12:00 pm

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[Dingle, IRELAND]

The plaintive air
Of the Uilleann pipes,
As the rain pours down outside.

Standing in a small Irish pub, drinking Guinness, listening to a group of Irish musicians play traditional music ... pure joy. Heightened all the more by the rain pouring down outside. We are stopping overnight in the small, extremely charming town of Dingle in County Kerry and have found our way to O'Sullivan's Courthouse Pub. We have someone on guitar, someone on a squeeze box and flute, and someone on Uilleann pipes -- sometimes referred to as Irish bagpipes, played by pumping air into a bag using elbow action. The loveliest, most haunting tune of all, played mostly with the Uillean pipes, is 'The Faeries Tune'. The piper tells the tale of how a fellow he knew was walking though the twilight on one of the nearby Blasket islands and heard music on the wind that he believed to be made by the faeries. And hurried home to write it down. A friend of his teased that it might have been the whales, but you sense how ready people are to accept the existence of the little folk! It seems to me that Ireland lives, very comfortably, on the border of this and other, more rarefied worlds.

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