Well, there we were on a tour of Tuscany – two kiwis plus 36 Irish people. As I think I mentioned earlier, we all ate together and of course on several days of the 8-day holiday we were on all-day bus trips with them, so we got to know many of them a little bit.
We have found the Irish to be very sociable, generally friendly and easy to talk to, so we had some really interesting dinners which went on long past our normal meal times as a result of the conversations and the excellent hotel food.
However, it wasn’t until the final night that we saw what they were really made of. The hotel put on a special 5-course meal of Tuscan dishes and the wine flowed freely. At the end, a group formed quite spontaneously in the hotel lobby and after a bit of talking someone persuaded me to get on the grand piano for a singalong. Well, I don’t know too many Irish songs but I was able to stumble through Danny Boy, Galway Bay, Phil the Fluter’s Ball and one or two others but it was enough to get them limbered up and then they proceeded to sing song after song unaccompanied, often in the Irish language, while the desk clerk pretended it wasn’t happening and the Chinese hotel guests operated their video cameras.
As did I. They started off quite quietly.
That wasn’t to say they were always quiet…
Then another lovely ballad, “My Lovely Rose of Clare”.
Finally, a few short clips put together. As you can see, everyone is enjoying themselves and “the craic was grand”, as an Irishman might say.
And what is “craic” anyway? I’m not sure there is an exact English translation for this Irish Gaelic word but as far as I can tell, it’s somewhere in the realm of good times and entertainment and partying all rolled up together, usually (but not always) linked with music.
We left them somewhere after 11:30pm (after all, we were flying back to Dublin the next day) but most of them just carried on regardless. A great evening.