In August 2009, my wife Annie and I went on a tour of Ireland with our old friends Parker and Betsy MacDonell and a bunch of new friends. For the trip, we signed on with Enchanted Way Tours. Our guide for the two-week adventure was Tom Pigott, surely one of the best travel ambassadors Ireland could ever want.
Tom led us on an Irish Folk Music Concert Tour of the Emerald Isle, not only showing us the sights, but regaling us with Irish stories from the past and present, and taking us to unique venues where we enjoyed concerts by great Irish folk artists. Tom also took us to venues where talented musical members of our own tour group gave concerts as well. On a number of these stages, Tom himself would sing a beautiful Irish ballad or two.
Paddy Downes was the driver on our tour, with Tom Pigott always there in the co-pilot's seat. The roads were very narrow, but that never seemed to slow down Paddy Downes.
On one stretch of road, a tiny red car actually drove UNDER our bus. The red car didn't drive much further after that.
Brendan Wall worked with Tom and Paddy throughout the tour, transporting various members of our group to different events. Early one morning, Brendan had to transport a number of the guys to a prestigious golf course many kilometers away in order to make a 7:00 AM tee time. This round of golf had been scheduled many months in advance in order for the group to play on this booked-up course. Well, somewhere on the way to Ballybunion, Brendan and the golfers got lost in the fog. Their tee time was missed by a couple of hours.
At the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, we went on a boat excursion in hopes of seeing the colorful puffins that nest along the cliffs. We didn't spot any puffins, but the boat ride made Brendan look pretty colorful -- it was a greenish color, and not what Brendan had in mind. During the voyage, Tom got a kick out of ribbing Brendan, who recovered quickly once back on dry land.
At one of the concerts, a couple of renown and extremely talented Irish folk singers performed, but our constant whispering and chattering thoroughly irritated the handsome male singer of the duo. But the guys in our group didn't seem to be too concerned with him. Our attention was focused on the female singer, although for some of us, her voice was not the main attraction.
At a pub concert, two members of our tour group, Peter and Colleen Pavarini, sang a duet that seemed to delight one of the locals in the audience, so much so that this audience member felt compelled to get up out of his seat, step onto the stage and plant a big wet smooch on the kisser of Mrs. Pavarini. Her husband Peter just kept singing -- after all, the show must go. And besides, what's wrong with a little PDA among music lovers?
Yesterday, Annie and I learned the sad news that Tom Pigott passed away unexpectedly on February 4, 2012, while participating in an Irish Folk Music cruise in the Caribbean.
Tom was a wonderful and lovable guy. He had a gentle heart and a great voice. He took great pleasure in telling a funny story and had a big laugh when your story happened to be funny. He had a deep love for music, for his homeland, for his children and his grandson.
|Tom Pigott and Tom Ruegger, Ireland, 2009|
All that knew him will miss him. He was one of the good ones. This world won't be the same without him...
|Doug and Beth Morgan, Annie Ruegger and Tom Pigott|
We love you, Tom!