Organic Musical Travel Experiences: A #HastyMusicReview of Dublin – August 2022

The Church – Traditional Irish Music and Dancers (August 18, 2022)

My wife and I arrived at the Jameson Distillery in Dublin shortly before closing time.  The bartender whipped up some whiskey cocktails quick enough that we could each try two before last call.  

Unfortunately, our time at Jameson was limited, it was time to go.  The bartender recommended another bar called “1661” which was named after an Irish spirit called Poitín.  We wandered the streets of Dublin looking for it, but we got lost. This post isn’t really about Jameson or 1661 though, it’s about the wonderful musical venue we found instead called “The Church Café & Late Bar”.

The Church was built in the 1600s.  It was an operating Catholic church that has since been resurrected a bar and restaurant.  The pews have been removed and in their place is a stunning copper cocktail bar.  The pipe organ and stained glass remain, making this an especially beautiful place to grab a pint of Guinness.

We lucky enough to stumble in on a night with live Irish music. The band occasionally interspersed rock standards with traditional Irish music. 

About every fifth or sixth song the band was joined by Irish dancers.  Each time they did, the crowd would rush toward the front to get a better view.  I assume this meant it was mostly tourists, hoping to catch a glimpse of the lower bodies of the dancers.  (Some people believe that Irish dance was created to be camouflaged from the waste up so that British soldiers couldn’t tell the Irish were dancing through a window.)

Keep your eyes open during that periodic rush to the stage, you might be able to grab a stool at the bar even on a crowded night.

We eventually found our way to 1661, which was every bit as delightful and unique as our bartender at Jameson said.  I enjoyed my cocktail, although I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to fill the bar at home with Poitín.  However, the cheeseboard and romantic ambience were both notable.

Galway Bay Brewing – Musical Conversations with Dubliners (August 26, 2022)

Later in our trip, we dropped into the Galway Bay Brewery after dinner with friends of the family for a few pints of their many craft beers on tap.  There wasn’t a band playing that night, although a solo Polish traveler tried to convince us that there was.

Despite the lack of live music, I had a wonderful conversation with one of men in our dinner party about our favorite music, and of course his favorite Irish music.  We discussed many of his favorite bands, and I’m not sure it would be of interest to list them all here, but he notably proclaimed “Thin Lizzy is yer God now!” I’m not sure about that, but I appreciate his enthusiasm and his recommendations.

Dublin Street Music (August 27, 2022)

Like most large cities, the buskers are plentiful.  You can look forward to hearing traditional Irish tunes on many of the bustling street corners.

We were pleasantly surprised when we stumbled onto a small parade.  I’m not certain, but I believe this may have been the An Garda Síochána National Centenary Commemorative Event.

It was simple and solemn, and we were lucky to witness it.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery Tour – Pep Rally Style Marching Band (August 27, 2022)

One of the must-see attractions in Dublin is the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Dublin, even if you’re not a beer drinker.  Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease on the facilities hundreds of years ago and it’s still there and still growing.  He was clearly a man with confidence in his brewing ability and it shows.

My wife and I took a self-guided tour of this seven-story structure which included a guided tasting, a Guinness with our faces lasered into the foam, and a Guinness IPA in the Gravity Bar which has spectacular views of the city.

Amongst the many displays we found the Guinness Harp that is featured cans and bottles around the world. There also was a laser harp that you can play if you can find a chance when the children aren’t busy enjoying it.

Periodically, a small marching band erupt through the lobby doors near the gift shop.  We first heard this when we were on level 5, but unfortunately, we could not see them from there.  Luckily, they returned while we were shopping for souvenirs on the way out.  This time I had a front row view of the monstrous five-piece band.

The Porterhouse – Modern Adaptations of Traditional Irish Music (August 27, 2022)

My wife and I spent our last night strolling along the Liffey River in Dublin.

Eventually we wanted into the Porterhouse Restaurant for a steak.  It was a traditional Irish pub with ornate woodwork, except it had several levels with railing that allows visitors to look down upon the levels below- this includes an aerial view of the stage.

