A party in the park
Bury St. Edmund, UK, 21st
The historic Suffolk market town of Bury St Edmunds was celebrating 25
years of its famous musical extravaganza and what better way to mark the
occasion than with a group of musicians who had been on the road for 48
years. The venue couldn't have been more perfect as it was in the
picturesque gardens surrounding the ruined abbey that is a shrine to St
Edmund, the Saxon king of the East Angles. The gardens were in full
bloom with beautiful spring flowers and were home to the tamest
squirrels I have ever seen. The perfect place for a party in the park.
It was a beautiful warm spring evening in late May as I joined the queue
waiting for the gates to be opened at Abbey Gardens. Although there
were still 45 minutes to go before the gates opened, a large crowd of
people had started to gather as we were treated to the Dubs doing their
sound check on the other side of the wall. There was a mixed age range
of people in the queue, from 2 year olds to 80 year olds, all waiting
You could overhear people in the queue reminiscing about previous Dubliners gigs they had been to and spoke with fond memories of the
great Ronnie Drew. The concert was an outdoor event and people had come prepared with picnic baskets, wine and beer for a great "auld hoolie".
And oh boy, what a great hoolie it was!
My last two Dubliners concerts were the Time To Remember concerts and I
was unsure of what to expect from this Dubliners gig. Excitement was in
the air as we all waited patiently for the lads to arrive. Once the five guests entered the stage, the party started to the familiar sounds of
The Fermoy Lassies / Sporting Paddy. There were the old favourites,
which no Dubliners gig would be complete without; Black Velvet Band, Rocky Road To Dublin, Finnegan's Wake, Wild Rover, to name but a few.
Barney was on great form as ever and delighted the audience with Someone
To Love Me and as he said at the time, "for those who have never heard
it before, sure won't tonight be the first time!" Well I think Barney had plenty of people to love him that night.
Barney also sang a ballad, which could have been written especially for
him; I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day. Sean Cannon paid tribute to
Ciaran Bourke with the beautiful Peggy Lettermore, sung in Gaelic. He
also performed songs that I have never heard live before; The Spanish
Lady, Mountain Dew and When The Boys Come Rolling Home. I was delighted to hear him perform my all time favourite Sean song; Whiskey In The Jar,
a song he said he'd learnt on You Tube by a band called Metallica.
Patsy, a great man to get a party going, accomplished this with Dirty
Old Town, Dublin In The Rare Auld Times and he paid tribute to another
great Dubliner, Luke Kelly, with the beautiful Nightingale song. Sean,
Eamonn and Patsy kept the party going, rocking out to All For Me Grog.
Sadly, there weren't any of John's wonderful poems this night. When
Sean and Patsy went off to put on the kettle, we were left in the safe
hands of John and his "young friend" Eamonn. They entertained us with
the beautiful St Patrick's Cathedral, very appropriate given the setting, with St Edmundsbury Cathedral looming in the background.
Barney then joined in with Eamonn as they indulged us with Eamonn's love
for Maids Behind The Bar. As the kettle came to the boil, the first
part of the gig finished with the Auld Triangle.
After a quick brew, the party continued as the beautiful day turned into
a very warm evening. Sean soon had the crowd on their feet with the
Rare Auld Mountain Dew and Patsy kept the dancing going with Finnegan's
Wake, We jigged along to a few reels, the Mullingar Races being a crowd favourite
before dancing our hearts out to the Irish Rover. But unfortunately too soon, Patsy was bidding us a safe journey home and it was time for sweet
Sean said that the last time the Dubliners performed at Bury St Edmunds
it was in 2005 and he hoped it wouldn't be too long before they returned. The party had ended and I, like so many others there that
night, didn't want to go home. So now I'm waiting for my next gig in Dublin in December and when I hear Fermoy Lassies / Sporting Paddy, I
know that I am about to party again.
Concert and backstage family photographs (c) Polly
See even more pictures in our 2010