Paul Hammer fiddling (Susan Hammer)
Some people wait until retirement to chase their dreams. Some dream about travelling but never get around to it.
Last year, Winnipeggers Paul and Susan Hammer made a decision to spend a year in Ireland.
Paul and Susan are two musicians well known about town. Susan plays concertina, bodhran, and Irish whistles. Paul plays mandolin, guitar and banjo. For several years Susan was the Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Irish Festival.
Paul and Susan Hammer are performing and teaching at this year's Irish Festival, September 23-24.
Last September, Paul and Susan sold their house in Osborne Village, along with everything they own and they moved to Ireland for the year. They've returned just in time for the 24th Annual Irish Festival.
SCENE asked them to share the story about their adventure abroad:
We spent a magical year in a cottage by the sea. The wind would blow in from the Atlantic Ocean while we huddled around the fire playing our music, or listening to the local radio station play wonderful traditional music.
During our time there, it was the coldest winter in history. At one point, the pipes froze so we had no running water for ten days. That didn't even happen to us in Winnipeg!
Mainly, we took in concerts, festivals and sessions to our hearts content. We heard so many wonderful musicians play! It was a great year of professional development.
In our cottage by the sea, Paul took up fiddle, a lifelong dream which he finally had time for. Everywhere we went in Ireland we met amazing musicians, and we had the chance to play in sessions with some of the greatest Irish musicians in the country.
Paul is an avid photographer. In Ireland, he spent many hours a day capturing the Irish countryside. (see below)
We both came back to Winnipeg, rested and reinvigorated. After our year in Ireland, we opted to live in the artistic community of Winnipeg Beach, rather than return to the hustle and bustle of Winnipeg City.
We are now working on a new CD as a follow-up to our previous recording, From Distant Shores. We'll be teaching (music and photography) and performing a lot this year, in the Interlake area, as well as in Winnipeg.
This content is provided by Susan Hammer. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for this content.
***Paul and Susan are offering Introductory music workshops Tuesday Sept 27th in Gimli. For more information you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.