The Emerald Isle

right mood, there will be a splendid mingling of music and “crack” (good fun and conversation). Unless you are at an event organized by the tourist board, you are unlikely to hear the Irish harp being played, despite the fact that this ancient instrument is a national symbol. Instead, the music will be played on the uilleann pipes (a more sophisticated version of Scotland’s bagpipes), a fiddle, and a tin whistle, with a hand-held drum called a bodhrán providing the beat and rhythm. Some groups may also include guitar, accordian, flute, and piano. Since the 1960s, this traditional Irish music scene has been taken to a much wider audience by musicians inspired by the traditional music band, The Chieftains, whose founder, Seán O’Riada, comes from Cuil Aodha, an Irish- speaking part of Ireland famous for its singers. After them came the Clancy Brothers, in Aran sweaters, who took America by storm, and The Dubliners. The tradition of music-making is so strong in Ireland that it is not surprising that the country has made a big contribution to other types of music as well. There were so many Irish winners of the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1980s that it began to look as though Dublin would soon be a permanent home of the event. At the same time, Irish rock music was making its mark on the world’s music scene, with singers like Van Morrison Irish Music ABOVE: Musicians of all ages perform traditional music most evenings at this pub in Lismore, County Waterford. OPPOSITE: Traditional Irish dance and the music surrounding it is famous the whole world over. Irish dancing is notable for its rapid leg and foot movements, while the body and arms are kept largely stationary. OVERLEAF: The pretty coastal village of Doolin, County Clare, is a noted center of traditional Irish music, which is played nightly in its pubs. The village is a popular tourist destination. 176