We’re walking around Galway’s Latin Quarter, looking for Lynch’s Castle (more on that tomorrow) but I’m getting hungry—and tired of walking—so I suggest we find a café along Abbeygate Street and take a break. This is a university town, Galway, and you can’t go a block anywhere in the Latin Quarter without coming across a busker. Sometimes working a corner by themselves; sometimes three or four of them looking like they just woke up and bruisin’ their way through one traditional Irish tune or another.
Look, there’s a couple of blokes just setting up next to that café, says Mr. Lynch. Why don’t we get something there and we can sit at a table on the sidewalk and be entertained at the same time. So that’s what we do. And after a couple of tunes, the two guys—one playing a banjo and the other some sort of metal acoustic guitar—are joined by two more, a lad on fiddle and another banjo player.
They’re not half-bad, says Mr. Lynch and they aren’t. A green felt-lined banjo case is open on the sidewalk in front of them and passersby toss in a coin or two, and then there’s a tike in blue cap and striped sweatshirt, no more than two or three surely, whose mum has given a coin so he can throw it into the banjo case but when he gets in front of the buskers, the music seems to animate his little body and he starts spinning and dipping about, inventing his own little dance, and throwing his hands up in the air in great joy. Even the buskers, who look tired and almost bored by their performance, are entranced and pick up the pace of their playing as the child spins around and around until he has made himself so dizzy that he falls hard on his arse.
Everyone laughs, including the young boy who promptly gets up and, after depositing his coin in the banjo case, starts clapping and dancing again. Happy as any child this fine morning in Galway.
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