New Day XV: Life a Life Less Ordinary

January 25th, 2015

Live a life less ordinary; live a life extraordinary, with me – Carbon Leaf.

We were required to be at dinner. It was at 5pm, concrete setting, so there was no confusion. 3 days a week dad went to the Y after work, but the rest of us still held the 5pm observance. The other 4 days, it was all hands ondeck; my folks, 3 older sisters and me. There was usually an adopted dog, cat and turtle, rabbit or gerbil around too. After dinner, there was tea. I don’t remember specific conversations, just the general feeling of well-being: sharing, updating, giggling. And the tea.

Concrete setting, of times, and subliminal formation of values ingrained subconsciously, were bread to live by. Forgotten loaves perhaps, found when scrounging around, in dark times, trying to clean up or simply, manna from heaven.

Mom’s Irish soda bread, usually in small buns we called scones, but occasionally in loaves, came with the tea, as sure as milk n sugar, or breathing. I loved the brown bread, solid, comforting, filling, over the sweeter and raisin filled Irish soda bread. But Mom’s scones are literally, world famous.

When we first started Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, mom made ALL the soda bread: scones, loaves and brown.
As the festival grew over the next 30 years, 3,000 to 30,000 to good weather years of 50,000+ and bad weather years of 25,000, so did the bread, and the volunteer Irish army that made the Irish Soda bread, brown bread and the specialties of the Irish mafia mamas from throughout Greater Cleveland, via the Irish immigration express. Eleanor Roosevelt said “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water. True of a nation too; the sons and daughters of Erin have way too much experience finding out just how strong they are.

Good years at the Fest, we sold out of bread. I remember bad, stormy weather-drunk years of standing at the exit gates late on Sunday night, pulling loaves from large white bags to hand them out to guests as they headed out. “Thanks for coming; hope you had fun; God willing, see you next year;” safe home dear immigrant is said at funerals, but the sentiment is felt at any parting.


You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Dad used to say that long before the currently popular Dan Wilson Semisonic song hit the airwaves, as he wandered around the grounds, shaking hands while gently leading people toward or out the front gate. At the original festival grounds, we had an overflow parking lot down a small incline. The mud was mad and adhering as we banded together to muscle unstuck mud sunk cars. Dad was, and is, the leader of 13 of us that founded the festival in 1982.

A year or two we’d find forgotten bags of bread the next day, and drop them to St Pat’s Food Bank, or St. Herman’s on the don’t think too much, just one foot in front of the other till we’re done Mondays after.
Like many immigrant families, we gathered in the kitchen. It is symbolic – food meant you were not living the Irish feast or famine curse and immigrant crossroads of not having food or future, the warmth of the cooking kitchen and all its symbolism is implied and tasted; a roof over your head; health.

In my mom’s house, when the doorbell rang, they were already in the kitchen. They turned on the kettle, THEN they answered the door. I remember the heart jump, and scrambling, pushing each other out of the way, to get to answer the door. For we never knew who would be on the other side. Surprise guests from Ireland are stars in my sky, but it could be a neighbor, a friend – I loved when the Irish guys stopped by on a Saturday, because it meant not just the tea, available to us any time, but mom’s scones too for the guest, and us. I sometimes wonder if the electric kettle was the biggest wattage burn in out house.

I remember John O’Brien, my cousin, showing up unannounced from Ireland one Christmas Eve; storybook snow and holiday landscape. There was great music in the sounds of silence. Owen or Joe or Martin Lowry, Joe Moran, Andy Maloney, Joe Boyle, Mike Mazur, Tom Byrne … its an endless list full of humble, quiet guys, local legends, who got the big picture of letting their actions be all the advertising they ever needed. They showed up.

Across the city, if a driveway needed to be done, a roof, a furnace, water tank or a repair, or Cleveland St. Pat’s Gaelic Football Club were playing in town or anywhere in the Midwest Division, everyone showed up, en mass. We didn’t talk about family. Emotions weren’t taboo, but a whole nation had been brought up fighting the Stranger, who wormed through those emotional openings for generations. We got up, showed up; many hands; labor, light.

Mom and I made brown bread yesterday, and she told me her memories of tea and bread, bread and tea, in her house and our house, growing up. Lunch, then she gently critiqued my technique, and I showed her how to take a selfie, what cousins across borders were up to on Facebook, and we laughed. Mass was the perfect ending, as it always is for me.

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We are an immigrant nation that changed their sky, but never their soul to across an ocean, Eire to Erie. The values we learned, we live, we love.

***
I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

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www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
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www.twitter.com/365Irish
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Forever Seven: Eamonn Ceannt: A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

January 24th, 2015

Forever Seven Signers of The Proclamation: Eamonn Ceannt
by Anne Waters

Eamonn Ceannt was the fifth signatory on the Irish Proclamation and is perhaps one of the least known. He epitomises the stalwart nationalist, the backbone of the Rising.  He is representative of those with deep conviction, who do not stand out from the crowd, the men who follow orders quietly, competently with loyalty and dedication.

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Sometimes those in the background can be subsumed by the attention that is focussed on the more vocal.  The following quotation from a poem by another Signatory, Thomas Mac Donagh, aptly describes the contribution a person akin to Eamonn Ceannt makes to any effort.

