Tuesday 17 September 2019

John Daly: 'Memories map road for Trip to Tipp'

Pure and Semple: The Trip to Tipp in 1993. Photo: Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection
Pure and Semple: The Trip to Tipp in 1993. Photo: Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection

John Daly

To borrow a phrase from the House of Stark, "winter is coming" - and I'm far from thrilled about it.

Shorter days, chilly evenings, triple layers and a multitude of furrowed Brexit brows are the dubious joys in store as we wade headlong into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

As a balance to this negativity, I'm planning a return to carefree days of youth later this month - specifically, a Trip To Tipp, part 2. I nurture a kaleidoscope of vivid visuals from the original music shindig, despite the distance of almost three decades.

Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Log In

Long before the throwaway culture of Lidl tents, the Trip to Tipp gave a uniquely Celtic version of 'Woodstock in Wellingtons'. Traffic jams, muddy fields, moonlight walks, drunken snogs and the eternal search for a decent can opener.

In a year where Mary Robinson took residence in the park as the first female president, the soccer team made the World Cup quarter-finals and Bart Simpson urged everyone to "eat my shorts", the idea of a large-scale music festival was in sync with a new generation thirsting for a happening that would be ours alone.

True, we had already tasted the delights of Macroom's Mountain Dew and the Lisdoonvarna Folk, but Féile offered something entirely new - a weekend happening where booze, beans and cannabis resin would be the essential staples. Mobile wi-fi - is that some class of a trailer?

Like many a great idea, that first Trip was borne out of necessity - clearing the Semple Stadium debt of £1.2m. Naturally, there were many against the plan, including the clergy, the Garda, even the GAA itself. Eventually it got the green light, with tickets at £29 a pop snapped up sharpish, and sparking the flame that would become the fore-runner of events like Witness, Oxygen and Electric Picnic.

The weekend scenes live longer in the memory than the music - particularly the caravan sign offering 'Hangover cure 50p' - with Alka-Seltzer in smaller script; a dozen heads poking from sleeping bags in a VW van; two teens deep in the throes of abandoned passion, in full view atop two public phone boxes.

The vibe would become an ebullient trademark exported anywhere Jack's Army tracked the boys in green.

Despite muddy fields, litter-strewn streets and a major absence of toilet facilities, that first Trip became a rite of passage to a more inclusive, liberated Ireland. The genie was out of the bottle, opening hearts and minds to cultural horizons unthinkable a few years before. I can only hope it'll be a fraction as good this time around.

How to steal a perfect moment in a museum

If you're in need of some spiritual uplift, a visit to Limerick's Hunt Museum will tick the perfect box. The current exhibition features 62 works by John Lavery and Walter Frederick Osborne, many long sequestered in private collections.

Of them all, 'A Windy Day', painted at Lavery's house near Tangier in 1908, is alone worth the price of admission. It breathes summer heat, Mediterranean light in a beguiling palette of vivid reds and blues. I stood spellbound before its seductive glory for 15 minutes, contemplating how I might successfully steal it...

Feed the wasps - they've earned it

Put away that swatter and let those pesky wasps enjoy their last days of buzzed-up bliss.

Without their relentless work ethic, the human race would be doomed - so kindly place a saucer of fizzy pop on the windowsill and let them expire on a well-deserved sugar high.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss