Jun 06 2008

Beer And Laughter In Kilkenny

Published by at 5:02 pm under Adoption,Blog,Movies,Night Out

I almost feel like I should apologise for lengthly blog posts. I like to read short, snappy, to-the-point posts and I’m fully aware that I have a tendency to rabbit on in a random, rambling way. I do try to spice my posts up with pictures, odd punctuation(!) and the use of bold type but I wonder if people really read it or do they just scan. Either way, here is my recollections of my highlight-of-the-year-so-far long weekend in Kilkenny.

Darragh Doyle

I’m sure Mr Doyle has had enough praise of late with his epic blog post and subsequent Blog Award, but I can’t write this post without first thanking him for dragging us down to Kilkenny over the weekend, for putting us up (or is it ‘putting up with us’?) in his home, and for guiding us around the maze that is the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Festival. Thank you so much Darragh. You rock muchly!

The Journey Down

After the Wedding on Friday, we went back to my uncle’s house for the night and by the time we finally got up on Saturday, everyone else had already left. So, we pulled ourselves together, packed the car, switched on the GPS and got on the road…to Dunnes Stores just around the corner. After a surprisingly delicious breakfast (I’ve had some very bad experiences in some Dunnes Stores cafés) we finally embarked upon the Cill Chainnigh trail. Firstly stopping off in Graiguenamanagh (home of May’s Monthly Blog Award Winner), where we said a brief hello to Darragh and Niamh, we then headed into Kilkenny City (because if you call it a town the locals will stone you) where we picked up a chilled out and happy (he had just found free wi-fi) Anthony.

Returning to Graiguenamanagh for tea, sandwiches and showers, it wasn’t long before we were sitting in the window of Morrisson’s Dinky Bar in Kilkenny City, waiting for the final member of our motley crew, Mary, to join us. Drinks ensued and we were laughing away long before we hit the first of our comedy gigs. A small regret: Darragh was volunteering for much of the festival so had to depart and leave the rest of us to it. Needless to say this provided him with some great opportunities, not least the opportunity to interview the meek Josh Thomas. But we would meet up with him after the gig.

The Watergate Scandal

In 1972, Richard Nixon‘s staff broke into a hotel room at the Watergate Hotel which was the beginning of the end for the crooked President. Fraud, coercion, illegal wiretapping and political espionage were among the many crimes committed and it all stared at the Watergate Hotel.

The Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny is nothing like that. Random, hectic, zany, bizarre – therein lies the improvisational skills of Ian Coppinger, Michelle Read, Paul Tylak, Brendan Hunt and Michael Orton-Toliver. From singing musicals about the word ‘Meanwhile’ to the simulation of a man giving birth, from Donkeys doing the long jump (because cheese is great) to Super Hero Serial Killers, there was genius and hilarity in abundance.

We headed down to the Rivercourt Hotel, where Darragh was based to have our ‘final’ drink of the night. We were lucky to find a bunch of seats and nestled into them for the next couple of hours, before heading towards the taxi rank. This was looking to be the low point of the night – the queue for the taxis must have been approximately three hundred and seventy eight kilometers long (no exaggeration), and Graiguenamanagh seemed like a distant hope. So, we decided to head up to the Kilkenny Ormond for a final final drink of the night. We, like James Bond (me) , Jason Bourne (Anthony) and Maxwell Smart (Darragh) all rolled into one tipsy group, managed to wrangle our way into the Festival Club, where, after each evening’s carry-on, all the performers would go. We were thrilled to catch up with Mr Ken and have an all-too-brief beverage with him. Meeting him almost eclipsed our photo op with the Improvarios, Brendan Hunt and Michael Orton-Toliver. Two lovely guys who were a fine example of American talent sneaking nicely into a very Irish festival.

The night also saw Des Bishop perform Léim Thart (Jump Around), both as Gaeilge agus as béarla. The man is very funny, and while he might not be my favourite comedian, he is one of the most provocative and inspirational I’ve seen in years. He is one of the reasons I’ve started to learn Irish (all over again).

The great Jason Byrne also posed for a photo-op with us, but I was too nervous to ask for a photo with Máiread Farrell (I’m not joking). I love her on Ray D’Arcy‘s show and she was very funny on the Panel when I saw her earlier this year in the Mermaid Theatre. I need to grow a backbone, or ask Darragh to attack more people for me.

We were the last to leave the club that night and is it any wonder – we had the privileged opportunity to perform on stage at the Smithwick Cat Laughs Festival.

A night that should have ended in a long queue for a taxi a number of hours earlier ended up being an amazing amalgam of meeting great people, dancing madly and admiring others from afar. We left the Ormond around 5am and, magically, a taxi was waiting for us. Mr Reggae Taxi Driver brought us home to Graiguenamanagh in the bizarre fog of Kilkenny and we all flopped straight into bed, already looking forward to what the second day might bring.

For more succinct retellings of the weekend’s events, please visit Lottie’s blog here or Anthony’s blog here and there.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Beer And Laughter In Kilkenny”

  1. Benon 06 Jun 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Feels like i was there, great post!

    Ah i seeeee who mr ken is now! very good, very good!

  2. MJon 06 Jun 2008 at 6:29 pm


  3. B'dum B'dumon 06 Jun 2008 at 8:53 pm

    there’s another highlight of next year; getting to go to some comedy shows semi-regularly… trying to find a way to persuade Daniel Kitson to play Galway as I type.

    Des Bishop’s in the photo too.

    Speaking of Watergate, don’t suppose you ever heard of a comedian called Robert Klein? One of my top 5 ever definitely. He was this huge american one from the 70s, has a whole album about watergate(basically) along with two other equally flawless albums, extremely influential… yet has no fanbase at all anymore, has nothing on youtube even! don’t suppose you know him?
    I think I’ll up pieces of comedy sets like Marianne Finucane does.

  4. Darraghon 07 Jun 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I almost feel like I should apologise for lengthly blog posts. I like to read short, snappy, to-the-point posts and I’m fully aware that I have a tendency to rabbit on in a random, rambling way. I do try to spice my posts up with pictures, odd punctuation(!) and the use of bold type but I wonder if people really read it or do they just scan.

    You’d never catch me doing that.

    Apologising for posts like that I mean…

  5. Anthonyon 08 Jun 2008 at 2:33 am

    One of the best weekends I’ve ever had. Funnyness from beginning to end.

  6. Maryon 09 Jun 2008 at 9:00 am

    It was indeed a fantastic weekend and very well portrayed by all who blogged about it :-).

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