“His songs were a little phrase of eternal song, drowned in the harping of lays more loud and long.” (ref 1)

’This is not meant to minimise the importance of Eamonn Ceannt, but rather to emphasise the essential contribution of those who work stolidly, blending into the  background but, without whom, little would be attained.

Edward Kent was born in Ballymoe, Co Galway in 1881. His father was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The family moved originally to County Louth but following his father’s retirement they settled in Dublin.

Eamonn was educated by the Christian Brothers in O’Connell Schools. As the Brothers were known for their nationalistic views, it is assumed they were influential in first piquing his interest in Irish freedom but his overt politicisation appeared to coincide with the celebration of the 1798 Rebellion. He was considered to be a shy and withdrawn boy with one fellow student describing him as having  “A sullen dourness that gave to his manner a sharpness and abruptness that repelled rather than attracted.” (Ref 2)

After attending University College Dublin he secured employment as a clerical officer for Dublin Corporation.   His aptitude for languages encouraged him to frequent Dublin Docks, where he engaged the sailors in French and German conversation to increase his fluency.  His proficiency in the Irish language came later but within four years of joining the Gaelic League he was competent enough to teach others.  It was through the Gaelic League he met Frances O’Brennan. In 1905 they married and both signed the register using the Irish version of their names, Eamonn and Aine Ceannt.  The following year their son Ronan was born.

A work colleague in Dublin Corporation first introduced Eamonn to the uilleann pipes. He taught himself to play with the assistance of a blind piper, Martin Reilly, eventually becoming renowned as a master piper himself.  Along with Edward Martyn he founded The Dublin Pipers Club to protect and promote this unique Irish instrument.   Unlike Padraig Pearse or James Connolly, he was not noted for his oratory, poetry or particular political ideology, but liked nothing better than playing Irish music on his uilleann pipes.  His prowess brought him to national attention and in 1908 he was part of a contingent that travelled to Rome for the Jubilee celebrations honouring the Pope. In fact he played his uileann pipes for Pope Pius X during this event.

By 1911 Ceannt’s nationalist views were much more radical and he was a member of a committee set up to protest at King George V visit to Dublin.  His activities soon brought him to the attention of other nationalists and in 1912, another signatory, Sean McDiarmada,  had him sworn in as a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood .
Ceannt subsequently became a founding member of the Irish Volunteers, which was a more radical military organisation. He was elected onto the provisional committee and as such assisted Erskine Childers with the landing of essential arms for the Rising in Dublin in 1914

Despite his unassuming and quiet demeanour, he was influential in all aspects of the planned rising.  He was instrumental in the organisation and finalising of the details of the campaign and his own battalion, the 4th, was assigned to the South Dublin Union, an area housing about 3,200 of the poor and elderly. The Union was situated in a strategic area near British Army Barracks and would undoubtedly come under severe attack.

Orders for the Rising had been countermanded and consequently on the assigned day there were only 120 of an expected battalion of 700. Ceannt realised they were at an enormous disadvantage but he fought bravely alongside his men. One volunteer, James Coughlan, is reported as saying he was confident of Ceannt’s ability, “To lead us in whatever the future might hold.” (ref 2)

Ceannt received instructions to surrender from Thomas MacDonagh.  He informed his men of the order, advising if they wished to continue to fight he would continue to lead them.  He insisted that if a man such as Tom Clarke, the oldest Signatory, had surrendered, then they could also do so with honour. The men agreed to lay down arms.  Eamonn Ceannt was subsequently imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol and executed on the 8th May 1916.

It is not surprising that Eamonn Ceannt’s wife Aine was as committed to nationalism as Eamonn was himself.   Along with her sisters, Lily and Kit, she was active in the Republican movement but did not take part in the actual Rising. After initial hostilities ceased she was involved in Cumann na mBan and in Sinn Fein courts as an arbiter in disputes   In addition, she was a founding member of the White Cross an organization that assisted family members of the Volunteers, eventually becoming a central figure in the Irish Red Cross.

Aine did see Eamonn before he was executed, when he gave her a letter for their son Ronan.  At that point he was still hopeful of a reprieve from his death sentence. It was not to be. His last letter praised those who fought alongside him and is an indication of the inner strength of this man who quietly gave his life for his country with such dignity.

“All, all were simply splendid. Even I, knew no fear nor panic and shrunk from no risk even as I shrink not now from the death which faces me at daybreak”.  (Ref 3)

And to Frances he maintained, “I die a noble death, for Ireland’s freedom. Men and women will vie with one another to shake your dear hand. Be proud of me as I am and ever was of you.” (Ref 3)

References:

Ref 1: On a Poet Patriot by Thomas MacDonagh

Ref 2: 16 dead Men (Anne Marie Ryan , Mercier Press 2014.

Ref 3: http://www.hallamor.org/1916-series-executions-day-4/

New Day XIV: Blood of man, blood of nations

January 23rd, 2015

New Day XIV: Blood of man, blood of nations

Since I started writing this New Day series of blogs January 9th, folks have commented often with support and questions. What does Rheumatoid feel like? And thanks for the understanding they have gained in reading how I describe it, to know how their loved ones with any form of arthritis feel. The more you understand the symptoms and challenges, the more impact the TLC you can give offers. My RA may be severe for my age, but insight offers better avenues for support, and suffers not age discrimination.

