“Tús maith leath na hoibre”

Dia dhaoibh ó Florida,

“Tús maith leath na hoibre”

Ni folair dom a rá go bhfuilimid an sasta ar fad anseo san stáit aontaithe!

A big welcome to any new people who are reading these blogs!

It is just coming up to 3 in the morning as I gather my thoughts together on the past week and a half. So much has happened to us and we have met so many people I hope I do not leave out some important incidents or some people as I try to classify credit and edit.  As the seanfhocal (Irish saying) above translates a good start is half the work so here it goes!

After Kansas Irish fest it is fair to state that we would have loved to stick around after our performance and socialise but we had a sound check to do in our new port of call Raglan Road Irish pub and restaurant in Downtown Disney, Florida the following day at 9 a.m.  We made our way from the hotel to the airport with Gretchen Ryan once more and low and behold we had a plane journey without drama as John gave his passport to me to mind (me being the older brother and the responsible one I duly obliged!!) We arrived back to the “gaff” at bout 4 in the morning.

Next morning our sound check went off without hitch as our engineer Jason is a sound man!! Even though we only got a few hours sleep, we spent the afternoon organising our car with the help of Lorraine from Raglan Road and then time for a quick paddle…yes paddle (!!!) in the pool before we left for our gig. Raglan Road is a fantastic example of a big Irish pub with top quality food and drink and is very popular amongst the people who frequent Downtown Disney. We soon got to understand why. As we settled down for dinner we met up with Bill and Charlie from Friday night previous and they wished us the best of luck.  As the dinner was being eaten there was very little talk as we all agreed the food was up with the best we ever had! We get dinner there each day and its consistency, staff hospitality and presentation is brilliant.

Our show here is divided into four parts and three of the four segments include a dance piece. It is true that the gig itself is different to what we have been doing in Ireland. Firstly it is a longer show than what we are used to. It is four hours here compared to two at home. It was a worry at the start as to our voice strength after all these hours per week but thank God so far our voices and energy levels have held up. Secondly it is different due to the fact that probably half of the crowd in front of us are eating as we play. This does not stop them from getting involved though and it really is a brilliant gig to do. The local Irish dancing school sent in their talented dancers as the regular ones are on holidays. We met up with Courtney, Sierra, Christie and Danielle. I must say Irish culture is alive and well here in Orlando with their enthusiasm and skills for all to see.

We are delighted to note that, as our shows go on people who come to our shows do come back again. I have to acknowledge Don Campion (our local barman in Don Egan’s pub, Kilkenny) and his crew who we met out here, Rob and Heather Robertson, Katie, Dawn Rancourt, Sionnainn Crevoisarat Woodword and family, and Erin Trumble and her mother and friends who all made long journeys to see our shows. The regulars like the aforementioned Bill and Charlie, Suzie Niziol, Margaret Ryan and all her crew from the Orlando. Jessica Correll and all the staff of Raglan Road have been really friendly and helpful to us also. We really are meeting some new friends out here. Two of our treasured friends from this past week have been Debbie and Amy Josland from England. We had some laugh- Debs and Amy the coolest mother and daughter combination since Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson!!! I know there are many more people that we have met but lads and lassies you know who ye are and thanks from Na Fianna.

I must say that our manager Darren Farrell has got it spot on in organising our living quarters out here. Wow! It was far from this that we were reared! It has four bedrooms with a massive kitchen/ living area and another sitting room type room where we practice. We are trying to continue improving so this “music room” is where we rehearse and try out new songs and tunes. Already we have amassed about ten new songs and five or so pieces of traditional music since we have arrived. We are just beginning to write some new material too which is exciting to say the least. Ross mentioned it last week in the blog but it has to be said the pool and tennis court are standing to us! Tennis games are getting quite competitive and somewhat noisy as Ross “Monica Seles” Hennessy keeps improving. Our pad has a private pool where our own Adrian Thorpe of the band swims up and down the ten metres. I will leave that up to you to decipher but its not Ross, Lee or myself. Lee is busy catching the rays! I walked into his room yesterday as he was rubbing something into his skin. When I asked what it was I was told it is a new body wash. The bottle read “St Tropez”….. Whatever that is!!!  Can anybody shed some light on that one???!!!

Now it is not all work over here you know. On Sunday we had a day off so we chanced a visit to Hollywood Studios and Epcot parks here. They were very good as we did roller coasters and looked around. My favourite park of the two was in Epcot where we relaxed for a while in World Showcase at the end of the day. This is a central area of restaurants and bars themed to different countries and you really do think you are in that country while in that area. For example one can go for dinner in Italy and go for a drink in England!  The fireworks show at the end was the highlight though. Amazing- certainly the best I have ever witnessed! That night we got to sample Downtown Disney on our first night off as we ended up in a cool spot called House of Blues! Then it was back to work again the next day and even if the heads were still a bit heavy it did not deter us from a performance to the best of our ability.

Right so everyone until next time mind yourselves and be happy in whatever part of the globe this reaches you in.

Is mise le meas,

Damian Breathnach

Damian Walsh


5 thoughts on ““Tús maith leath na hoibre”

  1. Go raibh maith agat Damian – great blog!
    It’s great to see you gaining fans here in Orlando, hopefully you will make it a regular stop
    on future US Tours. No doubt all the International visitors who have seen you in Orlando will go home and spread the word. I hope you’re managing to get some beach time in. Cocoa Beach is the closest and a nice relaxing place.
    Maggie Ryan

  2. Damian, I love reading about your experiences in the US and around the world. Your narrative has such prose and your choice of words makes the experience very real to me.

    How fortunate I am to have such a supportive sister; someone that recognizes my needs and knows that folks like you pack a good “wallop” to someone like me and my husband, struggling to get past three years of experiences related to cancer.

    The more I learn about your own lives, the more I appreciate mine and what we have here on Bright Hope Farm. I’d love to share some of it with you. Other than my husband, there is only one other person that has stolen my heart (up until now) and S said you “gagged” when she said his name. Sorry. You are number three and all you had to do was smile.

    I know you are genuine. I can tell. You are all good people; good, hard working people with lots of talent. We feel so privileged to have met you and to have photos of our own to put up in our home.

    Thank you. Norm and Dawn Rancourt Farm and Midnight Well websites up and coming!

  3. Hey Damian, just read your blog, loved it, and thanks for our mention!
    Have been spreading the word of Na Fianna to anyone and everyone who will listen to me….
    Wish you all a great craic, as you continue your US tour! You made our stay in Orlando most memorable!
    Keep your eyes peeled you never know where we might pop up!
    Much love to all
    Debbie J

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