The Road from Castlebarnagh: Growing Up in Irish Music, A Memoir (Bi)

The Road from Castlebarnagh: Growing Up in Irish Music, A Memoir (Bi)

Paddy O'Brien

Language: English

Pages: 316


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Road from Castlebarnagh, Paddy O’Brien’s lyrical account of growing up in County Offaly in the 1950s and 1960s, is the story of the making of one of Ireland’s most talented traditional musicians.

Paddy grew up at a time when the social life in the Irish countryside often took place around the fireplace, where stories were told and music was played. In his book he writes of the many colourful characters who shaped his perception of Irish life and culture.

Showing Paddy’s flair for story telling and written in gentle, musical prose, The Road from Castlebarnagh is the story of how a young musician absorbed his surroundings towards developing his own distinctive musical style.

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of expression. I played many more tunes for her while sometimes she sat quietly looking at my fingers or smoking half a cigarette. In between when she caught her breath she would shout and dance more, depending on what I played. She also liked waltzes and would waltz with a broom when I played one. She told me to take a rest while she opened a drawer in a cabinet and took out a biscuit tin. She put some biscuits on a plate and said, ‘Pat, if ever a lad deserved a biscuit, it’s you!’ When I heard

in the foyer area and we climbed to the top. I saw two rows of seats beside the front section and two of them were empty. It was our chance to get a full balcony view of the band. The front wall of the balcony was high enough for me to rest my arms on while sitting on the edge of my seat. I could see my mother was sitting in the same way, and once in a while she would sit back in her seat and listen to the music. The band were all dressed in black suits and white shirts with dickey bows. My

ever.’ Joe grinned at Bob. ‘For ever is a long time,’ he said. As I was putting my accordion into its box Bob said to me, ‘We have to go now, but you’ll meet Joe again, isn’t that right, Joe?’ ‘For sure,’ said Joe. ‘My wife and I will be goin’ into Daingean in a couple of weeks. Bob will let you know and we can have another tune in his house.’ After we said our goodbyes we were out the door and into Bob’s van. I was home in less than half an hour. 41 Jimmy’s Return

to help us out. My mother appeared to be very relieved to have found someone as decent and considerate. ‘‘Twas a stroke of luck,’ she said, removing her overcoat. When my father came home from work he was amazed at how fast things had happened since the arrival of the letter. As he finished his dinner he remarked that Seán Lynch was a reliable man. ‘I hope you said we’d pay him something for his trouble.’ ‘What do you take me for?’ said my mother. ‘You must think I’ve a head like a silo.’ My

the shop floor to a small side door that opened to a very wide concrete yard on the outside of the building. While we were looking around, a runt of a little man, clad in another brown overcoat, came trotting over to where we were walking among a herd of tractors. ‘This is Mossey Greene,’ our tour guide said with a smile. ‘He’s in charge of the millers and ridgers.’ ‘Hello, young fellas,’ said Mossey. ‘One of you is starting with me tomorrow, it’s young O’Brien as far as I know,’ he went on.

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