What’s Going on THIS Weekend! A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

August 27th, 2015

Out & About Ohio August 2015

Brooklyn – The Hooley House – Brooklyn​!
28th – Dan McCoy Patio 5:30, Pieces of Eight 9:30. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati​
Irish Teas/Library /Genealogy Detective/ all three by appointment. Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

ALL under Cleveland;
The Harp​
28th – Pitch the Peat, 29th – Austin Walkin’ Cane​. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com
29th – Chris Allen​. Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4 to 7. 1306 West 65th Street Cleveland 44102 216-281-6500
Flat Iron Cafe​
28th – Bluegrass Platter. 1114 Center St. Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968. www.flatironcafe.com
Treehouse Bar​
30th – Cats on Holiday. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com
PJ McIntyre’s​
28TH – Burning Rover Sound, 29TH – The New Barleycorn​! New Classes for Irish Dance. ALL SUMMER Weekends: summer payback to customers from 10-1, $2 drinks! Showing ALL GAA Football & Hurling!! Updated schedule weekly on www.premiumsports.tv.
- SIN Night- every night 7-Close: 25 % off yourbill! 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. 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.
Music Box Supper Club​
Summertime on the Riverfront concert series every Thursday through Sunday 3:00 – 6:00 pm, including Irish Music Sundays, features free live music, rain or shine with an outdoor oyster bar and great craft beer specials. Free admission, bands perform outside on riverfront deck, weather permitting. 30th – The Kilroys and a Ceili!. 1148 Main Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113. http://www.musicboxcle.com
Flannery’s Pub​
28th – The Swap Meet, 29th – Ryan Melquist. 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

Avon Lake
Ahern Ahern Catering & 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

Irish American Club East Side, Inc​
28 – No Strangers Here. PUB: 7:30 – 10:30. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.eastsideirish.org

Logan’s 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 / Montrose
Sully’s Irish Pub​
28th – Mossy Moran​. 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com.
Hooley House Hooley House – Montrose​
28th – Nick Zuber​ Patio 5:00, Michelle Romary Band 9:30, 29th – Brigid’s Cross​ Patio 5:00, Attraxxion 9:30. 145 Montrose West Avenue Copley, Oh 44321 (234) 466-0060 www.1funpub.com

Hooley House – Mentor​
28th – Vince Menti Patio 5:00, The Players Club 9:30. 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 food in The Pub every Friday. 30th – 3rd Irish Bluegrass Country Festival, 9/20 – Annual Clambake, 12/11 – Willoughby Brothers​ Christmas Dinner/Concert WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868. Ceili Dancing lessons every Thursday except meeting night, 7:00-9:00. $10.00. Info call instructor Maire Manning at 216-456-5395. WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Hooligans Irish Pub, Put-in-Bay​
29: The Rice Brothers Trio. 9/26: ½ Way to St Patrick’s Day-traditional music, bagpipes, & more! Live entertainment every Sunday 10:30am-1:30pm, Wednesday 4-6: Iseult O’Connor on fiddle & guitar. Sundays open early w/ Irish Breakfast. Whiskey Wednesdays w food & drink specials all day. 421 Co Rd 215, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456 (419) 285-8000. www.hooliganspib.com.

Valley City
Gandalf’s Pub​s
Great food, atmosphere, staff and now open, our Patio! 6757 Center Road Valley City, 44280 www.gandalfspub.com.

The Hooley House – Westlake​
28th – Brigid’s Cross Patio 5:00, Marys Lane​ 9:30. 24940 Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. 1FunPub.com (440) 835-2890
Shamrock Club Events
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: All are welcome to learn and have fun
• Set Dance Lessons: Tues: 8-10 pm, St. Clarence Church, N. Olmsted / Wed: 7-9 pm, Irish American Club – East Side
• Traditional Ceili: 13th – St. Clarence Church, Terrace Room, 8PM, $10.
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

• 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
• 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.

Ohio_0815-28pages_page26 Ohio_0815-28pages_page27



Living with Lardie: I’m not a Three, A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

August 26th, 2015

Living with Lardie: I’m not a Three
by Richard Lardie
A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Something reminded recently of an adventure I had while in the Army. I had mentioned earlier of my tendency to goldbrick at every chance. The reception Center is where you go the first week in the army. You get your haircut, clothes, nametags etc. You wait for orders on basic training assignment. . I pulled a stunt there – this stunt kept me on pins and needles for 8 weeks. I will explain.


We were all in formation in front of the barracks. We did not have name tags on our uniforms yet and were being told what would be happening over the next 24 hours. The sergeant then told us to count off by fours. 1, 2, 3 ,4, 1,2 ,3 ,4 etc. All the threes were then told to stay back and everybody else was dismissed. I was a three so there we stood. The sergeant informed us that he had seen that we all had special talents and had been chosen to be on KP to enable us to show those talents off.

We would all be awakened before reveille around 5 AM and we would be marched to the kitchen, where we would be on duty until about 7:30 PM. 14 hours, are you kidding me? The sergeant then told us to tie a towel on the end of our bunk so the cooks would know who to wake up in the morning.

The rest of my day was spent thinking of how I could avoid this without getting into trouble. I kept coming up with no solution until just before I tied the towel. I figured out that the sergeant didn’t know who we were. That was why we had to tie the towel. Aha, I thought, I just won’t tie a towel. They won’t even know I am gone. I went to bed.

I lay awake thinking of all the horrible things they would do to me for not tying the towel. I swear it would have been easier to go on KP, but I was committed. Then, while I was up using the head it dawned on me that they may have a count on how many guys they picked. Hmmm!

That presented another problem. I must have been groggy in the middle of my sleep but a brainstorm struck me. I tied my towel on the bunk next to mine. I giggled as I fell asleep knowing they would wake him up for KP.
I awoke to hear them waking the guy up next to me. He was arguing with them that he wasn’t on KP. The cook said “That’s what they all say private, now get out of that rack and get dressed.” “I’m not a three. I don’t have KP”. He said. The cook pointed at his sleeve and said; “These stripes say you have KP. Up and at em, NOW.”

“Yes sir” My bunkmate said. He got dressed and I heard him saying he was going to kill somebody for this. That was when I saw how big he was. He had to be 6 foot three and 200 pounds of lean 18 year old muscle. He stopped just before he walked out and just above a whisper said; “I will find out who you are.”

