Sometimes you just need to get out of town and listen to mind-blowing Scottish tribal drumming for 3 hours…right?

Confession 1:  all photos were taken with a cell phone and are incredibly bad

Confession 2:  I’m mildly obsessed with Europe.  Well…also with Africa and parts of Asia.  I’m mostly obsessed with the richness of their cultures and their longevity.  Especially now, when our own culture is so often pushed aside in the name of political correctness. I wonder if those cultures would have survived if they’d been as feckless in tossing our traditions as we seem to be.  And I’m fairly certain some liberal ass hat will come along and read this and say America is a democratic society with a long-standing tradition of allowing foreigners to enter the country, whereas Thailand or India are most definitely…not.  And maybe that played a small role in how we deviated from our traditions so easily and they didn’t.  But it can just as easily be argued that any nation as great as ours, with such colorful and varied traditions, should be defending them and preserving them.  With at least as much vigor as the masses seem to be defending their right to step on a flag or riot in the streets.

But that’s not the point of this post…

The point is that we heard Albannach would be performing in Raleigh and we decided we had to go!  They were playing an Irish pub called Tir Na Nog.  Luckily you don’t have to pronounce it to GPS it…so we set off to Raleigh for a night of international fun.

Colin Walker – lead drummer

Tir Na Nog is on Moore Square downtown and it’s all very picturesque and a little hipster-ish.  We like a little hipster every now and then…just not a lot.  I don’t know what it’s like when they don’t have bonafide Scottish musicians playing, but that night it was packed!  We procured adult beverages and a place to sit…then realized we were about an hour early…and starving.  Thank God we got there early because it gave us time to eat…

Yah…they serve food.  Not just any food, but the kind of food two poor souls from the barren food wasteland of Fayetteville will talk about for years to come….

“Do you remember the food…”

“At Tir Na Nog?!  OMG I was just thinking about that!!!”

…we still have that conversation.  Often.

Jacqui Holland – drummer & vocalist

I consider myself an adventurous person…but my sense of adventure knows boundaries…specifically culinary boundaries.  I rarely eat seafood when we go out.  I’ve never had a bad experience, but I have an overwhelming sense of unease when I look at a menu and see seafood on it.  Like, I know how desperately high the possibility of a bad experience is when you’re dealing with seafood.  Seriously…I don’t even fully trust the people at Joe’s Crab shack and they kind of specialize in that stuff.  Despite my acute paranoia…I ordered the fish and chips. I don’t even know why.  Maybe it was because i was tossing back cocktails like a desperate housewife on an afternoon soap opera or maybe it was because we’d driven out of town to listen to a Scottish band play bagpipes in an Irish pub on a week night…but I threw caution to the wind.


Jim ordered bangers and mash.  But then again Jim is the same guy who got drunk on cheap beer and thought it was a great idea to eat fish tacos at Denny’s at 3am one sad night.  To be fair, this was 20 years ago when we still lived in the dorm and his idea of cleaning was to shove everything he owned under his bed so no one could see it (that’s how I lost my favorite pair of shoes for 6 months). The point is…he is definitely still more adventurous than I am when it comes to food.  I seriously can’t emphasize enough how much we LOVED the food.  Go to Raleigh and and eat at Tir Na nog…you’ll thank me.  And maybe bring me something back…

Albannach was super fun.  I love the drumming…They’re so energetic and kind of wild.


I always feel kind of awkward at live music events.  Jim and I are not dancers.  No amount of alcohol can persuade us to gyrate publicly so we just kind of stand there bobbing our head in time to the music hoping everyone else is too drunk to notice.  I think this is why I became a photographer…if you’re documenting everyone else’s embarrassing moments…you’re too busy to have embarrassing moments.

Donnie MacNeil – piper


After 18 years in the community Tir Na Nog was closed briefly by the owner.   The former  manager recently reopened the pub at 108 East Hargett and Albannach is performing May 25th!  Also…Aya has left the band and was replaced with Drew Reid.