By Timothy Reilly, from Sheila Connolly’s An Early Wake (County Cork Mystery #3)
I’m not from West Cork, but it was the music that brought me here. I’d better explain that, I’m thinking. You see, I’m Timothy Reilly, and I’m a student at Trinity College in Dublin, getting my degree in music history, and to finish that I need to write a research paper. I wanted to do something about contemporary music and how it relates to traditional music—you know, where the old affects the new.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of some of the bigger groups and singers, like U2 and Enya and even Glen Hansard, who went and won himself an Oscar prize for a song of his a while back. But the music tradition in Ireland goes back farther and goes deeper—we’re a people who like to sing, and sing together.
The more research I did, the more often I kept hearing about this place called Sullivan’s, in the middle of nowhere in West Cork, and I figured I should check it out. Before term started I borrowed a car and drove down there, and found out that the guy who had made the music happen, going back years, had died no more than a few months before I got there. Bad luck, I thought.
But the more I talked to people, the more I realized that people around there remembered the way it was, and it got me to thinking that maybe it could happen again. I had to explain the history of it to the new owner, Maura Donovan, but she thought it could work, and if it was only for the one night, no loss. So I started pulling together players, and other people, like this amazing guy called Old Billy, helped, and by the time we were done, we’d put together a really grand evening of the music.
Too bad someone died, one of the old musicians who had come back to Sullivan’s to play with his mates for one more session. His last, I guess, in more ways than one.
But we got past that, and I think Maura Donovan has made up her mind to keep the music going. I hope so. I found out more than I ever expected from that night, and let me tell you, it’s something special.
An Early Wake will be released on February 3rd. You can find it at: