Thursday evening, I will once again travel down Roosevelt Trail to Portland to share an evening performance of Irish music with what may be the most Irish folks in town!

Last year, as I approached the entrance of Park Danforth, I was greeted by a lady in green.

“Are you our entertainment?” she quipped.

“I am, that I’d be,” I responded.

“We had a pair of Irish setters in our home,” she continued.

Our conversation lasted only a minute or two, as I needed to get my bodhrán, pennywhistle and guitar inside where it was warm. I’d barely approached the doorway when another resident smiled at me. She had a green hat and a necklace of green beads around her neck.

“Top o’ the morning to ya,” she proudly touted, then asked, “Are you Irish?”

“That I am, even though me mither was a bit French.”

I was almost into the warm entryway when I noticed posters and pictures of Irish flair and shamrocks all over the place. There was a picture of me with the text subscribed, “Walter O Bannon Irish Singer/Songwriter.”

I had rarely seen such energy and excitement even in the local establishments. Now, celebrated by those who are first-generation descendants and some even immigrants from Ireland, I realized that these golden smiling eyes of folks in their golden years represent perhaps the most Irish among us!

It’s a long drive down the corridor from Bridgton to Portland, but I wouldn’t trade the warmth of the Irish hearts that flow from those smiling eyes for all the gold in Dublin!

Walter Bannon