Remember when we used to give Chinese rug burns? Grab someone’s wrist with both hands and twist opposite ways, leaving a sprung burning sensation in the wrist – that is very close to how my wrists feel all the time, but the burning feels more like it is bones burning, rather than the muscles that encase them. The muscles are near useless in support, or defense. Hugs over handshakes is the current that runs through me.

I love the Johnny Cash song, Ring of Fire. It has always resonated with me, for the vocalization of my body and the core belief that cauterizing the negative out of your system is a toxic cleanse both man and society needs. No, I am not advocating killing someone you disagree with. I do advocate removing the toxic people and experiences from your own life, they only develop cancers. Turn the other cheek or turn the corner; learn, close the chapter, grow on the road.

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who only dream at night” – Edgar Allen Poe


I am working on our massive March St. Pat’s season issue of the Ohio Irish American News; it is our 99th issue. In between Sheriff’s, the OhIAN and the Festival, I am fine tuning 99 Years from Freedom, my new book. Next year is the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1916 Rising, the most seminal event in modern Irish history – freedom at last.

“I was raised on songs and stories. The Heroes of Renown, of my childhood and so many of the seventy million Irish Diaspora now in every corner of the world’s, were illuminated and written into infamy by the songs that we were raised on. But the stories behind the songs are oft buried in the sands of time.

“Up until near the Easter Rising of 1916, there was no TV, no widespread radio in Ireland. There was only the oral tradition of song and story to preserve and present the history of the Irish. The Bards carried the headlines, in their heads. The only flicker of roots, of resistance to euthanasia, was to sing from the Hedge School and hone in to the songs and stories of the Bard.

“Easter Rising, Soloheadbeg, Upton, Robert Emmitt, Bobby Sands, The Fools, the heroes of 16, The National Anthem, The Plunketts, Patriot Games, Hunger Strike, Kilmainham Jail, Brendan and Dominic Behan, W.B. Yeats, Kevin Barry, The Proclamation, There Were Roses, Canon O’Neill, the Dublin Lockout, Paul McCartney, A Soldier’s Song, Michael Collins, Joe MacDonnell, Tommy Makem; we know the pivotal names in song and places, but what birthed the song that we know them by?”
– 99 Years from Freedom, by John O’Brien, Jr, ©2015.

This is the heart and soul of 99 Years from Freedom – illumination of the songs and stories we grew up with, and the people and events that inspired their writers to write them. I have submitted the manuscript to agents. I don’t sit idly by, but yet, I must wait for their acceptance or rejection. Seems to be an awful lot of hurry up and wait in my life … and love, tons and tons of love.

johns books

***

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
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http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

97 Jan 15 Cover

50 Fantastic things to do in Cleveland this weekend …

January 23rd, 2015

From your Ohio Irish American News

Out & About Ohio January 2015

Brooklyn – Hooley House!

23 – Velvet Shake, 24 – Carlos Jones, 30 – Marys Lane, 31 – Breakfast Club. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center

28th -Merry Ploughboys. Genealogy Tours, Teas, Art Exhibit, Library, Museum Thur 5:00 – 8:00/ Tue/Wed 2:00 – 5:00 PM. Irish Community Project help extend stage & more Sundays 10 AM in prep for Acting Irish International Theater Festival May 19-24th at Irish Heritage Center. Rooms to rent for classes, meetings, parties. Irish Teas/Library /Genealogy Detective/ all by appt..             Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

ALL under Cleveland;

The Harp

23rd – The Old Pitch, 24th- Chris Allen, 28th – Chris & Tom, 30th – Clearfork, 31st – Kristine Jackson

4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Stone Mad

Live music entertainment every Sunday. Traditional Irish Session 1st Sunday of ea/month, Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4 to 7. 1306 West 65th Street Cleveland 44102 216-281-6500

Flat Iron Café

23rd – Becky Boyd & Kristine Jackson, 30th – Cats On Holiday. 1114 Center St.  Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968.  www.flatironcafe.com

Treehouse

25th – Ryan Milquest. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

PJ McIntyre’s

23rd – Iced Cherry, 24th – Stone Pony, 29th – Craic Brothers, 30th – Lost State of Franklin, 31st – The Spazmatics. Don’t forget T-Shirt Tues: wear any PJs T-Shirt get 15% off bill! Whiskey Wed:  ½ off every whiskey in the house. Thurs – Craft Beer $2.50. NEW CRAFT BEER REFRIGERATOR. PJ McIntyre’s is a Local 10 Union establishment. Home of the Celtic Supporter’s Club and the GAA. Book all your parties & Events in our Bridgie Ned’s Irish Parlor Party Room. 17119 Lorain Road, 44111. www.pjmcintyres.com 216-941-9311.

