Couple travel from Florida for The Irish Rovers Show

Shauna Loughran

Reporter:

Shauna Loughran

A FLORIDA couple jetted across the Atlantic Ocean last week to visit Ballymena to watch one of their favourite bands, The Irish Rovers.

Sue and John Adomaitis can be described as ‘super fans’ of the group having been following the band since the 1970s.

They have travelled across the United States and Canada, even flying to Hawaii, and have been at more than 70 performances.

And they hailed the Ballymena show as one of the best shows with the best crowds they have been to.

The Guardian caught up with John and Sue at the Adair Arms Hotel on Friday morning, the day after the gig.

John is originally from Bradford in Yorkshire while Sue is a Chicago native.

The pair met after John's parents emigrated to the Illinois city and settled in the same neighbourhood as Sue - Bridgeport in the city's Southside.

The neighbourhood is a historically Irish-American area which has produced countless Mayors with Irish roots.

Despite this, neither Sue or John have any Irish connections and simply say they are lovers of Irish music and culture and have visited the island many times.

The pair, who have been married for 36 years and live in the Ponte Vedra Beach area of the Sunshine State, said: "We have been following The Irish Rovers since the 1970s and we have visited many places in the years that we have followed them.

"We look up their schedule and check where we haven't been, where we would like to go and we have even found ourselves in places we wouldn't otherwise have been,

"We have attended their concerts all over America and Canada, however, we missed out on their New Zealand and Australia tour dates due to work commitments.

"We have no family in Ireland, no Irish connections - we are simply lovers of Irish music.

"We took a real interest in Irish music in the 70s and we listened to a whole range of bands such as The Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains and The Wolfe Tones. We also used to frequently watch a band called The Irish Minstrels play.

"We have a lot of Irish friends and we just really enjoy the music”.

Sue first saw The Irish Rovers in Chicago in the 1970s and saw them twice in Jacksonsville, Florida.

This is the first time the couple have seen the band perform in Ireland and they said it was just an "amazing experience".

They said: "We have been to a lot of shows and it is a little different every time.

"George is so innovative with his writing and they have this amazing talent.

"They are very open, very friendly and very accommodating.

"We have had the opportunity to meet them and they do know us now as we often end up staying in the same hotels.

"We are very fortunate that they do acknowledge us and they even sometimes invite us to functions, like an upcoming dinner in Dublin.

"There are a lot of fans like us and there are facebook groups where we can keep in touch with other fans.

"We actually took our 30 year old son to his first Irish Rovers concert last year and now he has to follow us on facebook to see where we are!

"We have been to Ireland many times. It is beautiful. The people are really nice and very welcoming.

"This was our first show of the band in Ireland and the show was completely sold out - they could have sold it out three or four times in a much bigger venue.

"There were a lot of family members of George and Ian there on the night and it was a really rowdy crowd!

"It matched the energy of the band and this was definitely one of the better shows.

"This was an important performance for the lads and they were totally energised by the atmosphere and the audience.

"Their music and shows are so uplifting. They just take you to another level and take you to a really nice place.

"We were fortunate to meet some of their family members who were there.

"The band speak of Ballymena at every show - they are really upping the tourism - so it was lovely to see that the town really honoured them".

Asked do they think this will be the last of the Irish Rovers, Sue and John said: "We don't believe it's the final tour!"

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