Today we headed to Dublin, Ireland. With the usual routine of packing, paying the hotel bill, meeting everyone for the bus, getting to the airport and boarding the plane taking up most of the first part of the day, we made the flight and landed in Dublin about 7pm. This time we had a whole drug squad waiting on us, complete with K9 sniffing dogs. What a welcome! After going through all of that we loaded up in the bus that took us to the Four Seasons hotel. We stayed here before some years ago when we played The Point a couple of nights. This time we are to play at Slane Castle. We played here back in ‘82, during my first tour with the band. It’s a beautiful setting about an hour’s drive from Dublin…. out in the open with the Castle in the background up on a hill, it’s a very cool site.
I went to my room for a bit, but it was pretty lonesome without Rose Lane there for company, so I took a walk to find something to eat. Not far from the hotel was an Asian restaurant and I opted for that. I had brought my book and a couple of magazines with me to keep me occupied, and hung out there for about an hour and a half. Food was ok, but not fantastic. They had a little trio that consisted of a piano player, a “beat box” and a couple of female singers that came on about the time I was ready to go…and as they were more annoying than entertaining, I settled up and walked back to the hotel. There I picked back up on my book (Rose Lane had given me one that she had finished…it’s called “Mayflower”, by Nathaniel Philbrick; and is the story of the trip over to the US by the Pilgrims and the settlement of Plymouth) and let it entertain me until my eyes got heavy.
My friends John Dewberry and Buddy Darby will be here for the gig tonight. They have both hunted with us at Charlane. Both are very big developers. John owns some prime property in downtown Atlanta and in Charleston and other areas…. Buddy and his wife Tammy live on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina and among his many projects; he was the main developer of Kiawah Island in SC. One of his recent projects is an amazing “golf destination” in the west coast of Ireland called “Doonbeg”. John bought one of the suites there and of course Buddy has one as well. They have invited me to stay on in Ireland an extra day and go there while the band flies on to London tomorrow.
But before that, we have a show to do! After getting up and finally ready for some food, I walked out of the hotel to search for a place for a late breakfast. It was a lazy Saturday and it seemed that there weren’t a whole lot of choices, though. I picked up a few newspapers and walked back to the hotel, deciding I’d have room service. I wanted to go down to the gig early, so after some cereal and a short time I made ready for the drive. It was raining on and off, and that wasn’t a good sign for the gig…. but no matter, we had a show to do.
I had given John my cell phone number, but had not heard from him. I sent him an email thinking he’d respond, but I still didn’t hear from him. We did the backstage routine, and I checked into the Rattlesnake a few times looking for them, but never saw them. When we finally hit the stage, we were very lucky that the rain had stopped. It had rained right through the first couple of acts, but mercifully for us it spared our set. Really good show, and a huge crowd of over 70,000.
Back in the room I finally had a message from John. They had been late getting to the gig and had missed the Rattlesnake, but had made the show. We agreed to meet in the mid morning for the trip to Doonbeg. I made it an easy night and stayed in.
Buddy and John had booked a helicopter to fly us from Dublin to Doonbeg, about an hour and twenty minute flight. It reminded me of back in ‘82 when we played Slane and choppered in for that show. Seeing Ireland from up above really shows you how green it is. A kind of green that you really don’t see anywhere else. Anyway, we met downstairs in the lobby and I was introduced to Buddy’s wife Tammy and John’s girlfriend before we drove to a little farm not far away where the helicopter was waiting. They allowed me the front seat next to the pilot (whom they apparently knew from previous similar flights). It was a great trip, and along the way the pilot pointed out several places of interest. We saw lots of peat operations…where the dig up the peat and dry it for use in heating in homes, mostly. We flew over a few historic ruins and some beautiful big estates. Finally we flew over the big and beautiful Shannon River and then took a swing around the Doonbeg resort and golf course that Buddy had put together. He has truly done a wonderful job in making it look as if it’s been there for two or three hundred years. The coastline there is very dramatic and ties in beautifully with the gold course designed by Greg Norman. We landed on the lawn just outside the main part of the resort and went in to have lunch. We enjoyed a nice light meal and I met a few folks in the process…. some of which had been to a Stones show here or there and had fun comments to make. One fellow knew some musicians that I’ve worked with before…. Jerry Portnoy (a great blues harmonica player) and Duke Robillard (fab blues guitarist), both from the New England area. He apparently puts on a big party just about every year where these guys come and play…and he suggested that he might call me to join in sometime. You never know where you might meet folks like this! After lunch we strolled through the clubhouse a bit, and Buddy wanted to show me the piano in one of the bar lounges. I enjoyed banging out a few songs for the folks there, which seemed to please everyone.
Buddy had arranged for a little fishing trip for us though one of the locals, so after that the two of us were picked up by his friend Tony and we drove about 35 or 40 minutes up the coast to a spot where the cliffs overlook the ocean some 300 or more feet. The whole scene was quite amazing to behold, and soon we were throwing our lines along with a few other folks way over the cliffs and down below to fish for mackerel. There must have been hundreds of thousands of them down there, because every time we dropped our lines we would come up with two or three on the hooks. We fished for about an hour and then took our catch back to the resort. Tony was kind enough to say he would clean all the fish for us and give them to the chef of the restaurant so we could all enjoy them later.
Buddy had arranged for a nice massage for me in their spa, so about 5 or 6 I went down for that. A nice fellow named Shane gave me the massage…. and he worked hard on my right shoulder, which has given me trouble now for over a year. He managed to push some of the “devil” out of it, for which I was grateful. After that I found Buddy in the Jacuzzi and sat with him a while to try and further my “treatment”. It made for a great relaxing and healing couple of hours, and then I went to my quarters for a little down time before dinner.
At dinner we had a group of about 8 or so folks including the five of us. We enjoyed the mackerel we had caught for appetizers, and the rest of the meal was first class. Good food, good company. Tony had come in as we were finishing up and brought his brother and a few other friends with him, so I went back to the piano to entertain them a bit. Finally we wrapped up the evening and I went to bed for a good sleep.