Letter from the Editor April on the Setting Sun

There are records to be made, and records to be broken, but this year, the records seem to be falling at a, well, record pace.  The 145th Annual Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade lit up Cleveland on St. Patrick’s Day.   It is the nation’s 3rd oldest, 5th largest parade, and the temp hit a high of 77°, another record.  Records were also set with near 500,000 people attending and more than 16,000 people filling 145 units marching.  But most of all, a treasure trove of new memories, honored traditions and chances to celebrate the rich and varied Irish and Irish-American traditions here and far from home were once again offered, and created.

Family and friends have always been the hallmarks of the day for me.  Mass, brunch of hot dogs and cold coffee, marching in the parade, meeting friends at Gorman’s annual party, finding great music and then finishing off with family again, mark a day deeply rooted in tradition, whose overriding sentiment may seem to be pride in heritage (whether Irish or not), but is actually rooted in joy – at surviving a rough journey, at being with those who matter most to us, of sharing our faith, and the imminent arrival of spring, with all that symbolizes.  Our path may be studded with heart-ache, but that joy is all the richer, because we have, and shall, overcome.

For many here in America, the further they come from immigrant beginnings, the less it seems to matter. They forget.   The opposite is true for Irish-Americans.  It is our country, first, our heritage second, each complimenting each other endlessly and walking hand in hand, whether it be down the Avenue on St. Pat’s, or through a life long-journey of past, present and future intermingled with great anticipation and support for each other.  We see so many folks feeling rootless; we see so many searching for those roots, any roots.  We do not ever forget.

In my circles, we find those roots, maybe in Ireland, or maybe right in our own backyard.  My dad emigrated from Ireland in 1951, to Montreal.  He made family there in the Irish community, and again when he immigrated to Cleveland.  Essentially, they are the only family I have ever known, and we got to choose them!  Or, maybe, they chose us.  Either way, on St. Patrick’s Day, and all year long, we are blessed.

The 2012 Parade theme was “Irish Influence on American History”, with labor and other heritage hallmarks being showcased on floats and marching units throughout the parade.  The whole Cleveland community celebrates, in many different ways and for different reasons, on St. Patrick’s Day, but for 145 straight years, at least some section of the celebration recognizes the risks and the sacrifices, the contributions and the consoling the Irish have given to Cleveland, and Cleveland has given to us.  I wish I was, homeward bound; I am home.

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Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue – Away to the World’s!

Good luck to all those competing in the World Championship of Irish Dance
MARCH 31ST – APRIL 8TH in Ireland

Ann Marie Profeta is the youngest of three children. Born October 14, 1992 to Kathleen (Carney) and Michael Profeta, Ann Marie is Granddaughter of Bill and Ann Carney. Bill is a first generation Irish-American. Bill’s mother, Delia (Walsh) was born in Co. Mayo and his father Michael Carney born in Co. Galway, Ireland.

Annie was first introduced to Irish Dancing through cultural events at the Irish American Club, East-Side, in Euclid, Ohio. That made a great impression on her and she began Irish dance classes at Murphy’s Irish Arts Center at the age of five. She has competed throughout the years in various competitions and has performed as a volunteer at Nursing Homes, Cultural events and Celebrations.

Annie’s accomplishments include qualifying and participating in the Midwest Oireachtas from 2003 through 2011 and in the North American Nationals in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. Annie was invited to perform in the production “Rhythm in the Night”on February 20th, 2012; an Irish Dance Showcase Event at the Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, FL. This is a new production that hopes to tour nationally this year.

Annie is a Freshman at John Carroll University, studying Biology and made the Dean’s list the first Semester. She is a 2011 Graduate of Notre Dame Cathedral Latin in Chardon, Ohio where she was on student council and served as Captain of the soccer team. Annie has volunteered at Hillcrest Hospital. She enjoys golf, soccer, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

Tesse Burke School

The Burke School is proud to send 14 soloists and a Senior Ceili Team to the 42nd World Irish Dancing Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland which takes place from March 31 – April 8, 2012.

The Burke Dancers will be featured in Celtic Feet on Erie Shores with special guests the Burning River Ceili Band on Sunday, March 11th at Magnificat High School at 3pm. Tickets are $15 adults/$8 students and can be purchased at Casey Irish Imports or at www.burkeirishdance.com.

