Johnny Jump Up (Indie30 Day 3 – Music)

Johnny Jump Up (Indie30 Day 3 – Music)

Bootsnall prompt: Music and travel memories often go hand in hand. A song can inspire our explorations, or it can take us back to a specific place and time. Tell us about your travel playlist and what it means to you.

Ah, music…there are so many things I could write about in relation to music and my travels:

  • My obsession with my iPod when I fly.
  • How my music choices are all inspired by what we would listen to on family vacations (everything from the Beatles to Tommy Lee).
  • That day my brother and I were in Brussels – we both remember loving the music in the metro stations and how it felt like a soundtrack, but neither of us can now recall what was playing.
  • Just being in Louisiana where I went to a concert at Preservation Hall, learned to Zydeco dance, and saw a brass band play Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance on a street corner.



But if I’m just thinking about music and my travels in the past year, the topic couldn’t be easier: Irish music.

The big trip this year was Ireland where Kevin and I listened to some amazing tunes on our road trip from Doolin to Dublin.

We began our trip in Doolin – a town that is nearly deserted in March. Yet, somehow, the pubs filled up on a Sunday night during the sessions. We sat at the bar of Gus O’Connor’s sipping Guinness and eating steamed mussels with fries. The music, a medley of flute, violin, and clarinet, was the perfect background to our conversation with the barman and the woman who had sold Kevin a blue wool hat earlier that day. We could have gotten closer to the session had we wished to, but having such lovely background music (as opposed to the obnoxiously loud music at most bars back home) kept us content on our barstools.


Music was our everpresent companion. We listened to Irish radio and bought trad music CDs to play in our too-big-for-those-tiny-roads rental car (we’d reserved something smaller) as we hurtled through roundabouts across the country. We enjoyed an a capella performance at the close of a dinner at Bunratty Castle. We sang the Irish songs stuck in our heads as we wandered in the Burren and around the town of Cashel. We kept a running commentary about the amusing nature of some lyrics like those of Johnny Be Fair. We just had fun.

But the most memorable night of our trip was going on the Musical Pub Crawl in Dublin. More music lesson than pub crawl (two pubs, tons of tunes), this was one of the best heavily advertised experiences I’ve done in my travels (the other is Terry’s Berlin Tour).

We began at Oliver St. John Gogarty’s where we paid up and grabbed some Guinness.


And then came the music and music lesson…

…along with more pints for all (our hosts/musicians included).

Our two hosts, armed with fiddle and guitar, played and sang us songs from all over Ireland. Some of them we knew like The Hills of Connemara and Cockles and Mussels and others were brand new to use like the Dead Sheep Reels. We learned the difference between jigs and reels, how to play a bodhran, and that Kevin really likes drinking Smithwick’s.

So much so, that at the end of the night when we were all invited to get up and share a song from our home country, my Kevin got up and sang us all The Battle of New Orleans.

Afterward, we got fish and chips then went back to the hostel singing Johnny Jump Up.

“Oh never, oh never, oh never again, if I live to a hundred or a hundred and ten…”

And so, I leave you with a link to one of my favorite songs: The Parting Glass.

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