Flannery’s Pub

23 – The Bar Flies, 24 – Van Strantz. 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

***

 Avon Lake

Ahern Banquet Center

Ahern Banquet Center is booking weddings and special events.  Call Tony Ahern / Lucy Balser @ 440-933-9500.  726 Avon Belden Rd, Avon Lake  44012.  www.aherncatering.com

Euclid

Irish American Club East Side

23rd – Mary Agnes Kennedy, 24th – Chili Cook Off. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.irishamericanclubeastside.org

Findlay

Logan’s Irish Pub

Trad Sessiún 3rd Wednesday. 414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

Plank Road Tavern

Open Sessiún Every Thursday 7 – 10.  $3 Guinness and Jamieson. 16719 Detroit Avenue, 44107

Medina

Sully’s

23rd  – Smug Saints, 24th  – One a U2 Tribute Band, 30th  – Craic Brothers, 31st – The New Barleycorn.  117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Mentor

Hooley House

23 – Breakfast Club, 24 – Abbey Rodeo, 30 – Velvet Shake, 31 – Bluestone Union. Every Tuesday – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Every Wednesday – Trivia Night.  7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

Olmsted Twp

West Side Irish American Club

Great live music and good in The Pub every Friday.  WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Westlake

Hooley House

23 – Pat Dailey – $10.00 cover charge, 24 – School Girl Crush, 30 – #Coverband, 31 – Abbey Normal. Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. 
1FunPub.com
(440) 835-2890 

Willoughby

Mullarkey’s

23rd – 107.9 Band, 24th -Dan McCoy, 30th – Pat Shepherd. Wed: Karaoke, Thur: Ladies Night w/ DJ. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com 

Columbus

Shamrock Club Events

23rd – Hat Trick; 30th – Ladies of Longford. Happy Hour every Friday from 5-7pm! 60 W. Castle Rd. Columbus 43207 614-491-4449 www.shamrockclubofcolumbus.com

Tara Hall

Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. No Cover. Tara Hall 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.

 

Traditional Social Dance for Adults

Set Dance Lessons: Tues: 8-10 pm, St. Clarence Church, N. Olmsted / Wed: 7-9 pm, Irish American Club – East Side

Ceili Lessons: Thurs 1/8 & 1/22: 7-9 pm, West Side Irish American Club. Contact CeiliClubCleveland@gmail.com

 

Ongoing Traditional Irish Sessiúns - Bring your instruments and play along!

  • Akron Hibernian’s Ceili Band Sessions, Wednesdays 7:30 pm. Mark Heffernan  Div 2 Hall 2000 Brown St, Akron 330-724-2083. Beginner to intermediate
  • Croagh Patrick’s – 2nd Tuesday of every month 8 – 10pm
  • Bardic Circle @The Shamrock Club of Columbus Beginner – friendly, intermediate level Irish session meeting every other Thursdays 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Plank Road – Every Thursday 7 – 10. All ages and experience welcome. 16719 Detroit Road, Lakewood, 44107
  • The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm
  • Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 414 S. Main St., Findlay, 7:30 pm
  • Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session – 2nd Monday of the month 7 – 9 Slow Train Café, 55 East College St., Oberlin. Informal all experience welcome: www.oberlin.net/~irishsession
  • Claddagh Irish Pub – Sundays 6:00pm-9:00pm. All experience levels welcome
  • 585 S. Front St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
    • Tara Hall -Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.
      Out & About Ohio, from your Ohio Irish American

      Out & About Ohio, from your Ohio Irish American

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Cleveland Irish: A History of Irish Parishes

January 22nd, 2015

Cleveland Irish: The History of Irish Parishes in Cleveland
by Francis McGarry
A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

The Irish in Cleveland established themselves in multiple communities during the 19th Century. East of the River, parishes like Immaculate Conception, 1865, and St. Columbkille, 1871, administered to the spiritual needs of their Irish congregations. As the Irish communities on the eastside continued to grow and respond to a city that was growing as well, new communities began and soon these communities had their own parishes.

“Kilkenny, Ireland. 18 and 60. To my dear and loving son, John, … your mother says not to work on the railroad.” John may well have listened, but the Irish in Cleveland followed the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway to Collinwood. In order to celebrate Mass, they had to travel to Euclid.

As a result, they petitioned the Diocese for a new parish. In 1876, St. Joseph’s Collinwood was established and its first rectory was built in 1901. The economy of Cleveland and Collinwood supported more immigration, including populations of Italian and Slovenian Catholics. As population increased and became multi-ethnic, new parishes were requested so that all could worship as the Irish did, with their brethren. As a result, St Mary’s was established in 1905 for the Slovenians, St. Jerome in 1919 for 125 families who lived north of the Collinwood Railroad and Holy Redeemer in 1924 for the Italians.

St. Thomas Aquinas was established in 1898 at Superior and Ansel Road under the leadership of Father Thomas Mahon to minister to a predominately Irish populace, mostly first generation Irish Americans. Fr. Mahon quickly realized the vastness of his parish territory and suggested the creation of a second parish on St. Clair, which became St. Aloysius parish.

As Irish immigration increased in the years preceding the First World War, the congregations of Immaculate Conception, St. Aloysius and St. Thomas Aquinas were becoming overcrowded. Bishop John Farrelly established St. Philip Neri in 1914 at St. Clair and East 82nd Street. But that did not slow the growth of St. Aloysius. By the beginning of the Second World War, the Irish and Irish American community of St. Aloysius supported one of the largest parishes in Cleveland.

We were just getting started. The people who built the Erie Canal and founded bluestone quarries were becoming adept at building communities and parishes. The Cleveland Irish were on the move.

