The next night (Monday, January 29th), got even more exciting.
This happened to be the day that Na Piobairi Uilleann was dedicating their recently re-modeled building on 15 Henrietta street -- a wonderful Georgian-style building built in the early 1700s.
The Taoiseach of Ireland, Bertie Ahern was there to deliver the dedication speech. The place was packed, and there were Irish music "celebrities" everywhere (whoops -- I did it again). I saw Paul Brady, Sean Potts (the elder), Sean Og Potts, Robbie Hannan, and many others.
Eliot seemed as cool as a clam -- at home with just about everyone there. (Understandly so. Eliot's own music is featured in the archives, and even his writing contributions appear in their publication "An Piobaire"). but I was so dazed and awestruck I almost choked on my drink.
What an extraordinay experience -- to be part of an amazing moment of history for Na Piobairi Uilleann (see: http://www.pipers.ie ). I was truly honored and humbled by the passion behind this organization. There is no other organization like this -- dedicated on such a multi-faceted scale to a single instrument: The Uilleann Pipes, and to the preservation and promotion of one of Ireland's most beautiful cultural treasures and the most enduring symbol of Irish traditional music.
I had always enjoyed the uilleann pipes -- the intricate and rich instrument, as beautiful and wild as the Irish landscape itself. But that night -- I developed an extraordinary appreciation for the uilleann pipes.
This is one birthday bash I will never forget!