It is 3 Days until Christmas …

December 22nd, 2014

It is 3 Days until Christmas …

Being Irish and being Catholic, three has a significant presence on my life.  A symbol of Ireland oft used is a shamrock, which has three leaves.  It is very prevalent in Ireland, but rare here, and considered lucky because of its rarity. The shamrock is not to be confused with the clover, which has four leaves (I’m looking over, a four leaf clover, that I’ve over looked before…”) and is everywhere here, like a weed – oh wait ….

Shamrock vs clover

In the song, the 12 Days of Christmas*, 3 is 3 French Hens, which symbolize Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues.

Faith, Hope and Charity; like many immigrant nations who forge a new home, my family had no relatives in the U.S. while I was growing up.  My dad, from Co. Roscommon, Ireland, and my mom, from Montreal, Canada, faced uncertainty, and filled with great dreams, risked much when they came here.  Those who became our friends WERE our family – they adopted us, nurtured us, became our family and so much more. In many ways, you can’t choose your family; in many ways we did. But Faith, Hope and Charity blessed us, again.

Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to illustrate the three entities of God ~ The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit, when converting pagan Ireland to Catholicism.  Each leaf, and each aspect of God, is recognizable on its own, but inseparable from the whole, very much like Christ, celebration, and Christmas.

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This year will be our 33rd Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.  The planning and booking is well under way, the grunt work has not yet begun.  I am excited about what, and who, is coming, but dread the havoc the physical work will wreak on my joints. I steel myself to it, and bow my head; by the grace of God, I get through that week each year.  I have 33 years of practice. To Date, we have Runa, Ronan Tynan, Rory Makem, The StepCrew, The High Kings, Cherish the Ladies, Ennis, New Barleycorn, Brigid’s Cross, Marys Lane, Dermot Henry, James Kilbane, Guaranteed Irish, Ashley Davis, Patrick O’Sullivan, Dennis Doyle and The Kilroys. With that lineup, I hope you can see why I am excited; there is still much to come.

Temple Bar & Museum was a big hit last year, and will be expanded this year.  We have moved forward from a one year focus, to a longer term one; The Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising is on our minds as well.  If you’d like to get involved, we’d love to have you.

Ireland and America are so heavily intertwined.  Many in Ireland are surprised when they see the fervor of Americans for Ireland. Festivals not only allow our music and culture to reach so many, they employ all the music makers: performers, sound men, vendors of food and merchandise, grounds rental and a myriad of direct and indirect saints and sinners. At many festival’s, you will see a t-shirt that says, “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough”.

Being Irish is a shamrock of faith, family and friends – each with their own identity and characteristics, but each an inseparable part of being Irish in America. Each, alone and together, a very, very, very lucky legacy of life, love and liberty.  My country, my heritage is tattooed across my back, and in my heart.

***

For 25 days, I am writing about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on, as we approach Christmas. I got the idea four years ago from Maggie Keenan, a co-worker, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. The response was significant, and moving to me, so I resolved to do it every year as a Thank You for all the blessings I am humbled by.  You can read all the 25 Days of Christmas 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
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www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
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In the Beginning … Cleveland Irish History

December 21st, 2014
St. Michael's

St. Michael’s

Cleveland Irish: In the Beginning …
By Francis McGarry

A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

One of the first Irish Catholics in what would become Ohio was Daniel Sheehy from County Tipperary.  He was a surveyor of land in the Mahoning River Valley in the 1790s.  That was almost thirty years before the Irish Catholics would have a parish at St. Mary’s of the Flats.  Daniel’s relative, Father Sheehy of Clogheen, would never make it to Ohio.  He was executed by the English authorities in the 1760s for rebellion.  Father Sheehy’s head decomposed for twenty years on a pike above the gates of Clonmel Jail.

Father Sheehy was perhaps an extreme example of the violence against the Irish in Ireland, perhaps not.  He was an example of the experience that Irish immigrants carried with them.  Our brethren were familiar with such displays of “justice” in Ireland.  That “justice” did not restrict itself to the Emerald Island.  The violence against the Irish followed immigrants across the Atlantic and reared its ugly head in America.

