So this is my first time spending the holidays away from my little home in the West of Ireland. I really enjoyed Christmas here - of course, I missed my family - but I absolutely loved seeing how Christmas is celebrated in the US and enjoying it with my new friends. However, I can already tell that I will miss New Year’s Eve at home quite a lot! Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be fun here too but New Year’s in Ireland is really special - or perhaps more specifically, New Year’s in Castlebar, Co.Mayo.
When I’m at home, New Year’s Eve is a generally relaxed day. Dad brings in a load of turf and we usually sit around the fire watching movies - something like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. The festivities start around 5pm with the New Year’s Eve dinner. Poor Mother will have broken herself all day cooking and no matter how many times you offer to help she’s “grand thanks, set the table” (mind you, there’s only so many times you can set a table for one meal so it’s best to just stay out of her way). The dinner consists of a roast turkey with stuffing, roast potatoes, potato stuffing, brussel sprouts and gravy (jeez, I’m not really helping the Irish stereotype in the potato department am I?) We spend a few hours eating and eventually picking at the meal that mother slaved over, agonizing over what bite is the bite that will finally send us to the emergency room with a burst stomach.
After tidying up, it’s time to get ready for the main event - The Saw Doctors. Now, I’ll admit, there was a few years there where ‘the Saw Doctors’ chose to play elsewhere on New Year’s Eve (the cheek of them!) but when they come, it's to the Theatre Royal and it's amazing! For those of you who don’t know, The Saw Doctors are the greatest band to ever come out of Tuam, Co.Galway - specifically a Celtic Rock band. Their songs are witty, funny and heartfelt - so naturally they make for a great concert. There’s been years in the past when the concert has been a costume party but usually we all just get really dressed up ready to dance the night away and ring in the New Year. The night is full of merriment, joy (and a little too much Jameson if I do say so myself!). It’s one of those rare occasions where I really get to see the event through the eyes of a tourist - everything you could ever want - Irish music, drinks, laughter and dancing! It’s truly unique.
I’ll miss it this year - but I’m looking forward to seeing what Michigan has in store for me too… I’ll leave you with this - Mayo is really special to The Saw Doctors and they’re really special to me. Close your eyes, imagine yourself in the heart of Mayo (rolling hills, green fields, the wild Atlantic…) and enjoy this gem.
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit! - Happy New Year!
Share this post
- 0 comment
- Tags: experience, ireland, irish, irish holidays, irish music, irish traditions, mayo, new years eve, new years tradition, personal, traditions, west of ireland