A Travellerspoint blog

Day 4: That Craic in (the) Derry Air!

in which your author doesn't do very much at all then makes up for it in the wee small hours which is his preferred manner of travel

semi-overcast 65 °F

I've made 60+ posts on this blog and this is probably my most advanced title yet, amirite? #dadjokes

I slept in big time on Day 4 due to exercising my patriotic American muscles staying up to watch the fantastic DNC speeches. By the time I headed out to get some writing done – did I mention I have a massive academic paper due very soon so I’m wedging in time here and there to work on it and this is perhaps a not-great thing to combine with travel? – it’s after 2pm. I do a bit of work at a very cute bakery; vegetarian options aren’t much of a thing up here but I make do with a flat white and caramel square. Eventually I get hungry for something more filling and end up at Mary’s, the gorgeous establishment we had been in the previous night. Mark meets me there after my meal and we head back to his place. We’re off to Derry with a few of his friends for some music and patented Irish craic! Nothing like it in the world.

Mark’s married friends Rory and Andrea pick us up and with the addition of Mark’s friend Ciara we embark on the hour-long trip to Derry. The ride is great fun – Mark’s friends are a riot. Rory is a guitarist and singer (a very good one), set to play at this fairly posh club called Blackbird, and he plays a mix of American and Irish songs (including “my” song – actually Luke Kelly’s, “Raglan Road”) as we have a drink in the bustling-but-still-relaxed lounge environment. Someone announces “let’s go!” and we’re off to explore a bit of Derry.


We end up at a wildly fun pub with live Irish music – the first great trad music experience I’ve had on the trip so far. Even for a Tuesday night, it’s a boisterous and joyful scene, and the music (which features a number of vocal songs), is amplified through speakers. The atmosphere really lifts everything, and I take some video to show to my classes which begin in September, saying something along the lines of: “Hi guys! You don’t know me yet, but I’m recording this video to show you how amazing it is to be in Ireland and hear the music get made right in front of your eyes!” Mark walks past and he makes a cameo, explaining what the world craic means!


We pop over to the pub next door where there’s a more relaxed musical vibe, including an excellent singer who I end up chatting with about her tour to the US next year. We head back to the original pub and end up chatting with a fellow from Atlanta who just arrived that night. We walk back to the original pub where Rory has finished up playing, and after a furious late-night eating session at McDonald’s (where apparently they bring your food out to the car like a 50s drive-in diner), we’re on our way back to Magherafelt.


Not surprisingly, I stay up again until 5am watching the second night of the DNC – the timing on this trip isn’t a great match for my political junkie nature! Even though we were only in Derry for less than three hours, this is one of the first really wild and serendipitous nights of the trip!

NOTE: Although the iPhone photo quality has come a long way since July 2010 when I started this blog, I know these pics aren’t up to the level of some of my previous entries on the blog; I’m being careful about where to bring my good camera! It definitely starts making a bigger entrance a bit later on in the trip. ☺

Posted by coolmcjazz 18:27 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged music irish derry

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