The growth of Cleveland’s industrial complex and demographic internal migration brought Irish Catholics to East Cleveland and the Diocese responded with the founding of St. Philomena’s in 1902. In just twenty some years, the Irish helped found Christ the King at Euclid Avenue and Noble Road, a mere two miles from St. Philomena’s. Father Thomas Shannon actively built the parish and school of Christ the King with the assistance of Sisters Mary Eugene Beaumount, Constance Fogarty, Mary McGregor and Mary Brigid McDonough. The Cleveland Irish were both in the pulpit and in the pews.

The Irish community was also moving up the hill to Cleveland Heights. St. Ann’s Church was founded in 1915 with the support of Father John Mary Powers and attorney Michael Patrick Mooney. They formed the “Meadowbrook Land Company” and purchased land with money borrowed from Bishop Farrelly, a truly Cleveland story.

Apparently the existing community in Cleveland Heights was not too fond of the idea of a new parish with a population of Irish Catholics. That did not deter Father Powers. In December of 1918 he held a benefit concert for St. Ann’s at Grey’s Armory. This was the first performance of the newly formed Cleveland Orchestra. Father Powers with the help of benefits and private donations purchased pillars from 1st National Bank and built St. Ann’s Church.

The Irish American community in Euclid assisted the creation of Holy Cross Parish in 1924 at Lake Shore and 200th Street under the guidance of Father Thomas Kirby. The Cleveland Irish had come a long way from Immaculate Conception at 41st and Superior.

In the first hundred years of the Diocese, the Irish in Cleveland had fought to establish community; and, as the Cleveland landscape evolved, so did they. The founding of new parishes on the eastside details this intra-city migration. Those who arrived after the Famine had created enclaves for their children and the children of Erin who were to follow. The Irish in Cleveland did not compare to the Irish in New York or Boston in their political position or power, but they built community by building parish.

In researching my family history and the history of the Irish in Cleveland, my first source was the “Irish Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland” by Nelson Callahan and William Hickey. That text is the seminal work on the Cleveland Irish, and it has been of great assistance. However, it does not include the topics or data that I have used in my articles. It does not mention the Fenians or Duncan McFarland and the Village of Bluestone. That is why I discuss the history that has been silenced by omission in the general narrative of our people in this city. The goal is to celebrate all of the contributions the Irish have made to this great city.

On February 22nd we have scheduled such a celebration at Immaculate Conception at 41st and Superior. A Hibernian Mass will be said at 10am and a brunch at the Irish American Club East Side will follow immediately. It is a chance for all of our community to gather and honor a parish founded by the Irish Community in Cleveland in 1865. In celebrating this early Irish parish, we celebrate all those that followed. We stand where we are today because of what happened yesterday and that knowledge of our history allows us to move forward into the future.

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*Francis McGarry is President of the Irish American Club East Side and the Bluestone Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. w.francis.mcgarry@gmail.com

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New Day XII: Clothes Don’t Matter Here

January 21st, 2015

New Day XII: Clothes Don’t Matter Here

Clothes don’t matter, Country doesn’t matter, religion doesn’t matter, Sexuality does not matter – We all have the same hearts. And THAT is what we will be judged on in the end. Action?  Well, that’s a different story.  “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” If I had a dollar for every time word was an orphan, I would be writing this from Key West.

The greatness of a man can nearly always be measured by his willingness to be kind. It is so easy to be cruel, takes no thought, and it becomes ingrained – a bully the perfect example. It is done without conscious thought, without conscience. It is proof positive of immaturity, of a small mind, no matter your years.

It takes strength, awareness, maturity to look beyond the moment, beyond yourself, to be kind.  Sensitivity is a sensitive subject, yes?

“Just saying,” is a copout for self-protection, as certain a lack of accountability as, “I’m just joking, geez”.  One of the masters of civility was Stuart Scott, the ESPN announcer.  He was a groundbreaker, in so many ways, but it was class that carried him through decades in the spotlight.  His twitter followers were massive, and got a massive education in class; he epitomized it. When someone would rip him, for a lazy eye, showing love for his daughters, or predicting a score incorrectly, his responses were classic – “You need a Hug”; “yet, still you are following me”, etc…

Columnist Connie Shultz can call out people the same way.  The lack of accountability in anonymous posts is a perpetuator of pedestal proclamations and spreading hatred, not protection of free speech. When the bully and the pulpit are reposted and exposed, to their horror, the small minds do get held accountable; the correcting of the weed whacker is glorious.

Shultz and Scott also excel at the flip side, complimenting those whose responses showed great class, inspiration or insight.  The balance shows the intelligent mind, over the one only able to be negative and narrow.

Grt minds discss crop

I am 12 days into the new med, Leflunomide (Arava). No discernable improvement; my angry, angry joints are rippling and spasms are increasingly sudden and violent.  I have settled into the pain in patience, praying, as I am wont to do.  6-12 weeks for efficacy, 6 -12 weeks I am counting down.

If Arava helps, I continue on, and begin infusions. If not, I start all over again, with another med, in the search for the return to full utilization of my body, now gone amok.  For me, shirt buttons are not a problem, as they are for many with Rheumatoid.  I have strong teeth, so bottles open as needed.  Opening a can tho, that’s torture.