Everyone was fast asleep again in minutes so I got up and retrieved my towel. I was planning my escape if he discovered it was me. When I went thru the line at breakfast I saw him doing the pans in the back. The day progressed and we found out the next day we would be assigned to our companies and we would relocate to our basic training barracks. I had to get thru the next 24 hours without him finding out. Then I would be home free.

We got lined up for our companies alphabetically. That is when I found out my 6’3” bunk mates last name was Lawrey. We would be bunkmates for the next eight weeks. We both had lower bunks next to each other and I was incorporated into his search for the person that had messed with him in the reception center.

I assured him I had seen nothing that night but I would ask around to see if anyone else had seen anything. I joked that if we solved this we could start a detective agency when we got out of the army. Twice during the next eight weeks he yelled my name loudly in the barracks and I thought, Oh, oh, here we go, but he usually just wanted to tell me something funny.
For eight long weeks I bunked next to this guy and we became good friends. I still couldn’t tell him it was me. When our training was over we were all leaving at different times and by different means.

Busses and trucks out front, names being called, bags being loaded, good byes being said, promises to write and we will keep in touch being assured. I watched my bunkmate get on the bus and sit by a front window. We were all waving and saying goodbye as the bus started to pull out.

I walked along as it slowly moved out and mouthed the words, “It was me, I did it”. He looked at me blankly and I mouthed the words again feeling safe as the bus driver gunned the engine. The top sergeant came running up yelling for the bus to stop. He held up some more paper work for the bus driver. The bus stopped and the door opened and out comes my bunkmate running at me like a linebacker.

Oh, crap, I stood there frozen waiting for the beating that he had been promising for eight weeks. He stopped, looked at me and said “What were you yelling at me? I couldn’t hear you.”

“I am going to miss you.” I said. “Me too,” he said, got back on the bus. I never saw him again.


Cleveland Irish: Irish Immigration by Francis McGarry​. A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

August 25th, 2015

Cleveland Irish: Irish Immigration
by Francis McGarry​

Grace McGarry always said, “if you want the whole story you have to start at the start”.

In 1978, Nelson J. Callahan and William F. Hickey provided us with Irish Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland. It was a part of a series of publications by the Cleveland Ethnic Heritage Studies Department at Cleveland State University. These publications were made possible by with the support of the U.S. Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and a grant from The George Gund Foundation.

It is my intention to amplify that seminal work on the Cleveland Irish to reflect an expanded understanding of the Irish in America as well as in our great city, and to include source material. My work is made possible by an occasional pint of Guinness. My monthly article will be devoted to disseminating sections of my research to the readers of the Ohio Irish American News​.

To start at the start, at least the start of the Irish in America, has typically meant a ubiquitous recitation. The History of the Irish in America is the story of the Great Hunger and the consequent exodus of masses of Catholic Irish who made their way to America. These faceless hordes invaded New York and Boston, then made their way to Chicago and in lesser numbers places to the south and west. They were preceded by small numbers of Irish, mostly Presbyterians from the North, who became in America the “Scots-Irish.” Our story is not that simple of a history.

Every narrative of immigration is distinctive to the immigrant and to share each story is an insurmountable task. However, Irish American history has much more to share than a far-too-generalized basic recitation of our migration and settlement.

The Famine not only accounted for exodus, but can be classified as genocide beyond comparative comprehension. As a singular event, it defined Irish history on both sides of the Atlantic and throughout the Irish Diaspora. However, there was history and migration before the Famine and not all of Ireland was effected by the Famine in the same manner.

The population of Ireland in 1841 was over 8 million people and by the 1920s it was just over 4 million. However, the population of Donegal experienced a slight increase during the Famine years and a relatively low Famine-related death rate. Donegal felt the effects as a county and as individuals of the mechanization of spinning in 1828 and weaving in 1845 perhaps more than the Famine.

Irish history is often viewed as inextricably interwoven with the potato. The potato, native to the Peruvian Highlands, was domesticated over 8,000 years ago. The wild potato still has over 2,000 species in the Americas, and today, the Andes farmers grow over 5,000 potato domesticated varieties. Historically in the Andes, time was defined by how long it took to cook a potato. The potato was one of the new world crops introduced into Europe in the 16th century. Tomatoes, peppers, tobacco and cane sugar were other new world crops. Feel free to share that info at the Mayfield Smoke Shop during The Feast, particularly the information about the tomato. The potato was introduced in the American colonies in 1621 and was not widely cultivated until one hundred years later.

Irish American history before the American Revolution established the macro settlement pattern for later Irish immigrants and direct trade relationships between Ireland and America. The 17th century witnessed the arrival of up to 100,000 Irish. The majority of these immigrants were indentured servants being sent to the West Indies or the tobacco plantations in the Chesapeake Bay area. Some of these folks were prisoners, rebels, and felons. Their sentence was America.

This migration was forced and the pattern of settlement was determined by the powers that be. Many of the Irish who first landed in the West Indies eventually made it to the colonies because of the expansion of the sugar economy.
The early 18th century experienced an increase in Irish immigration to America. Large numbers of these Irish filtered their way to the frontiers of Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. They were primarily Presbyterians, descendants of lowland Scots, who had been assisted in relocating to Ireland by the British. Quakers, Methodists, Baptists and Catholics also migrated in lesser numbers.

Taxes, tithes and high rents were a catalyst for these Irish to leave from their adopted northern ports. In the south of Ireland seasonal labor in the fisheries of Newfoundland and an extended historical and generational attachment to the land lessened the economic pressures and want to migrate. The relaxing of the Penal Codes also permitted the Irish in the south to perceive that things were getting better for them.

The Irish who made their way to America did not all reach the frontier like Davey Crockett, whose paternal ancestors left Ireland in the early 18th century. Irish also established themselves in the colonial cities along the east coast, primarily in New York and Philadelphia, and in the Delaware Valley.

The majority of the half a million Irish who immigrated to America in the 18th century were a part of the relationships these Irish established with their personal, familial and Church connections in Ireland. It is a story of flax, linen and people as a commodity.

During this time, over 90% of American flaxseed was from New York City and Philadelphia. This was cause for ¾ of all ships from Ulster between 1750 and 1775 to sail to these two cities. American flaxseed fed the Irish linen industry, consolidated in the north of Ireland. The south of Ireland and its provisions were exported via Britain and sent to Europe or commandeered for its colonies in the West Indies.

The merchants involved in the trade of flaxseed were not fond of ships sailing for American ports devoid of cargo. This issue was answered with the commodification of the Irish. They became the cargo. As the linen industry doubled following the American Revolution, immigration increased as an impetus for this trade.

The American Revolution also affected the economies of the south. Before 1776 nearly ¾ of all southern Irish beef was taken to the West Indies. After 1783 that same Irish beef was sent directly to America. Irish ships began on greater occasion to sail for northern American ports like Boston and New York. This was the beginning of transportation structure for the Famine Irish.

Next month, the post Revolution and pre-Famine migration to America will be detailed. Additional information can be found in: New Directions in Irish-American History, edited by Kevin Kenny; Out of Ireland, the story of Irish emigration to America by Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner; To Hell or Barbados, the Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland, by Sean O’Callaghan; and The Irish Diaspora in America by Lawrence J. McCaffrey.



Just Stay

August 25th, 2015


A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.

She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack,
he dimly saw the young
uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent.
He reached out his hand.
The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers
around the old man’s limp ones,
squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair
so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.
All through the night the young Marine sat there
in the poorly lighted ward,
holding the old man’s hand and
offering him words of love and strength.
Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away
and rest awhile.
He refused.

Whenever the nurse came into the ward,
the Marine was oblivious of her
and of the night noises of the hospital -
the clanking of the oxygen tank,
the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings,
the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words.

The dying man said nothing,
only held tightly to his son all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old man died.
The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding
and went to tell the nurse.
While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned.
She started to offer words of sympathy,
but the Marine interrupted her.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied.
“I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake,
but I also knew he needed his son, a
nd his son just wasn’t here.
When I realized that he was too sick
to tell whether or not I was his son,
knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.
I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey.
His son was Killed in Iraq today,
and I was sent to inform him.
What was this Gentleman’s Name?”

The nurse, with tears in her eyes answered,
Mr. William Grey…

The next time someone needs you … just be there. Stay.





GOD IS SO GOOD, All the time…

Thanks to John Lackey​ for this.

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


Got Irish? Wanna Learn? A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

August 24th, 2015

Got Irish? Wanna Learn?
- “Tir gan teaga, tir gan anam.”

A country without a language is a country without a soul.
Patrick Pearse

Dia daoibh (jee-uh yeev) Hello all

Each month we will give examples of key words and phrases in Irish, with a phonetic spelling, to help you speak a little Irish.

hello Dia duit jee-uh ghitch
please le do thoil lay duh hull
thank you go raibh maith agat guhraw maw agut
cheers slainte slawncha
goodbye slan slawn

This will get you started!

Thanks to Ohio Irish American News and P J McIntyre’s Irish Pub, from Irish Language Cleveland

Slan Go Foill (slawn go fall) – Goodbye for now

Join us for Intro to Irish every Tuesday night, for 10 weeks, at Pj McIntyre’s Irish Pub, 17119 Lorain Road at Kamm’s Corners. Classes start September 29th, 6:30 – 8ish. All are welcome.
$120 + $25 for the book for beginners, $100 + $25 for the book if needed, for returning students.
Cash or checks to: Ohio Irish American News
14615 Triskett Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44111-3123

Got Irish



100th Commemorations: Dr Kathleen Lynn – An Unsung Heroine, a story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

August 22nd, 2015

100th Commemorations: Dr Kathleen Lynn – An Unsung Heroine
by Anne Waters
a story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News​

The men of 1916 have been justly commemorated with word and song, but there were many women who fought bravely by their side who have largely remained invisible. One such woman was Dr Kathleen Lynn, an Irish heroine by any standard. The story of Kathleen Lynn is one of conviction, compassion, courage and strength, but also of prejudice because of gender, religion and sexuality.

Kathleen Lynn was born into a comfortable middle class family in County Mayo in 1874. Her father was a Church of Ireland clergyman, so her background was not a typical breeding ground for Irish republicanism. From an early age she was horrified at the poverty that surrounded her, particularly acute in the aftermath of the Irish Famine.


It is believed that from the age of sixteen she was determined to become a doctor, no easy achievement for a woman at that time. She was educated in private schools and received medical training first in Ireland and eventually the United States. Kathleen was an active feminist and nationalist, which was contrary to the upbringing she would have received. She became a close confidante of James Connolly, himself a tireless advocate of the downtrodden, working in the soup kitchens during the infamous 1913 Lockout; he later made her Chief Medical Officer of the Irish Citizen Army.

It was during this period that she met her lifelong friend and companion Madeline Ffrench Mullen, who was also committed to the service of the poor and to the nationalist cause. Kathleen’s contact with the Dublin poor continued through her membership of the Irish Women’s Workers Union and became a lifelong commitment.

During the Rising she was stationed in City Hall; when the commanding officer was shot she took charge. The first casualty of the Rising was a young man called Sean Connolly. He died in Kathleen’s arms and afterwards she wrapped him in a green flag. Subsequently she was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail with other female activists Constance Markievicz and Madeline Ffrench Mullen.

Kathleen continued the political activism and joined Sinn Fein, becoming vice president of the executive in 1917. The Civil War in Ireland between those supporting the Treaty to set up of a State of 26 counties, and those fighting for full independence for all 32 counties, was bitter and violent. Kathleen supported the anti-treaty side, but she was in the forefront campaigning to bring the war to an end because of her desire for peace and an end to bloodshed. Although she was elected to the Dail (Irish Parliament) Kathleen’s involvement in politics lessened as she focussed her energies on her new venture St. Utans Hospital.

St. Ultan’s was a pioneering institution in Ireland of the early 20th century. Kathleen Lynn and Madeline Ffrench Mullen were a driving force, and instrumental in it’s establishment. Poverty and in particular the health of women was always a major concern. She petitioned to have soldiers tested for Syphilis before re-entry to Ireland after the war. An anticipated 15,000 soldiers were expected to return with a consequent surge in the incidence of the disease. Her pleas fell on deaf ears, in the main because it was ‘only prostitutes‘ who would become infected.

