When I was 17, I embraced my dad's Celtic music collection full force, but Altan is the only full band among the CDs, in addition to Loreena McKennitt and various compilations. Long before that, when I was 8 or 9, he took me to one of their concerts when my mom was too sick to go and although I don't remember much about the experience other than a lingering sense of how I probably didn't appreciate it, I like rewriting history in my mind.
The point being, it was amazing to get to see them perform up close (for the first half we sat on the grass pretty much right in front of the stage until we got up to find more comfortable seating). They did not play my all-time favorite (Donal Agus Morag), but they DID play my second favorite (Dulaman) and finished the set with a rousing instrumental which I'm not 100% sure of the title since many sound similar, but I know was from the "First Ten Years" CD and am 95% sure was either "Harvest Storm" (YouTube seems unwilling to cough that one up except as background music in "The Originals") or "Tommy Peoples'." I realized I had never actually paid attention to what they look like, but the lead female singer is very pretty, in addition to having a beautiful voice. I was particularly impressed to hear that Gaelic is her first language.
On top of that, while the Native Dogs of Ireland were far less numerous than last year (2 Kerry Blues and a lone Irish Terrier), they still had great pack of wolfhounds, all half a dozen or so of them as big as small ponies and completely chill, largely oblivious to all the eager hands petting them as they stood patiently or snored under the shade of the tent. MAN I LOVE WOLFHOUNDS. This was even a tiny bit better than seeing Altan.
Of the dogs I saw walking around, the prettiest one (of which I sadly did not get a picture) was a tie between a collie/German shepherd who basically looked exactly like a Shepherd-colored collie, and an utterly gorgeous longhaired red and white Dachshund. I didn't know dachshunds could come in piebald, but they are PRETTY.
I even splurged and bought a pretty top from one of the merchandise tents, at the unthinkable price of $28, because everything there was SO PRETTY and my mom got a top there yesterday that was incredibly pretty. So now we have two and they can be shared.
The only disappointment of the day was that we arrived too late (THANKS WORK) to see any Irish dancing. But even that was taken care of because a young guy playing onstage with Altan started his own 1-man dance to a couple of the reels, which really got the crowd going because awesome, and all in all it was a really great day.