The O’Hare School of Irish Dance 30 years in North East Ohio

The Tim O’Hare School of Irish Dance has been producing Champion dancers since 1979. The O’Hare school has locations in Michigan, Chicago, and several right here in North East Ohio. Tim O’Hare – T.C.R.G., A.D.C.R.G. started the school and is currently the Vice President of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America and serves on the International board of An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha. Tim O’Hare is an accomplished Irish dancer who won 6 National Championships and 2 World Championships. He has dedicated himself to the growth and development of young Irish dancers for more than 30 years. His teaching success has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Tim’s students have won Midwest, National, All-Ireland, and World Championships. Some have appeared in Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and also danced at the White House on St. Patrick’s Day.

Every year the O’Hare school in Ohio puts on a fabulous show similar to that of Riverdance called THE RHYTHM OF IRELAND. This year the Rhythm of Ireland will be on March 10th at the Performing Arts theater located at Firestone HS in Akron, Ohio. Performing with the O’Hare Championship Dancers The Green Blossom Special. For Tickets to the Rhythm of Ireland please call 330-209-5692 or check out our web site at www.OHareDanceOhio.com for more information.

The O’Hare schools annual Dance Recital will be held in Copley /Fairlawn HS Theater on April 28, 2012. This Dance show will feature the entire Ohio student base of 175 + dancers ranging in age from 4 yrs to 20yrs include several choreographs from our most accomplished champions. Ticket for this show will be available the last week of March.

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue – Ireland Before Patrick

Ireland Before Patrick
By: J. Michael Finn

We all know that St. Patrick, whose feast day we honor this month, arrived in Ireland roughly around 433 AD. We also know with some certainty that Christianity was already present in Ireland before the arrival of Patrick. What was Ireland like before Patrick’s arrival?

Prior to Patrick there were Christians in Ireland. They were, of course, a small minority among the island’s predominately Pagan population. Little is known regarding where these people originated. How they became established is also not known.

Early church archives identify a man known as Palladius as the Bishop of Ireland. We know little about Palladius other than that. Historians speculate that some of the stories and legends credited to Patrick may have originated as stories about Palladius.

If we look outside the island of Ireland we find Christian inscriptions and writings in Irish beginning about the middle of the fifth century. Of these remote Irish inscriptions Wales has a hundred and thirty-five, Devon and Cornwall thirty-three, and there are others found in the Isle of Man. They show that Christian teaching must have been accepted in Ireland, if it had found its way among the early Irish immigrants into Britain. The discovery of these Irish-Christian inscriptions supports the ancient and persistent tradition that the south-eastern portions of Ireland had received Christian teaching at a very early date.

It is within this district that the names of the pre-Patrician saints are connected, and we find episodes in the lives of these saints which show a constant communication and interaction with Britain and the surrounding isles.

Notable among the saints identified with pre-Patrician Ireland are St. Alibe of Emly in County Tipperary; St. Ibar of Bec in Wexford; St. Abban of Moyarney, and St. Declan of Ardmore both from Wexford. The exact dates of all these early saints are uncertain.

It should be noted that that there was a close bond between these early saints. Declan, Ibar, and Ailbe were friends, and Ibar was Abban’s maternal uncle as well as his teacher.

One interesting story concerns St. Ibar. He is said to have crossed from his own monastery of Bec or Beckery, in Wexford to the west of Britain, where he landed among the pagans and built a church at a place which he also named Bec. This location is the present site of Glastonbury, which was a monastery founded by Irish hermits. Both Britain and Ireland are said to have been largely pagan in the time of Ibar, and in Wexford few would listen to his teaching. Yet pilgrims, anchorites, and monks passed in large numbers both to and from Ireland. It is written that three thousand followers accompanied Ibar to Britain.

Reports of the existence of this growing Irish-Christian community were carried to Rome, and in the year 431 Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine to preach to the Irish “believing in Christ.”

The most famous of the early saints appearing in the Irish annals is St. Ciarán of Saighir (Seir) in County Offaly. He is often referred to as Ciarán the Elder to distinguish him from the later St. Ciarán of Clonmacnoise. His feast day is March 5. He has been given the title “First-born of the Saints of Ireland” since he is credited with being the first saint canonized in Ireland. He is also listed among the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland.”

St. Ciaran of Saighir

The medieval Irish genealogies identify Ciarán’s father as Lugna (also Laighne), a nobleman of the Osraige, and his mother as Liadán, of the Corcu Loígde. Cape Clear Island south west of County Cork is regarded as his birthplace and it is said that a church was built by him on the Island.

Ciarán’s biography is full of obscurities. It is commonly said, however, that he left Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick. Already a Christian, and of royal blood, he had determined to study for the Church. He received his religious education at the monastery of Tours and in Rome.

