Happy Christmas!

(c) 2011 MMallozziChristmas is upon us, and I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday before the madness of traveling, last minute shopping, and baking (or buying) overtake us.  And no more fitting would this post be without writing about my last day in Ireland – a trad session (traditional music session) was scheduled the evening of my unforgettable dance session with the Bodhran dancers.  Devitt’s Pub, a Dublin pub built in the 1800’s, hosted this lively trad session, along with being a regular stop in the infamous “12 Pubs of Christmas” tradition that has recently become quite popular in the city.  The “12 pubs…” includes dressing up in Christmas jumpers (thick sweaters), decorating yourself like a Christmas tree or wearing a red suit like Santa and doing a pub crawl of your choice (with a group of rowdy friends).  I’m sure it is pretty obvious, but you drink a pint at each of the 12 pubs you stop in.  Some people start at three o’clock in the afternoon, as 12 pints of beer are a bit hard to get through, especially when you need to move on after each one. Needless to say, the pub was packed with people, located on the second floor of the building, and all sorts of Dubliners (and non-Dubliners) were in on the celebrating.

But we weren’t there for the “12 Pubs…” – we were there to see some magic happen.  Louise O’Toole, my Irish dance teacher for this trip, took us to Devitt’s with a few of the other girls for the trad session, hoping that they would be able to join in with the musicians with their dancing.  Fortunately, the girls were able to sneak in a few steps - Theresa and festive Deirdre were also dancing, but unfortunately Deirdre's sister Siobhan fell off her bike this week and could not participate (hence our friendly crutch in the group photo - check out her blog at Marshmallows Dreamie!).  But because the bar is so old and the fact that is not located on the ground floor, we found out the hard way that dancing is not allowed.

With a band of at least five fiddle players at one time, these sessions act almost like meditation circles where all of the musicians play the melody over and over again, mastering the complicated lines.  We were lucky enough to see Eoin Dillon of the famous Irish traditional fusion band Kila playing the uileann pipes.  With plenty of music, drink, and company, we had the perfect end to our adventurous trip through Ireland.

Next stop is Paris, France but until then, we want to wish you happy holidays, and in true Irish form, Happy Christmas and Nollaig Shona Duit!