In this loose parody of Dante's "Inferno," four Irish traditional musicians get lost in the backwoods of upstate New York the week before St. Patrick's Day. On the journey, the band descends through nine hellish circles of American-style 3/17 revelry: Step-dancing princesses. Bobbing shamrock headbangers. Green beer bacchanals. Shillelagh-wavin' geezers.
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A band of four traditional Irish musicans come to America for a pre-St. Patrick's Day tour. When their car breaks down on a back road in the wilds of upstate New York, the group begins their descent, a la Dante's Inferno, through nine levels of hellish American St. Patrick's Day revelry.
3/17 is a parody that examines the bizarre ways in which Americans celebrate the feast day of Ireland's most famous saint. Best enjoyed with a pint of plain and the music of The Chieftains or Altan in the background.
Fionn flipped open his cell phone and called his Cousin Des in the States. After six rings, it picked up.
“Des, it’s me.”
“Me, yer Cousin Fionn.” Fumbling and crashing noises filled the background for a few seconds.
“Fionn, ye feckin’ eejit. It’s feckin’ four in the mornin’.”
“Sorry, lad. It’s just that … Des ye’ve gotta help me. I gotta get outta here.”
“Gardaí after ye?”
“No. Worse. Me girl dumped me in front of the Tuesday night session.”
“Och. Ye poor lad. That’s bleedin’ awful.” Des rubbed his eyes and yawned.
“I know. The whole feckin’ pub was watchin’, too. All these trad legends were there, Johnny Pat Derrane, Micko Harnett and even Tommy Kilcooley. Me reputation’s completely banjaxed.”
“That Renny’s mental, I tell ye. The craic was so mighty, the music even better. Then she went and spoilt it.”
“Didn’t I warn ye about stayin’ away from them Claddagh swans? I told ye, they’s enchanted.”
“I know, Des. I know. And boy, she’s some witch all right! A talented witch, but she’s a feckin’ mental one. Can ye help me lad? I’m dyin’ here. Need a reason to get out of this place.”
Des yawned as he tried to come up with a suitable scheme to help his cousin.
“This is what ye’r gonna do. Get yer trad band back together and we’ll get ye over here in March for a tour of the States.”
“A tour of the States, with me band? Brilliant! Och, I’m lovin’ the sound of this, Des. I’m not leavin’ to save face, I’m leavin’ ’cause me American fans are pinin’ for me.”
“Ye know, Fionn. It’ll be easy money, too. Yanks love nothing better than a good piss-up before St. Patrick’s Day. They start celebratin’ six months to a year before. No word of a lie. Me friend Sean booked a few indie bands at some college campuses in upstate New York last fall. I’ll see if he can book yez a tour.”
Fionn hung up and smiled. He’d lost his girl and gained some gigs. Interesting 24 hours, he thought. This working trip—his first to America—would be atonement for his recent sins. He’d no longer take his musical gift for granted. He’d share the gospel of traditional Irish music with the new world.
“All I have to do now is put a dacent band together.” Fionn emptied his pint, blessed himself and exited the confessional booth.