Diary of a Home Bird
EACH year members of musical societies all over Ireland make the annual pilgrimage to the ‘Mecca’ that is The Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney.
The weekend is a celebration of talent within musical societies the length and breadth of the country, culminating in an awards ceremony, the Association of Irish Musical Societies (‘AIMS’).
It’s a fairly tame affair as you can imagine. When you get 1,200 musical enthusiasts together for a weekend it’s all early to bed with some Ovaltine and a good book.
Okay, I’m telling white lies. AIMS weekend is possibly the most fun an adult can have legally. And when you throw Ballinrobe Musical Society in the mix with nominations for three awards (one of which we won) it makes for a cracking weekend indeed.
If asked to describe it, I say ‘It’s Ragweek for grownups’. A more civilised Ragweek with ball gowns, fancy dress and jazz hands, of course.
This year’s travel itinerary was planned with military precision. My co-pilot Anita and I hit the road at 2pm on the Friday to pick up our other compadre, Marie, from school. She’s in her twenties by the way, we didn’t kidnap an unsuspecting national school student or anything. We decided we’d collect her from work to save time. Every minute counts.
All was going to plan until I got a ‘Home Alone moment’. You know the bit where the parents realise they’ve forgot Kevin? Except in this case, Kevin was my prized makeup bag full of lotions and potions.
So, 30 minutes on the road and there we were, returning to Ballinrobe. I could tell my travel buddies were delighted with the ‘loop tour of Cong, Cross and The Neale’. Fair dues to the female roomie though for meeting us with said makeup bag.
Three-and-a-half-hours later we arrived safely to kick off festivities and get to know the other societies through our mutual love of musicals and, well, craic.
There were ripped fivers, near-miss concussions and pitstops in housing estates in Adare to take a breather on the long and winding road home – so winding, that poor Marie had to take over driving duty shortly after leaving Killarney.
The week following AIMS weekend is never easy. After what could be considered as the best weekend a human will ever have (maybe I’m a bit biased), you have major withdrawals. And the week that followed was not ideal.
Coming home a little worse for wear, I realised on Monday that I had left half of my belongings in the wardrobe at the hotel. Eighteen calls later, though, the stuff was located and it’s currently in some postal service on its way.
On Tuesday I opened a door into my face, nearly breaking my nose. I realise I’m being dramatic, but God was it sore, and I’ve a temporary scar to prove it.
Wednesday I reversed into a parking meter, well, the bollard protecting the parking meter. Clearly Mayo County Council have been warned about my reversing skills.
As I write this it is Thursday, and I’m pretty much waiting to be struck with lightning.
Still, all’s well that ends well. If ‘well’ is an injured Black Beauty, a bruised nose and two halves of a fiver to my name.
AIMS, you never disappoint.
In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old trying to get used to living away from her parents.