Demon Musicians (Barber) of Fleet Street…..

Dublin has been a fantastic walking city for exploring the city.  Everything is tightly packed in a radius that allowed us to literally walk to every major area and attraction in one day (although touring all attractions would take a few days).  Our airbnb was located about a 20 minute walk from Temple Bar area and the Liffey River.  Our first stop on our walk was St Patrick’s Cathedral, built in 1200 or so.  Back in 1998, we brought the USU Marching Band to Ireland to march in the St Paddy’s Day Parade (U2 walked right through the band to get to their concert venue at the end of the parade route!).  Our scholarship quintet played a few gigs on this tour and St Pat’s Cathedral was one of them.  It was cool to be back.IMG_0773.jpg

Next, we made our way to Christ Church Cathedral (one of the few Protestant churches we’ve seen on this trip)  This church was built in 1100 or so, but more significantly, premiered Handel’s Messiah some 400 years later, with Handel himself at the organ.  He probably thought the church was old!

Want I really want to share with you is the story of the USU quintet in the Temple Bar area, where we stayed back in 1998.  Suffice to say, I couldn’t remember where we stayed.  But as we walked through the Temple Bar cobble stone streets, things started to look familiar.  We indeed, had stayed at hotel on Fleet Street.  Back then, the quintet decided to try and make some extra dough, and play on the street corner.  As they played (and racked up about 50 bucks a piece), the owner of a bar from down the street heard them playing and came down to listen.  After they finished, he approached me and asked if they would play at his pub.  Well, yeah!  I grabbed a traditional Irish Song book from a local shop and took the students down to play.  The place was beyond packed, and the quintet scattered about in the bar and took their places.  They played their set to great applause.  But then, I told our first tpt player Roxanne (who was just under 5 feet tall),to climb up on the big wood bar.  She looked at me incredulously and I said that I was serious. I opened up the song book to Danny Boy and Drunken Sailor, and she played the tunes.  The bar patrons went bonkers singing along and toasting the students.  The owner was beyond pleased and took us upstairs to his restaurant for quite the feast.  I am sure that all of the students have never forgotten this experience.  To make a long story longer, I recognized the bar immediately and found the Fleet Street Hotel that we stayed in just down the block.  We spent the whole evening in the bar listening to incredible music and of course…..drinking pints!  The owner still owns the place but did not come in to the bar that day.  Here are the pics:





And finally, a pic of the Fleet St Hotel from back in 1998:



Sadly, Trinity College is undergoing big renovations to the main building which houses the music department.  The music dept will head to some unknown location in fall, so I was unable to visit and tour the department.  TC is a big choral music school and I hoped to find some original scores of major chorus and orchestra works.  I am sure everything is in a box someplace.  Meh!


Author: euro916

I am a college professor in the music department of Utah State University. I will start my sabbatical on May 1, 2016 and plan to document the year's experiences in this blog. The sabbatical consists of musical endeavors in Europe/UK for 3 months, and half a semester as guest artist in a couple of California universities. Thanks for following!

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