He is said to have met Patrick in Italy and made allegiance to him at that time. When St. Patrick arrived in Ireland, Ciarán gave him assistance. Some writers say that Ciarán was then already a bishop, having been ordained while on the continent. It seems more likely, however, that he was one of the twelve men that Patrick, on his arrival, consecrated as helpers. He became the first Bishop of Ossory.

St Patrick told him exactly where to found his first monastic settlement, giving him a bell which would only ring when he found the place. This place turned out to be Saighir Chiaráin, about four miles south-east of Birr in County Offaly (the area is now the townland known as Serkieran).

Like John the Baptist, Ciarán is a wilderness figure, dressed in the skins of wild animals. It is said that the wild animals helped him build his hermitage and became his first monks. Another story is that he blessed a well so that “it had the taste of wine or honey for everyone who drank it were drunk as well as filled.”

It is believed that Ciarán died at the age of 90 approximately in 465 AD. The saint’s death is described in the ancient Irish documents and includes the follow prediction made on his deathbed: “And then raising his eyes to heaven, he prophetically said: “For a time will come when evils shall prevail, and the churches shall be demolished, and the monasteries be reduced to a wilderness, and sacred truth shall be corrupted into falsehood, and holy Baptism be tinged with corruption, and each one will seek not what is his own, but what does not belong to him.” His remains were wrapped in precious linen, and for seven days hymns and canticles were chanted in thanksgiving to God for the mercy shown to him.”

It was written about St. Ciarán that he was a faithful practitioner of virtuous acts of humility, prudence, bounty, chastity, faith, hope and charity. He lived in poverty, during his term of life, but he was rich in grace. He is called, a balance of the law, an ark of justice, a doctor of youth, the guide of old persons, and the incomparable tower of all. In the language of an ancient Irish writer, he was a true priest, “whose heart was chaste and shining, and his mind like the foam of the wave, or the color of the swan in the sunshine; that is, without any particle of sin, great or small, resting in his heart.”

As we commemorate the feast of St. Patrick we would do well to also remember St. Ciarán and all of the saints of Ireland who established Christianity in Ireland and then spread that knowledge throughout the world.

*J. Michael Finn is the Ohio State Historian for the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Division Historian for the Patrick Pearse Division in Columbus, Ohio. He is also Chairman of the Catholic Record Society for the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio. He writes on Irish and Irish-American history; Ohio history and Ohio Catholic history. You may contact him at FCoolavin@aol.com.

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue – Blowin In: an Aran Knit

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue – Blowin In: an Aran Knit
By Susan Mangan

Every St. Patrick’s Day my mother would boil a brisket of corned beef and cabbage. Each year I looked forward to savoring the tender meat and the unique tang of the peppercorn and clove brine. It was not until many years later after I had met my husband that I would learn that boiled ham and cabbage was a more authentic St. Patrick’s Day offering.

Ethnically secular, my family would enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with our corned beef and an annual broadcast of “The Quiet Man” on television. My Italian father liked John Wayne, and I liked my mom’s cooking. To us, St. Patrick’s Day was never more than that.

As a young girl, I always wondered what my Irish-American classmates, those with the freckles and blue eyes, or auburn hair and alabaster skin, did on St. Patrick’s Day. They always seemed to be wearing some green regalia decked with four-leafed clovers that read “My Heart is in County Clare.” Surely, that had to be far away from my small brick Chicago bungalow on Monitor Avenue.

One of my very best friends was a first-generation Irish girl who wore her roots quietly. The only child born to a gentle county Kerry woman and handsome Waterford gentleman, my friend was equally lovely in body and spirit. Tall and willowy with copper tresses and hazel eyes, my friend introduced me to black pudding and Irish sausage, caraway scones, and The Clancy Brothers.

Together, along with our three other best friends, my friend and I would laugh and cry about the usual dramas that marked girlhood. Comforted by warm scones, hot chocolate chip cookies, and my friend’s mother’s lilting storytelling, we five girls forged our way through the milestones of adolescence.

One St. Patrick’s Day, my friend invited me to join her and her mom, and her mother’s friend to brave a frigidly cold afternoon at the annual parade through downtown Chicago. The Chicago River was dyed green and throngs of revelers lined the streets.

To help keep me warm, my friend lent me an Irish sweater that her grandmother back in Ireland had given to her. As she had already outgrown the sweater, her graceful wrists peeking out from the creamy woolen cables, my friend told me to keep it as a gift.

