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BROWN BREAD AND JAM CLUB - Cawley's Hotel, Tubbercurry, South Sligo - 12 November 2016

South County Sligo is well-known as the home of the iconic Irish traditional musicians, James Morrison, Michael Coleman and Paddy Killoran, but for eight years now, it has attracted an annual gathering of storytellers, singers and listeners known as the Brown Bread and Jam Club.

Again this year, they came from all over North West Ireland, and one singer, Ed Harper, even came from Ireland's most southerly point, Cape Clear Island! Mind you, there was one lady from even further away who found herself with a bit of unexpected free time. On a Presidential platform (ah well, she could dream!) Hillary Clinton (played by local lady Mary Walsh) addressed the crowd and extolled the merits of the various breads and jams she had known in her long career. Joe Corscadden, no mean raconteur himself, organises the night (see his own work about fracking and septic tanks on YouTube) and he acted as a lively ‘fear an ti’ for the evening.

OK, about the brown bread and jam - home-made of course - this was provided at the interval for all present, along with mugs of good strong tea. It was an evening of stories, recitations and monologues with a few humorous songs and a few tunes. Sadly, I had to leave early, but enjoyed contributions from Sligo, Cavan, Mayo, Donegal, Fermanagh and Cork before I did, clutching my slice of brown bread and jam. A great night with no entry charge, don't miss it in November 2017 - there's more to South Sligo than fiddle players!

Jim Bainbridge