The Achill Lads are taking Irish traditional music to every state in the US.
Taking a road trip around every single one of the United States of America is a dream of many. Yet Irish traditional musicians Cian McNamara and Michael Lavelle, otherwise known as The Achill Lads, decided to make their epic journey through every US state that extra bit special, performing an Irish tune beside some of the country’s most iconic landmarks as they went.
Hailing from Achill Island off the coast of Co. Mayo, the musicians set off on their enviable task on May 7, simply hiring a car and hitting the road, without any gigs planned along the way and nothing funding them other them their sense of adventure.
Well, what can we say? What an experience that was to play a tune in each of the 48 states of the USA. It could not have been achieved without the help of all of our followers! We would like to thank numerous people who helped us out on this journey! From Bryan Burvis and his amazing fiancé Jessica Stitts for giving us a roof over our heads in Cleveland. To Michael Crawley for the loan of Instruments, to Brent Hopper for the loan of the sound equipment for our gigs in PJ Mc Intyres and to Pat Campbell for putting on the gigs for us! But as always we would like thank all our followers out there for their kind words and support throughout our trip! You were the ones that drove us and pushed us over the finish line and for that we sincerely thank each and every one you!! Anyways, here's a couple of Reels for the road. Hup!! Africa next year??🤔Posted by The Achill Lads - USA Tour on Dé Máirt, 29 Bealtaine 2018
McNamara and Lavelle had traveled to Cleveland from Achill where they stayed with a cousin before setting off on the road and while they hadn't planned anything beforehand, they ended up with a few gigs along the way.
State #13 - Bridgeport, West Virginia Well, what can we say about this great establishment!! From the moment we walked in the door until the minute we left, we were treated like royalty! Tim, his wife Jade and Erin the bartender were so good to us we felt like we were at home. We would like to thank them for their hospitality and kindness! This is a lovely, warming and friendly Irish Pub that we would highly recommend to our friends. If you are travelling through Bridgeport, WV, make it your business to call in!! Erin joined us for this video where she sang 'Star Of The County Down'. She has lovely voice! Hope all the Clevelanders had a good time at The Hooley on Kamm’s Corners, May 12!! Next stop, Kentucky!!Posted by The Achill Lads - USA Tour on Dé Sathairn, 12 Bealtaine 2018
On Tuesday, May 28, their trip came to an end, having whipped out their instruments for a jig and a reel in 48 out of the 50 US states. (Alaska and Hawaii were understandably the only two not included.) They even stopped off in the District of Columbia, where they chose the bagpipes and a drum for a performance after they failed to convince President Trump to make them a cup of tea.
Jumped away from the states for a few minutes to head into DC. Pipes and 90°f was not the best idea but anyways! Here is a reel called "Dancing feet" Up the road next to West Virgina!Posted by The Achill Lads - USA Tour on Dé Sathairn, 12 Bealtaine 2018
Aiming to film their videos “at historical sites, landmarks and other interesting locations,” the lads also showed us some beautiful scenes of America by simply perching up to play by a river or in the woods.
State #3 - Brattleboro, Vermont Here we are playing a polka on the banks of the Connecticut River in Brattleboro! Next stop New Hampshire!Posted by The Achill Lads - USA Tour on Dé Máirt, 8 Bealtaine 2018
“It was tiring but we kept plugging,” McNamara told IrishCentral.
Not only is it quite a feat to complete all the states in such a short period of time but The Achill Lads also showed off enormous talent as well, alternating between instruments for each video.
And they already have their sights set on the next musical exploration, joking about taking on the continent of Africa next summer!
You can see the full tour and find your own state’s video on The Achill Lads - US Tour Facebook page.