Houston Celtic rockers - "stout" Celtic rockers - the Blaggards are back on Texas soil after a weeklong tour of Ireland, where the band mixed sightseeing with a few gigs here and there. Rocks Off asked bassist Chad Smalley if he'd share a few of the band's experiences on the Emerald Isle with us and our readers, and he was happy to oblige. Their first stop should come as no surprise...
Saturday, March 27 - Dublin: "The band arrived at Dublin Airport around 6 AM (midnight Houston time) with our touring group, made up of folks from Houston, Austin, Illinois and Kansas City. We were soon greeted by the lovely Tom O'Toole of Hammond Tours, who would be our driver and guide throughout the week. Tom, a native of Tipperary, kept us laughing the whole time and often joined us for dinner and pints in the evenings."
"Before checking into the hotel, Tom took us on bus tour of Dublin, topped off with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, which is kind of like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for adults. It's really more of a museum than a factory tour, but the architecture and design in there is truly amazing. We're proud to tell you that one of our group, Kaylen Young, had her very first pint of Guinness today in the Gravity Bar. And yes, she is hooked. Amazing view of the city from up there."
"That night, we played our Ireland debut at Fibber Magee's on Parnell Street in Dublin. We were a little nervous about this first show. Bringing Irish music to Ireland was a gamble for us, as the Irish take their music and drink seriously and you don't want to mess with either one. "So we were thrilled to find the dance floor mobbed with Dubliners who demanded no less than three encores and overwhelmed us with hugs and compliments when we finally found our way off the stage. The night was also made a little sweeter by Eamonn Finnerty of Molly's Pubs in Houston, who met us there with a rowdy welcome party."
Here's some video of the gig, also shot by Emer O'Brien. "After the show, Patrick introduced the band to their first proper "chipper", a place that specializes in traditional fish and chips, the likes of which you'll never find in the States. It's not just the way it's prepared - although that is crucial - there's also something special about the potatoes in Ireland." See a few more pictures after the jump.
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See lots more pictures - like 150-something more - on Blaggards' Facebook page. Blaggards play 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, at Brian O'Neill's Irish Pub, 5555 Morningside, 713-522-2603 or www.brianoneills.com.