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Ireland The Show and a Day at Silver Dollar City 2015

Updated on May 4, 2015

For more years than I can remember, I have been enthralled with Riverdance. The sheer speed with which they move their feet, the music, the complexity amazed me. Silver Dollar City has held its World Fest annually and the timing was never right to be able to go and see Ireland the Show there during its brief stint annually. But finally, we were able. Finally!

Car from The Beverly Hillbillies
Car from The Beverly Hillbillies | Source
Original art by Thomas Hart Benton
Original art by Thomas Hart Benton | Source
A view from atop the bluff at College of the Ozarks. Peaceful, tranquil, a spot to think.
A view from atop the bluff at College of the Ozarks. Peaceful, tranquil, a spot to think. | Source

Ralph Foster Museum at College of the Ozarks

The weekend did not begin as smoothly as it could. We were a bit late getting to the park on Saturday morning and were actually not even able to get into the park itself. Every lot was full and they were pushing people up to two miles away to find parking, then busing them back. No, that's a bit much for me. I was upset, to say the least, at the traffic and it took a bit for me to turn my feelings over to Him to deal with, which allowed me to relax a bit and think on what else we could do while there. We turned our lemons into lemonade and traveled the short distance to College of the Ozarks in Hollister. Our youngest daughter has an interview there this week with the opportunity to attend Hard Work U. as they call it in the fall. While wandering around on this magnificent campus, we found a true hidden jewel. The Ralph Foster Museum, also called The Smithsonian of the West, is simply an amazing museum. Artwork, dioramas, ancient pottery, gun collections: you name it, they probably have it. We wandered for a couple of hours among the collections on its three floors and did not come close to spending the time there it warranted. From the Beverly Hillbillies car to Buffalo Bill items to art by Thomas Hart Benton, we stood in awe. The gift shop is well appointed and nowhere near as pricey as one might think, with the added benefit that many of the items available for sale are actually made by students at the campus. I have to wonder why this is not more well known. Right there and then I decided to include it here on my site for all to see and hopefully visit. Cost is a miserly $6.00 for adults, and children high school age and below are FREE! The collections are many and varied and everyone is sure to find that something special to appeal to them. For our young son, it was the pocket watch collection. For myself, it was the barbed (bob) wire collection. My lovely wife was enthralled by the diverse taxidermy collection with an eye for the Bengal Tiger display.

I heartily encourage any who vacation in the Branson area to take the short jaunt across Lake Taneycomo on HWY 65 to Hollister, then visit the campus. A hospitality house awaits the traveler with exquisite food offerings (so I am told) and a place to lay your head. The campus it beautiful and peaceful, and this museum: priceless. I look forward to many more visits now that we are aware it is in the neighborhood.

College of the Ozarks

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Back to Silver Dollar City

We tried to go back to SDC later in the day, and succeeded late, around 4:00 PM. All of the shows were filled to capacity so were unable to see Ireland. We did speak with one of the people who work for the show and they informed us that the traffic that day was so bad that the troupe arrived for their 11:00 AM show at 10:55 AM that day! Talk about making it the skin of your teeth!

My Angel knew how badly I desired to see this show and with World Fest ending Sunday, May 3rd we had one more shot to see it this year. I had waited ten years, and told her one more year would be okay but she took control and told me we WERE coming back up the next morning.

Who am I to argue with my lovely wife?

So, bright and early we hit the road. SDC opened at 10:00 AM; we were in the park by 10:15 AM. The first show began at 11:45 AM so we let our youngest take a romp through Grandfather's Mansion (a staple of ours) before heading to the Opera House to get into line. Reaching it by 10:30 AM, we discovered a line had already begun! We quickly found our place and settled in to wait. Our youngest two asked and received permission to go ride some rides so off they went. We spent a pleasant hour or so visiting with the people around us and then were allowed to enter in. A short show preceded the main show, featuring a husband and wife team of flute/harp music that was divine. Now I have never listened to harp music live before; in fact I found what I saw on the tube a bit stuffy. But this duo was simply amazing. The harpest, Dearbhail Finnegan (now there's an Irish name for sure!) drew us into her melodies while her husband Robin Slater accompanied her on the flute to songs that swept through the heart. I was stunned at the depth of sound produced by the instrument, and found myself smiling with joy at experiencing it for the first time.

