The last minute venue trauma aside, it was a great night for traditional music. Under the Wicklow mountains, in the tiny village of Hollywood, on this particular night, you might persuasively argue, magic took place.
The sound guys having done a great job with the acoustics of the hall, the youth collective, Arc, led by Aoife Doyle, kicked off the weekend (just after the Rugby defeat). They represent the wonders that are achieved by the whole music scene in Hollywood – youngsters introduced to music as children, learning instruments from tutors and from players and from each other as they grow older, eventually starting to play in public, and then joining a band, and then from there who knows: a great arc of musical life. (Keep scrolling down to see pictures of the school & Arc in action elsewhere.)
Headlining Friday night were Liz Carroll & John Doyle, just arrived from the US and starting their Irish tour. They must have been tired from travel and touring, but as Liz herself said not even the bad news from the Rugby could dampen their excitement about being back in Ireland again. And O how that excitement became apparent. They were phenomenal, and it was some kind of magic, and everyone felt it judging by the reception for them.