The band made their way to Concarneau in Northern France this summer as part of there busy summer schedule. Click more to find out how they got on.
17th-22nd August 2011
By Eimear Costello, age 13
17/09/’11 Getting there!
It was 5am when we met on Mayor’s Walk. We loaded up the bus and waited for the people who were late. Eventually, we set off. It was the start of a great trip!
We got to Dublin at about 7am. The bus was unloaded and we entered the airport (very quickly because it was freezing!!!). There was a race to the check-in desk – lift or escalator? (I can’t remember who won but, I’ll say it was the escalator because I was on it!J. Anyway, we got in to the queue, well there were two queues so, another raceJ. When everyone was checked in we split up to get food. But, the splitting up didn’t really work because we all really ended up in the same place!
Another very long queue at departures, but it went fast enough and before we knew it, we were watching the guy showing us the exits and what to do if there’s an emergency. I was sitting beside Ciara Duffy and Megan and Mark, who were sitting across from us, and I had great craic telling Ciara and Megan ways that the plane could fall out of the sky. When we were landing Megan started to panic and screamed “I’m too young to die!!!” extremely loud. As the plane landed, Megan calmed down, and many people woke up. The baggage overhead was taken down and we left the plane. The airport was MASSIVE!! Eventually, the luggage came out and the drums didn’t come out too gently, but, luckily there was a group of drummers there to catch them. The bus was waiting for us outside so we got on it while the men put the stuff in the boot. The bus was amazing! Halfway down it, there were two seats that were like seats on a train, 2 facing 2. I got to go backwards, which was cool. I was Ciara Duffy and I facing Ciara Murray and Megan. Some people kept talking non-stop, one person in particularJ, so the four of us played the quiet game and Megan won! As we were going on the bus for 3 hours (!), we stopped in the biggest McDonalds like ever! The shopping Centre was so cool; there was a merry-go-round in it. It drove us mad because there was a Decathlon beside it but we “didn’t have time” to go into it. Se we got back on to the bus for another hour.
Eventually, the bus pulled up to a large building with grass and a few trees. The stuff was unloaded and we went inside. We stood in the hall while Pat called out what rooms we were in. I was in a room with the two Ciara’s and Megan. They were lovely rooms with two sets of bunk-beds, 4 tables (bed-side lockers) and a wardrobe beside the window. When we got settled in, we had a ‘short practice’ as Pat called it, which turned out to be a long practice! After the short, long practice we were brought to dinner by our translator Andre. It was a very fancy restaurant and it was looking out over the water and the walls of the old town. The food was gorgeous and we took a load of funny pictures. We also got a picture with the staff because it was random. We split up and looked around the town. There was a big stone bridge leading to the old town with big, massive stone walls. As it was the ‘old town’, we weren’t expecting much, but it was amazing! It was one street with some side streets leading to the old walls. There were lots of shops on either side and there was a park at the end. It was getting late so we headed back to the place where we stayed or ‘the digs’ as some people called it.
The First Day 18/08/’11
The first morning was mad! There were showers not working, kilts and uniforms that had to be ironed and a lot of people who didn’t want to get up! Eventually everyone was up and ready so we headed to the festival plaza (which was a car park with two stages, seats and tents) to get breakfast. Breakfast was croissants, pan au chocolate, rolls, butter, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. After breakfast we tuned up and played in front of the stage. Lunch was in another restaurant. After lunch, we tuned up and played in the main square in front of the market. We played for a while and then stopped. We had about 2 ½ hours free, so some went to the festival plaza or the old town. 2 ½ hours later it was tuning again, followed by more playing, by the water. Back to the rooms, some went out and others stayed and chilled out.
Day Two 19/08/’11
We were woken up and were told if kilts or neckerchiefs needed ironing, to bring them out to the hall. Otherwise, get ready! It was down to breakfast in the same place and then tuning. We played by the stage again and then we were brought to a room where we could keep our instruments when we weren’t playing. Then it was back around the old town for a while. We in played a short parade to the Mayor’s office. It was so hot that we nearly passed out! Seamus and Pat went inside to meet the Mayor. The rest of us went to put the instruments back. We waited for Pat to come back and he told us that half of us could go for lunch and the other half had to wait a while. So, the 15 that were waiting went up and got changed and went back down town. After about an hour, we went to the restaurant and got our lovely lunch. Later on that night, when we were tuning up, we played Happy Birthday for Mark Bardgett because it was his Birthday. That night, there was a spider in the other girls room which lead to a few panic attacks!
Day Three 20/08/’11
We woke up early, and went down to breakfast. We played as usual and lunch was in a restaurant. We played more and dinner was where breakfast was. We went to the old town and went to bed.
Day Four 21/08/’11
We had to get up really early because of the parade. So, it was up and out as usual, but, breakfast was in a different place. So, we headed off behind Andre to find the start of the parade. Eventually, we got there. There were big horses, loads of Breton dancers and bagad bands. Breakfast was served at two tables – one for drinks and one for food. We ate breakfast starting up and then we started to tune. After tuning up, we were brought to our own place in the parade – THE FRONT!! Well, behind a man leading a woman on a horse. It was a long parade which ended in the festival plaza.
The parade ended by the big stage with loads of people and a speech by Miss Concarneau. Then we put the instruments back and went to the place where we had lunch, for dinner – cold chicken, rolls and crisps – yummy! When everyone was finished, we went to get the instruments and went back to the rooms. At ten o’clock, the fireworks started, and they were amazing!!
The Last Day 22/08/’11
Breakfast was only upstairs, where the Spanish stayed. So, that meant a group of sleep children in pyjamas racing up the stairs. Breakfast was the usual. It was so fancy on the first floor, compared to our rooms down on the ground floor. Anyway, we were told we had to pack up, and leave the sheets and stuff outside the doors as soon as possible. When everyone was packed up, we split up and headed down to tow. In the square, there was a market. At three, we met back at the rooms to collect our stuff and wait for the bus. When the bus arrived, the stuff was loaded and everyone got on. Before the bus left, we all said goodbye to Andre – the best translator/guide ever!!!! The bus set off and it was another three hours of the quiet game, losing the game and drawing for the kids, down the back. We stopped about hallway for a toilet break. A little while later it started to rain and it just got heavier and heavier. Then the thunder and lightning started. Two of the girls started to freak out, but it was when we had to cross one of the scariest bridges in the world, that people started to freak out. Especially when Chris said “Imagine if we fell off the edge”. A few people shouted at him to shut up. When we got to the airport, the rain had eased off a good bit so we managed to get inside without getting too wet. The check-in queue was really long because the computers were down after the storm. The time was filled by a few people complaining and Hazel reading “Your Mama” and blonde jokes off her phone. Eventually, we got through the queue, and once again we were sitting in the plane waiting to take off. I was sitting beside Michael and Ciara Duffy and as we were taking off, a bird flew into the window. It was hilarious, but R.I.P little bird. We got to Dublin and waited for our bags. The bus was loaded, and we headed home. I think everyone slept on the way home. We arrived back at the Mayor’s Walk at about 2am.