A bit more Irish

At the risk of being boring about it, Irish camp seems worth one more post.


After two days of lessons and activities, the camp ends this:  all 170 kids gather in the cafeteria (largest space available) and play the official “Camp tune for the year” in unison. What does that entail?, you may wonder (if you are not yet bored with Irish camp news), and I shall tell you…


  • there are only specific instruments used to play this music: violin, flute, tin whistle, bodrun (irish drum), banjo, guitar, accordion, and keyboard (piano)
  • Irish music is in the form of tunes called reels, jigs, polkas, waltzes, hornpipes, and variants thereof.
  • the tunes are played in unison with a limited amount of harmony provided by piano, guitar, or accordion. (Even plucked instruments like the banjo or mandolin pluck the tune instead of strumming harmony chords.)
  • the music is remarkably FAST.

So imagine, if you will, 170 kids age 7 – 18 packed four rows deep, wedging their instruments between the arms and backs of those around them, fiddling or flutling, or plucking or plinking their (lightening) way through “Pa Paddy O’Sullivan’s Polka” with intensity and EVER INCREASING SPEED! It is an experience not to be missed. Especially because, as it goes, ever-increasing numbers of the smaller kids loose track of their place and the chaos grows steadily as they race towards the final note.


You have to be made out of stone not to find this experience wonderful. I found it exceptionally wonderful. Chaos and all. – Katie