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A group of session musicians at the Joe Mooney Summer School are currently waiting to see if the local publican will offer them a free round of drinks as an acknowledgement of their efforts.

Conway's pub in Drumshanbo is the scene of the stand-off as the musicians, right now into their third hour of playing, wait anxiously for what they believe is their right to a free round, despite all of them drinking pints of water and 'Mi-Wadi' up until now.

The musicians say that they have always been thrown a round here and there as an unofficial 'thanks lads', and they expect here to be no different as the session leader tells us.

"This tradition goes back years. The music would start up and draw people into the bar and they'd start buying drinks. The music would essentially earn the bar some business so in return the musicians would have a place to play and we'd get a round or two thrown into the deal."

"It hasn't happened here yet. We're still waiting for the oul lad behind the bar to come over. I know people might complain we're only drinking water and Mi-Wadi right now and buying proper drinks but for Jesus sake we're musicians! We're made of money like!"

The musicians are embroiled in a silent game of tug-of-war with the barman, involving quick glances over at the bar, exaggerated 'Ahhhh' refreshment sounds after each swig of their 'Mi-Wadis' and the barman pretending not to notice them.

"It's all about control ye see. You have to give these subtle hints like making a big scene when leaving the session and going up to the bar for another water, having change in your hand and pretending to count it hoping he'll take pity on ye. We'll break him at some point."

Talking loudly about past experiences is also a tactic being employed by the musicians, reminiscing about the Willie Clancy Summer School and talking about the generosity of the bar owners in throwing them a few free rounds.

However the publican is not to be moved and is unconvinced about the musicians playing:

"I'd gladly give them a free round...but they're shite!"


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