice shops, pubs, and night clubs. The people are very welcoming." 

Our guys will perform on Saturday as well as lead workshops. Besides Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry, Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group are along on the trip.  Robin & Linda & Their Fine Group will do another week in Europe after the festival.  Jack Bernhardt, correspondent for the Raleigh News & Observer who has written kindly about the Red Clay Ramblers over the years, is participating as a lecturer.  More details about the festival and its participants are on their website.


2144oblurs_barn_mid.jpg (41851 bytes)
  • Monday 9/5
  • Sunday 9/4
  • Saturday 9/3
  • Friday 9/2
  • Wednesday 8/31
  • About Omagh and the Ulster American Folk Park
  • Pictures!
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    October 14, 2005
    updated January 16, 2015