With my curly dark hair and green eyes, my friend’s mother thought I fit right in with the Irish crowd. The mother’s friend thought I resembled a young Elizabeth Taylor. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but I took it as a compliment and tucked further into the warmth the sweater provided.

Our little group stood in front of a two-storied, all-glass McDonald’s; this was Chicago, not Grafton Street after all. I still remember how my toes tingled with the cold and how tightly my friend and I linked our arms together for comfort. Near the end of the parade, we escaped the crowd and warmed up inside the McDonald’s with hot chocolate followed by minty Shamrock Shakes. We were young and happy, and knew with great certainty that we would always be friends. I still have my friend Michelle and the sweater her Irish grandmother had given her many years ago.

The ubiquitous Irish sweater. On St. Patrick’s Day, it seems as though everyone dons one, whether traditional ivory-colored, hunter-green, or high-necked and fuchsia. The cabled patterns of the Irish fisherman’s sweater are reportedly symbolic. The foundation, the cable, represents the lifeline for the fisherman’s survival. A honeycomb pattern symbolizes the industry of the bee. Various patterns hearken back to the Book of Kells, and ancient Celtic drawings found on megalithic stones and burial sites.

A romantic idea exists that each Irish fishing family had its own pattern knitted into the jumper, or sweater, so should Fate turn against the fisherman, his body could be identified when it washed up upon the shore. Historians believe this notion to be purely fabricated for storytelling purposes. In John M. Synge’s “Riders to the Sea,” there is a reference to the knit on the jumper of the drowned fisherman, but a specific family design is not mentioned.

Regardless, the traditional cabled fisherman sweater has been worn by sailors in Ireland and the United Kingdom for generations. Crafted with natural, untreated wool, báinín the lanolin from the sheep was retained and provided a waterproof barrier between the wearer and the harsh elements of nature.

As early as the beginning of the twentieth-century, a group of economically industrious women realized the market for the Aran knit among the tourists and artists who began to visit their Aran Islands. Profit could be had for their skillful knitting. Thus, the Irish fisherman’s sweater became known as an Aran knit. The cabled pattern soon became quite popular and was even featured in Vogue fashion magazine in a 1950’s spread.

As little children, my own brood would attend St. Patrick’s Day mass at St. Colman’s Church in Cleveland. Each child would tug at the scratchy sweater encircling a tightly fitted turtleneck. The cream of the wool seemed to bring out the innocent pink of their cheeks. I still remember my father-in-law hoisting his first grandchild, my daughter Katie, high upon his shoulder so she could see the marchers from the West-Side Irish-American Club as they processed with reverence down the church’s aisle on St. Patrick’s Day. Dark-haired and bright-eyed, Katie wore a cabled fisherman’s cardigan and woolen green skirt in celebration of the day. That was one of my father-in-law’s last holidays with my children, but the memory of the pride in his eyes as he held her for all of the West-Side to see, still rings true today.

My children have since traded their fisherman’s sweaters for green and white West-Side Irish-American Club sweatshirts. They have joined the ranks of the fifers and flag corps, pom-pom girls and drummers, majorettes and proud club members. Each Sunday during marching season, the children and adults from families that are as closely knitted as an Aran fisherman sweater commune to laugh and learn, celebrate and foster, their Irish roots. On St. Patrick’s Day, I will wear my friend’s Aran knit and salute the comradeship and tenacity of a wonderful group of people, the Irish.

*Internet source consulted: Wikipedia –Aran Knit
Susan holds a Master’s Degree in English from John Carroll University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Baldwin-Wallace College. She may be contacted at suemangan@yahoo.com.

So What Do/Did You Do on St. Pat’s?

I get asked some version of that question leading up to, and immediately after St. Patrick’s Day, every year. My involvement in the Irish community as Co-Founder and Publisher of the Ohio Irish American News, as Assistant Director of Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, serving on a few boards and having membership in more than a few organizations, plus my books and writing, which often have an Irish topic or influence, beget the question pretty easily. It was a typical year; it was a highly unusual year.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations start weeks before, with the very best in Irish music and dance from around the world making annual stops in Cleveland. From the rock of Gaelic Storm to the comedy of Noel Ginnty, Cleveland features fantastic events for a couple of weeks before, during and after St. Pat’s. Life long contributors to the Irish community are feted, and new generations hear, and are captured, by their stories.

Friday marked the launch of the 100th Anniversary of Johnny Kilbane’s World Boxing Championship reign (1912-1923). For eleven years (1889-1957) Johnny held the World Featherweight title, longer than any champion in history. He was 136 – 4 in his boxing career, then went on to give back to the community he loved, first as a boxing instructor, then serving in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives. Kilbane then went on to serve as Clerk of Courts (Municipal).

Family and friends have organized a summer long tour of the exhibit, a commemorative T-shirt, plaque dedication at his home and other events. On Thursday night, a private launch of the exhibit was held was at Cleveland Public Library Downtown, with a reception and chance to meet many of the Kilbane and O’Toole descendants. The official Kilbane exhibit opening and film footage of Kilbane winning the World Championship in 1912 were part of the opening after the reception. The Kilbane Exhibit will be at the downtown branch for a month, then move on to other branches.

The Friday house dedication was fun and funny. Judge Pianka is a neighborhood historian, and told great stories, proclamations were read by Cleveland City Councilman and Council President Martin Sweeney and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. The area where Johnny Kilbane grew up was officially renamed Kilbane Town. Then everyone went to Stone Mad, just a few blocks over, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary. You have to be tough to be Irish, especially in those days, and Johnny Kilbane was a Champion.

Stone Mad is a Cleveland treasure, with a massive stone patio, stone fireplace and stone seating outdoors, a regulation bocce court, bar and seating inside. The food is very good, the people great. Many of the same family and dignitaries went to the Collins & Scanlon Annual St, Patrick’s Day Party, held after the Stone Mad reception.

The Federal Courthouse hosted the Collins & Scanlon, LLP annual event, trademarked by amazing food, vibrant dancing by the Tesse Burke School of Dance, led by Melissa Barrett, and a full house: the party launched the weekend with great flair and fun. It ended early, but we didn’t. The Boys from the Co Hell were back at Stone Mad. I did not want the night to end, yet I couldn’t wait for the day to start.

On Saturday, the 145th Annual Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade lit up Cleveland. It is the nation’s 3rd largest, 5th oldest parade, and the temp hit a high of 77°, another record. Records were also set with near 500,000 people attending and more than 16,000 people filling 145 units marching. I saw so many friends in the 14 & 15 deep crowds lining Superior Avenue. But most of all, a treasure trove of new memories, honored traditions and chances to celebrate the rich and varied Irish and Irish-American traditions here and far from home were once again offered, and created.

Family and friends have always been the hallmarks of the day for me. Not just marching in the parade, but meeting friends before, catching up as we assemble and helping each other to step off smartly. I marched with the Sheriff’s Office, then strolled back on the most incredibly gorgeous day to march with the West Side Irish American Club. I am a life long member of the WSIA, strengthened and enriched by memories crafted from many late nights of volunteering, music and laughter at the club.

After my 2nd tour of the Avenue, I found a text from Sally, Mindy and Wes, asking where was I watching the parade? We O’Brien’s don’t watch. It was funny, because I had seen all three while marching, but didn’t get their text until later. We traded texts as I made my way thru the craziness.

Downtown is mad any year, yet alone amidst all the records, so we don’t leave. To wait for the fierce desperate crowd to find their way, away, we slip into another world. That world is Brendan Gorman’s annual St, Patrick’s Day bash, at the historic and breathtaking Hyatt Hotel, in the stunning Arcade. The view is spectacular, with 8 floors of open balconies, live music, the very best of friends and stories, OH, the stories! More than a dozen extended families and friends get rooms there; we all reconvene from our scattered viewpoints around the parade, and we celebrate, together.

Many, like me, come from immigrant families, so these friends here in America, become our families. The overriding sentiment on St. Patrick’s Day may seem to be pride in heritage (whether Irish or not), but is actually rooted in joy – at surviving a rough journey, at being with those who matter most to us, of sharing our faith, and the imminent arrival of spring, with all that symbolizes. Our path may be studded with heart-ache, but that joy is all the richer, because we have, and shall, overcome.

For many here in America, the further they come from immigrant beginnings, the less it seems to matter. They forget. The opposite is true for Irish-Americans. It is our country, first, our heritage second, each complimenting each other endlessly and walking hand in hand, whether it be down the Avenue on St. Pat’s, or through a life long-journey of past, present and future intermingled with great anticipation and support for each other. We see so many folks feeling rootless; we see so many searching for those roots, any roots. As Irish-Americans, we do not ever forget.

In my circles, we find those roots, maybe in Ireland, or maybe right in our own backyard. My dad emigrated from Ireland in 1951, to Montreal. He made family there in the Irish community, and again when he immigrated to Cleveland. Essentially, they are the only family I have ever known, and we got to choose them! Or, maybe, they chose us. Either way, on St. Patrick’s Day, and all year long, we are blessed.

Sally, Mindy, Wes and I found friends, made a few new ones, and then, when Cleveland got quiet, we walked the already clean Avenue, enjoyed the weather and headed to one of my favorite spots, Karen O’Malley’s The Harp, on West 43rd and Detroit. The Boys from the Co. Hell were due up. We went for the food and the music, but we stayed for the company.

The 2012 Parade theme was “Irish Influence on American History”, with labor and other heritage hallmarks being showcased on floats and marching units throughout the parade. The whole Cleveland community celebrates, in many different ways and for different reasons, on St. Patrick’s Day, but for 145 straight years, at least some section of the celebration recognizes the risks and the sacrifices, the contributions and the consoling the Irish have given to Cleveland, and Cleveland has given to us. I wish I was, homeward bound; I am home.

For pictures of all the events and fun mentioned above, see: www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews

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Guest Blogging on Cleveland City Living: The Lion in March

The Lion in March
Happy Post St. Patrick’s Day Clevelanders! Were you one of the 500,000 people who ventured Downtown to celebrate? I was, and I can assure you it was a blast! The beautiful weather coupled with the waves of green made for a great afternoon. Below I have a guest post from reader and fellow Clevelander John O’Brien Jr, co-founder of The Ohio Irish American News, sharing some history on St. Patrick’s Day in America as well as in Cleveland. Enjoy!

This time of year, we Irish tend to wax poetic. The nostalgia of our past, the heartbeat of our songs and our stories, has fertile ground all year long for a country so shaped by emigration and strife, but it has new energy and searching around the gatherings and significance of the St. Patrick’s season.

I could be talking about America, I could be talking about Ireland; they are indelibly linked. We can’t go back, so all year long, but especially around St. Patrick’s Day, we bring a little bit of Ireland here to Cleveland.

The longing for love that echoes thru February gives way to trademark Irish longing for connection, roots past and present, that steals our hearts and shapes our journey. We recognize the nostalgia, give nod to the tuggings, but it has never stopped people from going forward, to new lands, higher ground, and an ever growing legacy of refusing to accept today as enough. We are a people who firmly and actively believe in paying it forward.

Call it Catholic guilt, the Immigrant’s Inspiration (to do better) or the simple crafting of our lives shaped by past struggle; we do not stop going forward. Cleveland, and the world, have been so shaped by the Irish Diaspora that it has become seamless into each’s own history. All across America, it is no different.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is great and the music brilliant, but it is the family that unites us all. God, relations, and friends – these are what has carried us through starvation and immigration, achievement and paying it back, and forward. Now we say thanks, and celebrate the gifts we have received.

Cleveland has welcomed so many nationalities through offering an opportunity to stand on your own two feet and build a life by your character and your efforts. It still does. We read earlier this year about the opening of the Welcome Center, and Positively Cleveland is doing remarkable work from their new location on Euclid.

So please let me take this opportunity to wish all Clevelanders a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and the start of March’s Irish Heritage Month. Thank you for making our community, part of your community. The green season is at the forefront this month, but don’t forget the man himself; Ireland’s patron saint. St. Patrick. Yes, St. Patrick was a man; so if you must shorten it, please replace your Patty with Paddy.

Does it matter? Sure it does, for two reasons; you don’t misspell someone’s name deliberately, or call a man a woman; it’s rude. Secondly, most importantly, and maybe without your knowledge, calling an Irishman a Paddy has strong historical connotations, almost all of them negative. For a long time, Paddy, like “Mick” was a pejorative term aimed at Irish immigrants, mostly by American’s who may have only a generation or three in America, but considered themselves natives. The “Irish Need Not Apply” signs are a dark mark part of American history, indelibly tainting both the sign maker and the sign holder.

The events throughout Cleveland on and around St. Patrick’s Day are overwhelming positive, diverse and capture the essence of the Irish in music, dance, history and hope. The shear volume of special events coming up this month highlight the rich and varied culture that hasn’t just survived, but has thrived. This is the 145th St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the nation’s 5th oldest. Ireland is a country of four million that has a Diaspora of over 400 million – over 400 million satisfied customers cannot be wrong!

In America, we are in recovery and inch by inch, row by row, we make this garden grow. Enjoy Irish History Month, and learn a bit of Irish history while you’re at it – it is indelibly linked with our American heritage. God willing, spring is just around the corner

Hope to see you Out & About,

John

John can be reached via email at john@songsandstories.net or follow along with his story on Facebook here. You can follow him on Twitter @jobjr.

