Terry from Derry: A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Terry from Derry:

Chasing Shadow by Chris Sheerin (Published by Mercier Press)

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Sheerin, the author of Chasing Shadows, when I was last in Derry. Chris is an intelligent, modest, gentleman who has a passion for writing. Over the course of our conversation we discussed what subjects interested him as an author, and what the reaction was to his work.

What piqued my curiosity was the reaction that Chasing Shadows drew from An Phoblacht/Republican News. He gave no particulars about the review, other than it was scathing. I’d decided to postpone my curiosity re: the review until I’d read the book, and, in hindsight it was the right thing to have done.

What I liked most of all about this novel was its almost visceral quality when it comes to describing a city in the midst of conflict. For someone, like me, who grew up in the 70s in Derry, the scenario Sheerin recreates is true to life. I walked through the corridors of my own memories as he narrated the story from his imagination and personal experience. When it comes to writing about such a volatile time, especially since it is recent history, there will always be the risk of a backlash. While Derry is struggling to re-invent itself as a city of culture, the dust has not settled fully on those unquiet years.

While the other reviewer thought the story ‘full of caricatures’, and the colloquial dialogue ‘irritating’, I found it to be the opposite. It was engaging and the stereotypes depicted were recognizable to me. If they appeared on a lineup I could point them out.

Yes, there are structural cracks; sometimes the protagonist is too coy, too idealistic and a little unreachable to the reader, but what seems to compensate for these minor flaws a real powerful sense of place.

We are immersed in a city riddled with complexities, ironies, secrets and duplicities. The shades of ‘grey’ are exposed as Seamus, the protagonist, as moves from childhood to adolescence. His former black and white view of the ‘Troubles’, are skewered by an awakening reality that people are not what they seem. For any teenager growing up in such political craziness the nightmare becomes a reality when hatred becomes a conditioned response.

They hate you in this place and they don’t even know why. Half the people in this country couldn’t tell you who they’re fightin’ for’.

The reader is drawn into a story that does promote the moral that ‘violence’ is futile and impinges on the most normal of relationships. The story of a young man’s gradual awakening to the how the violence, like a disease, races destructively through veins of familial and societal relationships.

Is this trite? Is this a plea to accept the ‘status quo’? I would think not. One only has to think of Sean O’Casey’s anti-violence stance in the Dublin plays to realize that pacifism, or a non-violent approach, is never as simple as mere resignation to the way things are. Unfortunately, the Republican reviewer confirms the stereotype of the political propagandist by his reductionism.

This reviewer is perhaps too familiar with the political propagandist approach to notice that the novel takes the perspective of the individual, the man caught between the larger producers of political rhetoric, British/Republican ideologies. I find it ironic that a reviewer of a political newspaper would say that Sheerin’s book lacks subtlety. Lest we forget, and I doubt that we can, how the machinery of political propaganda needs to accentuate, caricature, to the point of being farcical is in fact the moral centre of what the story is all about.

Sheerin’s book offers an insight in to a world that is changing. The old world of gerrymandering, and inequalities are being replaced, and the transition is brutal. In the midst of this change, truth does become the first casualty of war. As political positions are established, the fabrications, the near truths become a common currency, and as a result no one is to be trusted. Sheerin’s insight into how fixed ideas are tested, and sometimes re-established are echoed through Seamus’ maturation. As one who has felt the force of believing the lie, he must wrestle with the fact that life is rarely simple.

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Forty Shades of Green: A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Blowin’ In: Forty Shades of Green
By Susan Mangan

My earliest memory of St. Patrick’s Day involved a brief stint on the Bozo Show. After my best friend Sue was born, her mother put in a request for tickets to this live program. Due to its great local popularity, the Bozo Show required that would-be audience members apply for tickets years in advance. Some foresight was needed, and being the only girl born to a mother late in life, Sue’s mom thought spoiling her with tickets to the show was certainly in order. Thus, she applied for four tickets to the Bozo Show and in the meantime our moms met at our nursery school. The rest was history.

On St. Patrick’s Day, seven years later, our tickets finally came to fruition. Sue and I, along with our mothers, were among the excited audience sitting in the top bleachers at the Bozo Show. I remember the experience with a mixture of great pleasure and acute anxiety. A shy child, I was worried that I would be chosen to play in the grand prize game in which the lucky participant would be required to throw a ping-pong ball into five tin buckets. If you made all five shots, you were sent back to your seat with a great prize, if not, you were sent back with nothing. My fears were unfounded as I was never chosen, but I did win a year’s supply of Bazooka Bubble Gum during a less pressure-filled audience raffle.

