Immersing with the Local Punks

Dublin is the host of some of the most varied music scenes I’ve ever encountered. Over the past few weeks I’ve been working hard at becoming more and more immersed in the Dublin nightlife. So far I’ve been able to meet some of the most genuine and friendly people. Most of the kids are very involved in the local punk music scene. Normally, if I were at home in Massachusetts or Vermont I would not frequent punk shows, as hardcore music is more of my taste. But here, the punk is so refreshing. The kids I meet at shows are extremely open and willing to have some good conversation. One group of kids that I have gotten to know is the band Checkpoint. Checkpoint is a punk band drawing their influences from much of the early punk movement up through the 1980s. The band formed about 5 years ago and up until recently has over went member changes. The current lineup has been consistent for about a year or so. Sean, the rhythm guitarist, Ryan, the lead guitarist and back up vocalist, Matt, the bassist, and Ali, the drummer, make up the band.

Checkpoint from L-R: Matt, Ali, Sean, and Ryan
Photo: https://www.facebook.com/CheckpointPunk

I met Matt at Sweeney’s Live Music Bar during the second weekend of my study abroad semester. Over the next couple of hours Matt and I started talking about music constantly. During this whole time Matt introduced me to the rest of his group of friends. By the end of the night, I realized that immersing myself into Irish culture was not going to be as hard as I had thought.

Since getting involved with the punk scene, I have now made it a goal to try and head out with that group of kids at least once a week. Ironically enough, Matt lives right down the road from the Mount Temple Comprehensive School where I am doing my service learning placement for 6 hours every Wednesday. After my first day at the school Matt and I went to a local fried chicken restaurant before heading to the local pub to talk about music. In Dublin it is not uncommon to walk into a pub around 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon and see other working people socializing over a pint. Sitting in the pub for the next few hours and talking about everything from music to politics I began to see the how interesting it is to spread yourself outside the “Champlain Bubble.”

When I came to Dublin I was not expecting to be able to jump out and meet people so easily. For me, I felt at home inside the punk scene. Aside from the fact that we share much of the same music interests, but the people that I have met have been extremely friendly and open to getting to know an American. One of the things that have repeatedly expressed to me is the fact that most Irish people, despite popular knowledge, love Americans and really enjoy talking to them. This group has also helped open me up to the local Irish slang. When I sit around and listen to them talk one of them usually has to explain what some of the words mean. For example:

“deadly”= good, or fun

“savage”= often used to describe a person who is cool

“craic”= fun

I’m sure that there is plenty more, but these are the ones that I hear the most often. All and all being able to spread myself outside of group from Champlain will give me a chance to make friendships with kids who can show me around the less know parts of Ireland.

Listen to Checkpoint at these links:

https://www.facebook.com/CheckpointPunk

Nick Veazey

Champlain Abroad Dublin, Spring ‘14

Champlain College, Secondary Education ‘15

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