The day before he was playing in Vienna, On Saturday he’s back in Ireland, but today he’s in the closest you’ll get to a pub on Grafton Street this side of Bonn Station – The Fiddlers Irish Pub. Shane O Fearghail is the perfect antidote to a stressful day at work, so pull up a Guinness and join me.
The Fiddlers has been a popular venue for drinking, eating and of course live music for many a year now and all concerns that the arrival of new owners a year ago would end that popularity seem to have proved unfounded. The Thomas family, Bryan, Maggie and Veronica, seem to have astutely seen what made the pub so popular and haven’t tinkered with the magic too much.
What they have tinkered with this evening though is re-locating the show to a small side room for maybe fifty people. By the time I realize the stage I’m sitting in front of is the wrong one, it’s already full in said side-room. Most of the people in it in fact seem to be friends and fans of Shane O Fearghail already, but having said that, O Fearghail has an impish charm about him that even makes me feel like I’ve known the man for ten years instead of ten minutes.
It’s clear that Shane O Fearghail has two real passions in life – music and Gaelic. Fortunately this means that he can spend some minutes tuning up until he’s happy but still be entertaining whilst doing it, as he tells us of the magic of languages. German for instance is great – “You just keep building words together, one on another. It’s like Lego Bricks!” he enthuses. He hasn’t had it easy either linguistically, being as he puts it “an Irishman who learnt German living in Vienna”.
When he finally gets that guitar in tune (or borrows someone elses!) it’s well worth the wait though. A sweet voice that draws you in, and lyrics that hold you there, waiting expectantly for the next nugget:
Who came first?
The man or the monkey?
The catholic junky
Who came first?”
And how many people could have you jauntily singing along in a 60’s style Hippy unison to:
“Wouldn’t that be fantastic.
This World has too much plastic
I want to be elastic…”
Until you forget what crazy nonsense you’re singing.
Yep, I rather enjoyed the evening as you may have noticed if you heard me joining in.
Hopefully that mention I made later about Bonn having a rather nice Folk Club will reap rewards and a visit before too long. It will have to fit in with what looks like a daily rail journey though (O Fearghail calls himself a “Deutsche Bahn Junkie” on his blog) to all outposts of Germany, Austria and of course Ireland. I loved the self-penned songs and the sincerity behind them, but despite a seemingly endless supply of well crafted self-written tunes and lyrics the appearance of a bodhran and singing of ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ still sounded like a man coming home.
If you have the chance to do so, get along to a show. What better than a cool pint and a cool guy to end the day?