Category Archives: Irish Heart

For all things Irish.

St Patrick’s Day Sparkle

An event I have wanted to attend for years is the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parade.  This year I finally made it there.  My friend and I dressed in Green, wore false Shamrock nails, sparkling facial tattoo’s and made our way to the city centre.  Once we reached the Bull Ring we were immersed into a sea of Green, White and Gold.

Me and April

We watched lots of floats go by, listening to Irish music, watched Irish dancers, Salsa dancers, Chinese dragons and Pipe Bands from around the UK and from Ireland. After the parade we made our way through the singing, dancing crowds to the folk village and had a glass of Guinness – had to be done!!  From there we visited St Anne’s Social Club and met up with some family friends from my childhood.  I was warmed up with a hot Jameson’s – Whiskey is not something I drink but I was so cold it did the trick to warm me up.

We were very lucky girls as we had concert tickets to see Nathan Carter at the Birmingham Town Hall.  This is the longest UK tour Nathan has done so far and he was excellent.  His grandmother sells the merchandising and yes we bought wonderful T-Shirts, Black with plenty of sparkle.  At home we have quite a few Nathan Carter CD’s but live, he is  incredible.  What a voice.  When he sang ‘The Town I loved so Well’ the Town Hall was in awe.  Nathan told the story of his musical journey growing up, moving to Ireland, playing to empty venues to now, sell out performances.  He certainly deserves every success.

All in all it was a very long, tiring but perfect day. Below are some photo’s of our wonderful day 🙂

Bull Ring, Birmingham. St Patrick's Day Parade.

Bull Ring, Birmingham. St Patrick’s Day Parade.

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April – waiting for the parade to start.

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Ould fashioned Pony and trap.

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Fly the flag for Ireland.

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The Trinity Netball Team

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The stage is set for Nathan Carter!

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Nathan in action.

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Me, Nathan and April – what a fabulous evening 🙂

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Country Music – the bliss and the sparkle!

Oh how my free spirit soared that night. That feeling of pure bliss, happiness rippled through me like waves of delight. The freedom of singing and dancing, the simple pleasures of life and something I hadn’t enjoyed for too long a time.

Where did this amazing bliss take place? The Irish Centre in Birmingham! I said it was the simple things. A place I used to visit often with my family and we’d sing and dance to our favourite bands and here I was, years later with my wonderful, up for any adventure friend, April, waiting see Irish Country music star John McNicholl. I was so excited, I’d tweeted earlier that evening that I felt like a teenager again and believe me, that felt great.

Just sitting at the table and listening to the warm up act, Little Jimmy, brought back happy memories of waltzing around the dance floor with my Dad and my uncles, aunts and cousins and us working out our own jive because the Irish jive is something I’ve never actually managed to master. Sadness also as most of my aunts and uncles are no longer with me and although I am blessed to still have my parents, they can no longer kick their heels up as before.

Then, the star attraction takes to the stage and he was just magical. John McNicholl has a wonderful voice and to hear the songs brought to life by seeing him live was awesome. The wonderful bonus was that we could take to the dance floor and dance our hearts out to the music. Songs that speak to the Irish heart, songs of home, of love, of heartbreak and of dancing.

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I can’t remember when I felt so free, so happy, relaxed and truly alive. The music sparkle was reignited, my dancing feet were alive and my voice was belting out those songs…well the ones I knew all the words to anyway. This was such a fun evening. I think I could still be dancing to ‘Let’s Dance’.

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After the dance we met John McNicholl and what a truly lovely person he is. A talented, gorgeous, unassuming and friendly man. As you can see from the photo, I was on high sparkle time!

A week later and we are still truly sparkling, planning our next country music night out. We have a few on our list, Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and of course another night with John McNicholl. True sparkling heaven.

I am so glad my beautiful Mom reignited my country music sparkle ❤️

http://www.johnmcnicholl.com

Thank you for reading my blog.

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The old songs.

Beautiful Summer evening this evening. I sat in the conservatory with my parents, talking about the day at work. I decided to play some background music from my iPod…it turned into a night of music, singing and a glass of wine or two.

I have quite an eclectic mix of music, from Dep Lepperd to Enrique, Barry Manilow to Josh Groben, Michael Jackson to Kylie…Irish, Spanish, Elvis, songs from way before I was born to childhood memories songs. You name it, I’ve probably got something of that genre.

We started with some Irish songs of long ago, it was so lovely to see my parents remembering the past and singing the songs from then. Talking about dances they had been to, parties that just happened when a few neighbours got together in a kitchen, popular songs of the time and most of all, the people who shared these previous memories with them who are no longer here.

It makes me sad when I listen to the Irish songs now because I think of my family in Ireland who are no longer there. Happy times we shared although I took them for granted then, I didn’t appreciate what I had. What young person does?

It made me happy tonight to see my parents enjoying the music and my mom even sang…that doesn’t happen very often!!! It also made me sad for two reasons. One because I knew they felt sad with their own memories and two because I knew tonight would one day be a precious memory for me.

Love your music, sing your favourite songs but mostly love and appreciate the people in your life and the memories you make together. As Garth Brooke’s sang…

‘Our lives, are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance’.

The Moon and Ireland.

Moon in IrelandMy Mom often tells me of times when she was a small girl and she walked the land in the evenings with her grandfather. He taught her how to read the sky and foretell the weather. As I have grown up, Mom has shown me various clouds, the way the sun is setting, the direction the wind is blowing and of course, the different phases of the moon…but I cannot forecast the weather like Mom can! Most nights if we have a clear sky, we look up in the sky for the moon. Since childhood I have watched the moon, a comforting moon, a scary moon, a warm moon a Winter moon shining brightly at Christmas. Recently I read a book which included the following poem by Max Ehrmann which really resonated with Mom and I, because we love the moon…

I would, if I could, bring back into fashion the moon and the stars, the dawn and the sunset.
I rarely hear anyone speak of them. One would think these perpetual wonders had passed from sight.

There is peace and rest in the contemplation of these miracles that nature paints on the canvas of the sky.

Tonight I looked at the moon for a while. There was a faint circle around it.

A friend came by and asked what I was looking at. I pointed to the moon. ‘I don’t see anything.’ ‘The moon,’ I said.
He chuckled and went on, he will report me from growing queer.

The mystery of the night! And our own mystery!

Who knows what we are? No science has yet grapsed us. The moon – the beautiful, mystical moon, playing nightly to empty seats!

I wonder how many people never look at the moon and I wonder how many look at the moon but never really see it.