Sunday, September 22, 2013

Great Irish Hooley


Over Labor day weekend, Monday September 2nd, I went to Raglan Road (1640 North Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL) for the Great Irish Hooley. Raglan Road is located on Pleasure Island near Downtown Disney. A Hooley is a unique Irish Festival jam packed with the best of Irish Music and Entertainment outside of Ireland. This sounded to good to be true, so I braved the Disney Tourist crowds to get a sketch.

When I pulled into the Downtown Disney parking lot, it immediately began to rain. I pulled out my iPhone and pulled up the weather radar app. Sure enough the radar showed a small rain cell right over my location. The clouds were moving fast and the radar showed a wide open expanse once the storm passed. The radar updates every five minutes and I waited in the car with the rain pelting loudly on metal. After fifteen minutes the rain slowed and I started over to Raglan Road.

As luck would have it there was an awning that provided perfect cover right across from the pub. The lightning rods on every corner of the pub seemed ready for any strike. The outdoor stage was covered with tarps and I assumed I would be sketching a rained out event. One of the Irish dancers, Daniella, spoke with tourists in front of the pub. She took an interest in my sketch and then spoke with Disney Coworkers who were exploring the parks on their day off. He was leaving his Disney job soon and she expressed regret about having to see so many people always leaving. A manager checked with the bartender, and nerves bristled that she would start telling employees gathered outside the pub what to do. The manager noticed me sketching and walked over. Luckily she just glanced down, said, "Nice" and walked off.

Someone joked with the bartender, saying, "You look lonely. Seven dollars for a Guinness! No wonder you look lonely!"  He ordered a drink anyway. The stage was cleared and Johnny Norton and Justin Murphy began to play. A crowd formed quickly in the street to watch. Declan Masterson followed that act playing lively music for jigs and reels. The dancer, Daniella began doing a jig in front of the band, then people in the audience joined in. This turned out to be an amazing performance by traditional Irish musicians who had been flown in for the four day event. Though off to a soggy start, this turned out to be a hell of a good time. I heard the interior of the pub is absolutely gorgeous so that may warrant a return visit.

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