The next stop Tomas had arranged for us was a place called Mitchelstown Caves. This particular set of caves were the sort where you first had to climb a hill, and then go down loads of stairs. As is my habit, I did count the stairs going down, but I’ve since forgotten how many it was. Probably because the last set of stairs were quite slippy and the main goal wasn’t so much not to slip yourself, but not to be the one that started the domino effect of everyone falling down.
Anyway, the caves were absolutely magnificent, with many large formations and a lovely lake. Apparently, if you scuba through the lake, you can come out in another set of caves were are even more impressive, but since none of us had scuba gear with us, none of us know if that is true. Apparently they don’t even let researchers do it now, anyway, so who knows what it is really like. But we do know the caves on the side we were on were amazing. Most of the stairs had been carved directly into the caves, with metal stairs added in in a few tricky places.
When we finally got to the lowest of the caves, we were surprised at its sheer size and how the majority of it was relatively flat. Mitchelstown has hosted concerts there, and there are supposed to be a few this year. We were admiring it, when our guide asked if anyone sang.
For some reason everyone decided to pick on me and point out that, well, I do sing, which was then followed by the demand that I sing to illustrate the beautiful acoustics.
Do you know how hard it is to pull a song out of mid air when thirty or so people are staring at you? It’s one of those moments where your mind goes utterly blank. Someone suggested Happy Birthday, but that’s an annoying song that should be banned from the face of the earth, and definitely is ill suited to showing off the wonders underneath the face of the earth. Eventually my brain settled on All Hail The Power, since back when I was a wee thing, I not only memorized it, but for some reason had fixated on learning how to play all four parts on the piano, making it perhaps one of the most played songs I ever learned. In this case, it saved me, because it had enough range for me to start somewhere comfortable, and then sound impressive when I finally relaxed enough not to squeak.
It did sound pretty good. I was a bit impressed myself, mainly because it has been ages since I’ve actually sung with anyone around, unless I was one face in a faceless choir of people, which is great, because if you make a mistake, nobody knows it was you.
Anyway, that’s the story of how I came to perform my own mini live concert 200 feet underground. Bet not many people can say they’ve done that one.