St Ultans catered for these women and the babies born infected with venereal disease. Before long, Kathleen was once again arrested, but Dublin’s Lord Mayor successfully petitioned for her release, citing the new threat in the country, ‘Spanish Flu’. It is estimated that more than 18,000 people died from the flu and medics were in short supply.

The establishment of St. Ultans provided a place where women and their babies could be safely delivered and treated. Kathleen envisioned not just a hospital but an education centre where women could learn how to care for both themselves and their children.

The child-centred approach advocated by Dr. Maria Montessori was encouraged, with Dr. Montessori visiting St. Ultans in 1934. In addition, the hospital was one of the first to vaccinate against TB, introduced to the hospital by another female, Protestant nationalist, Dr Dorothy Stopford – Price.

All ventures need funds and St. Ultan’s hospital was in constant need of support. Along with three other hospitals, the Irish Sweepstake was founded in 1929. This was a double edged sword as the government now withdrew all state support, but also demanded full control of the sweepstake when funds reached two million pounds. Monetary assistance came from a variety of organisations including the Women’s Education League of San Francisco and a book was sold entitled ‘Leabhair Ultan’, comprised of contributions from a variety of well-known persons at the time, including the playwright Sean O’Casey and artist Jack B. Yeats .

The hospital had strong nationalist links, with many of the staff and supporters believing in a secular Republic, but Independence had given the Catholic Church tremendous power. In their estimation, Kathleen Lynn was unacceptable as woman and a Protestant, but also a lesbian. When she tried to amalgamate St. Ultans with National Children’s Hospital, she met a strong adversary in Archbishop McQuaid. The hospital eventually closed in 1964.

Kathleen Lynn is very much an unsung hero. Her background alone made her an unlikely Republican, but combined with her gender, she was a woman out of step with the times she lived in. Her educational achievement as a doctor was unusual enough but to dedicate herself to easing the lives of the poverty stricken women of Dublin displayed exceptional compassion and courage.

The Catholic Church could not see beyond her gender and her sexuality and recognise the beauty and integrity of this woman who could have had a life of ease if she had so chosen. When she died, the President of Ireland, Eamon DeValera, paid his respects but remained in the Church grounds because the funeral was non-Catholic.

The recent referendum in Ireland placed the country on the world stage with regard to the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Kathleen Lynn’s sexuality became such a focus of the Catholic Church that the life she spent tending to the poor in Dublin was almost subsumed and obscured, and certainly undermined.

Almost 100 years later, the question of a person’s sexuality is still a contentious subject. By voting yes in the referendum to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, it is hoped a climate of acceptance and equality can be nurtured so that others like Kathleen Lynn can be remembered and honoured for their deeds and not their sexual orientation.


A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News
Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;


Editor’s Corner; A Story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

August 4th, 2015

Editor’s Corner

I played Gaelic Football most of my younger days. Cleveland St. Pat’s, and later Cleveland St. Jarlaths filled my summers with sport, travel, Irish culture and friendships that still vibrate today. There is a new generation of course, but getting to know the Cleveland Football and Akron Hurling teams, plus a few guys and girls from Pittsburgh, Columbus and beyond the Pale solidifies reassurance that the same heart and passion hums in them, as in my generation. Be Not Afraid.Midwest-GAA-Poster

August 7th, 8th and 9th will feature the Midwest Division battle to the Tom O’Donahue Cup, held this year in Pittsburgh. I am going; I love both sports. Men’s, and Women’s Irish Football and Hurling Division winners go on the Nationals, held this year in Boston; so looking forward to both amazing weekends. If you haven’t seen the national sports of Ireland, this is a chance for games all day Saturday and Sunday to choose from. Our own Ohio teams will be there, as well as the surrounding states.

We have extensive history and partnerships with the GAA, locally and nationally. Schedules, game results, highlights and events are within, each month, but especially all summer, when the games and teams are most active. The chance to share these wonderful bits of authentic Irish life, right here in America, is not to be missed.

Take the fields of Glory, form the first formation of the Irish Identity, independent and free, to nurturing the Irish Diaspora across the world … All Our Wars are Merry, all our games are fierce!

There are a lot of fundraisers and benefits this month, so many could use a helping hand, and so many have done that, and much more, for us. Support where you can, they need our help.

Ohio Irish American News and Pj McIntyre’s are proud to sponsor Irish Language Cleveland again this fall. Classes are every Tuesday, 6:30 to 8ish, for ten weeks. A fair few folks gather before for dinner, a speaker or just great craic. I have found great shared values, and new friendships there.

Classes kick off September 29th, in PJ McIntyre’s Bridgie Ned’s party room. Registration is required, so send cash or check to: Ohio Irish American News, 14615 Triskett Road. Cleveland, Ohio 44111-3123.
Don’t forget World Day, held at the Irish Garden on Martin Luther King Blvd. Parade, bands, food and much more fill the day (11-8:30). It is a wonderful event, and the Irish always host wonderful events!

Hope to see you at the GAA Games Midwest Finals August 7-9. As always, please say Hi; I’d love to meet you all.


“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
O’Bent Enterprises includes:
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/ http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/


August issue of the Ohio Irish American News, featuring Marys Lane, pic by Tom McInerney.

August issue of the Ohio Irish American News, featuring Marys Lane, pic by Tom McInerney.



Congratulations to Colin and Jill Lackey, married June 20th; we wish you great Health, Wealth and Happiness.

Congratulations to Ohio Irish American News CoPublisher Cliff Carlson, elected to the Board of Directors of the Irish Heritage Center, Chicago.

Congratulations to Music Box Supper Club, celebrating their 1st Anniversary.

Off Stage ~ Putting on the O’Ritz

July 31st, 2015

Off Stage ~ Putting on the O’Ritz
John O’Brien, Jr.

This is my 33rd year with Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival​. My dad started the festival, but I started, doing the parking! After college I graduated to doing the food, then onward, and some say, upward, from there. I have been Deputy Director for near on 2 decades. In many ways, it gets easier each year, though we add more and more. In others …


Last year we made many significant changes, but the biggest for me, especially evident this year, was the development of our Creative Team. Separate from our board of directors, they are charged with brainstorming; developing and implementing new things to attract new people and more people. They have so far exceeded expectations that I just sit back and say Thank you – to God and to them.

Some of the load is lifted, freeing me up take on other challenges. Bi Monthly meetings led to monthly meetings led to 2 weekends of massive painting of our Irish Village storefronts that lead to Temple Bar. The 2nd was the 17th – 19th, the weekend before The Fest. 15 people, including new artists, joined us and their craft is amazing. The Village leading to Temple Bar has doubled this year; God willing, next year too.

We decide to do PR in house this year, as no one knows our festival, or cares as much, as we do. T’was a good decision, as the crowds and response attest. Tuesday appearances on New Day Cleveland, The Morning Show, Spotlight on 5, Willis & Snyder – who were both live and also recorded an interview that ran several times all week; and Nolan, Malone & Kulick (4 and 0 Baybee) were fun and effective; Gary Dee from Ch 3 came out live and did interviews and the weather from The Fest for several hours; The New Barleycorn​ appeared Live on shows both Saturday and Sunday morning of The Fest too. Huge Thanks to all our media and vendor partners and all our many friends, performers and supporters for doing what was required, then doing even more. We are finally making headway in seeing those supporters share The Fest on Social Media; maximizing the power that sharing offers to spread the word of The Fest to audiences and potential attendees.

During The Fest, I usually take 6 consecutive days vaca from the Sheriff’s Dept., starting on the Tuesday before. After all the media appearances Tuesday morning, we race out to the grounds and start on building easels as we direct the unloading of the trucks to their correct building, hoping to move things less often. “When the sun goes down o’er Cleveland town, the colors last for hours oh! The lights come on, the night’s a song, and the streets all turn to gold”. Home late, I print things we need for the week, I then took a break to proof the 1st draft of the August issue of the Ohio Irish American News​. 28 pages of bliss.

Wednesday was set up day, and went really well. Our all-volunteer workforce came ready to roll. I am a firm believer you have to attack hard work. The analysis, best practices stuff has already been done, now, it’s time to attack. Lifelong volunteers move about without needing direction, and the buildings went up –we have to do a time lapse of that someday – t’would be very cool.

We were way ahead, despite less volunteers this year. I shifted the auld brain to do another proof Wednesday night as the OhIAN began to take shape. Late, I then fell into the Hot tub and drifted for hours – ok, 15 minutes.

After a quick meeting at the Entertainer’s hotel, we then wrapped up most of the setup on Thursday, near on 6pm. It was quite peaceful amidst the madness as we sat back and chatted with Whiskey Tasting Coordinators Ann Powers-Calvey​ and Sheila Farkas, who also volunteered to distribute Volunteer T-Shirts as volunteers came out to the grounds to get them (and the super duper secret of what color they are this year, is revealed).

I only lost one thing last weekend (besides lots of sweat, lots of skin and a little blood etc… ) – it was by far the most valuable and the most damaging; one completely smashed hearing aid. I always put them in a case in my pocket when I get up in the morning, post shower wet ears and hearing aids do not do well together. A heavy box being leveraged hit my thigh and crushed the delicate little $2,000 window to music and voices. Somehow the right aid, resting right next to the left one in the case, wasn’t even scratched; so there’s that! Later that weekend, my cooler disappeared too. Don’t worry, it was empty, but Dad found it today.

Richie Reece​, of Brigid’s Brigid’s Cross​ and a partner in The Hooley House – Brooklyn​, invited the entertainers out for a fest kickoff dinner – the meal was fantastic, and the conversation magnifico! We don’t often get to chat with the performers at The Fest as we run from cliff to cliff. A good dinner, loads of laughs and those great convos were the perfect prescription for kicking off The Fest just right. Thank you, thank you, Cara Butler​, Alyth​ McCormack, Jon Pilatske, and especially Richie for welcoming the great folks and taking such good care of us all.

Friday is our polish up day, making sure things work, look good, and are accessible. Beer, pop, food, ice and more roll in, sometimes at the EXACT same time…

WMMS of iHeart Radio sent radio personality Charlie out for Friday’s Happy Hour and the kickoff with Celtic Rockers Carbon Leaf​. Hooley Hour’s Bridget Linton​ and Josh kicked off the Rock Stage Saturday and Sunday too.

Beverage Distributors’ Rita Gaertner​ was amazing – such a dynamo and not only sees the big picture, she can see opportunities within it too. She and Greg added so much to this festival, I decided I am going to clone her. New Craft beers this year featured Guinness Blonde, Smithwick’s​ Pale and Millersburg Vienna Lager –and were a great success! Yes, I quality tested them all …

Friday crowds were big, vibrant and pulsing with energy and fun that is everything you want, and everything we work so hard to generate. No amount of money will buy it, only quality highlights within will earn it.

Tis tradition to have a nice cigar with friends at the end of each day. Kevin McDonough, our food coordinator, knew of my ritual and brought me a bodacious one to wrap up Friday with. Best laid plans … didn’t allow Saturday or Sunday, but man, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of doing that.

Despite it being the first day, all the fires and firsts, I was still able to leave the grounds not too long after half midnight. My body was holding up well, tho moving slower; the broken auld back, however, had much griping and burning to bother me life. Since this was the first time I was able to see our performers up close this year, I easily muted it with hugs, conversation and a few songs and tunes till 3, before that nagging little voice chirping, Go To Bed, finally won out.

Saturday was like Friday, but way WAY bigger. By now most of you have heard about the Foam Glow race going on in and around the racetrack Saturday night. We had no choice, but the organizers of it were professional, courteous and very flexible. We made the best of it. We couldn’t use from the grass by the back Pavilion, back, all weekend. Since we could only set up the tent once; we had to squeeze: the Harp, food court, and Miller stages from the grass to the midway, got a bear hug.

I was worried especially about the soft voice of Frances Black​ being drowned out, but she more than held her own. There is a load of power in that woman, both musically and in accomplishment that directly makes the world a better place, for her being here. I sat down with Ronan Tynan​ on the same subject, and his response was vintage Tynan, classy, powerful and not to be messed with: “Don’t worry about it; this is OUR party, I will take care of it”. One of the great Gentleman in this business – awesome.