I do a stretch routine every morning.  It has gotten smaller and smaller as I have lost strainful use of my wrists, ankles, knees and hips.  I still do it most days, to keep the braying dogs as bay; I pick my best capabilities to stretch to the sun, and run with it.  12th day, 6-12 weeks.

It is 184 days to the 33rd Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.  Most of the lineup is booked, now we are brainstorming, mustering, building the village walls of our fest with features and favorites to make the fest fun and fascinating for wee ones to the auld ones and their families, multiple generations wide. Take aways beyond the madness of the weekend are our undercurrent. Meetings are monthly, but there are so many branches, and much soil to till, plant, harvest in between meetings, and before the opening of the gates, at the Berea Fairgrounds on July 24th.

Live More Life ... Be More Irish

Live More Life … Be More Irish

Like a crop, it must be replanted each year, rotated too.  Just like life, we pray for sun; we prepare for rain, and we offer the opportunity to dance like no one is watching.

The bully is always looking for fodder to fault, but for most, the clothes don’t matter. We were born naked, we only put on clothes for protection, from elements and cynics without conscience, alike.

For most, the country doesn’t matter; all are welcome, Irish or not. All we seek to provide, is the opportunity to dance, no matter what music moves you.  Get up; Show up; Lift up -“What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” We craft to be happy, that the vocal support took action, that they showed up, and took away more than just a memory.

***

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:

Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

New Day X: A Friend’s eye is a good mirror

January 19th, 2015

I talk a lot about my faith, not to attempt to assimilate you, but to illuminate me. Many who reach out to me, online or off, especially since writing the 25 days of Christmas and these New Day blogs, have said they find inspiration in my words that tell a story and, inadvertently, describe perseverance, and the blessings they sow. A friend’s eye is a good mirror.

mirror

I have a lot of time to explore the richness of prayer: 1.) I think too much, 2.) I am single, and 3.) I am in a lot of pain. Medicines, alternative or pills, aren’t working on the #3, so prayer has been my go to for strength – I don’t know what else to do. It’s been 10 days into the new med, cited to take 6-12 weeks to know if it works.

In dire straits, you have to bottom out, before you can climb the first rung out of the valley. I have, and I have. I don’t know how many rungs I have scaled, more than once, but I see the light. I find solace in the eyes of my friends.

Here I am Lord

I say this most nights when I lay down my head. We chat, I try to listen, but the most powerful batteries in my hearing aids can’t tune in God by willpower alone. In the still of the night, His words are a whisper undrowned by din and thunder.

I always thought the words were: Here I am Lord, It is I Lord, I have heard you, calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you need me. I will hold, your people in my heart. I was off my one word.

Yesterday, on the Feast of St. Brigid, a patron Saint of Ireland, I sang the song at the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Annual Mass, and the symbolic kickoff to the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, commemorations and deep traditions here in Cleveland. The song is not if you need me, it is if you LEAD me. My ears were close, but no cigar. He doesn’t need me; I always hope that voice I hear in the night leads me. The symbolism in the song is music to my soul.

I, the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them,
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

The All Powerful, takes on the lowest, the hardest, the hearts of stone, and He weeps – God weeps.

 

walk crawl MLK

***

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:

Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites 

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

 

 

New Day IX – Meal Muse

January 18th, 2015

New Day IX – Meal Muse

I used to love to go out to eat. I am single, it was usually alone, on the way home from work or such. With a good meal, I loved getting lost in a good book, which I always have with me, or in the car, ready for doors to be opened, in my world and bucket lists. Somewhere along the way, that changed. Soup in front of the fire Scrooge cringed me. I still love to eat out, as my body’s ample evidence provides, but I don’t usually do it alone unless it is grabbing a quick bite before a meeting. It’s boring. Daydreams for dialogue I guess.

I’d rather be catching up with someone else’s life than dwelling on my own. Some of the best stories, laughter and inspiration are told across a booth. The goal has never been to be fodder for my quilt; some of those stories are Muse-like for my writing, but most intricately and simply transformed the starkness of Black & White to add great color to my life.

Afters'

Afters’

I’ll never forget so many of the stories that ingrain the rainbows: Tom Byrne, Alec DeGabriel, Sean McConnell, Sean Moore, Tommy Makem, my dad, Johnny McEvoy, Gregory Greene, Kirk McLeod, Bobby Gheen, Alan Kite, Lonnie McCauley, Shay Clarke, Jennifer Allen, Eamon D’Arcy, John Delaney, Kelsey Higgins, Owen Lowry, Pat Cambell, Batt Burns, Pat Kearney, Danny Doyle, Jimmy Sheehan, Joe Moran, Ashley Davis, Joanie Madden, Sandra Puskarcik; each is a song, for Johnny.

Ivers m n Joanie

If you don’t know them, love the living. Things they showed me, things they said, forged journeys they squeezed the last pure drop from, adapted to, overcame, forged me too.

Coulda been the Smithwicks,
mighta been the sin,
coulda been the 3-4 defense,
I don’t know, but your story got under my skin

My head often filled with football
It’s always filled with why
Tell me, me, oh me oh my
Isn’t life a party?

