The roadworks doesn’t make the Daniel O’Connell pub (at 1211 Wellington St Downtown Ottawa,Canada) easy to find, and when you do, it looks like an average punters pub. But don’t let appearances deceive – this is not your trendy boutique brewery, but the genuine article. And Thursday night saw me heading down at about 8.30pm to find a seat. And the place was almost empty – until 9.00pm when one by one people came in – mostly fiddlers with a couple of squeeze boxes, flutes, and a mandolin for good measure, and a couple of bodhran players. One of the latter had a couple of fine tuneable bodhrans with lovely tone – and he wasn’t a bad player himself.

Celtic session at Daniel O'Connell's pub, Ottawa

I was introduced around to all the musicians as they arrived and was told that another Aussie had stopped by last week – from Sydney – did I know him? His name was Tom… I laughed and said “no, but I know his cousin who lives in Perth!”

They were another very friendly bunch – and very welcoming of visiting musicians. I was warned this was a louder session than Monday night’s one but again the pochette could be heard clearly. I missed not having a shoulder rest though – something to think about for the next one.

Despite the relaxed demeanour of the musicians – there was little relaxed about the music which was good and lively. By 10.00pm the pub was packed and people were clapping and replenishing our Guinness supplies. We sang a few songs, but it was mostly again the older traditional tunes – so I was well up with most of the repertoire. I sang “the Parting Glass” as a toast to the group and they seemed to appreciate it.

Celtic music session at Daniel O'Connell's pub, Ottawa

There was a particularly fine Cape Breton fiddler there, but there was a good range of players from relative beginners to some very professional sounding players.

It was a great night and we finished up around midnight. Again may thanks to the Ottawan folkies for making me feel welcome in their session.