The most significant fallout, and the thing that I am most sick about, was that we had to close all Eastland Road parking on Saturday to Irish Fest patrons. This caused inconvenience and lost patrons throughout the day, but massive exit problems at the end of the night. We exhausted our choices, but still, I am sorry for all that people had to go through. Progressive Field, The Q, The Browns and I suppose Blossom and other large venues all deal with long wait times to get out, but it was first of this degree for us. We will fix it.

At 9:30 or so, we opened the gates to Foam Glow runners and many came thru. A young girl asked me for garbage bags to save her car seats from ruin, and I was able to locate some for her. She then told me I was a blessing. Under a mandate to provide the best experience we can for our guests, it caught me by surprise. I was not able to answer her before she headed off to her car, but as the weekend continued, that song humming in my head and moved the Irish mist from my eyes; it became very symbolic to me: how many blessings I found, or I should say, that found me, throughout the coordination and development of the festival all this year. They came front and center, encouraged; it was oh so apropos.

I got off-site around 1am, but 3am came so quickly! Joanie Madden​ is one of my all-time favorite people. Joanie is the driving force and founder of Cherish the Ladies​, celebrating their 30th year together, and has been a mentor to me over 3 decades as I try to find ways to add value to our festival. She has played all over the world, seen and given so much, and like me, cares little for glamor over substance. All those closest to me share a trait of direct and honest communication – we are not big on lots of words, passive-aggressive communication or games – we share because we care, not to get a pat on the back. On Saturday Joanie and I had a brief chat, heavily punctuated with laughter and a pepsi or three, but Sunday we had a mighty good conversation, she gave me strength.

I love the taste of a McDonald breakfast, but for obvious reasons, never eat it, outside of festival weekend. Stumble from hotel bed to Breakfast every day for their Bacon Egg n Cheese Bagel Value Meal w Large coffee is a lift and a pleasure as I gather thoughts and strength for the day. 51 weeks to the next McD’s! It’s another hug I guess.

The biggest hug of all is Sunday, for we always start off The Fest with Mass. Our whole festival family gathers on a bleacher; stays together, prays together and seeks the peace of God, amidst the pain and the fashion. Sunday was an amazing day, full of music, family and a deep love of our heritage, our faith and each other, brought Live and in full green, white and orange tinted color.

I always resolve to” see more music next year”, but that is not my focus, so usually part of a song or two is all I can get. All four bands new to us this year got tremendous response. Ashley Ashley M. Davis​, Runa​, Frances Black and ENNIS (Maureen & Karen)​ were fantastic additions and loved by everyone that heard them; gorgeous voices and notes; humor and dance where ever they roamed.

We close at 10:30p.m. on Sundays; I left soon after midnight. The after’s party was amazing and so memorable. Have you ever tried Kansas Whiskey? Oh man!

Julie Fitzgerald​ and Michael Holland went OFF on a dance rift behind the bar (the only place with a hard floor), the singing was beautiful, Cormac de Barra​ on Harp is the most mesmerizing thing to watch. I told folks that they are the reason people come to the fest, first for the music, but then, because of them and the friendships and goodwill they build. Better ambassadors could not be found. You are the reason, so I want to thank you for making this our most successful festival ever. Then I toasted that Kansas Whiskey! (again).

I arose Monday sore and happy; sad it was over; dreading the cleanup. We must be off the grounds by 5pm on Monday. 9 days to set up, 6 HOURS to take down, as we organized, counted, packed, taped, rolled and wrapped everything carefully, to lessen the work come next year. The cleanup went well and I was able to be at the storage as things came in, so I could put them away right (i.e. once), and spare my Pop having to muscle things when we reset for next year. The last box was stacked at 3:30.

Dropping off of loaned equipment and such took another hourish, but a shower never felt so good when we were done. Mindy kidnapped me for dinner at The Hooley House – Westlake​, where I had started the weekend on Thursday, and ended the fest (sorta), on Monday. The AC and the company were most welcome.

Home, couch and hot tub.

I have learned to take the Tuesday after The Fest off too – the wall of pain won’t really hit till Wednesday, but Tuesday gives me a chance to find my garage and living room again, sort what is there and apologize with tlc to the neglected lawn, flowers and hammock that can fill free time pre and post fest. I have also learned, while still going, to get it done. Yet, my heart ached for the music.

About 6 weeks before The Fest, our Fest Temple Bar performances Coordinator Maureen Conway Reich​ was gathering a group to go see the Galway band, We Banjo 3, at the fantastic Music Box Supper Club​, on the Tuesday after The Fest. But I bugged off, not too sure how the Rheumatoid and broken back would be after the holy havoc that is The Fest. I felt relatively ok, so I joined Kati Gryn​, Maureen, Amanda Murphy​, Jim Kilbane​ Shannon Corcoran, Erin Homan​, Erin, Kevin Mccluskey​, Rasa Palunas Chambers​. Marilyn Madigan​, Dave Neige​, Beth, Roger S. Weist​ and opening band The Portersharks​ at Music Box. So glad I did. We Banjo 3 has loads of personality, LOADS of talent among the foursome -2 sets of Howley and Enda Scahill​ Fergal Scahill​ brothers, so I am glad I bucked up and went, they are just flat out fantastic.

Wednesday was back to work at the Sheriff’s Department. Hard to come down from such a high, yet I must – for it is only 257 days till The 34th Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.

Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.
Follow me, where I go:

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/ www.songsandstories.net www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews www.twitter.com/jobjr

Please tag away too!

The History of Irish Music, by Larry Kirwan

June 28th, 2015

Out of the Mailbag, Comes Songs & Stories:
The History of Irish Music, by Larry Kirwan​
ISBN: 9780963960115, 346 pages
a story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

A History of Irish Music Back Cover A History of Irish Music cover

I love reading and learning, especially the history of Ireland, of music and of my friends. In Larry Kirwin’s The History of Irish Music, all my passions are rolled into one book. Whether in writing or in person, Kirwan’s style is the same: genuine, laced with humor, illuminating and as accepting as a politically active bandleader can be.

Kirwan’s musical history is full of seminal people, moments and music set against the backdrop of an Ireland undergoing political, religious and economic quakes. The shores change to America, the song remains the same, on the cutting edge of music; Kirwan tells it as he experienced it, firsthand. I loved it.

