Sitting in the Irish bar, watching my friends play their first set, ever. They've been working on this so long and hard, and so often they've almost given up.

But here they are, and the audience is loving it. They're singing along, stamping their feet, whistling and cheering. You can see the reaction lift the band higher and higher -- Josie's fingers dance on the pipe and she tosses her head to get the hair out of her eyes, Michael beats time with his foot as he fiddles and Rona's voice pierces its way right into your soul.

They swing into their last number -- "The Irish Rover", of course -- and the music dazzles my eyes and mind as well as my ears; it's so vital, so alive. I'm singing too -- I couldn't stop myself if I tried, the simple joy of it grabs you by the hand and drags you, whirling, along with it, and as it crashes to a halt, laughter spirals and the applause is deafening.

You can see them there, on the stage, gasping for breath, exhilarated as the clapping and cheering go on and on.

A small triumph maybe. A small bar, in a small town. An easy crowd who came to hear exactly the kind of music they play; but a triumph even so. And you can see that it's got them -- their first performance won't be their last. They'll be back.