Sunday, June 29, 2008

Westport Frolics

We started yesterday by touring Westport House, which for hundreds of years was the seat of Protestant power in Mayo. The best part was exploring the lower regions of the house -- the dungeons, the wine cellar -- which were less focused on the glories of the Browne family. The house and grounds are magnificent and all, but it's impossible to think of them outside of the context of the poverty and oppression that propped it up for generations. The land of course didn't belong to the Browne family in the first place, and they drew much of their revenues from sugar plantations in Jamaica. One exhibit did focus on Howe Peter Browne's brief tenure as reformist governor of Jamaica, during which his attempts to moderate "the peculiar institution" resulted in his forced resignation.

We then hustled over to McGing's pub (scroll through here for some wonderful McGing family pictures) in Westport to hear some bluegrass, European style. A local band played listlessly until a Dutch bassist (from the next group up) joined them and really injected some adrenalin into the proceedings. His mates showed up little by little and led a fine session. 

After that, we walked over to the Westport Inn to see the Sullivan Brothers from Kildare. I had chatted briefly with one of them in McGing's, admiring his Steve Earle t-shirt. The Sullivan's played a mixture of their own material and contemporary songs set to bluegrass. Very nice. I'm not putting a link to their myspace because they don't like what is there right now!..

Well, there's a mini-controversy playing itself out in Westport. The town council has tentatively approved an investment of 50,000 euro to upgrade traffic lights at two key junctions. One councilman isn't buying it, though, claiming that -- among other things -- eliminating double parking would help solve the problem without the expense. Eliminate double parking? In Ireland? Sure, and next he'll be wanting to eliminate Guinness from the pubs...

"I remember once out at St. Cloud. It was a big two hundred thousand franc race with seven entries and Kzar a big favorite. I went around to the paddock to see the horses with my old man and you never saw such horses. This Kzar is a great big yellow horse that looks like just nothing but run. I never saw such a horse. He was being led around the paddocks with his head down and when he went by me I felt all hollow inside he was so beautiful. There never was such a wonderful, lean, running built horse." Greatness here...

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous Dept: Speaking of greatness, has there ever been anyone with a greater sense of hilarity than Lawrence Welk? If you don't believe me, see for yourself:

Sometimes, the humor is only plain in retrospect. Wait until you see their moves at the end. But don't take my word for it; have a toke and enjoy:


Foxessa said...

That's interesting.

The Brits first learned everything they needed to know about how to run a slave plantation in Ireland. The first slaves sent to Jamaica by Britain were Irish. Since the malnourished Irish didnt stand up to the rigors of the climate and the diseases and the work, dying in droves nearly the moment they hit the dirt, they soon were replaced with Africans.

Love, C.

Premium T. said...

"Hippie Welk" would make a good band name.