In 1844 Philadelphia, the Kensington Riots pitted the anti-Catholic movement in America against Irish Catholic immigrants.  The American Nativist Party was enraged with Bishop Patrick Kenwick’s objection to the forced use of the King James Bible in public schools.  Nativists also campaigned to extend the naturalization period to twenty-one years, to elect only native born to all political offices and to reject foreign interference in all institutions; social, religious, and political.

The tension erupted and Nativists attacked and burned to the ground St. Michael’s Church, St. Augustine’s Church and St. Charles Seminary.  Irish families were attacked and their homes burned down as well.  In the end, over twenty lay dead and 100 were wounded.  Dublin-born Bishop Kenwick had urged peace during the riots and, following the bloodshed, abandoned his arguments for religious tolerance in the public schools.

Hibernia Hose Co

Hibernia Hose Co

As the Irish Catholic Churches in Philadelphia burned, the Nativists threatened Irish immigrants in New York City.  Tyrone-born Bishop John Hughes warned the Nativist Mayor of New York, if one Catholic Church was burned, “New York would be another Moscow,” a reference to the Battle of Borodino and the Napoleonic invasion of Russia.  Bishop Hughes sent Irish volunteers to defend the Church.  At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he armed the Ancient Order of Hibernians and positioned them around the walls.  The Ancient Order of Hibernians had been founded in 1836 in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania and in New York City at St. James Church, just up the Bowery from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  The Catholic Churches of New York City were not harmed.

One of the results of this violence and exclusion was that Bishops like Patrick Kenwick turned to education in the parishes and not the public schools.  The First Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1852 formalized that approach in instructing each new parish to construct a schoolhouse first, even before the construction of the Church.  Hence, the Catholic Church in America began building the Catholic School System.

In 1847 the Diocese of Cleveland was formed, containing not a single parochial school.  Then, the first Bishop of Cleveland, Bishop Louis Rappe, established sixteen parishes, each with a school.  From the beginning of the Diocese, the importance of the parish school was critical in the growth and celebration of the Catholic faith in the area.

Bishop Rappe had assisted at the First Plenary Council of Baltimore and his commitment to Catholic education was made clear as parish and parish school were built in tandem throughout the Diocese.  Rappe brought to Cleveland the Ursulines, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters, the Humility of Mary Sisters, and the Sisters of Notre Dame.  All were here to teach in the parishes.

And teach they did.  My Ma was a product of the parochial school system in Cleveland.  She attended St. Margaret Mary, Regina and Notre Dame College, then the University of Notre Dame.  She is the smartest person I know.  Thank you, Sisters of Notre Dame!

As the public school system maintained a hostile approach to the Catholic faith, parochial schools continued to gain in attendance.  In 1857, ten years following the formation of the Diocese of Cleveland, the Ohio Teacher’s Association urged the daily use of the King James Bible.  That further increased the demand for parochial schools.

In 1872, Bishop Richard Gilmour assumed the leadership of the Cleveland Diocese.  He championed the movement to maintain the tax-exempt status of the Catholic school and he established the first Diocesan School Board.  During his tenure, 1872-1891, St. Ignatius College, which was to become John Carroll University and St. Ignatius High School, were established.

Bishop Ignatius Horstmann succeeded Gilmour in 1892 and served as Bishop until his death in 1908.  That period recorded the largest expansion of schools in the history of the diocese.

In 1870 Cleveland had fourteen parishes.  By 1908 it had sixty-five parishes.  That expansion corresponds to the largest migration of Irish born immigrants to the Diocese since the Famine.  In the years between 1901 and 1907, over 12,300 Irish immigrants settled in Cleveland.  They joined their brethren and filled the pews in historical Irish parishes and also established new parishes like St. Philomena in East Cleveland in 1902 and St. Ann’s in Cleveland Heights in 1914, now combined as Communion of Saints.

