Passing The Torch

Early in the evening thirteen of us gathered in Christy’s living room for unique evening of music and folklore with Christy Barry, Doolin Life Time Achievement Award winning musician. It was like nothing I’ve experienced in twenty years of coming to Doolin. As we watched the sun slip into the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Doolin landscape, the smell of the turf fire, the music, and Christy’s stories transported us back to a time when community gathered around the hearth to play and sing and dance. The heritage of a people who worked the fields all day and the fiddles into the night. They were musicians by tradition and passion – not by trade. Their music passed hearth to hearth, heart to heart, and soul to soul.image

Woven between the tunes they played – James Devitt on fiddle, Christy on flute and spoons – were stories of the music legends whose charcoal portraits hung on the walls around us. These were the music greats. Icons of Doolin’s musical heritage. Most of them gone now. Men who had played with and passed the torch to the men playing before us, themselves now legends. We were mesmerized.

As we got ready to leave, Christy mentioned that he was headed up the road to play in a Lisdoonvarna pub if we were interested. Absolutely! And we were soon settled into the pub with the good fortune of seating right next to the band. The music was fabulous. After a couple of tunes a man approached the band and a quiet conversation took place. The band members nodded imageand the man’s son sat down to join the musicians. His name was Padraig and he had turned thirteen just two weeks ago. After a few more tunes, Christy’s grey head leaned over to us and he said, “This young man will be the All Ireland Music Champion next year.” The band members had never met Poric before. But they immediately appreciated his talent and recognized his passion. As the night unfolded we watched the men welcome and work with the boy. We watched the torch being passed yet again.

Judith –

2 thoughts on “Passing The Torch

  1. Maude and I are sitting under a tree in a peaceful park in Winslow AZ, reading your inspiring prose and dreaming about Donnie sharing your glorious experience when I read it aloud to his ashes tonight. Beautifully written, Judith. He’ll be over the moon!

    • Dear friend. Well this choked me up when I read it. Been a whirlwind last couple of weeks. A powerful time over here. Thank you so much for sharing the writing with Don. I think of him often. Especially as I drive by all the Purcell signs over here. And yes, I did hear you and Maude had moved residence. Hope all is going well for you down there. Huge hugs. J.

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