The drinks menu was notable with many craft brews.  This was unusual compared many of the other pubs we visited during our stay which usually had just Guinness, Moretti and Heineken.   I had a lovely stout that was called the “Plain Porter.”  I’m not sure why they called it a porter, but I will say that I think rivals Guinness in both flavor and smoothness.

The service was friendly and enthusiastic, and we enjoyed our meal, however, the highlight was the music. There was a two-piece band, guitar, vocals, and tin whistle with occasional pipes.  The guitar work is a little jazzy and funky which adds a lot of energy to the traditional rollicking Irish tin whistle melodies.  Be sure to check out the clips below.


We were only in Dublin for a very short time, but we found many opportunities to experience Irish music without much effort.  Of course, there are plenty of other opportunities like Dublin Symphony Orchestra but unfortunately, you’ll have to read elsewhere for info on that.  Perhaps I will visit again and amend this post in the future.

Hobby #8: Active Listening

This is a common sense hobby – you probably don’t need someone like me to suggest it. But I bet for most of you it’s been months or even years since you’ve done it… so indulge while I nudge you a little bit.

Dedicate Time to Focus on Active Listening

Minimize distractions: let the dog out, put the kids down for nap, and silence your phone.

Grab a note book and pen so you can take notes. Scribble what do you like about the instrumentation, any lyrics that stand out, and any emotions you feel.

Consider headphones: this will help you hear the depth and spacing of the instruments better. Any headphones will do, but noise cancelling over ear will help block out the world and let you get lost in the soundscape.

Get comfortable: Dim the lights, light a candle, and pour some wine.

Listen to your favorite tune, or try out something you’ve never heard before. (See the playlist below for suggestions if you’re looking for something new).

Check out this playlist if you’re looking for something new to listen to.

Set a reasonable volume: heavy metal should me loud, classical music should be loud enough to hear dynamics, or whatever is appropriate for the tune you’re enjoying.

When the song is over, review your notes in silence- add any final impressions you have. If you feel compelled, listen again.

Move on to another tune. Then when you are done with the session take a moment to reflect. Did you learn anything new about your artist, album, song, genre etc? Can you draw any new conclusions?

Is there something that you’d like to share? Publish on social media or share with friends or consider starting a song club.

The most important thing is that you make the time, because if you don’t, life will get in the way and you’ll miss out. Get listening!

“Hydronaut” by Shiva the Destructor – another #HastyMusicReview to #SupportUkraine

Some of you may be trying to support Ukrainian musicians with the #Music4Ukraine Challenge, but maybe you don’t know where to start. I’m here to help. I will be publishing a series of mini blog posts about some of the great Ukrainian music I’ve found, and I’ll give tips about the types of listeners I think might enjoy it. If that description matches you, then I hope you’ll dig further into the artist to learn more and share what you find with your music-loving friends!


By Shiva the Destructor

The first thing I notices was the stunning psychedelic temple artwork.  It gave me a sense being drawn into an epic story, and the music delivered!

The song starts with a swirling with delay effect accentuated by modulation creating an underwater feeling.  Eventually a gnarly and present bass lick sludges through the bottom end foreshadowing the journey that is to come.

Guitar riff slides up the neck then abruptly gets choked off gives just a moment of respite, allowing the tune to gasp for breath before it digs back in.

Eventually the tune dies off again, but instead of starting back up as it was, it restarts with series of bright arpeggios. This creates a slightly more optimistic vibe for just a moment until the heavy guitars assault the low end again- this time they crush with increasing pressure.

You might be lulled into thinking that this is a purely instrumental tune, but so you may be surprised when the lyrics start 3:26 into the song.  Be patient.  The voice is haunting and at times trippy- spinning in the swirling into and out of the guitar lines. 

The lyrics are poignant and dark- it’s one of the few songs I’ve listen to that has a full set of discernable lyrics, sung in English.

