There’s a little town on the south western coast of Ireland called Baltimore. It has an interesting history, having suffered at the hands of Algerian pirates in the 1600s. Baltimore gave its name to the title “Baron Baltimore”, and in turn, Maryland’s Baltimore is named after one of these Baron Baltimores… soooo, indirectly, Baltimore MD is named after Baltimore in West Cork. So, it’s a homecoming… no?
We were put up in an opulent palace of a place, which is really not what I was expecting here. We only have The Wire to go on (that’s filmed here), and … well it’s not the nicest view of the city. I suppose it’s akin to watching Gran Torino before visiting Detroit. Anyway… the hotel rooms are ridiculously huge. I’d happily raise a family there. We were there for an hour before I realised there was a second bathroom. Insane. We cleverly order breakfast BEFORE going out. We knew enough to know that we couldn’t be trusted later on.
After the open-air show in the loveliest part of Baltimore, we’re invited down to Sláinte for a music session by a few of the support band’s members. Sláinte is not the easiest place to find in a taxi while using the correct Irish pronunciation. We eventually find the place anyway. There’s talk of amps, microphones, etc… but we shun all the modern conveniences and high fallutin’ ráiméis, gather ourselves around a table, get the pints in, and start playing. We were only dying for a some good tunes.
We end up playing for about 3 or 4 hours, everything from Otis to Van to Marvin to The Who. We’re all over the map. The passers-by are highly amused to discover the three pasty Irish kids playing Motown and Stax with gusto. It’s like The Committments. Less cursing though. Kevin manages to do a stage tumble through an open window onto a table, which gives way, while we serenade a passing neighbour. Ever the showman.
PS. Balti Mór is not the real Irish name for Baltimore. I’d just fancy a large curry right now. The Irish name is the rather beautiful Dún na Séad [doon nah shade] – “fort of the jewels”.