The Irish in Cleveland, like their immigrant brethren, fought for their right to practice their religion and raise their families in the tradition of their parents and their parent’s parents.  As a result, the Cleveland landscape is full of quality Catholic schools, colleges and universities.  Our community, our today, is better due to the sacrifices of those who came before us and laid the first cornerstones at their new parish and its schoolhouse.  It is fitting that the members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians across the country venerate that history and award scholarships to Catholic school students.  We still are positioned around the walls.
*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

December 2014 Cover of the Ohio Irish American News, featuring Roisin O

December 2014 Cover of the Ohio Irish American News, featuring Roisin O

It is 4 Days until Christmas …

December 21st, 2014

It is 4 Days Until Christmas ~ Four Green Fields … Tommy Makem wrote more than 400 songs, the anthem, Four Green Fields, of course, as well as Gentle Annie, Winds of Morning, The Winds Are Singing Freedom and so many other iconic songs, songs that are sung where ever the Irish gather around the world. I grew up with them, I fell in love with them; They are the stories of our people.

Our stories define us; the Irish culture is such a story-driven one, with an oral tradition passed on generation to generation. We pass the stories on so our roots, our history, our very identity stays vibrant and alive – it is our connection to our past, AND our present.

Tommy Makem recieves a Proclamation of Recognition and Appreciation at Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

Tommy Makem recieves a Proclamation of Recognition and Appreciation at Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

In these writings of Christmas, all my writings, my story is not the only one I am trying to tell. Tommy wrote Four Green Fields one day while driving down to Newry, in the Co. Down. It was 1967. He saw a woman coming down from the fields with the cows, to cross the road. They were both stopped at a British checkpoint. Tommy watched her as he, and she, waited to go thru. He could see the, Hassle, as the woman just wanted to get on across the road, to get on with her life. He wrote the first two verses then, and the final one later, when he got to Newry.

The Four Green Fields symbolically refer to the 4 Provinces of Ireland: Leinster, Munster, Ulster & Connaught, which hold the 32 counties, closest to our States, here in the U.S. The “fine, old woman” represents Ireland herself.

What did I have? said the fine old woman
What did I have? this proud old woman did say
I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, they fought to save my jewels
They fought and died, and that was my grief, said she

Long time ago, said the fine old woman
Long time ago, this proud old woman did say
There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved by mountain valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood, said she

What have I now? said the fine old woman
What have I now? this proud old woman did say
I have four green fields, one of them’s in bondage
In stranger’s hands, that tried to take it from me
But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers
And my four green fields, will bloom once again, said she
Yes my four green Field, will bloom once again, said she.

In this time of birth, and rebirth, the beginning of new eras and new days, that dream of one country is not over. One Ireland is closer now than it has been in more than 800 years.

“Do not worry if you have built castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them”. –Henry David Thoreau

***
For 25 days, I am writing about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on, as we approach Christmas. I got the idea four years ago from Maggie Keenan, a co-worker, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. The response was significant, and moving to me, so I resolved to do it every year as a Thank You for all the blessings I am humbled by. You can read all the 25 Days of Christmas 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

It is 5 Days until Christmas …

December 20th, 2014

It is 5 Days Until Christmas ~ In the 12 Days of Christmas Song* 5 is the 5 Golden Rings, which symbolically refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.

Grace cannot really be taught; it is usually forged in fire, willful lessons refined for the

Grace cannot really be taught; it is usually forged in fire, willful lessons refined for the next time

Grace is a many splendored thing; falls can be too, whether we are talking about weather, or wipeouts. Walmart fist fights, for deals the day after a national holiday to say thanks for all we have, seemed sharp in its particularly social commentary. And the legend grows, each year.

We are met with little irritations each day; sometimes we are met with big ones. Every person has crosses to bear, and if we knew their story, would probably often weep with surprise and mull the strength of the subject. Grace is a strengthening, a coating, an extra layer of armor to fight those challenges each day. It is given thru prayer, or handing a difficult situation, with … grace!

Christmas season is one of love and appreciation, but it is also notorious for irritations, waning patience and urgency hypocritical to the essential Christmas message of sacrifice, of love for our fellow man, of dying for all men ~ for which one man gave the last full measure of devotion. Life is not perfect, we cannot create a perfect Christmas, but still we try.

How we handle those crosses ourselves, with a smile or a smack, can use up our supply of grace, or add to it. So it becomes easier to be mean, or easier to be kind.

8 years ago this week. we launched the Ohio Irish American News – it premiered January 1st, 2007.  I saw the final proof for the January, 8th Anniversary issue last nite ~ The cover is a tribute to Irish singer Frances Black, who was in Cleveland last month for her RISE Foundation fundraiser. I love her voice, could listen to her sing anytime.  But her heart, the paying it forward from the pain of her own past, echo How the Irish Took over the world, in coffin ships, in emigration, in survival and a perseverance rarely rivaled, or as successful. Perseverance, with remarkable grace.

I couldn’t begin to tell you all the stories, the doors opened, the memories and the friendships that have come about because of the OhIAN. Frances is one of them. Frances is giving that same new life and new opportunities to those suffering from addition, and their families too. Her pain is their persuasion.

I couldn’t begin to tell you all the late nite sessiúns and sing-alongs, the friendships and fun I have been privileged to be a part of.  I have met, I have travelled, rejoiced and shared in too many sorrows, in all seen and done over the last eight years.  The list is long, the list is distinguished; in my mind, the list shall live in infamy.

Eight years is an awful long time to go by in a blink.  I am grateful beyond words, grateful to be so blessed.  Two words have so much meaning: Merry Christmas; Happy New Year, Happy Anniversary; Thank You.

***

For 25 days, I am writing about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on, as we approach Christmas. I got the idea four years ago from Maggie Keenan, a co-worker, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. The response was significant, and moving to me, so I resolved to do it every year as a Thank You for all the blessings I am humbled by.  You can read all the 25 Days of Christmas 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

Don’t Forget Us: Christmas Wrappers, A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

December 20th, 2014

Don’t Forget Us: Christmas Wrappers
by Lisa O’Rourke

Walking into a bookstore on November 1st, my vision was assaulted by a crazy cornucopia of holiday images that definitely did not fit together; skeletons, turkeys and nativity scenes. Really? The idea of retailers advertising Thanksgiving and simultaneously making the national holiday of gratitude a day to shop was disheartening. Is it really as if no one can wait a day to buy a bigger television? Are we saying that the gathering of all of those people at a single table to be grateful is not significant?

The Irish are truly baffled at how our many of our holiday celebrations have morphed into commercial “somethings” they would neither recognize nor want. My first Christmas in Ireland was the full twelve days of Christmas celebration. There was no such thing as after Christmas sales or Christmas returns…..those would have to wait until after January 6th.

The only people who were going to work selling things were grocers and public house employees. Those twelve days really stretch wonderfully out and give people time to visit, call at houses for tea, meet out for drinks and generally, relax together. The Irish cannot fathom the hype that we put into a holiday that lasts for only one day.

The holidays in Ireland are steeped in old tradition, starting with the celebration of the twelve days of Christmas. A significant day in the Christmas cycle is the day after Christmas, December 26th. This day is known in Ireland as St. Stephen’s Day. It is the day that the nation’s pubs are packed with people. If you go out but one day a year, this one is it.

Another tradition linked with St. Stephen’s Day is that of the Wrenboys. While the Wrenboys are not as widespread as once they were, it is something that you might see, with a bit of luck, in the country areas. The Wrenboys are a makeshift group of children or adults which perform traditional music, whilst wearing some type of disguise, expecting some type of donation in return, on St. Stephen’s Day.

The link to the wren is not certain. Theories range from the idea that this ritual wren is linked to a druid ceremony or to the rumor that a wren betrayed St. Stephen by beating its wings on his shield and revealing him to his pursuers. In olden times, an actual wren was hunted, killed and put on some type of display by the travelling musicians; in a box, on the end of a stick, or a holly branch. It used to be a matter of honor to have a real wren accompany the Wrenboys on their holiday travels, but that has been abandoned in favor of, at most, an artificial bird or some ornamental feathers.

What does remain is the link to music and donations. The Wrenboys were traditionally a group of young boys who went from house to house playing traditional music and dressed in some type of costume. The groups of musicians have ranged from the mature and or talented to the young and aspirational. They dressed in old clothes and marked their faces with shoe polish or wore masks.