I’m sure it’s just my memory
Meds playing tricks on me
But I think I saw my buddy
Cutting down the Fighting Duck’s tree

Paddy, Liam and Tommy
Well they went a little far
They were sittin’ in the back seat, blowing on a siren
From somebody’s Sheriff’s car

My head is like a Gaelic football
I think I need Shepherd’s Pie
Tell me, me oh, me oh my
Isn’t life a party?

***
I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

New Day VII – Bridges

January 17th, 2015

New Day VII – Bridges

I always feel as if I am working towards something – something more, something better – not in possessions, but in work, writing career, relationships, financial future; if you are only minding the gate – what’s the point?

Struggling over the climb, head down, chin up, can breathtakingly lead to unexpected flat roads and gorgeous peaks. Even so many valleys have great beauty. You can take a breath, it can take your breath away.

The successes are bricks in the road, and legacies. Occasional walls, detours or even mind bending occurrences whose derivative is a whole new road, belief or best of all, awareness, might be spontaneous at the time, but occur so consistently, that I see the hand of God. For the O’Brien Coat of Arms Motto is Laimh Laidir an Uachtar ~ The Strong Hand From Above.

No man asks for pain, but due to man’s desire to kick back, he is better for it. No man asks for waste, but through his own and others, he learns not to waste. I get a daily email from St. Ignatius High School religious team. It is a few paragraphs, a 2-3 minute mediation; setting me up to be right with God, at least for that day, hour, whatev … Today’s said “rather than make haste to enjoy free time, we are encouraged to make specific and sustained efforts to deserve it.” Between the lines and in the message, I don’t think they are only talking about on earth. What we do before we get to the plate – that’s just the batting cage.

The bridge between dreams and accomplishment is action. I am big on To Do lists and such, to stay organized within my worlds; Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Irish American News, Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, new book coming out this year, volunteering and serving on a few non-profit boards – desire for a difference forces meetings over TV. Attention to detail, and even scheduling in a break here or there, are the lessons broken dreams leave in their wake. When I don’t schedule it, or give it up for something new, I pay an inordinate price.

Even God rested, on the 7th day. Methinks He had earned it. With a body rusting through at the core, not breaking may be a short-term gain but over and over again, time has proven it to be a long term loss. I can run with the bulls, but know there will be forced repercussions – it’s a choice. If it is important, I choose. Hell’s Bells for 10 days with the festival will be Hell’s spells for x days after. That’s the tradeoff I, fully aware of, and agree to year after year.

The most glorious part, is finding elves along the way. I don’t know whether it’s Catholic guilt, parental expectations or just my own stupidity, but I am keenly aware of the passing of time, of not wasting the opportunity to make this world a better place, for our being here. Time shrinks; each day, we exchange one day of our life, for something. A day wasted is not necessarily a wasted day; lack of awareness of that day would be though.

I have loads of role models of living a purpose driven life. WWJD? Or Dad, or others I respect and learn from? I’d love to know; tell me, what would you do?

***

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:

Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

97 Jan 15 Cover

CICF.ad_Web_ThankYou Fest Logo High Res

Greater Cleveland Irish Directory

Greater Cleveland Irish Directory

First Generation, by John O'Brien Jr.

First Generation, by John O’Brien Jr.

Festival Legends: Songs & Stories, by John O'Brien, Jr.

Festival Legends: Songs & Stories, by John O’Brien, Jr.

Fine Irish Pubs of Greater Cleveland poster

Fine Irish Pubs of Greater Cleveland poster

The Ohio Irish American News

The Ohio Irish American News

Weekend Full of Things to Do:

January 17th, 2015

Out & About Ohio

Flanagan’s Wake is Back!
The Hilarious Interactive Irish Wake is Every Friday & Saturday at 8pm and Kennedy’s Theatre at Playhouse Square; Downtown Cleveland. 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353 www.playhousesquare.org

Brooklyn – Hooley House!

16 – Big in Japan, 17 – Matt Johnson’s Piano Fiasco, 23 – Velvet Shake, 24 – Carlos Jones, 30 – Marys Lane, 31 – Breakfast Club. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center

17th -Baby Shower. 28th -Merry Ploughboys. Genealogy Tours, Teas, Art Exhibit, Library, Museum Thur 5:00 – 8:00/ Tue/Wed 2:00 – 5:00 PM. Irish Community Project help extend stage & more Sundays 10 AM in prep for Acting Irish International Theater Festival May 19-24th at Irish Heritage Center. Rooms to rent for classes, meetings, parties. Irish Teas/Library /Genealogy Detective/ all by appt..             Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

ALL under Cleveland;

Marys Lane - 16th – The Harp, 17th - Irish American Club East Side, 30th Hooley House Brooklyn

Marys Lane – 16th – The Harp, 17th – Irish American Club East Side, 30th Hooley House Brooklyn

The Harp

16th – Marys Lane, 17th – Fior Gael, 21st – Lonesome Stars, 23rd – The Old Pitch, 24th- Chris Allen, 28th – Chris & Tom, 30th – Clearfork, 31st – Kristine Jackson

4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Stone Mad

Live music entertainment every Sunday. Traditional Irish Session 1st Sunday of ea/month, Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4 to 7. 1306 West 65th Street Cleveland 44102 216-281-6500

