William Barnacle


How it’s New York: Well the carryon was in New York

How it’s Irish: I don’t think there were too many Irish people there I didnot see annyone from Kilrush or anny place that I ever went but no matter there was an kind of an Irish spirit about the place and there was some drink taken. They were playing Irish instruments, some of them and there was one of those bouzoukis like Johnny Moynihan used play, you can hear it going chung! chung! on the video.

Last week I stopped into the little bar next Theatre 80 it is called William Barnacle whoever he was I don’t know but it is a friendly and homey little place and the bhean-an-ti and the Mr. are very good to everyone, you’d want to go there for them alone or the absinthe which is made in a lovely glass thing like a samovar. There was a horde of musicianers in there, Irish-American, Scots, Canadians, and Americans in general. I wouldn’t know them at all but many of them were young people and full of enthusiasm and talent, some of them were ‘professionals’ and very happy to meet each other outside of Copenhagen or L’Orient or wherever they last met. There were flutes, fiddles, boxes, a guitar (you’d have that), a fine box player I believe he’s there all the time of a Monday with one of the fluters.  No concertinas though, only myself and I wasn’t playing. It’s nice to listen sometimes, isn’t it? ‘Twas like an afternoon session at the Willie Clancy week,  You can have a cup of tea there, too so that is what I had. They were at reels and jigs like the hammers of hell till about 3 am when they tired out but a new shift of old-time American players set up in the adjacent room. There were banjos then, and more fiddles still. They’d take a tune and play it till all the notes were well-worn, then they’d stop and mumble for awhile and go at it again. Two step dancers–one American, one Irish lad with the step-dance school steps were contesting and leaping down the back. Crowds more kept coming in, I don’t know who they were either. The bar staff sprouted extra arms and  all hand were on taps. Bottles clattered. Girl step dancers, American and sean-nós got into it and swung round with the American stepper, he was vry good looking, too, I have to say. The delight carried on until there wasn’t anymore. Apparently this was the last of three days of after-hour hooley, I don’t know I wasn’t there I was somewhere else. You never know when this kind of a session will break out, and that is the best part of all.

About the Author