After a surprisingly smooth trip - everyone arrived at the airport on time (more or less!), all the bags (including pipes, drums, guitars and miscellaneous instruments) were checked in without a hitch (thank you, Mr. Cummins!), we took off from Manchester just 30 mins late for a short, 40-minute flight to Belfast International.
br> br>Brendan and Paul were there to meet us, as was our coach driver, Brendan (another one!). The two-and-a-half hour drive was put to good use (40 winks, fine tuning for Lorica before their show this afternoon), before we reached Falcarragh and a fantastic welcome from Barry's family at the Shamrock (yes, all roads for the Band seem to lead to a pub called the Shamrock, whether it's in Ancoats or in County Donegal!), who greeted us with kind words and a lovely Irish smile.
br> br>At 2 pm, we opened the Festival, marching a short distance along the high street to the Festifal stage, where we performed a 30-minute set to an appreciative and enthusiastic audience.
br> br>The afternoon went on with an impromptu session at the Shamrock by Lorica (Barry, Brendan, Mike, Carl, John Fitz and Colin), who were soon joined by Tara, Andrew and Stephen, three fantastic local musicians.