So, its THE WEEK ~ you might ask, what’s going on?

Out & About Ohio – March 2012

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
17th – Starting after the parade, An exciting variety of Irish Entertainment; Traditional Irish Music, Sing Songs, Irish Dancers, Singers, Harpists, Fiddlers, Story Tellers, Visits from Annie Moore, Molly Malone, St Patrick, Food, Irish Art Exhibit, Irish Museum Exhibition, Irish Thatched Cottage. Library by appointment/ Genealogy for members. Tea Room by reservation. Irish Language Classes, Tuesdays 7:00 / Irish History Classes, Thursdays 6:30 P.M./ Saturday Art Classes / Children’s Saturday, Adult Tuesday Irish Dance Classes. Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100, www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

Cleveland – Flanagan’s Wake is Back!
For over 100 years, the Hilarious, interactive comedy, Flanagan’s Wake, has taken you to the legendary town of Grapplin to help celebrate the life and times of the most influential Irishman since the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, the man himself, Flanagan. Hoist a few with us as we sing (badly), dance (even worse), and blunder our way (this part we’re good at) through a night of fun like no other. Every Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 8p.m. Kennedy’s Down Under at Playhouse Square. 216.241.6000 www.playhousesquare.org

Cleveland -The Harp
14th – Chris & Tom, 17th – Boys from Co Hell, 21st – Lonesome Stars, 23rd – Kristine Jackson, 24th – Fior Gael, 28th – Chris & Tom, 30th – Chris Allen, 31st – James Wailani. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Cleveland – Stone Mad
16th – Johnny Kilbane Way dedication party w The Boys From County Hell Happy Hour Show, 17th – Holleran Traditional Irish Session, Fior Gael, 18th – The Professionals Party w The Boys From County Hell, 25th Chris Allen. Live music entertainment every Friday, Saturday and 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

Cleveland – Flat Iron Café
16th – Diane Chittester 8-11pm, 23rd – Bald Paul’s Irish Blues Band 8-11pm, 30th – Acoustix 8pm-12am. 1114 Center Street, Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968. www.flatironcafe.com

Cleveland – Treehouse
16th – Loch Erie @9pm, March 17th – Craic Brothers @4pm Fior Gael @8pm, 18th – Hair of the Dog Party w Marys Lane, 25th – Rossi, Romano & Dickman. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

Cleveland – PJ McIntyre’s
St. Paddy’s Day Weekend Blast: 15th – Craic Brothers, 16th – Craic, 17th – Doors open 7am, First 100 people get commemorative t-shirt. Really Big Show 9am-1pm. Marys Lane – playing all day and night! Irish Breakfast, Pipers, Dancers. 18th – Hair of the Dog w/ Mossy Moran, 23rd – Skys The Limit, 24th – Velvetshake, 29th -30th – Fast Eddie McAteer, 31st – Kreellers. 17119 Lorain Avenue, 44111 www.pjmcintyres.com

Cleveland – West Park Station
16th – Porter Sharks- HH, 17th – St. Paddy’s Day Open @7am, 23rd – My Sister Sarah 10pm, 24th – Hey Monea 10pm, 29th- Austin Walkin’ Cane- HH, 30th- & DJ Ice Cold 10pm, 31st – Trciky Dick & the Coverups 10pm. Thursday – Ladies Night w/ DJ Destro! Wednesday -Station Karaoke Challenge! Sunday – Magic Man Paul Gallagher from 6-8pm and Every Sunday MINUTE TO WIN IT 9pm 17015 Lorain Avenue Cleveland 44111 www.westparkstation.com. (216) 476-2000.

Cleveland / Rocky River – Rockliff Restaurant
16th – The New Barleycorn, 8 p.m. 2589 Wooster Road 44116-2961 (440) 333-2600

Cleveland/Lyndhurst – Claddagh Irish Pub
16th – The Richard Brentar Band 9pm, 17th – Irish Mike 9:30-2pm Richard Brentar Band 2:30-5:30, Forsythe Special 6pm-9pm Velvet Shake at 9:30-1am, 18th – Forsythe Special 2pm, 25th – Akron Ceili Band 5pm. 25389 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst, 44122 (216) 691-0534 www.claddaghirishpubs.com.

