An author, writer, poet, publisher and spokesman, John Francis O’Brien, Jr. was named as one of Irish America Magazine’s 2011 Top 100 Irish Americans. He is Co-Founder, Co-Publisher and Editor of the Ohio Irish American News, which premiered in January 2007. Click here to view a Cleveland Plain Dealer article on John and IAN. His poem, The Vacant Chair, was awarded 1st Prize in the Irish Book, Art & Music Showcase. He was profiled in the University of Dayton’s 2013 Alumni Quarterly, and profiled by WorldIrish.com in March 2013.

John is Co-Founder, Co Publisher and Editor of the Ohio Irish American News, a monthly newsmagazine that covers news and events of interest to the more than 1.4 million people of Irish descent living in Ohio. He is published extensively, writing profiles, poetry, prose and essays.

John is a founder and currently serves as Deputy Director of Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival; the 31st Annual event will be held July 19 - 21, 2013. A first generation Irish-American whose father is Founder and Director of the festival and hails from County Roscommon, Ireland; John continues his father’s legacy, love of the Irish heritage and vision for the festival. With nine stages, twenty-eight bands, an extensive and nationally recognized cultural hall and numerous other attractions, the festival is recognized as one of the very best in the United States.

John’s love for the rich and varied Irish heritage and dedication to producing an authentic cultural event has earned the respect and trust of the performers featured in much of John’s writing, including his first book, Festival Legends: Songs & Stories, the People Who Made the Music That Defined a People, a biographical look at Irish music legends who influenced the fabric of Ireland, and Irish America.

His second book, The Greater Cleveland Irish Directory, was published in March 2011 and his third, First Generation, featuring his own original poetry, was published in November 2011. He has written content for many performer websites, including Seanachai & the Unity Squad, The Kreellers, Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival and his own website, www.songsandstories.net.

Active in the Irish community in Cleveland and with the Festival Organizers Convention, where John has been a featured speaker, he has been interviewed on over 150 radio and television programs and in print media. John developed and produced the Fine Irish Pubs of Greater Cleveland poster, which premiered in December 2010.

John developed, wrote and produced, The Legacy Project, a twenty-six minute video for the United States Library of Congress highlighting Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival as “an event of cultural significance at the turn of the century.” The production featured dozens of interviews with festival organizers, performers and volunteers.

During his “spare time”, John is a full time Communication Specialist with Cuyahoga County Office of the County Executive, Ed FitzGerald, responsible for the Public Safety and Justice Services divisions of Sheriff’s Office, Medical Examiner, Law Department, Clerk of Courts and Office of Emergency Management. 

Giving back is an integral part of John’s life. He serves on the board of the Irish American Charitable Foundation and the Sean Moore Irish Vocals Memorial Scholarship Fund as well as the Irish American Hall of Fame Selection Board.  He also served for five years on the board of the Irish American Archives Society.

A graduate of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School and the University of Dayton, where he majored in Business Management and Communications, John has taught extensively in the areas of Leadership, Coaching and Behavior Based Interviewing as well as Microsoft Word and Excel, for audiences ranging from one to three thousand.

John enjoys traveling, attending cultural events and festivals and spending time with his seventeen nieces and nephews.

John O'Brien Junior

From Tommy's Song

Freedom’s Sons are singing;
singing sad songs,
to their love, songs.
Pretty Maggie O’, Sally O’,
Pretty Saro and Rosie.

for some,
a Song For The Children.

In The Time Of Scented Roses,
let they be not black,
The Long Woman’s Grave.
Rather Sing Me The Old Songs;
of Rambling Rivers
in The Rambles of Spring,
Clear Blue Hills
or Grey October Clouds,
among Long Winter Nights.

If I should return,
If You Should Ask Me,
I’m Going Home To Mary,
Smiling Mary
I can see her, as she holds
our Gentle Annie in her arms,
listening to
The Listowel Blackbird sing;
Music In The Twilight,
In Newry Town

I will return again.

                 ~ John O'Brien, Jr.

John O’Brien, Jr.
14615 Triskett Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44111-3123
P 216.647.1144    John@songsandstories.net

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