Flat Iron Café

16th – Donal O’Shaughnessy, 23rd – Becky Boyd & Kristine Jackson, 30th – Cats On Holiday. 1114 Center St.  Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968.  www.flatironcafe.com

Treehouse

18th – Top Hat Black; 25th – Ryan Milquest. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

PJ McIntyre’s

16th – House Tunes, 17th – Boys from the County Hell, 23rd – Iced Cherry, 24th – Stone Pony, 29th – Craic Brothers, 30th – Lost State of Franklin, 31st – The Spazmatics. Don’t forget T-Shirt Tues: wear any PJs T-Shirt get 15% off bill! Whiskey Wed:  ½ off every whiskey in the house. Thurs – Craft Beer $2.50. NEW CRAFT BEER REFRIGERATOR. PJ McIntyre’s is a Local 10 Union establishment. Home of the Celtic Supporter’s Club and the GAA. Book all your parties & Events in our Bridgie Ned’s Irish Parlor Party Room. 17119 Lorain Road, 44111. www.pjmcintyres.com 216-941-9311.

Flannery’s Pub

16 – Kristine Jackson, 23 – The Bar Flies, 24 – Van Strantz. 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

***

Avon Lake

Ahern Banquet Center

Ahern Banquet Center is booking weddings and special events.  Call Tony Ahern / Lucy Balser @ 440-933-9500.  726 Avon Belden Rd, Avon Lake  44012.  www.aherncatering.com

Euclid

Irish American Club East Side

17th – Anniversary Dance w/ Marys Lane $20, 22nd – Willis Clan Concert $12, 23rd – Mary Agnes Kennedy, 24th – Chili Cook Off. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.irishamericanclubeastside.org  

Findlay

Logan’s Irish Pub

Trad Sessiún 3rd Wednesday. 414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

Lakewood 

Beck Center for the Arts

17801 Detroit Avenue Lakewood 44107 (216) 521-2540 www.beckcenter.org

Plank Road Tavern

Open Sessiún Every Thursday 7 – 10.  $3 Guinness and Jamieson. 16719 Detroit Avenue, 44107

Medina

Sully’s

16th  – Island Doctor, 17th  – Donal O’Shaughnessy, 23rd  – Smug Saints, 24th  – One a U2 Tribute Band, 30th  – Craic Brothers, 31st – The New Barleycorn.  117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Mentor

Hooley House

16 – Matt Johnson’s Piano Fiasco, 17 – Big in Japan, 23 – Breakfast Club, 24 – Abbey Rodeo, 30 – Velvet Shake, 31 – Bluestone Union. Every Tuesday – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Every Wednesday – Trivia Night.  7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

 

Olmsted Twp

West Side Irish American Club

Great live music and good in The Pub every Friday.  WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Westlake

Hooley House

16 – Charlie in the Box, 17 – Phillip Fox band, 23 – Pat Dailey – $10.00 cover charge, 24 – School Girl Crush, 30 – #Coverband, 31 – Abbey Normal. Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. 
1FunPub.com
(440) 835-2890

 Willoughby

Mullarkey’s

16th -Nick Zuber, 17th – Mossy Moran, 23rd – 107.9 Band, 24th -Dan McCoy, 30th – Pat Shepherd. Wed: Karaoke, Thur: Ladies Night w/ DJ. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com 

Columbus

Shamrock Club Events

17th – Irish Dart Tournament; 18th – General Meeting; 23rd – Hat Trick; 30th – Ladies of Longford. Happy Hour every Friday from 5-7pm! 60 W. Castle Rd. Columbus 43207 614-491-4449 www.shamrockclubofcolumbus.com

Tara Hall

Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. No Cover. Tara Hall 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.

 

Out & About Ohio, from your Ohio Irish American

Out & About Ohio, from your Ohio Irish American

Traditional Social Dance for Adults:

Set Dance Lessons: Tues: 8-10 pm, St. Clarence Church, N. Olmsted / Wed: 7-9 pm, Irish American Club – East Side
Ceili Lessons: Thurs 1/22: 7-9 pm, West Side Irish American Club. Contact CeiliClubCleveland@gmail.com

 

Ongoing Traditional Irish Sessiúns - Bring your instruments and play along!

  • Akron Hibernian’s Ceili Band Sessions, Wednesdays 7:30 pm. Mark Heffernan  Div 2 Hall 2000 Brown St, Akron 330-724-2083. Beginner to intermediate
  • Croagh Patrick’s – 2nd Tuesday of every month 8 – 10pm
  • Bardic Circle @The Shamrock Club of Columbus Beginner – friendly, intermediate level Irish session meeting every other Thursdays 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Plank Road – Every Thursday 7 – 10. All ages and experience welcome. 16719 Detroit Road, Lakewood, 44107
  • The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm
  • Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 414 S. Main St., Findlay, 7:30 pm
  • Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session – 2nd Monday of the month 7 – 9 Slow Train Café, 55 East College St., Oberlin. Informal all experience welcome: www.oberlin.net/~irishsession
  • Claddagh Irish Pub – Sundays 6:00pm-9:00pm. All experience levels welcome
  • 585 S. Front St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
    • Tara Hall -Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949

      97 Jan 15 Cover