Posts Tagged With: Ireland

Country no. 55 on my World Karaoke Tour: this time, I had the luck of the Irish

Me with a friend at the Guinness Storehouse, where I learned how Ireland’s most celebrated beer brand is brewed and then enjoyed a complimentary pint.

Sometimes when I make my first foray to a country, I don’t find an opportunity to karaoke there. On rare occasions, I’ve even been known to travel to a country twice without managing to add it to my World Karaoke Tour. That occurred with Italy, where I finally sang (in Rome) on my 3rd visit to that country in November 2015; and it was also the case with Czechia (formerly known as the Czech Republic), where I finally sang (in Prague) during my 3rd journey to that country in September 2017.

As of mid-February 2018, another nation for which my initial 2 journeys to it had proved karaokeless was Ireland. For the background of how I got to that point, see this post. So that month, during the long weekend that the U.S. celebrates as Presidents Day weekend, I returned to Ireland’s capital city for the sole purpose of performing karaoke there!

Daytime in Dublin: a classic beer and a classic book

During the daytime hours of my latest sojourn in Dublin, I kept myself busy, focusing on a couple of attractions that appealed to my passions for history, culture, and general knowledge. First, I toured the Guinness Storehouse, a massive facility adjacent to the St. James’s Gate brewery (the largest brewery of Guinness stouts). The Storehouse presents the history of the beer brand that dates back to 1759, and also explains comprehensively the processes involved in the production of the company’s beverages. Included in the price of admission is the opportunity to enjoy a pint of one of those beverages, on the house – an opportunity of which I naturally took advantage.

Also on my agenda for Exploring Dublin v. 3.0 was the Book of Kells. That tome is an illuminated manuscript crafted circa 800 A.D. in a Scottish monastery and containing the texts of all four New Testament Gospels. Originally 680 pages long, it’s been split into 4 sections (one for each Gospel), 2 of which are on public display at any one time in an exhibition at Dublin’s Trinity College – where the Book of Kells has resided since the 1650s. (Trinity College – whose official name is the “College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin” – is itself quite historic, having been founded in 1592.)

Some classic examples of Guinness advertising, on display in the Guinness Storehouse.

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Karaoke in Ireland: I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

Me with Jimmy JoyceAlthough I’ve sung karaoke in 35 countries as of this writing, there’s a handful of nations that I’ve visited without singing while inside their borders. Perhaps the most surprising place to end up on that short list is Ireland. I mean, it’s a fun country, right? Not to mention that it’s a land with a rich musical heritage. But that musical tradition doesn’t yet seem to have translated into abundance of karaoke — at least in the capital city of Dublin, which is the only Irish locale that I’ve visited to date. Although I’ve now been to Dublin on two separate occasions — most recently, at the start of 2014 — I have yet to sing into a microphone on Irish soil. Many of my posts on this blog concern the circumstances of how particular countries were added to my World Karaoke Tour; however, this article will recount how Ireland failed to become a part of the tour.

Visit no. 1: the early ’90s

Over 20 years ago, Ireland became the third foreign country in which I ever set foot (after the United Kingdom and Canada). That trip occurred between late December 1991 and January 1992, as I rang in the New Year in Dublin. Two indications of just how long ago we’re talking about: I hadn’t yet even entered law school, and Bill Clinton had yet to be become President of the United States. (My enrollment in Georgetown Law, and Clinton’s first Presidential election victory, would both occur during the ensuing twelve months.)

Back then, karaoke wasn’t really a thing yet in most parts of the world outside of East Asia. I myself had just taken up karaoke singing during the preceding year while living in New Jersey; and my aspirations to go global with my new avocation lay many years in the future. Looking back from 2014, I have no idea whether any karaoke venues even existed in Ireland in the early 1990s; but in any event, I made no attempt to search for any during my initial visit to that country. Continue reading

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