After a bit, the main show began with a charge. A female fiddler came out and had everyone clapping in time to her music quickly. As we were only a few feet from the stage we were able to see quite clearly just how fast her hands and fingers were. Unbelievable. The group interjected music with dance with singing by a true Irish gentleman whose voice could have just as easily been in a pub on the Emerald Isle. The dancers were all that I had hoped they would be, and so much more. Three each male and female, they cavorted across that stage, oftentimes doing things I never imagined possible. One of the ladies spent as much time on the tips of her toes, as a ballerina would, still tapping away a complex rhythm to the beat. One of the men moonwalked across the stage while continuing the Irish dance at the same time! Stunned? Oh, so much more than merely stunned! The time passed far, far too swiftly and it was over; my dream accomplished. We met the troupe out front and shook hands, with me tongue tied trying to describe my feelings at their ability and talent, along with a feeling I felt somewhere deep in my soul.

A few of the performers
A few of the performers | Source

So, after the show we wandered around SDC for the rest of the day, poking our noses here and there. The kids wanted to ride some roller coasters so we hit Thunderation first. Fire In The Hole was covered while we were enjoying the Ireland the Show entertainment so we did not go back there. Our youngest wanted more so we hit Wildfire. It took a bit to get on due to circumstances outside of our control but eventually we rode. His sister and I sat on either side of him and he had a ball! When we got off, he asked if there were any more to ride. We kind of looked at each other then were amazed when he asked about Outlaw Run. I told him "It's fast; really fast." and he said "Okay! Let's go!" so off we went!

Only to find it was shut down. So back we went to hit Powderkeg. Boy, did he enjoy that one! Twists and turns, speed galore! I found myself asking "What have I done? I've created a roller coaster riding monster?"

I only know that I have someone to ride with me for years to come, at least until I am unable to ride these crazy things any longer!

Powderkeg | Source
Wildfire | Source

After a Friday moving things into our new house; a Saturday spent partly in an unhappy frame of mind at the traffic and partly in wonder at the campus, then a Sunday spent in pure joy, we traveled back to our home in the bottom of our little valley, settled down and relaxed before turning in for the night.

I wonder what wonders await us next weekend?!?


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    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      Dearbhail and Robin, I am honored and flattered beyond belief to know you have not only read my little hub but taken the time to comment here! I too am glad we were able to visit and see your performance and will most definitely come see you again in the Spring and introduce ourselves! You have a wonderful Christmas as well and travel safe! Your friend in Irish music, Mike

    • profile image

      Dearbhail Finnegan / Robin Slater 

      3 years ago

      We are so glad that you made the visit to the Opera House to see the show and delighted to read your comments, we will be back next year please come and say hi!! Have a great Christmas, Dearbhail & Robin

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      That is is, Sir. Thank you.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Such beautiful country.

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      It was a wonderful weekend indeed. The sheer speed at which they are able to move their feet, while keeping in a rhythm amazes me. It s was a dream come true for me.

      I am finishing up the follow up hub regarding our decisions and opportunities. Should have it completed and available shortly for all to view. You have a great day, Cheyenne! Thanks!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      You certainly had an interesting weekend, Mike. Improvising to make the best use of your time brought even more joy than you set out for. I love the video of the dancers. It must have been mesmerizing to see them in person. How do they not trip over their own feet?

      I look forward to discovering your new homeland with you. It seems there's plenty to do and see!

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      Bill, thank you. My attitude: well, sometimes not so much! But this was a case of my really trying to hand all over to Him and just trust. Sometimes, that's the hardest thing to do. This time it wasn't all that difficult and we gained a wonderful experience for all. Glad you could join us; it was fun! Godspeed, Bill; go with care and our prayers for you and Bev.

    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Ann, I appreciate your comments. I too have always marveled at that ability; just doesn't seem possible! This was my first live performance, won't be my last!! Take care.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Moving can definitely be unsettling, but I love the fact that you are getting around and seeing new things, and I have always loved your attitude. Carry on my friend. Enjoy yourself, as I know you will. Thanks for taking us along on your weekend jaunt.


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 years ago from SW England

      What a fabulous account of a stupendous weekend! I was with you with the frustration at the traffic; awful. Great that you managed to see what you wanted. I also love River Dance but we don't seem to see them so much these days. It is amazing that they manage to be still above the waist and so much goes on from the knees downwards!

      What a great time you had! I'll leave the rollercoasters to you though; I don't enjoy feeling sick.

      Thanks for a great read this Monday evening.



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