Dont Forget us
The mature groups were dressed much the same, looking more like hobos, wearing old clothes often dirty, with their identities concealed, and often including feathers in their dress. In the southern part of Ireland, around Dingle, the costumes include the straw man Mummer outfits. Ceili music was played; the traveling musicians would include a fiddle, flute, melodeon, bodhran and at least one singer. The Wrenboys would travel house to house, knocking on doors and looking for an audience. This is the old Wrenboys rhyme:

The wran, the wran, the king of all birds, On St. Stephen’s day was caught in the furze. His body is little but his family is great, So rise up landlady and give us a trate. And if your trate be of the best, Your soul in heaven can find its rest. And if your trate be of the small,l It won’t plaze the boys at all. A glass of whiskey and a bottle of beer, Merry Christmas and a glad New Year. So up with the kettle and down with the pan, And give us a penny to bury the wran”.

The last two sentences of the rhyme would be recited at the door of the house when it opened. The penny or collections were traditionally used to fund a local house party or dance, with a keg of porter and other holiday treats, along with dancing and music.
The modern Wrenboys do exist. They are not just boys or men now, girls and women are included in the groups. The practice of going house to house has been left in favor of Wrenboys appearing in pubs or other places where they might find a crowd, including nursing homes. Now, the collections are more often donated to a local charity.

Where they do travel to homes, they are greeted with much enthusiasm. It is a welcome tradition. A recording about this tradition is Liam Clancy’s recording of the “Wren Song”,1955, considered a classic of the Wrens.

In the spirit of welcome traditions, enjoy your holidays, celebrations and families. I wish for us all that we can enjoy time with those around us!

Nollaig shona duit!!!
Sources: Photo-legacyirishmusic.com

http://www.slighoheritage.com/archwrenboys.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wren_Day

Ohio_1214_page12 ORourke

December 2014 Ohio Irish American News, featuring Roisin O

December 2014 Ohio Irish American News, featuring Roisin O

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

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Things to do this weekend, Out & About Ohio

December 19th, 2014

Out & About Ohio December 2014
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ** Merry Christmas!! ** HAPPY New Year!!!

Brooklyn – Hooley House!
19th – Samantha Fitzpatrick Band, 20th – Charlie in the Box, 26th – Colin Dussault, 31st – New Years Eve Bash. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
Genealogy by appointment Tuesdays. (closed Christmas Eve thru January 13). Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

Brigid's Cross

Brigid’s Cross

O n A New Barleycorn

New Barleycorn

ALL under Cleveland;
The Harp
19th – pitch the peat, 20th – fior gael, 24th – chris & tom, 27th – walking cane, 31st – the porter sharks
4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com
Stone Mad
21st – Annual Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Party w/ The Ohio City Singers, 28th – Chris Allen, 31st – Annual Irish New Year’s Eve Celebration. 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
19th – Donal O’Shaughnessy, 26th – Cats On Holiday. 1114 Center St. Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968. www.flatironcafe.com
Treehouse
21st – Customer Christmas Party w Cats on Holiday, 28th – brokENglish. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com
PJ McIntyre’s
19th – Carlos Jones, 20th – New Barleycorn, 21st – PJS ANNUAL CUSTOMER APPRECIATION PARTY- $3 Xmas Ale, Free Food, Music, 25th – MERRY Christmas! Open @7pm, 26th – VelvetShake, 27th – PJ’s Irish Christmas Show- Music by Marys Lane, Brittany Reilly Band and the Roundabouts starts @5pm. No Cover! 31st – New Year’s Eve BashAmazing- Call Pub for Details.
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.
West Park Station
‘Merican Mondays & Trivia Night 7pm. Tues: Roll Call-discounted drinks for all Fire, Police, Military & Med Professionals 9pm. Wed: Karaoke 10pm. Thur: Girl’s Night 10pm. Sun: SIN Night 9pm. 17015 Lorain Avenue Cleveland 44111 www.westparkstation.com. (216) 476-2000.
Flannery’s Pub
19th – Alex Kates, 20th – Kristine Jackson, 26th – Austin Walkin’ Cane & Brent Kirby, 27th – The Bar Flys. 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
19th – Kevin McCarthy. PUB: 7:30 – 10:30. 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
19th, 21st, 26th – 28th – Mary Poppins, 19th – 21st, –Hillbilly Holiday. 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
19th – Marys Lane, 20th – Donal O’Shaughnessy, 26th – Smug Saints, 27th – Wood Brothers, 31st – New Years Eve w/ the Music Men: No Cover., Champagne Toast @Midnight. 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Mentor
Hooley House
19th – Abby Normal, 20th – Brigid’s Cross, 26th – Charlie in the Box, 27th – Abbey Rodeo, 31st – New Years Eve Bash. All starts @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
31st – New Year’s Eve Dance. Great food & live music in the Pub every Friday-starts @5:30. WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Westlake
Hooley House
19th – Sunset Strip, 20th – Almost Famous, 26th -Breakfast Club, 27th – Cocktail Johnny, 31st – New Years Eve Bash. Live Music on the Patio Every Friday, 5p.m.! 24940 Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. 
1FunPub.com
(440) 835-2890

