Turf Fires

Lost in Connemara

Upon seeing Ireland for the first time in six years, through the window of my green bullet jet, I noticed something that reminded me of exactly where I was landing. It was dark, so all I could see was electric lights blinking in a million different spaces but one thing really drove it home. Where you may see sky blue rectangles descending upon, perhaps Miami, here you see bright green rectangles; the infamous soccer (err… football) pitch…the exact place where thousands of young men’s (and woman's!) dreams are born, the closest thing that some of them will ever get to God. Years ago I witnessed such a spectacle when I had the rare pleasure of attending an ‘All Ireland’ football match between Galway and Meath, where Galway won.  There were 92 000 people in the stands that afternoon. The most I’d ever seen in one place. After reuniting with a good friend at the airport, we quickly headed out to the car, bags and guitar in hand (PHEW!) Then, I smelled Ireland in all its sea-air-filled glory. I was back. John and I drove down a highway (err, motorway) for a couple of hours and it was empty the whole way. That whole free road to ourselves, I could have been in Canada except for the fact I was sitting in the passenger seat on the driver side, and there were a heap of toll booths.

John was an angel to come and get me in Dublin all the way from Connemara. When we started through Galway, things started to look familiar, but it was the scent in the air that hit hard… It’s been a long time since I inhaled the scent of peat fires, perhaps one of my favourite smells. We didn’t get ‘home’ until very late but my ‘Ace girl’ Sasha was there with the kettle boiled and the fires burning. Irish tea is unlike no other, to be sure. I have never tasted a cup as good as I have over here on this land. Sasha lives in the blustery windy land of Ballynoe where cows are our neighbours and mountains are our view. It is splendid, raw and truly feels like the Ireland I remember.

After doing some shopping where Irish Soda Bread is high on the list and peat briquettes are considered number one, we prepare for the first party, Sasha’s fortieth. A night of dancing, memory making and lots of laughs would ensue in the quaint little village of Letterfrack, the Sunday following THAT Saturday night would not be recommended to anyone, however. Sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good ;)

Soon I would head to County Cork by bus. Buses are not nearly as kind as Swiss trains to a woman with motion sickness, but we won’t delve too far into that! In Cork I was picked up by Skully. Don’t’ try this at home folks, but I met Skully on the internet a couple three years ago when we both found each other’s music. There had been talks of creating some new tunes, outside the “Lindsay” box during this time and we finally had the opportunity to lay our talents down! First I would play an amazing gig in the most wonderful of venues “DeBarras Folk Club” in Clonakilty, Cork. Sometimes a gig with a wonderful sound system and a full to the brim room full of eager listeners can refuel your heart and fill you up with light, but only sometimes ;) Indeed a brilliant night and one for the books for certain.

The next morning I would wake up in a teeny tiny cottage near the sea and we would get straight to work. Skully had a few songs composed (he is an electronic music maker) and we listened to a few pieces where soon I would hear my first melody that would need an entire set of lyrics…which could have seemed very difficult if I thought too long about it, but it wasn’t hard at all, it all just flowed! At one point in our 48hrs together, we took a break and went to the sea shore, where in the exact same place,  if you had been standing there many moons ago, you would have seen the Titanic sail away on its last voyage, an epic image for me and more than a few goose bumps ensued. Skully and I put down five songs in the short time we had together and are currently making plans to resume where we left off so’s a new album can get into your hot hands at some point in the future, and I truly cannot wait to get back in his studio! Another positive Irish experience for the books, thanks Skully!

Soon I would be heading back up to the West Coast, back to my base in Connemara but only after meeting my long time friend Tim, who I used to pal around with once upon a time in St. John’s Newfoundland. Tim now lives in Scotland, in the Hebrides where he studies Gaelic, among other things. He is now my official roadie, and has been doing an amazing job at getting me to gigs safely, and even carries my guitar sometimes! After a quiet gig, nestled in the hills of Connemara, singing to my friends of ole, I would soon be heading to Dublin, which is where I type to you today from.

Dublin is a unique city, one which I intend to explore very soon. The skies have opened up and this sort of yellowy bright light is shining down out of the clouds… I am not sure what it is however as I haven’t seen it for as long as I can remember but it certainly warms things up! I played an amazing gig last night in Temple Bar where I shared the stage with an inspiring Irish songbird named Sarah Red. She is the best Songstress I have heard in many many years. Kind of Jeff Buckley meets Bjork meets Jen Grant. Google her! You will be pleasantly surprised. Tomorrow I will play my last gig in Ireland as part of “The Dublin Sessions” and then I will return to the rugged West for a few quiet last days spent beside turf fires, drinking tea with some old friends.

Besides getting lost in Connemara a few days back and being saved by my wonderful Finnish friend Anni, (she let me in the car in all my soaking wet glory!) this trip has been splendid and I am a MUCH better girl for it!  Soon I will be back in Switzerland, wrapping up my tour there and back to Canada, the most beautiful country in the world…