This Spring we embarked on our biggest EVER tour.
From the entire room singing Edelweiss in the middle of Rapture and Revelry at The Seamus Ennis Arts Centre in Naul way back at the beginning February to the whole crowd dancing in (near) perfect sync to Chin Up Jack in Parma, Italy at the end of March. Phew.
Along the way we've had a room full of people singing the entire bridge to Tear Along The Line in Cleere's, Kilkenny.
Mongrel State ripping it up in Monroe's Galway and the impromptu trad session that broke out in the backstage afterwards.
Those lads who wanted pictures with JUST Kearney in Cyprus Avenue, Cork.
A VERY alternative Valentines day in The Harbour Bar, Bray (beautiful as ever).
Singing Jesus Don't Save Me to a room full of priests and nuns (and Ruud Gullit) at TedFest on Craggy Island (Inis Mor), and a whole room full of lovely people upstairs in Dolans Warehouse, Limerick wrapping up the Ireland leg in the best possible way.
On to England where we got to go on Loose Ends with Clive Anderson on BBC Radio 4 (very exciting).
Play to a load of new faces and a few repeat offenders (Ferocious Dog in Rock City, anyone?) in The Bodega, Nottingham.
Watch CC Smugglers lay waste to the upstairs of Esquires, Bedford before being treated to a dancing frenzy in Holy Moly's afterwards (which included most of the bar staff).
Play to a room that comprised (at least half) of dejected Jenny Eclair fans in The Stables, Milton Keynes who as it turns out were only too happy to have a lovely time with us instead (hope Ms. Eclair is feeling better).
The fantastic Ringlefinch and Brian Grogan at The Finsbury, London.
Seeing Lottie, Miles and Eric the Hedgehog in The Prince Albert, Stroud.
Sweating it out with Poor Old Dogs and The Urban Cohorts (as well as parts of an AWESOME room full of people that sang along with the guitar riff in After The Sherry Went Round - we loved that by the way) in The Old Duke, Bristol.
A sea of heads all jumping up and down to the end of Shame in Whiskers, Newquay.
The ALMIGHTY Mad Dog Mcrea in The Princess Pavillion, Falmouth and then AGAIN the next night in The Rainbow, Birmingham. everyone who was there (except John).
Then, to Italy. . . .
In the middle of a sea of soaring highs came the biggest crushing blow this band has ever encountered. We were robbed.
Later that day, with our heads hanging low and in desperate need of a bit of moral support we posted about it on Facebook and were absolutely overrun with messages of kindness and solidarity.
We went off to the airport to pick up The Lord Henrys and in the time we were away (and wifi-less) the wonderful Michelle Geraghty set up a GoFundMe campaign, by the time we got back to the hotel it had raised over €1,000.
Since then it has raised an incredible €6,749!!!
We were (and still are) completely and utterly blown away.
There are no words to describe how grateful we are for all of your love, generosity and support.
We are very, very humbled.
Thank you all so, so much.
Being on the receiving end of this incredible act of people-power gave us the turn around we all needed to lift our heads back up, come out fighting (for want of a less cliched term) and get on with the Italian leg as best we could.
Luckily the people we encountered in Italy were of the warmest, most welcoming, accommodating variety we could ever have hoped for.
To Gran Teatro Geox in Padova where as well as play our own gig we also got to join the Modena City Ramblers on stage in front of about 10,000 people for a song.
The next night in Pesaro we got to (try) speak our first words of Italian on stage thanks to the tutelage of our wonderful friend Sergio Santinelli.
In Cuneo, we played in a beautiful town square, pretty much at the foot of the Alps to an amazing crowd of 3,000 people.
In Bologna, we were treated to some Irish set dancing in the afternoon, a small gig in the middle of the city before having the time of our lives on stage in front of an all singing, all dancing cast of 5,000 before wrapping things up in Parma the next night - Grazie. . . Prego!!!
All of this incredible adventure we have been lucky to embark upon leaves only one thing left to do before we can move on to our tour of The Netherlands in April. .
We have to throw a massive big party in Dublin to thank all of you who came to our aid after the robbery in Milan, it's the only way we can even begin to think about thanking you all for all of your help and support in what has been a very difficult time for all of us.
The good people at Whelans of Wexford Street have offered to give us the venus this coming Saturday the 2nd of April, we are going to have a free gig and we hope you will all come along so we can thank you all in person.
Because of the amount of people expressing interest in this gig, we have been advised to put a ticket system in place.
By clicking the below link and then registering for a free ticket(s) you will be guaranteed entry anywhere up until 9:30pm.
After that the doors will be open in case there is anyone who hasn't managed to get a ticket but wants to come up until the point where the venue is completely full.
We hope to see you all there, it's going to be a great night.
Up The Parish