Willoughby
Mullarkey’s
19th – Mo Andrews, 20th – Dan McCoy, 26th – Brendan Burt Band, 27th – The Thrifters. Wed: Karaoke, Thurs: Ladies Night w/ D.J. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com

Columbus
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.

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
• Irish Eyes Heavenly Pub, 1st Wednesday of month. 3324 Secor Rd, Toledo
Stone Mad – 1st Sunday of the month Holleran Traditional Irish Session, 7pm
• 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
o 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.

It is 6 Days until Christmas …

December 19th, 2014

It is 6 Days ‘till Christmas
by John O’Brien, Jr.

It is 6 Days until Christmas ~ 6 has many prominent places in society.

One of the most prominent, is, of course, that “On the sixth day, God created Man,” It was a good day for man! A few others that came easily to mind are a fit to yesterday’s blog, with the 7 notes of the Diatonic scale, paired with the 6 strings of the guitar in today’s blog, and my love for music in a previous one.

6th day of christmas

We take a chance in playing that game of association: so, we have six sides of a die. We have fun on the rise and fall of the die, and the wish to die as you plunge down a rickety rackety track ~ Six Flags’ roller coasters, almost everywhere we look, including the six inhabited continents.

The sixth sense tells you to run, to not get on the coaster, or you might meet Kevin Bacon, and we all know about the 6 degrees of that! You could die, and then what happens? You go 6 feet under ~ Coffins are buried six feet underground.

It has its good points and its bad points, but there is 6 points in scoring a touchdown and in the Star of David. If that doesn’t make you drink … there are 6 packs, and, strangest of all, 6 is the number for carbon, which we humans are emitting/creating at an unprecedented and dangerous level.

I love a green Christmas, and a green earth. Last, but most importantly, 666 has no chance at all, for in 6 days, that Star of David, the Light of the World, shines brightest of all.

You Are Blessed:

If you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed,
1/3 of the world does not have access to even one.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness,
you are more blessed than the million who will not survive the week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment,
the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation,
you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.
If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest or torture of death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.
If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back,
a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace,
you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.
If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, even in the United States.
If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder,
you are blessed because you can offer God’s healing touch.
If you prayed yesterday or today, you are in the minority, because you believe in God’s willingness to hear and answer prayers.
If you believe in Jesus as the son of God, you are part of a very small minority in the world.
If you can read this message, you are more blessed
than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful,
you are truly blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

Today marks my 8th Anniversary with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff. I am so proud to know and work together with the men and women in black. Sworn officers, civilians; family.

Beannachtaí na Nollaig ~ Blessings of Christmas!

