Cabin fever was starting to creep in.  I had spent three days migrating sites to a new server and polishing up this site so I was overdue for a bit of relaxation.

I decided yesterday at about 4pm that I hadn’t paid the Cobblestone a visit in a while so I’d go for a few tunes.  By ten past four I was out the door with the pipes on my back heading to the train station.  The dog hadn’t been working all that much over Christmas so even though I had the pipes on my back it still only took us about 20 minutes to get there.  The damn 4:47 train wasn’t running though so all that rushing was pointless.

Musicians playing in the Cobblestone in DublinAnyway, getting to the point of all this, the Cobblestone session was as inviting as always.  As soon as I walked in the door, a stool was presented and I was welcomed in.  The tunes were slow which wouldn’t usually be my style but I enjoy the change so I settled in for a few hours of tunes, stories and craic.

With a dog called Nama, I regularly get sniggers or laughs when I tell people what his name is.  Yesterdays reaction was a new one though.  One of the regular musicians, Mick asked the name of the dog and when he heard it his response was:

What do Nama and pipers have in common? They both complain about their regulators.

Terrible joke. Absolutely terrible. But I couldn’t help laugh.  It’s one of the more creative responses to his name that I’ve heard in six years.

In no time at all, it was 8:30 and time for me to make the run to Connolly for the 8:50pm train.  I wanted to make it to a session in Dundalk in a place called Toales pub.  I have heard great things about this session and I’ll tell you now. The session lives up to it’s reputation.

The train pulled into Dundalk at 9:50 and I set off walking again.  It’s funny. I have Nama so long now that I forget the places he’s been to and the places he hasn’t.   When I had my first guide dog Freddie, we lived in Dundalk for a while so Freddie knew Dundalk very well.  Nama wouldn’t know it so much.  So when we were leaving the train station I was surprised when he waited for instructions.

It was nice walking from the train station. I wanted to cut down a narrow walkway that runs beside a school.  But I haven’t walked through that area in at least eight years.  I wasn’t sure if I would remember where the walkway was but luckily enough, It came back to me in bits as we approached that area.  Nama loves this kind of thing.  Walking through areas that he’s never been to while I give him instructions. He gets a thrill out of it I think.

Musicians playing in ToalsBack to the music.  Toales was just getting started when I arrived shortly after ten. But already powerful musicians Andrew Kelly, Graine Smyth, Finien O’Connor and Feargal Mcardle were starting a set.  Again I was warmly welcomed and the tunes flowed.  About half an hour Sean Conway joined giving an already powerful session another boost.  Shortly after that Oisin McCann joined. Then Tadhg Mulligan walked in around 12am and of course a seat materialized and he was promptly told to sit down and play a few tunes.  There were others there as well.  Caoimhe on the fiddle, Keili on the accordion  and more on flutes and fiddles.  It was just an amazing night of tunes.  Tunes that I’d never dream in weird time signatures like 7 8 were encouraged and enjoyed.

There’s one thing that’s certain.  I’ll be back there again soon.

It cost €50 euro in a taxi.  Money well spent in my opinion.

Musicians playing in toals. You can also see Darragh from the side.DArragh playing in Toales