St Patrick's Day in Montreal - 2005
This years venue for St Patrick's week was McKibbin's Irish bar situated in downtown Montreal. Although the weather was cold outside, inside we received a warm welcome from the locals, warm food from a great menu and six creamy cool pints of the black stuff from a happening bar- just what the doctor ordered. We had been travelling all day and had little time to rest for we had only a few hours before hitting the stage. Not too worry though, our energy levels were back on track and Johnny couldn't wait to unleash his tambourine playing to on-looking masses. With the help of Ross (our sound man for the week) we took our positions. An illustrious drum roll form Kev (Animal) and the infamous Em guitar chord sequence form Mal initiated what was to be the start of a memorable week packed full of music and craic. A week for meeting new friends, trying new foods (mostly doused with maple syrup), hearing new music and celebrating St Patricks like only the people of Montreal can. We played five gigs in total - each one better than the last, and as the week continued the crescendo of craic accumulated to new heights as St Patricks day approached. In all it was a fantastic experience and one we will not forget and it was all thanks to those who came out see us, listened to us, spoke to us and put up with us. Cheers!
The parade was held at noon on the Sunday previous to St Patrick's day and it proved anything but disappointing. Even with snow on the ground, the sun was shining and the spectacular event was not to be missed. It started at Forte and Ste-Catherine and for three hours colourful floats, marching bands, dancers, and singers passed through the crowded streets of downtown Montreal as thousands of folks of all ages and nationalities cheered them along.
On Tuesday morning we went to the bar to record an interview with one of the local Television news channels. We played an acoustic set and then sat round a table as the anchor woman interviewed us. Kevin did a fine job as spokesperson and we had the opportunity to see the results on the evening news as we ate at a nearby restaurant later that night.
On St Patrick's morning one of the local radio stations were broadcasting live from the bar. Again we played an acoustic set and this time Johnny and John did the honours of speaking over the Canadian airwaves. Johnny even tried to use his newly learned French phrases but, unfortunately his pronunciation was a little off and the DJ's had to quickly intervene and correct him before the complaints line started ringing.
Many others performed throughout the week and especially on the big day. Other musicians to perform through the week included the talented Belfast Andy and Salty Dog. Pipers contributed added excitement on St Patrick's Day and Kevin even got a chance to beat his drum along side the bagpipes. Another first for the Animal.
Special thanks to Erin and Todd for helping set up the gigs, the media appearances - newspaper, radio and the local news on TV. Thank you both and Anne-Marie, Trudy and family for feeding us, giving us shelter, driving us about and showing us your beautiful city.
A big thanks goes out to the bar's resident sound man, Ross. Each night he worked his magic on the mixing desk and had us actually sounding like a good band. A hard task to achieve with six drunken Irishmen (ask Bernard - he's still trying to get the sound right.) We especially loved our last gig on the Big Day when Ross blew us away with a bit of the Blues. Wicked guitar playing big lad - Cheers for all your help and may you have a long life.
Thanks to Erin & Todd, Blythe and Jennifer for their fantastic photographic contributions all of which give added value to the site and give us long lasting memories of a great week. More of there snaps can be seen in the Gallery section - Gallery 4 and Gallery 5.
Thanks to Siobhan and the women's Gaelic football team and all the relatives of the Duffin clan for their support and kindness. Finally thanks to you all for creating a very special week. Best wishes to you all.