Throughout his career, with Deep Thinkers and seminally, as the leader and founder of Black 47, Larry has met, worked with, interviewed, and sang with and for, the biggest names in music. Black 47 went out with a bang after 25 years together, in a Farewell Tour that ended at the same locale as they started. Sixteen Black 47 and two solo CD’s, fourteen plays and musicals, two novels and a memoir, Kirwan also hosts and produces Celtic Crush for SiriusXM Radio and writes a column for the Irish Echo. He is President of the Irish-American Writers and Artists.

Larry’s perspective is personal, not word of mouth. Donal Lunny, Planxty, Sinead O’Connor, Shane McGowan and The Pogues, Christy Moore and Moving Hearts, Horselips, The Wolfe Tones. Liam Ó’Maonlaí and Hothouse Flowers, Punk music, Thin Lizzy, Sharon Shannon and the Waterboys, Moving Hearts, Paddy Reilly, U2, Saw Doctors, The Ramones, Damien Dempsey, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, those on whose the music world turned, are part of his repertoire too. Larry’s insight and commentary are fascinating, delivered in a straightforward conversational style, in print. Highlights are scratching the surface, but are a wee taste of the pure:
“There have always been two strands to the Celtic Music tradition – songs of entertainment and songs that talk about our history, politics and cultural identity. We’re definitely in no danger of losing the former – as long as there’s an Irish Rover, a Wild Rover or any other kind of rover to be lauded we’ll have entertainment. That goes for the hedonistic Celtic Rock side of things too with songs like Streams of Whiskey, Drunken Lullabies and Funky Céili. But take away the politics, the history and our ongoing resistance to political and economic oppression then our music loses its life-affirming and, for my money, interesting, quotient. Nor does every song need to be a fist-pumping anthem or political tract set to a four-on-the-floor beat; sometimes you just need to take into account the loss and loneliness of someone far away who is wondering how the hell he ever ended up enmeshed in a foreign culture, and if he’ll ever make it home. That’s the root of Irish music and if we lose that we risk becoming a parody of ourselves no matter what level of professionalism, proficiency, and entertainment we aspire to.

“I’m always more concerned with moving an audience rather than merely entertaining it, for touching hearts and even souls is much more gratifying than tickling fancies or expectations.

“I loved fair days but match days were their equal. They unleashed a wildness that took the old town by the scruff of its neck and shook it free of its slumbering nonchalance. Wexford adored its hurlers, especially when it seemed as though they might defeat their archrivals, the mighty Kilkenny, and reach the All Ireland final. The cries of the vendors, the surge of expectant faces up lanes and back streets towards the Gaelic Athletic Park, the repressed excitement that would erupt during sixty gasping minutes of belting and pucking the sliotar up and down the grassy pitch, hurleys splintering, blood spouting, with no thought of personal safety by any participant – all of this inspired the people to shrug off the patina of feigned respectability imposed by church piety or latent Victorian propriety. Suddenly you’d come face to face with the old hidden Gaelic Ireland – the thorny outlines of an ancient culture that doffed its cap to no one.”

Kirwan went on to speak of influences and irrationalities, but returned to the root of the modern ballad tradition, the pivotal band that brought the ballads back to life, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem:
“Indeed by 1964 one third of all albums sold in Ireland had been recorded by the Clancys and Makem. They were so popular that the mighty showbands even felt called upon to don báinín (white) Aran sweaters and actually stop the dancing while they performed a set of “Clancy ballads.” Years later when I first made my foray into the showband world one of the more popular numbers was a quickstep version of the Clancy’s Bonny Shoal of Herrings. One can only imagine what that grave purist Ewan McColl would have thought of this polka-like resetting of his flinty sea shanty. … the Clancys and Makem swept the dust off all of them. They removed layers of calcification from patriotic laments like Roddy McCorley and Kevin Barry. By juicing them so jubilantly while never tampering with their innate power, they cast these songs in a new light. We had become vaguely ashamed of them, especially after the botched IRA border campaign of the mid-1950s. The Clancys and Makem cauterized some of the innate danger and subversion thus rendering the old songs more respectable, and ultimately acceptable, by placing them in a more theatrical framework. An acquaintance of theirs said to me many years later in a Manhattan saloon, ‘You could see the shadow of the gunman behind the lads, but you were damn certain he had no bullets.’”

9-11 and New York are indelibly ingrained in Larry; 9-11 changed him forever:

“Those nights were so intense; you would almost jump for joy when you saw a familiar face enter – at least he or she was alive. When someone wouldn’t have shown up for a month or two you feared the worst. In many cases you might not know a name, so you couldn’t inquire if they’d made it through. On gigs around the tri-state area people would show pictures of lost ones and request their favorite Black 47 songs. Hard as it was when you recognized a familiar face, oddly enough, it was even tougher when you didn’t – to think your music had meant so much to someone you hadn’t even known.”

I was honored to write an endorsement for Larry Kirwan’s The History of Irish Music. The modern history of Irish rock told firsthand in a conversational painting of the times transported me to the time, and the temperature of Kirwan’s experience. I loved the book. The History of Irish Music is a Top Shelf Selection.




Can You Grow Great Friendships?

June 25th, 2015

Can You Grow Great Friendships?

A good friend of mine’s birthday is 3 days before Christmas; one of my sister’s is Christmas Day. So we make an extra effort to acknowledge those days and not let their birthdays get lost in the holiday. The friend, we’ll call her Mindy, has a fantastic roommate who decided to really celebrate it, and threw a ½ Way to Mindy’s Birthday Party instead. Boy was Mindy SurPRIZED!

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

Great Lakes Brewery had the beer, the food and company. ½ of a birthday card, and ½ of a Birthday Cake, along with very full birthday appetizers and meal added to the surprise and the fun. She was delighted, and got a taste, sweeter and longer lasting than the cake, of how much she is loved. I wrote a complicated poem for her; I look forward to her insight on it.

I have so enjoyed going to the new Irish Music Sundays at Music Box Cleveland, on the water, on the West Bank of the Flats. I love heat, love summer, love being on the water, love music, love great food … Gotta make the o’donuts tho, they don’t bake themselves. Auld Pitch 3 weeks ago, a Ceili with The Portersharks on Father’s Day last week with 16 of my family, and this Sunday, I am looking forward to Marys Lane.
4 Oyster Bar Music Box
Fresh Oyster Bar, Crab Legs, various wraps and craft beers and the beautiful view are a few highlights, but the music is the star. 3 – 6 every Sunday thru the summer. I try a different food and beer each week. While I lighten my wallet, I add to my edumacation.

