Andy and the Fleadh

Last night my wife and I went to see Andy Irvine in the Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff … wonderful. Andy, now 68 years of age, is one of the true greats not only of Irish but of world folk music, and a witty raconteur to boot. He is also a gentleman … when I emailed him this morning to compliment him on the show, he emailed back promptly to thank me and say how much he enjoyed it.

Andy is an admirer of Woody Guthrie (‘Never Tire of the Road’ is a tribute to Woody), and his music, as well as drawing on Eastern European influences, touches on themes of Americana to which I alluded on Ana’s blog on MyT the other night. I’ll draw these out in another post when I have a chance.

I first heard Andy’s music when he was a member of Planxty, the seminal Irish traditional band, in the 1970s. As it happens, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the annual festival of traditional Irish music, is taking place in Cavan town at the moment … we went there after the concert to pick up our son, who was working as a barman.

Thousands of people have converged on the town from all over Ireland, continental Europe, Britain and the USA; as well as the competitive element there is live music in all the pubs and on the street (weather permitting). It’s worth €25 million to the local economy. We plan to spend a few hours there tomorrow and listen to some good music.



Filed under Ireland, Music

18 responses to “Andy and the Fleadh

  1. That museum must have come on in recent years. I saw a ticket for the 1947 big final in New York as a “centrepiece”. Greetings from Belfast.

  2. Greetings from sunny Cavan, RB. 🙂 Yes, it has come on a lot. My wife used to run art workshops for kids there and knows the people who run it. They do a good job.

  3. Ike Jakson

    Thanks for a new Post.

    You have lost me with the names and the songs but music of the old era is universal; sad that we don’t have much of it in modern times. Music goes hand in hand, or should, with history.

    I read the discourse between you and Ana. She is a prolific worker and researcher and I was delighted by your dialogue with her. It doesn’t always matter whether one knows all the names from other countries; the similarities remain of interest to all.

    You may have read her Post on Shakespeare too. She mentions a number of “phrases first used” by him, or produced by him into the English language. Don’t laugh; I am dead serious; we had many of them in Dutch for probably generations as long back to the same time as the bard. You will recall our discussions about Tijl Uylenspiegel a while ago; the Dutch Tijl and the bard might have come from the same ancestors for all you know.

    I am making more inroads into American Blogs now; they are agog with Obama at present and the discussions are hard and straight but it lacks the venom and petty personal insults of the English blogger. It also provided the catalyst that I needed to put MyT behind me.

    Hoping we see lots more from you.

  4. Hi B and I! Thought Til Oylenspiegl was German? Never mind. MyT is a bit of a joke now. OK nearly time to go to the gym…

    • Ike Jakson


      There you see.

      We were brought up on Uylen Spiegel [which you may know means Owl Mirror translated directly] and Spiegel is Mirror in German and Dutch but in our Dutch environment he was described as Dutch. Come to think of it Germany [Duitsland in Dutch] is often referred to as Deutschland or Deutscheland by some. Europe was a small place then.

      When I read your comment I checked Wikipedia. Lo and behold, they describe him as “Tijl Uilenspiegel is een personage uit Nederlands-Duitse folklore” so you were not wrong.

      Eventually in our young impressionable minds we got to know him as Uylen Spiegel, dropping the Tijl. He was a raconteur around Europe in the latter half of the 17th Century [so we were told at school] and loved Prague where he used to make fun of the learned [professors and that sort] and normally had to leave town in a hurry because of his escapades.

      Strangely enough the Americans [probably the pioneering spirit] adopted Tijl and his folklore. I have found handwritten notes from those days on the Net. The Catskill Mountain area bordering on New York abounds with the tales of Tijl. Americans used his full names.

      You will of course, know that what is known as New York today was first a Dutch Colony appropriately named New Amsterdam, and it is quite a story how America got it from the Dutch without a fight.

      Nice talking to you.

  5. Beste Ike, Centuries ago the border of Holland and Germany was indistinct. Platte deutsche and bits of Dutch spoken nearby would have been the same or silmilar like Irish and Scots Gaelic.

    • Ike Jakson

      Goeiemiddag Ron

      Yup, I had assumed as such about the borders between old Holland and Germany. Thanks.

      We still refer to plat Afrikaans and Dutch BTW; not in all company mind. Some “hoge” Afrikaner may take a swipe in your direction if you say that and standing too close to him.

      But you also told me something that I have always wanted to check on but just never got to about Irish and Scots Gaelic. I had a lot to do with Scots and Irish before I retired the years ago. Pension Funds was my career and one of your countrymen called Fiachra O’Hanrahan was effectively Mister SA Pension Funds here in the 60’s to the 80’s last century.

      Ask Brendan to give you the name of the book by Lillian Beckwith.

      Goed gaan met jou, Boet.

  6. Dank U wels, dank u zeer, Tot siens!

  7. Cymbeline

    Can’t I have a song to try to encourage me to TIRE of the road? I’m bleeding knackered, and yet still I go on.

    Something about slippers. There MUST be something about slippers – the sort of folk song that inspired you to stay in the same place whilst pontificating about the Road, the World and Humanity. Par exemple.

    Give me a rest.

  8. Cymbers, try “Dan Malone” about a gypsy who is dying.

  9. And we’ll do it all again next year, DV … Cavan has been awarded the All-Ireland Fleadh 2011.

  10. Cymbeline

    Brendano. I know you like music, and I know that you like Dylan. Was reading a review of a new book about Dylan today. I read that ‘tangled up in blue’ comes from a comment made to Dylan. He was following art lessons, and the teacher (Raeben) told him that he was ‘tangled up in blue’.

  11. Thanks, Cymbeline. My wife read a review of (probably) the same book today in the Irish Times (Dylan in America?); I haven’t read it yet.

    One of my favourite Dylan songs. I quoted a line from it (‘But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind’) in something I wrote yesterday.

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