Ireland Memories

Ireland pic 10

Monday, June 9, 2008 - written by Paul Weston

It’s out of bed around 6:00, to catch the early breakfast, do last minute details of packing, and get to the bus for 8:15 AM departure for Killarney. Everybody made it to the bus in good time, and we said farewell to Galway Bay on a cool, damp, and overcast morning. We were off for what turned out to be a pretty full day.

When we were underway, Julie passed to us the sad news that Brenda was leaving the tour because her mother had passed away the day before. Fond farewells and kind words of sympathy and of gratitude for her fine performance at Kylemore were said as Brenda got off at the Shannon Airport for her homeward journey.

Ireland pic 9

Chris, our all-knowing and all-seeing tour guide, had, a day or so earlier, casually planted in our heads the idea of sharing limericks as we approached the city of that name. Soon after leaving Shannon, Limerick was, in fact, the next major town on our route. Each submission was written down, reviewed by Julie, and duly read to the group, over the bus PA system. No one had imagined there would be so many. Certainly not I, who ended up with a bundle of paper scraps, each covered with handwriting, written on every kind of material, from napkins to cash register receipts and music manuscript. The collected results can be seen printed on the two pages following this one.

Chris wasn’t finished yet. It seems he’d been able to set up two major optional entertainment events in place of the free afternoon and evening that was shown in our formal itinerary. Would we like to go around the Killarney National Park in the horse-drawn jaunting carts, and, in the evening, would we like to see the famous Riverdance troop of Irish musicians and dancers, performing then in the town? For most of us, “yes” to both.

The midday stop was at the town of Adare, full of thatched roofs, colorful houses, roses, poppies and other blossoms too numerous to recall, cashmere sweaters, etc., and the only Trinitarian Abbey in the country.

Ireland pic 10

We reached the Riverside Hotel in Killarney in good time, dropped off the luggage, freshened up just a tad, and headed out for the jaunting carts. The jaunt went well, the scenery was fine, the weather had turned fine, and the cart drivers were, in fact, at least half the show.

Chris, the unstoppable force, had meanwhile convinced the hotel to move up our dinner time, so that Pat and the bus could, and did, get us to the Riverdance show to pick up tickets and find our seats. Superb show. Some of the stars were available afterward for signing DVDs and CDs. Much to his amusement, Howard was mistaken for the excellent baritone vocalist from the show, and was asked for his autograph.

Hard to top a day like that. And so to bed; tomorrow is a busy day as well.

Some thoughts jotted down by members of The CHORALE while passing the town of Limerick . . .

There once was a choir from Champaign
Who sang a daunting refrain.
With a director named Julie
They were surely headed for fame.

John C.

Across “the pond” we did hop
To Ireland: that was our stop.
While on the bus seating
We worried of eating
So we asked Chris at every stop

Our task: a limerick to write.
Some pondered all day and all night.
We wrote them to rhyme
In meter and time,
Although some of them Julie did smite.

There was a choir from Illinois,
Filled with talented girls and boys.
Through countryside and town
Pat drove us around
With amazing prowess and poise.


An ancestral search with Pat on the case
We hoped wouldn’t be a wild goose chase.
The tombstones we found
Worn away in the ground
Proved some kin roamed o’er this place.

Jerry & Priscilla

A picture of The CHORALE they took.
At the camera we all had to look.
The bugs were a’swarming
As the lines we were forming;
The front row all kneeling in gook.

A second picture they decided to take:
A view in front of a lake.
Before mountains so grand
We all had to stand,
With smiles no one had to fake.

The CHORALE sings with phrasing so fine,
All mouths forming a vertical line,
Sections all on one pitch,
Timing crisp with no glitch.
“Bravo!”, all the critics opine.

Sandy Haas

There is a folksinger named Jean,
The likes of which we’ve never seen.
She sings with composia
Pure notes of ambrosia,
With poetry wistful and keen.

Jean Redpath, with voice like a dove,
Would not sing of “requited” love.
Instead she waxed wistful
On romance once blissful,
Which soured when push came to shove.

There once was a pianist named Kent
Who to Italy, Scotland, and Ireland went.
Following Julie,
While others, unruly,
Unduly were adolescent!

There is a great golfer named Jerry
Who loves to imbibe and be merry.
He joined our CHORALE
and is good for morale,
And he’s also one heck of a ‘bari’.

The Bells

The trip with you all ‘cross the sea
Has all been quite new to me.
The sheep and the peat
Have all been quite neat,
And filled up my heart with great glee.

Our first stop was Castle Bunratty.
We all made a line at the potty.
Instead of our luncheon
We were sent to the dungeon,
Because we had been very naughty.

Sue Carlson

Sheep’s butts red and blue,
Beautiful countryside oh, what a view!
The CHORALE all together
In this wonderful weather,
And we get to sing, too!

Sue Wyatt

Oh, the hills of Connemara are steep
And the fences climb up to the peaks.
Though at every turn
We still can’t discern
If it’s a rock or a sheep.


More thoughts . . .

There once was a tour coach by Callinan
That was driven by Patrick, our favorite man.
My camera - left behind
Which Pat fetched - he’s so kind
And said “please don’t you ever do that again!”


An MCI Ireland tour bus
With driver named Pat, who was fearless,
Drove us around
From town to town,
So locals and tourists could hear us.

Resa Mayor

A tour conductor named Chris
Tried his best not to lead us amiss.
Through Scotland and Ireland
He’s kept us all smilin’.
Not another thing to say about this.


Once, on the road to Killarney,
A group was treated to lots of Blarney.
The schedule kept changing,
The choices far-ranging.
Through it all we entered in harmony.

Woody and friends

There once was a tour guide from Europe
Who said he could gussy our tour up,
But Julie said no
This group cannot go
To see scantily clad girls in stirrups.


This is my story, here’s how it goes:
I wanted to tell you so everyone knows.
Chris is a winner
Who takes us to dinner.
We’ll follow him almost wherever he goes!


A choir not subject to audition
Worked hard to accomplish its mission.
With a great repertoir -
At least 24 -
No song was subject to omission.


Folk numbered 55 for days numbered 10,
Only trouble would bring, now and then.
Don’t leave ‘em alone
They’re not at home,
Or they won’t be able to count where they’ve been.


There once was a lady named Julie,
Who loved to hear singers sing truly.
So she made a CHORALE
Which rehearsed eternally,
and sometimes sang truly for Julie.


There once was a man not so bold;
The stories of knights he has told.
But only in ears
Of those who are near,
For with Julie he wants to grow old.


I live life in haiku,
So I’ll tell you all that’s true.
We’ve travelled this road
By many a mode.
I’m glad you’re along with me, too.

Allen Beyler