Thoughts on returning from the Emerald Isle

Street view in Ireland (March 2018)

St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, and we opted to end our band’s Ireland tour just before the rush. I thought this would be a good time for some random observations related to the tour, but first a word about St. Patrick:

St. Patrick is the primary Patron Saint of Ireland. Patrick came to Ireland as a slave sometime late in the 5th century, and is credited with founding Christianity in Ireland. He refused payment from kings, making him ill-suited to a U.S. political career.

There are also numerous legends associated with St. Patrick: one is that he used the shamrock and it’s three heart-shaped leaves to introduce people to the concept of the Trinity. The shamrock of course is now a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day and of Ireland.

Another one, possibly less believable, is that St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland (no small task). A lesser-known aspect of this legend is that St. Patrick turned them all into one big snake and placed into into the song The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake, where it remains to this day. Thus, the connection between St. Patrick and bluegrass music was established.

In spite of having managed to time our tour to hit a freak winter storm dubbed The Beast From the East, we had a really good first tour of Ireland, after the snow cleared. Here are a few disconnected thoughts about Ireland and about the tour in general. I thought of these on the long plane ride back across the Atlantic. I had no opportunity to think of anything but the task at hand while driving around Ireland; I was too busy shifting with my left hand and trying not to blow a right turn. 

Chris Jones attempts to operate a car with backwards controls


Ireland is, in fact, really green, even after a snowstorm. 

I didn’t see a single snake.

Unlike some bluegrass fans I’ve encountered, like the SiriusXM listener who requested Julie Ann because “it’s such a happy song,” Irish people love lyrics and really listen to them.

There’s a secret ingredient in Irish tea which makes you crave it constantly. I’m currently in a treatment program.

Irish beer also contains a secret ingredient which makes you crave it constantly. Maybe that ingredient isn’t so secret.

“Black pudding” does not mean pudding made with dark chocolate. Eat it and don’t ask.

Ireland and the U.K. have a number of lessons to teach us about bacon.

“Your man” does not refer to anyone associated with you or belonging to you; it just means “that guy.”

The hardest thing about driving on the left side of the road from the right side of the car is remembering which side of the car to get into, then forgetting that when you get home.

I have never ever slept more than 10 minutes on an overseas night flight. Why do I continue to believe it might someday happen?

Contrary to the views of some belligerent airline passengers, airline employees do not actually cause severe weather events. The airlines themselves don’t even do that.

Ireland is beautiful.