Craic’s flavour of Ireland

Source: Matthew Martin, rotoruadailypost.co.nz

Saturday, 24th Sept, 2011

You could be forgiven for thinking Rotorua had turned in to a mini Ireland this week – especially outside Hennessy’s Irish Bar on Tutanekai St.

GREAT CRAIC: Travelling Irish musicians (from left) Paddy, John and Sam drew a big crowd when they turned up at Hennessy's Irish Bar on Thursday and started belting out popular Irish tunes.

On Thursday three lads turned up at the bar, sat down and started playing traditional Irish music for the many tourists and locals walking the streets.

Bar owner Reg Hennessy said the men were pretty good musicians and asked if they’d play a few more songs before they left.

After a bit of banter, a deal was struck and for a few pints of Ireland’s most famous brew, the boys played on.

People stopped in the street to take pictures and at the end of each tune the men received a warm round of applause.

“They were a real hit so I’ve invited them back to play here on the weekend. They’ll play alongside our local band, A Touch of Irish, on Sunday when the Irish take on Russia.”

Mr Hennessy said the band added true Irish flavour to the city.

Known as The Craic Band, the men have been following the Irish team around the country entertaining fans as they go.

Craic is a Gaelic word, with no exact English translation. The closest you get is fun and good conversation.

Between the tin whistles, mandolins, banjos, bodhrans (the Irish one-sided drums) and the Uilleann pipes (traditional Irish bagpipes), the band had what it took to keep the punters entertained.

One of the musicians, known only as Paddy, said they loved playing music and were surviving on the generosity of pub owners and generous bar patrons.

“It’s been great craic, New Zealand’s been very good to us and, of course, our Irish brothers and sisters think it’s brilliant,” he said.

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