Since June 1st, the Bold Thady Quill pub at the Lansdowne Arms Hotel in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, offers traditional music and dance at 7:30 pm (about two hours earlier than many other pubs).on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. A dinner reservation at 6pm allowed us to choose the best seating for the music and dance program and gave us plenty of time to eat a leisurely meal before the program began. It also gave us a very tasty and reasonably priced meal that featured, among other good things, one of the best Irish stews we have had anywhere in Ireland and a baked salmon steak that was simply outstanding. The music and dance, which do not cost anything extra, started right on time and lasted until well after 9 pm. Good food, good timing, good service, and good prices – what’s not to like? You probably don’t need to book a time before 7, but be sure to ask for table no. 8 or no. 9 – in front on the left of the fireplace; the musicians sit on the right – when making your reservation (if they allow it; that depends on who answers the phone), and don’t let them put you in the Poet’s Bar: In the Poet’s Bar you can have the early bird special prix fixe dinner (2 courses for €19, 3 courses for €22, served between 5 and 6:30 pm), but that saves you very little money, and you will not have the traditional music (nor, frankly, the atmosphere).
During the music program members of the audience are urged to participate: sing, dance, tell a joke or a story, give an oration, anything. The audience are also encouraged to put something in the tip bucket for the young students who put a lot of effort and spirit into the dancing. For this part the participation rate was much higher: we were gratified to see how many of the audience put paper money (so an amount of €5 or more) into the bucket at the end of the program. An added benefit: they put us under no pressure whatever to buy more drinks.
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