Cleveland /Olmsted Twp -West Side Irish American Club
Fish Frys Every Friday, followed by great live music. 17th – 10:30 Mass @ St. Coleman’s, Food & Entertainment at the club, 24th Traditional Irish Cabaret & Concert w/ Noel Ginnity. WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Cleveland / Medina – Sully’s
16th – Marys Lane, 17th – Open @7am w/full Irish Breakfast. O’Hare School of Irish Dance, Pipe Bands, Scully, 23rd – Mossy Moran, 24th – The Other Brothers, 30th – The Kreellers, 31st – Fast Eddy. Every Tuesday 6 – 8pm Magician Paul Gallagher performs tableside. 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Cleveland / Lakewood – Beck Center for the Arts
15th – Early Childhood ABC, 23rd-31st – The Velocity of Autumn. 17801 Detroit Avenue Lakewood 44107 (216) 521-2540 www.beckcenter.org

Cleveland / Mentor – Hooley House
16th – St Patrick’s Eve Party with Brigid’s Cross 9:30, 17th – St Patrick’s Day Open @6 am Live Entertainment all day, 30th – Itex 9:30. Every Tuesday – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Every Wednesday – Trivia Night. 7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

Cleveland / Willoughby – Mullarkey’s
16th – Donegal Doggs, 17th – One More Pint 11-4, Dan McCoy 5-close. 23rd – Brendan Burt Band, 24th – Donegal Doggs, 30th – Pat Shepherd, 31st – The Terriers. Karaoke Wednesdays. Thursday Ladies Night w/ D.J. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com

Cleveland / Willoughby – Croagh Patrick’s
13th -Biggest Irish Session, 14th -One More Pint, 15th -Michael Crawley, 16th -Scully, 17th -Kegs-n-Eggs @8am. 28th – Mickey Finns. 4857 Robinhood Drive Willoughby, 44094 (440) 946-8250. www.croaghpatrickspub.webs.com

Cleveland / 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
Cleveland / Avon Lake – Irish Heritage Club
17th – St. Pat’s Day Celebration, Music, Dancers, Pipers, Food, Drink Specials. Doors open @4pm. Pot Luck Mondays / Taco Tuesdays / Friday Happy Hour. 726 Avon Belden Rd. (440) 933-3413.

Cleveland / Euclid – Irish American Club East Side
16th – Irish Coffee Night w The Whiskey Island Ramblers, 17th – The Whiskey Island Ramblers, 23rd- Wally Franz, 30th – The Craic Brothers. PUB: 7:30 – 10:30. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.irishamericanclubeastside.org

Cleveland / Euclid – Paddy’s Pour House
17th – St. Patrick’s Day Party and Paddy’s! Corned Beef Sandwiches and fun ALL day. 922 East 222nd Street, Euclid, 44123
216.289.2569

Columbus – Shamrock Club Events
13th – Guest Bartending @Fado, 17th – Mass – Parade – Family Reunion – 9 Castle Close @club, 23rd – YMCA Dart Benefit, 24th – Quiz Night, 30th – Fish Fry. Happy Hour every Friday from 5-7pm! 60 W. Castle Rd. Columbus 43207 614-491-4449 www.shamrockclubofcolumbus.com

Findley – Logan’s Irish Pub
15th – Traditional Session, 16th – The Drowsy Lads, 17th – Rusty Musket, 17th – The Athen Ry, 24th – Dulahan. 2414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

Youngstown/Boardman/Warren Area Live Music w Co Mayo Band
16th – Kravitz’ Deli, Belmont Ave, Youngstown, 7-10; 17th – Lanigan’s Pub, Washington St, New Castle, PA.12-3:30; 17th – Quinlan’s Irish Pub, Youngstown Rd, Niles, 5:00 till close. North Country Brewing Slippery Rock, PA , March 19, 7-10

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

Akron Hibernian’s Ceili Band Sessions, Wednesdays 7:30 pm. The Akron AOH Mark Heffernan Div 2 Hall 2000 Brown St , Akron , Ohio 330-724-2083. Beginner to intermediate
Croagh Patrick’s – 2nd Tuesday of every month from 8 to 10pm

Bardic Circle at The Shamrock Club of Columbus Beginner-friendly, intermediate-level Irish session meeting every other Thursdays from 8:00 pm -11:00 pm

Claddagh Irish Pub, Legacy Village, Lyndhurst 6 – 9 pm

Wooster Street Center, 1124 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green, OH -2nd & 4th Monday, 7:00 to 8:00

Blarney Pub* – Toledo, 1st Saturday of the month 5-8 pm.

Happy Birthday, Six Years of Blogging

Six years ago today, I launched my website with my first book, and started this blog. It has ebbed and flowed, as health and opportunity took turns punching their way to the forefront. The good guy is winning. Check it out when ever you want a different read, and tell your friends.

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