***
For 25 days, I am writing about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on, as we approach Christmas. I got the idea four years ago from Maggie Keenan, a co-worker, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. The response was significant, and moving to me, so I resolved to do it every year as a Thank You for all the blessings I am humbled by. You can read all the 25 Days of Christmas 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

Be Part of the Movement for Change: A Story from this Month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

December 18th, 2014

Ohio_1214_page21Rose Conway Walsh

It is 7 Days until Christmas …

December 18th, 2014

It is 7 Days until Christmas … ~ One Week mah peeps! Tick, tick TICK

7

Musically, the Diatonic Scale has 7 notes. 1. Do. 2. Re. 3. Mi. 4. Fa. 5. So. 6. La 7. Ti. Then it starts all over again, on a higher plane, with Do. The world was created in 7 days, and a week has 7 days – and 7 days from today, it is Christmas. Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Growing up, the things I remember most are the frequent guests that stayed over night, when they were playing in Cleveland. Do you remember Bridie Gallagher, the brilliant singer? I remember listening to Dermot O’Brien, Glen Curtin, Noel Henry, Barleycorn as well. When I woke to the smell of bacon on a Sunday morning, I knew Dad had brought the band home, and the breakfast table was going to be full of stories from the road. It was a great way to grow up.

As I got older, I started finding my own songs and singers that I loved. My dad and a group of friends started the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, with the first one in 1983. One day my dad walked into my bedroom and said, “Johnny, we’re starting a festival, you’re doing the parking”. And he walked out. I was 16 years old.

Because of the festival, dances and Sunday morning breakfasts, I became immersed in the music. I was deeply impacted by the message of Tommy Makem and how preserving and promoting the culture was so important, before it all disappeared. Being able to meet, talk with, and form friendships with so many of the performers who had impact on the music, and on me, really influenced my thinking.

My memories of the first festival are still very strong; I have so many cherished memories from the ensuing thirty-two (and counting) years, all related to the festival performers, many, like Tommy and Bridie, now gone home; the volunteers and amazing, legendary afters’ parties and sessiúns that have filled the years with joy, remain a treasured part of my life.

I was hooked on the music and still, to this day, learn as many songs as I can, knowing hundreds at this point. Songs in my head, songs always on my tongue, songs I love to sing, songs that tell stories ~ Folk Songs.

For as Sean O’Casey said, in his Rose & Crown:
Oh, and the folk-song, the folk-song, the gay and melancholy strains of the Irish folk-song, on fiddle, on harp, and on fife. And no folk-art is there but is born in the disregard of gain, and in the desire to add a newer beauty and a steadier charm to God’s well-turned-out gifts to man.

In recent years, maybe as my strident side mellows and I meet people from all over the world in this writing life, I am more struck by the similarities in people than the differences. Every culture has its own niches, its cool things that touch your soul, but the similarities, especially of emotion and defining values, are remarkable, and unmistakable.

William Butler Yeats:
Folk-art is indeed, the oldest of the aristocracies of thought, and because it refuses what is passing and trivial, the merely clever and pretty, as certainly as the vulgar and insincere, and because it has gathered unto itself the simplest and most unforgettable thoughts of the generations, it is the soil where all art is rooted.

From my darkest hours to the brightest days, music is present; the soundtrack of my life has Irish roots, influences and seminal moments, enriched by the story behind those songs. Come have a listen, become a character in my life, and we’ll sing, Christmas once again.

Nollaig faoi mhaise duit (daoibh).
Merry Christmas to you

John

***
For 25 days, I am writing about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on, as we approach Christmas. I got the idea four years ago from Maggie Keenan, a co-worker, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. The response was significant, and moving to me, so I resolved to do it every year as a Thank You for all the blessings I am humbled by. You can read all the 25 Days of Christmas 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

It is 8 Days Until Christmas …

December 17th, 2014

It is 8 Days until Christmas … The 8th day is a new week, a new beginning, the eighth day starts over the cycle, but is not held back by the past, it writes its own road. Eight days after Jesus was born, his name was officially recorded. In a manger, in Bethlehem, the world began anew. More than 2,000 years later, Christmas, the mass (celebration) of Christ, is observed in countless ways, some secular, some not, even tho the nots still call it the mass of Christ, or Christmas. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it too – a free ride of celebration, but no accountability; of presents, but no kindness; of all the joy of the season, but none of the advent. It is 8 days until Christmas, and the world anticipates the coming.

8

***
For 25 days, I am writing about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on, as we approach Christmas. I got the idea four years ago from Maggie Keenan, a co-worker, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. The response was significant, and moving to me, so I resolved to do it every year as a Thank You for all the blessings I am humbled by. You can read all the 25 Days of Christmas 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