Little Egypt Go In Search of The "Crack"

At long last, after much nagging and moaning, I have received the following account from Tommo, about Little Egypt's trip to Ireland.

It has also appeared in"Mardles", and I acquired it thanks to Mark.

Little Egypt went back to Ireland in 2001. Full report now on line.

Go to Stansted Airport, hop on a plane, hop off an hour later, and where are you? Knock Airport - that's where, in sunny Ireland. This was the starting point of The Morris Men of Little Egypt Mini Tour of Ireland in October 1998, and what a wonderful time was had by all.

OK, let's deal with the most important subject without delay - the Guinness.

Yes, it tastes superior to its namesake here in old Blighty, and yes, we drank plenty of it! With no obvious side effects! We had chosen the city of Galway as our base: a thriving city with a particularly thriving nightlife! Galway has a large student population, which seems to support an endless number of nightclubs and bars.
Little Egypt. Ireland. A Bar. A Tautology
Certainly, it is difficult to enjoy a mellow evening over a couple of pints accompanied by some traditional music - everywhere is heaving - you would have to venture out of the city for that. The city itself is not exactly rich in historic architecture, or, frankly, historic anything, a beautiful metropolis exuding Irish ambience it is not. However, the welcome we received was as warm as any. Indeed, the interest shown in our dancing was nothing short of astonishing! It was refreshing to dance to such enthusiastic crowds - I often think that our home audiences are a little tired of jolly Morris Dancers, so this was a treat.

The Morris Men of Little Egypt are not renowned for their technical prowess and exactitude, so it was with some trepidation that we attempted to learn some traditional Irish Set Dancing.

Peter finds a kindred spirit
The results were predictably hilarious - but fun. It's all in the feet, you know!

We were invited to Roundstone on the Saturday evening, partly to give a demonstration to the local kids, and partly to join in the crack for the evening. It was Hallowe'en and were the kids interested in us? Is George Soros skint...?

A high spot to us was a visit to a Bodhrán "factory" in Roundstone. The company is run by a splendid character called Malachy Kearns, who produces the drums for the rich and famous, as well as the poor and insignificant! Mr Kearns gave us a fascinating insight into the folklore and history of this pivotal percussion instrument without giving away the secrets of its manufacture!

It was sobering to stop at a hostelry (sic) in Connemara that day where the local farmers were attempting to sell their sheep. It seemed that the going price for the animals was between £3 and £5! Doesn't equate with the price of lamb in your local Tescobury's does it?

Generally the countryside was quite rugged,

Little Egypt are rugged
like the weather, and the roads. The landscape is dotted about with 60's style bungalows, not very picturesque, but there we have it. Most of the stone built dwellings (if there were any) seemed to have been dismantled and the stones used to make the walls that surround the majority of the fields, and why not?
Why don't we do it near the road?

In all, the trip was a resounding success; due mainly to the welcome and spontaneity of the indigenous population, we have some happy memories to cherish. There seems to be a strong sense of community and a willingness to enter into the spirit of things. i.e. to enjoy the craíc! Oh, and the Guinness, of course.

Bangs and stout

We were also visited by the Cosmic Motorcycle Man From Mars on the Spluttering Bike of Catastrophe - honestly - but that's another story.

Mark Mikurenda adds this footnote:

As one who was there, I can confirm the good time we had. One remarkable moment occurred while we'd stopped to dance on a bleak roadside in the middle of nowhere in the biting Atlantic air,

Nobody will be watching us ...
for our own amusement - well, no-one else finds it funny - and a vintage green bus pulled up,
There'll be another one along in a minute
loaded with wedding guests and the bride and groom themselves stepped out. We honoured them with a dance and the men then formed an orderly queue to wish the bride well in the customary way.
How quaint these English customs are ...
Five minutes earlier or five minutes later and this happy coincidence wouldn't have happened. For those who like a bit of the surreal, Tommo has promised to relate the story of his cosmicrendezvous in a later issue of MARDLES, so watch this space!

Now that the photos have arrived ...

... I can present you with some extra pictures of Little Egypt at play.

A drinking scene.Bob awoken from slumber
John Fleming, a star of the tripJukes in chat up mode
Another drinking scene A new found friend

Some of them are this big
And, of course, superintending the whole was Nev.

Page maintained by Steve Clarke, Copyright(c) Steve Clarke. Created: 31/12/98 Updated: 27/07/2001