Sunday, June 17, 2012

Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub

Every other Wednesday, musicians gather at Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub (4308 Curry Ford Rd., Orlando). This bi-weekly Traditional Irish music session is hosted by Scott Vocca and Vicki Birdfeather Gish. Keven Hing, who often drives from the West Coast of Florida to play fiddle with the group, asked me to come to a session to meet and sketch his dad who was in Florida for a visit. I arrived right around 7:30pm when musicians were just setting up. A small green sign above the corner booth read, "Reserved for Musicians." Vicki had ordered a print of the last sketch I did at the pub as a birthday present for Scott. I had to give her the print without Scott suspecting. We went out to her car for the clandestine exchange.

Guinness was poured thick from the tap and the music began.  Kevin arrived with his mother and father.  This was a rare instance where I had to include specific people in the sketch. I focused most of my attention on Kevin and his dad. The music made my job easy. The lines danced and flowed. As the bar grew darker as the sun set, Vicki grew concerned that I wouldn't have enough light. She went out to her car and actually found a light bulb of a higher wattage for the ceiling fan lamp above the table. After the original bulb cooled down, I replaced it and aimed the light at the wall. It gave the scene a warm glow. Matt Saunders beside Kevin played the flute and Vicki is on fiddle. There were eight or so musicians off and on throughout the night.

Kevin's dad used to teach folk dance, that is how he met his lovely wife. He asked, "Does anyone ever dances to the Irish music?" Kathleen Cavanagh, who plays the Villeann pipes responded, "Yes, when we perform at music festivals, my young daughter often dances." Although his arms were often crossed, I could tell that inside, Mr. Hing was dancing. There is magic in this age old tradition of playing in the pub. These are the remaining 2012 session dates...

July 4, 18
August 1, 15, 29
September 12, 26
October 10, 24
November 7, 21
December 5, 19

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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