It's a taste of Ireland without having to travel halfway around the world.
Once a month, in the corner of Waxy O'Shea's, you will find a group of musically-inclined Southlanders - many of them thousands of kilometres away from home - tapping their heels and enjoying a glass of Guinness.
The group, some with thick Irish accents, others rolling their Southland Rs, are all part of a new initiative to have traditional Irish music sessions in Invercargill.
You probably cannot get much further away from Ireland than Southland, but it seems the sessions are gaining in popularity throughout the country, with meetings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
Now Invercargill is getting involved and the organisers hope Southlanders will take the chance to enjoy the warmth of Waxy O'Shea's on a winter's evening, maybe even have a beer, and play some traditional Irish music.
Session founder Kathryn Adam said the groups were hugely popular in Ireland, but largely informal occasions.
''In Ireland people have played music since the beginning of time.''
People turned up as they pleased, bringing along instruments, traditional music, she said.
They hoped by setting up a group in Invercargill, it would give musicians the chance to play some Irish music or just enjoy the laid back get-together with other musos.
''We are just trying to see if there are any musicians out there that we can convert to the Irish ways.''
Whilst flute players, banjo players and fiddle players were the ideal instruments, anybody, with any instrument, was welcome.
''Pretty much the full spectrum,'' she said.
The monthly sessions were so informal that it did not matter if you could not regularly commit.
You were more than welcome to come and go as you pleased, she said. And in typical Irish fashion - ''the more the merrier.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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