Our night out at an Irish family social and Ceili Dance!
(The musicians of the evening. They played for hours! The flute based Irish music was much more genteel then the bagpipe tunes at the Scottish event we attended last.)
There are advantages to having a mix of heritages in ones back ground. I am most definitely from all of the members of the United Kingdom so I had little hesitation joining in at the Irish social put on this passed Friday in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
I have to share with you Garnet and my impressions of the evening as it was a real adventure. We didn’t know a single person there. Joining in with an obviously cultural and community event was a bit nerve racking at first. The Irish are a warm people though and it didn’t take long for people to pick up conversations with us. I actually was recognized by one lady who had attended the Robbie Burns dinner as well and she was very happy to chat with me as she wasn’t a regular part of this community either.
(At one point in the evening a group of youngsters joined the band on stage to help with the celebration. It was priceless how into it the little ones where!)
What did we do? Well we found a seat with strangers and chatted with those around us. Got a beer and some Irish treats. The room was a buzz with live Irish music and the hum of conversation was almost a roar as the big hall filled to bursting, so in a way, Garnet and I had plenty of privacy to just enjoy one anothers conversation.
I was very eager to partake in the treats and beer prepared. We tried an Irish beer that was very fruity and light, thank goodness, no Guinness for this girl. It was very very frothy, not carbonated like the beers I am used to. My man has a humor all his own and explained straight faced to me ‘they like it frothy so they can get more out of their beer. They drink it up and then, while the froth is still on the beard, they shave and wring the beer back out of the collection of facial hair, back into the mug to enjoy.’ Oh dear… I laughed so hard… Guess that is why I married him, I like his jokes…
Got a plate full of Irish treats and had fun deciding what we thought of them. The potato bread was, potato-y and flat. The sausage roll was mellow in taste. The raisins scones, while mild as well, where slightly sweet and very fluffy so I enjoyed a few of them. Garnet teased that he figured out what the secret ingredient to authentic Irish cooking was… ‘nothing’ and the Irish girl in me chuckled, it is alright, at least it wasn’t so lingering on the pallet like the Scottish haggis.
(Before the music had even began, the dance floor was filled with prancing children.)
Garnet knew very well we where there mostly to try Ceili dancing (think Victorian community dancing in lines to Celtic music). It was so much fun and so much exercise! We all lined up and where given instructions then had to work as a whole group on the floor, moving down a line together with our partner and another new couple every few minutes. It involved sharing couples with strangers and I had to laugh when Garnet realised we where going to be holding hands with people we didn’t know at all. He gets so German at times like these!
One older woman we where dancing with took note of the contrast between my man (a Mr.Darcy when it comes to dance if you know what I mean) and my enthusiasm toward the whole event. She smiled and said to him (before bouncing away) ‘You aren’t much of a dancer are you?’ He just nodded to confirm. ‘Oh and you came for your wife, YOU DEAR THING!’
Garnet found his own way to enjoy the dancing as well and when ever we bounced into the little nine year old girls who had taught the dance (they are definitely professional Celtic dancers) he would point out errors in their dancing ‘Oh I don’t think you are doing that right.’ I smiled and rolled my eyes to help the girls understand he is only teasing and this made him grin for the first time since getting on the dance floor.
We had a grand new experience and finished the date off with coffee at a favorite cafe down the street, it always has live music on Fridays. There was a roots group playing to the stoic coffee loving patrons of the cafe and it was such a contrast from the lively and warm Irish celebration we had left.