After the vocals tell their story, the guitars pick up the intensity again and wander through a harmonized solo, ultimately arriving in the land of ambience, where they joined by an organ that opens a gap for the lyrics to rejoin the mix one final time.

Hydronaut is a beautiful soundscape that envelops a heavy griding rock tune. I think it’s likely to be enjoyed by the subset of Tool fans that don’t need everything to be super heavy (sorry, I know some of you need it to be ultraheavy and this isn’t for you), grunge fans, psychedelic rock, fans of dark complex grooves, stoners

If you’re looking for other great Ukrainian music, I encourage you check out the playlist below. As I find more tunes, I’ll add them there.  I plan on publishing more “Hasty Music Reviews” like this to help you find the artist that bests suits your style. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about #Music4Ukraine be sure to check out my Listen for A Cause post.

PPAC Challenge- Sculpture Outside Kilkenny Castle

Sure, this doesn’t fit my usual music themed content but I figured these cheeks are remarkable enough for a PPAC Challenge post.

A sculpture outside Kilkenny Castle, Ireland. I’m not sure who the sculptor was.

These sculptures are viewable from the street through the gates at Kilkenny castle. But luckily, entrance to the garden is free so you can get an even better look.

You’ll have to pay a small fee to enter the castle, but it’s well worth it. The tapestries, furniture, and numerous paintings offer plenty to scratch itch for art lovers and history buffs alike.

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience in Kilkenny, be sure to subscribe. I’ll be posting about the music shortly.


Touch Tone MIDI Phone And Vocoder Covers Daft Punk

’s Touch Tone MIDI Phone is a fantastic conversion of an old touch tone phone into a MIDI instrument complete with intact microphone, but this …

Touch Tone MIDI Phone And Vocoder Covers Daft Punk

PPAC Challenge: Pink Predator Sculpture #DublinInk

The Always Write blog challenges users to post art found in public places. Here is my submittal for the PPAC Challenge this week.

My wife and I landed at Dublin airport early in the morning. Our hotel, the Moxy Dublin, wasn’t ready for us to check in yet, so we walked to my wife’s favorite breakfast spot, the Queen of Tarts pastry shop. We sat on a bench for about half an hour as the staff opened the shop and this pink beast stood silently standing watch from the window from the tattoo shop across the street, Dublin Ink.

Sadly I didn’t get a tattoo that day, so I can’t vouch for the quality of the artwork they put on bodies. Maybe next trip. However, I can vouch for the sculpture in the window and for the delightful cardamum-cinnamon bun I had at Queen of Tarts. Definitely check it out!

Hobby #4: Create a Fake Band – HUH???

I hadn’t planned this post, but I woke up early this morning and this was on YouTube. It’s already the last day of August, summer is falling. That marks this time sensitive so here we go…

Pat Finnerty does a comedy video series called “What Makes this Song Stink.” It’s tremendously clever satire of YouTube videos loosely following the format of Rick Beato’s music appreciation series called “What Makes This Song Great.” You should check them both out. Seriously, they’re some of my favorite channels.

Pat recently made a video poking fun at the MGK song Emo Girl. In his video he analyzes the song and forms a fake band and records a song in the same style.

The name of the fake band is August is Falling and their first fake song is called Mad This Summer. Long story short, through a strange series of event which he describes in the video below, August is Falling accidentally became a real band and now the members are inching closer to that elusive hot tub money.

Like Pinocchio, this fake band wants nothing more than to be a real band, but they need subscribers. So check them out below and subscribe. Then go back and watch all of Pat’s videos. I recommend watching them in order because his material is rife with call backs to previous jokes.

It’s ok, click away, enjoy Pat and Rick’s videos, then come back and leave me a comment if you enjoyed it.

Maybe you’ll feel inspired an you’ll want to start your own fake band. If so, you may want to write parody songs like Pat Finnerty does. If so, you may want to check out my post on writing parodies for some more inspiration.