On the Road

Blaggards Do Ireland: A 400-Year-Old Galway Pub And Reunion In Waterford

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 Blaggards experiences on the Emerald Isle with us and our readers, and he was happy to oblige. Today the tour concludes in Galway and Waterford...

Wednesday, March 31 - Galway: Galway is a great town, with tons of shops and a lot of bustle on the streets. If you know Steve Earle's song "Galway Girl" then you've heard of the Old Long Walk and the Salthill Prom - both of those landmarks are within a short walk of our hotel, as well as the raging River Corrib and beautiful Galway Bay. We all had a great afternoon walking around the city centre.

Oh, also worth noting at this point that we haven't had a single bad cup of coffee the whole time we've been here. The coffee and espresso here is actually quite awesome, everywhere we've been. Patrick used to warn us about the coffee in Ireland, but something's changed.

Everyone we've met in Ireland knows about the King's Head in Galway. All throughout the trip people have been flipping out when they find out we'd be playing there, and tonight we found out why. The 400-year-old pub is a brilliant venue for live music, and the audience there was fantastic. Rickie O'Neill of Silver Circus and his dad Frank brought out their amps and drum kit for us again, so we felt right at home. Also met another great sound man there, too, our new friend Brendan Dowd.

Video of Blaggards at the King's Head by Jon Young

After the show, a few of us went for drinks at another pub called the Quays (pronounced "keys"), which came highly recommended by the locals. There over a few pints we talked music and politics with a few local college students, and we were saddened to have to inform one of them that, well, Stevie Ray Vaughn died, like, a really long time ago. Ouch!

Thursday, April 1 - Waterford: A long drive through the country took us to the port town of Waterford today, where we met up with Keith and Vic, the proprietors of Twister Vic's. They showed us around town and took us on a brief pub crawl before we rocked out our final night of the tour at their pub. Keith, Vic, and crew have done an awesome job with their place, and their hospitality was amazing. Nearly the entire Devlin clan met us here as well, which meant it was a REAL party.

Friday, April 2 - the journey home: We had a criminal amount of fun on the flight back. The laptops came out and we reviewed all the pictures and videos, and we're already making plans for the next Ireland tour. This trip has been incredible, but it's only the first of many. We hope to be doing this at least once a year.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray