During our stay in Dublin, we took a day trip to the beautiful coastal town of Dun Laoghaire (pronounced like “dun leery”, I think). Our excuse for training it out to this pretty little wedding destination (we passed by 4 that day) was entirely average and perfectly normal: to participate in Ukulele Hooley, an annual international ukulele festival. Sounds like your typical Tuesday, right?
Well, it might if you play the ukulele, but I think most would call what I do “attempt feebly to strum along to the beat and smile while holding the aforementioned ukulele”…not exactly pro-status. Despite our lack of ukulele talent, Kevin, his parents and I climbed aboard and settled into the front row, top floor of the double-decker Ukulele Bus. Behind us lay a vibrating sea of faux hibiscus and palm trees taking the form of aloha shirts and plastic leis- not your usual Ireland scenery, that’s for sure. When the first song was called out, the family and I began hectically surfing through our shared “book of songs” (re: loose-leaf printed sheet music with lyrics and the occasional chord), while the rest of the uke crew erupted into a symphony of strumming and singing, eyes closed and noses in the sky. A few wrong notes from the front of the bus later, eyes opened and our amateur capabilities were revealed. We shifted in our seats awkwardly, smiled crooked smiles and gave a few weak strums and a giggle, hoping our uke-inclined busmates would find our enthusiasm cute. This was not the case. Eyes rolled, sharp exhales emitted, and annoyed glances were exchanged. Who knew the world of ukulele was such an exclusive one? Woops.
After our first stop and several more song attempts (we are not quitters!), we made a few friends who shared our lack of extreme uke skills (albeit they were all at least at Kevin’s level of beginner ability). Boarding the bus with a few partners-in-crime made the whole experience a bit more enjoyable. That, and a few glasses of wine, of course! ;) It wouldn’t be an adventure in Ireland without a bar as your final destination…
*It should also be noted that on this day trip I got to play (hold) the world’s teeniest ukulele…this thing was the size of my hand- adorable!
*Also, I’m a dingus and mixed up my locations! This post previously set us in Loughcrea, but it did in fact take place in Dun Laoghaire.
all photos by Kirsten Evans