A little bit of Ireland in Exeter

There are many good things about where we live in Exeter, and the existence of the Globe Inn a short walk away is one of them. Located off the main streets, it’s a comfortable and relaxed place, free of TV sports and High Street yobs. Eclectic but familiar furniture, subdued – but not gloomy – decor, and a decent selection of beers, wine and food. Follow them on Twitter @ExeterGlobe or on Facebook as The Globe.

The third Wednesday of each month is Irish music night at the Globe. Being married to a Dubliner means that this earns a slot in the domestic calendar. Being married to a Dubliner who is also a cousin of the direct descendants of the late and revered Leo Rowsome – the man who brought the sound of the uilleann pipes to a new and much wider audience– means it’s a must-go.

The band is a scratch band: a central core plus whoever else turns up. Last night was a thin evening, and the absence of the fiddle was noticeable, so the pipes were firmly in the ascendant. But we’ve been there when just about every band instrument was represented.

On their own, the pipes can be melancholic, evoking the remoteness, the unhappiness and the resilience of Irish communities over the centuries.  Speed up the tempo, or put the fiddle and a few more in, and it’s the jollity of John Wayne chasing Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man.  In keeping with the sociability of the Irish you can carry on a conversation while they’re playing. It’s not background music, but it doesn’t deafen you either. For me, it’s as good as actually being in Ireland.

The Globe hosts other forms of music more usually associated with city centre pubs in England. But it’s great to find a place that welcomes traditional Irish music, performed in the traditional way – no stage, but seated round tables in a corner of the pub. It’s a thousand miles from the cod “Irish bars” to be found in almost every city in Europe where the only pipes you’ll find are in the toilets.

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