My friend, Erin, and I went to the Centra at Cloughjordan to buy food for the next morning. Once I gathered all of my items, I had to wait for Erin since I was paying for her purchases as well. Two minutes went by and I peered my head around the aisle to see where she was. She was talking to one of the workers behind the deli counter. When almost five minutes went by I looked around the corner again to see what was taking her so long. She was still talking to the worker. So I made my way over to see what they were talking about. “This is Kathy,” Erin said to me. Kathy proceeded to say hi and welcome me to Ireland. She was so friendly and curious about our abroad trip. We ended up talking to Kathy for about ten more minutes and then took a picture of her and her coworkers.
That night, there was a bit of music on at Grace’s, one of the local pubs. Later into the night, I made my way into the room where the music was happening. Our teacher, Dr. O’Connell, summed up this kind of Irish music very well when she said, “They don’t play music for entertainment, they play it for pure joy.” The atmosphere of that small room was indescribable. Not only was the music wonderful but everyone participated in it. I looked around and everyone was contributing to the music in some way or another. Whether it was singing, playing the guitar, or clapping their hands, everyone was enjoying the music. After one of the breaks in the music, a man sitting next to me was asked to play a song. The guitarist passed his guitar to him and the man started to play and sing. As he reached the chorus, everyone in the room joined in and started to sing. Then, he passed the guitar to the girl behind him and she sang a song. After that, an older man that looked like he was 85 years old came over from the bar because he was beckoned to sing. And again, once he reached the chorus everyone joined him.
The pub slowed down and we were ready to leave. As we made our way to the door, Kathy from the Centra walked in. Erin and I were so happy to see her as was she. The entire room greeted her and told us that she had a beautiful voice. The audience started to chant, “Kathy, Kathy, Kathy.” So, she sang “Song for the Mira.” Slowly, one by one, all of the musicians chimed in with their instruments. It was one of the coolest things to experience. Kathy walked into the bar and two minutes later was singing with the musicians. That is a memory about Cloughjordan that I will never forget.