Special C back in the Emerald Isle

Special Consensus is back in Ireland, and founder/fearless leader Greg Cahill shares how their first day went. Ah… the carefree life of a touring musician!

We left Chicago at 7:15pm and arrived in Dublin at 8:30am. The guys took a taxi to the hotel and I took the bus to Belfast, where our agent booked a car rental for us. I did change money at the airport but used most of it on taxi and bus fares so I had no Euro cash. My friend Mel Cory (greta banjo player) picked me up at the Belfast bus station and took me to the car rental venue and I drove back to Dublin. I did have a GPS but it could not seem to find the Dublin hotel (it had changed names recently). So I pulled over in town and ducked into a phone booth to call the hotel for directions. Since I did not have cash, I followed instructions in the phone booth and put my credit card into the slot. Nothing happened – no dial tone, no instructions on the receiver, etc. I soon became somewhat frantic, as I could not get the card out of the phone. I ran to a nearby shop as a woman was locking the door for the day – she was kind enough to let me in and helped me try to contact the phone company for about 90 minutes, to no avail. But she did tell me I was only blocks away form the hotel I was looking for!

I drove to the hotel and continued to try to contact the phone company to get my card back.

The next morning, we played on RTE Radio (Ireland version of NPR) and we began our drive to our gig that night. Stopped to fill the car with fuel and, with no sticker on the tank cover indicating what kind of fuel to put in, we proceeded to fill the tank to the brim with gasoline – only to have the engine fail blocks away, where we determined it was a diesel engine!

So now we were on the side of the road with my credit card in a phone in Dublin and no cash. I had used another credit card to purchase the fuel and I now walked to a nearby petrol station to find a way to get the gas drained and hopefully get the car running once we put diesel fuel in the tank. The attendant was very helpful and we had a service tech come out within 30 minutes but he did not want to accept a credit card – cash only. I did not have a PIN number for the credit card so I attempted to call my wife to get one so I could get cash but now my MCI international card would not work. I called my friend Richard Hawkins who came to our rescue with cash to pay for the fuel drain/refill. We were on the road within nearly 4 hours, arrived at the venue (3 hours away) 30 minutes before performance time and made it through the night.

Only 24 hours in the country and through a mini-crisis thanks to our good friend Richard. We are all very fortunate to have such a wonderful bluegrass family that reaches around the world!