19th January, Westport, Co Mayo – Thankyou.

January 21, 2013 — 6 Comments


Dear all

This blog is a rather public and post modern, but still deeply personal, way of saying thankyou to all of you who made the effort to travel to Westport on Saturday evening for dinner at the Knockranny.  I know some of you travelled some considerable distances. I appreciate it enormously.

I think (I hope) what I said on the evening conveyed all I wanted to say about the ‘Mayo journey’ (as many of you refer to it) and what it has meant to me.  Therefore this is just to say thankyou for making Saturday evening such a wonderful and memorable occasion.  It should be no surprise that an event organised to celebrate a bit of the ‘Mayo magic’ should itself turn out to be magical.

It was great to see everyone and enjoy a fabulous meal in such good company. If you had any hand in organising it at all, then a very special thanks.

A particular thanks also for the gifts.  I now have my own bit of Mayo bog sitting on my desk – and rarely has a bit of bog meant so much to anyone. To Art – a truly inspired gift, thankyou for crafting it. It could not have been bettered.  But thankyou also for the collection of Heaney poems, and all your kind words contained in its pages.  They are precious words to me.


To those of you who did not stay until the evening’s end (and the morning’s beginning), then you won’t be surprised to know that there were several hours of songs and stories.  What was surprising is that it took an Englishman to start the singing off (that I was willing to do any singing at all, let alone in public, is perhaps as good an illustration as any of how the ‘Mayo magic’ has seeped under my skin). Fortunately, there were many others to take up the musical baton and the evening was a treat of fabulous song and story (I will always remember when, in an almost empty bar at 3 in the morning our collective rendition of ‘Black is the Colour’ ran aground on the rocks of verses not known – at which point a stranger’s voice struck up from the other side of the bar to help us out.  We got to the end of the song with our mystery singer (beautiful voice, inevitably) doing the verses whilst we chimed in with the chorus. It could only happen in Ireland . . .).

So . . . if you were there on Saturday night. Thankyou for making it magical.

Finally, to those of you who heard me mangle this Jimmy McCarthy song, then here it is, as it should be sung . . . in my view Christy Moore at his absolute finest, and the only song for which I have ever known all the words.


6 responses to 19th January, Westport, Co Mayo – Thankyou.


    Thank you Howard for being central to all that Mayo magic!!!


    The night was a testimony to the man himself….no ‘ordinary man’….our Howard!!!
    Thanks for everything Howard and you did indeed start the singsong but then again you are really an Irishman…!So glad you enjoyed yourself and buíochas ó chroí for everything.It’s not ‘slán’ ; just ‘slán go fóill’,


    Howard, I’m hoping that magic realises itself in many of us getting up that great big hill of hope- sooner rather than later!


    Thanks Howard. I’m so annoyed that I had to go home. It sounds like I missed the best part 😦 thanks for everything

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