Tips for First Timers
What’s a typical day at Irish Arts Week like?
Breakfast: is sometime after you went to sleep and before morning workshop! Sessions can go on all night in some places…Some lodging offers coffee or coffee makers, but if you need more, you can get coffee to go at The Milk Run, Lawyer’s General Store, Angels East Café or Supersonic Speedway. These locations also offer breakfast sandwiches and other items. Full breakfasts are available at The Shamrock House, The Blackthorne, and Gavin’s.
Morning Workshop: 10 am – 11:30 am: CIAW doesn’t select your level for workshops, but ask that you self-select based on some basic guidelines. We reserve the right to allow an instructor to suggest a more appropriate workshop.
Mid-Day Break: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm: There are restaurants and stores around town that offer lunch items, ranging in price and service, from sandwiches and pizza to sit-down lunches. Arts Week brings in hundreds of people from outside, but remember that there is a local population with a noon-time lunch break. It can be busy around East Durham at lunch time, so plan accordingly. This is a great time to socialize and make new friends while enjoying great food.
Afternoon Workshop: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: CIAW doesn’t select your level for workshops, but ask that you self-select based on some basic guidelines. We reserve the right to allow an instructor to suggest a more appropriate workshop.
Late Afternoon Events: 4:00 pm – 5/ 5:30 pm: Lectures, Presentations, Sessions. Musicians of all levels participate in hosted sessions around town – there’s a scheduled slow session and an intermediate session, as well as one or two special lectures or presentations about a particular instrument, player, locality, or other interesting topic related to Irish history, traditional music or dance.
Dinner Break: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm: If you’re staying at one of the hotels that offers meals as part of your lodging package you can eat there or there a many dining options locally.
Concerts begin at 7:30 pm
Nightly Sessions around East Durham Irish Village begin at 10 PM – 12 AM
What should you bring to class, you ask?
You should bring your instrument in good repair, a tuner (if appropriate), a recording device of some sort (tape, digital, iPhone, etc.), a notebook and pen/pencil. Not all instrument teachers Dance, language, and arts classes have different requirements than instrumental classes. Dancers will want appropriate shoes and attire, as well as water and a towel.
What are the workshops like?
Workshops are held in a variety of locations, often contributed by local businesses or organizations. Chairs will be available for all students, but the spaces can vary widely in comfort level and size. You may bring water and any other items you might with to have in order to have your best learning experience. The workshops themselves feature your instructor, and a small to moderate sized group of your peers. Depending on the level of the class, and on the skill of the other participants, you could find yourself learning theory, tunes, instrument technique, or hearing stories and music from professional touring musicians and teachers at the highest level. Art and craft workshops focus on completing a specific project and your instructor will guide you through the process, coach you on technique, and keep you on task. Dance instructors will teach steps and techniques, and in the case of set dancing, students will learn figures and sets. Each instructor brings a lifetime of experience to the class.
What is there to do after dinner?
Evening Concert: Every evening during the week, from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm at the MJQuill Festival Grounds, arts week instructors and special guests gather for an exciting evening of world class music, song and dance. 😉
After-Concert Activities: The CIAW ceili starts at 9 pm each night. There are nightly, lively and exciting open sessions and listening rooms at local pubs and venues in East Durham for everyone to enjoy, where music and banter meet.
What if I need a Pharmacy or Supplies? Where’s the nearest Grocery/Laundromat/Pharmacy?
The nearest laundromat is east of East Durham in Cairo, NY. There is also a well-stocked CVS with a pharmacy in Cairo. They have cassette tapes, recorders, SD cards, and batteries. They don’t have instrument strings, so plan to bring your own, as the nearest music store is in Hudson, NY (about 30 minutes away across a toll bridge). If you need to restock groceries or supplies, you may be able to find what you need right in town at Lawyer’s or a little further west on Route 145 at The Milk Run. The nearest large town is Catskill, about 25 minutes east, where there is a Price Chopper Supermarket, as well as a Super Wal-Mart with a grocery section. The Milk Run also has gasoline and an ATM, and there is another convenience store/gas station just east of town past Stack’s Lamp Post. Lawyer’s and The Shamrock House have ATMs, as does the bank near the Milk Run. There are several banks in Cairo, as well. Some of the hotels and restaurants in East Durham have wi-fi. Ask to see if you can get online. If you don’t have a laptop, the local library in Cairo has computers and internet access. Cell phone service has improved over the years, but one place that you can get a signal for sure is up on the hill behind the MJQ Pavilion or behind the motels at the Weldon House.