Auld Pitch

Auld Pitch

Friday night, 18 Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival volunteers gathered at the Berea Fairgrounds to continue creating our CICFestival Irish Village, the boreen green to our Temple Bar. The 33rd Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival is four weeks away, and so many new and fun things are coming. I met some amazingly talented and work ethic rich new members of our team, shown the light by returning volunteers.
cicf paint 2
It takes a village, and our village is rising before our eyes. Saturday morning 19 people gathered, and more shops were painted into our village. Mama Julianna’s Pizza is so good! We stopped for a pepsi afterwards too of course. Getting to know the giving only makes me more grateful.

Whole group painters

30 bands and 8 stages, reunions and the planting of future wedding seeds are the mainstay of the festival, but other highlights/new plans for the festival this year include
• Marys Lane Movie – “See You Next Time” A mini-rockumentary short film on Cleveland-based Irish-American Celtic rock band Marys Lane as they journey in and around St. Patrick’s Day
• Irish Road Bowling – A cult-classic in Ireland, Irish Road Bowling is coming to Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
• Online Advance Sale Admission, Weekend Passes and Whiskey Tasting Tickets @ www.clevelandirish.org.
Gate Admission is only $12 (that’s only $2.50 per band!) and Parking is free.
• Online CICF T-shirts, including the new LiveMoreLiveBeMoreIrish hit shirts, Men’s and Women’s cuts and pre and post fest sales.
• Whiskey Tasting – Friday and Saturday “Whiskeys of the World” with North American Irish Whiskey Ambassador Michael Eagan and the 2Gingers Girls
• Expanded Irish Beer Garden with BRAND NEW Craft Beers – For the adults, featuring Smithwicks Pale, Guinness Blonde, Homestead (Licking Co) and French Ridge IPA (Millersburg) highlight the local and the International
• GAA Irish Football and GAA Hurling Demonstrations – Cleveland St. Pat’s Gaelic Football and Akron Guards Hurling Clubs will engage both kids and adults with demos of Ireland’s National Sports
• Cleveland Nature Center / Nature Tracks Mobile Units – For the kids, Nature Center and Metroparks will have their mobile units at the fest
• Authentic Irish Food Focus – more than 20 authentic Irish food favorites will be available, including Shepard’s Pie, Bridies, Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Boxty, and an Irish Breakfast. American Fare and Kid’s favorites are also plentiful.
• Friday Happy Hour (5-7pm) – with $1 discount on all import and domestic beers and many food items.
• 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising – the most seminal event in Irish history will be commemorated in play, song and performance this year and next
• 8 Stages; 30 bands, including Pipe Bands, Dance Schools, Plays, Food Court, Tir Na nOg (Land of Our Youth) Children’s Area, and so much more.
• Local Irish Band Showcase and Mad Sessiúns- featuring Ballinoch, The Roundabouts and Mad Macs Irish bands, Cleveland legends and performers at the fest from throughout Ireland, the U.S and Canada join in the sessiúns; Irish language, instrument and history workshops too
• Uber – Uber is offering festival patrons a $20 discount coupon to first time users.
• Recycling – CICF is proud to incorporate recycling of plastic cups, bottles and Program Books
• Temple Bar & Museum and our Irish Village – take a walk thru the expanded Irish Village and the Temple Bar, modeled after Dublin’s signature entertainment district – with live music, dancing, sessiúns (jam sessions), instrument, dance and language workshops and more. Displays on Irish Life, Music, Sports, Food, People and Places fill the monster Temple Bar and Museum.


I sent off the July issue of the Ohio Irish American News on Saturday morning before heading to the grounds, 32 pages! Each and every issue this year has matched or set a new record for the 9 years that month’s issue has been published. Head down, chin up, learn, and give more than you receive has taken us from success, to significance. Now, on to August issue.

buick loaded

Maureen & Rory catching the last train out

Back to the grounds on Sunday, to roll up the many new canvases left to dry overnight, with the help of Maureen and Rory Hennessy; I am oh so grateful to have gotten to know these two generous souls, first through the Rose of Tralee, and then through Irish Language Cleveland class. We wrapped and rolled, then danced our way down to music Box for the Ceili with The Portersharks. The dancing is beyond me with my back and joints, but watching the grace and glimmer is still fun – yet … I am envious.

Speaking of the back n joints, I have not written on that in a while, on purpose. I am in my 18th week of self injections of the biologic, Orencia. When I look back I see the difference, more than I notice in the present, as the effect is so gradual. I can raise my arms above my shoulders more freely, can sometimes open a bottle of water with my hand, not my teeth. Joints are not a continuous throb, just when tested by walking, standing or sitting for too long. I am blessed to see progress and reduction in pain; reversal of damage may be in my future yet.

Synovial Fluid is the lubricant in your joints. In RA, the body receives an alarm of an invader in the synovial fluid, and attacks it, mistakenly, and continuously. This attack causes great inflammation, which begets stiffness and pain. One RA treatment, fairly new, is classed as Biologics. Biologics have the distinction of being the first drug with the potential (everyone’s results are different) to reverse the damage of Rheumatoid. Literature says benefits from Orencia injections take up to 3 months, and accumulate for up to a year, so I am very hopeful.

For more than a dozen years, I have had treatment on my L5, a cracked vertebrae at the bottom right of my spine. All my discs are also ruptured and the L3 has started to disintegrate as well. A new insurance and a new Doctor in January led to another new Dr, a back specialist, last week. He took xrays, asked a bunch of general questions, then started to drill down. He would ask a question, I would reply, then he would shake his head, saying, that’s not L5. Ask another question, listen and say, that’s not L5. That went on for a short while and he said – all those facet injections and epidurals, they were in L5. Your pain is coming from S1.

In my head I thought, good God, we’ve been treating the wrong joint, for 12 years!

I go back for more, different xrays next week, then will attack based on the results. Head down, chin up. Soldiers are we …

Hope to see you at the fest; let’s grow a friendship.