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In Search Of The Craic: One Man's Pub Crawl Through Irish Music

By Tom Pryor

Colin Irwin

Carlton/Andre Deutsch

For the uninitiated, craic in Ireland is something else entirely than crack here in the States, although no less addictive. For the Irish, craic means good company, good conversation, good stout and, if you’re lucky, some great music. While good craic can be found anywhere Irishmen gather, its traditional home is in the pubs, and this high-spirited travelogue finds author Colin Irwin tramping the highways and byways of Ireland in search of the island’s best music pubs. In the course of his journeys he dances at the Listowl Fleadh and crosses paths with Bono, O’Connor, Christy Moore and the Keane sisters, but it’s the journeymen musicians and everyday people that make this more than just another literary pub crawl. Irwin’s depictions of regular pub-goers are handled with grace and wit. He allows the punters to tell him their own stories and, in the process, teases out the larger story of what keeps traditional Irish music alive and well in the 21st century.