Drogheda Samba festival, Ireland

We had an early start to catch our ferry in Holyhead, and for those in the minibus, which was most of us, it was something of a nightmare journey. To be fair, the problem could have been something to do with the idiot who was driving the minibus (me), the fact that the M25 had turned into a car park for two hours, and then a lack of sensible road signs in Ireland.

Once we did eventually arrive, we set camp in our lovely hotel, then went out to get a taste of Samba in Ireland. We spent the night at one of the pubs in Drogheda, listening and dancing to some Maracatu, lots of draught Guinness, and of course, Irish hospitality! There were 20 groups at the encounter, most were from Ireland, 3 groups from the UK (including us), one from Scotland, and one from Toulouse in France (Samba Resille). Saturday was spent performing three times, watching other bands, and of course, joining in with the dancing. The highlight was the performance by the French group, where they also had with them a giant octopus which they used as part of their set, and a fishy theme they had going!

The standard of playing, by all the groups, was I thought, very high. Saturday night was spent back at the same pub as the night before, ending in an enormous mosh pit for the final set – the Samba Resille again!

Sunday morning, we had some time to visit the World Heritage site opposite the hotel, to marvel at the ancient monument there, and experience what it was like inside, being the same as it was some 5,000 years ago. Then we set off to Drogheda and had a slap up Lebanese meal, before getting ready for the parade in the afternoon. Of course, as the parade started, the heavens opened, and we were soaked! The parade ended with all the bands performing at the quayside, one or two of their numbers.

 We had a final couple of hours in Drogheda, soaking up some sunshine and some more Irish hospitality, before setting off to Dublin for the ferry, and the return journey to the UK. We made good time on the way home, driving through the night, to get back to the minibus hire place by 8.00am, so lots of driving involved (850 + miles for the whole weekend!) We came to the conclusion that we had a fantastic time, and would like to experience the weekend again if we got the opportunity.