Our time in Ireland

Posted by Jwtb on December 14, 2015 at 10:40 AM

We had a grand time on our vacation in Ireland this past September! Watch for new photos to be added on the photos page!

Ireland does love music! We saw many musical instrument stores, street performers, advertisements for all kinds of bands and music events, and even made it to a music festival! Before the photos and videos, I wanted to post a summary of our experiences at the festival.


The New Ross Piano Festival is an annual festival that brings thousands to the town of New Ross, which is located north east of Waterford. The whole town really gets into this event; holding many music events besides piano. The shops in town decorate their windows in different music-related themes. My favorite was the dress shop that posted on their windows copies of the sheet music of Chopin pieces we had just seen played in concert by a famous Russian pianist, Olga Scheps.


Olga Scheps was originally from Russia, but moved and mostly trained in Germany. She played several difficult Chopin pieces amazingly well, and the acoustics of St. Mary's Church where her concert was held carried them beautifully.

The audience loudly clapped and stomped their feet (they apparently do that alot over there is you give a good performance) every time she finished a piece, and at the end she had to come back out to play two encore pieces!


After the concert we searched for one of the several pianos that were placed around town for people to sit and play if they were brave enough. We found one just in time to catch a free mini-concert of Jazz/Ragtime played by "Ireland leading Ragtime pianist", Colm “Stride” O’Brien. He was very comedic, and soon had a small crowd gathered around the piano which was inside a grocery store. You would be surprised how loud and proud the Irish sing-along to songs like "New York, New York" and "I left my heart in San Francisco!" I almost forgot which country we were in!


After he left a few people sat a played a piece or two. I sat and played parts of a few things including the always recognizable "Fur Elise" by Beethoven. We had a lot of fun over in Ireland, but this was my most favorite part of the whole trip!


We also watched a brass band perform outside on the Quay which runs alongside the River Barrow. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed walking around town learning about the history of New Ross, and looking at the neat old buildings and churches up close.

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