We finished up St. Patrick’s Day with Shamrock Shakes and a corned beef and cabbage dinner at the Ground Round. What else would one expect from my friend’s Polish-American mother and my own mother, a Missouri native? Our celebration may not have been authentic, but it was filled with love, loyalty, and friendship – the heart and soul of a true St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Over the years, my mother’s homemade corned beef and cabbage, and occasionally a bowl of pasta with red sauce to placate my Italian father, replaced the Ground Round. An annual airing of John Wayne in The Quiet Man took over the Bozo Show. My family celebrated St. Patrick’s Day American-style: quietly and without a clue as to how the Irish honored the feast day of its famous saint.

The kids in my parish school displayed their shades of green in hair ribbons and t-shirts. Those who danced with Sheila Tully may have performed a jig on the school playground. Aside from these modest celebrations, the adults and children in our neighborhood avoided the downtown throngs of shamrock waving parade revelers. Although, the majority of my good friends who were of Irish descent celebrated their roots daily, not just on St. Patrick’s Day, and a bit more organically. Thus, my initiation into the Irish culture began with a taste of black pudding and soda bread with caraway seed.

My friend Michelle’s mother was Kerry born and bred. Black-haired, with lake blue eyes, she could captivate the most rambunctious child with her lilting brogue and enchanting stories of Castleisland.

This soft-spoken woman made weekly trips to our local Irish import store and purchased pounds of savory pudding and copies of The Irish Times. From her, I learned that you didn’t have to wear your Irish ethnicity boldly. As my friendship with her daughter continued to grow, so did my fascination with the Irish culture.

Fate meanders curiously in our lives. Little did I know that my early “Irish” apprenticeship would forge a bond between my first-generation Irish, college sweetheart that would grow into marriage.

When our children were little, we would attend mass at St. Colman’s Church with my in-laws. The mass speaks of immigrants and angels, traveling roots and solid stone hedges. Voices rise in pitch-perfect unison as the congregation honors “the dear little shamrock.”

As our children grew, they took part in the music and marching of the West-Side Irish American Club fife and drill corps. Sadly, the children are unable to participate this year due to hectic schedules that intrude upon the fiber of family life. We will still attend mass as a family and the children will wear their shades of green quietly, with reverence for their grandparents who worked so hard to provide a new life in America for their children and children’s children.

Our children, among many in our tightly knit Cleveland Irish community, are fortunate enough to have written their names on the strands in Mayo where their ancestors walked and fished. They gathered turf on the bog amid the biting flies and warm June sunshine, surrounded by generations of kin. Be it through history lessons, dance or storytelling, my family celebrates their Irish ancestry daily.

Recently, my husband acquired his father’s coat. Hand-tailored in the early sixties, this coat represents my father-in-law’ s industry and tenacity, his pride in appearance and in his name. It is crafted of muted, woolen shades of grey and brown. It is quiet and dignified, like the man who once wore it.

At the start of every St. Patrick’s season, there is a benefit to raise money and awareness for a very holy priest and the flock to which he tends. On this night, my husband wore his father’s coat. As he reached into the pockets for a few dollars to purchase a 2013 St. Patrick’s Day pin, he found his father’s comb and handkerchief. Raising the cloth to my nose, I hoped that I could retrieve the scent of my father-in-law. The cloth only smelled of fine wool and age, but the spirit of the man had not vanished.

This St. Patrick’s Day, look for the treasures that lie in your Irish past. They may not reside within a glittering pot of gold, but I bet they lie beneath a pair of faded blue eyes. Perhaps forty shades of green lie hidden in sepia within a tattered old photograph of a cart, a stone wall, and a family surrounding a young man or woman preparing to leave for America. Perhaps the true treasure lies in the torn, silk-lined pocket of one Irish man’s vintage coat.

*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.

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Owens Sports: North American County Board Finals Coming to Cleveland: A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Owens Sports
by Mark Owens

Not Long Now: The 2013 North American Gaelic Games

In this column, I tend to give updates on the sporting world at home in Ireland, with the odd piece thrown in for good measure that covers Irish sport elsewhere in the world. Over the past few years, I provide some information on the local GAA scene. The upcoming Gaelic Games Finals being hosted in the area over Labor Day weekend this summer are fast approaching. The 2013 North American County Board Finals is the annual championship of Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie and will bring approximately 90 men’s and women’s teams from around the US and Canada.

As part of this venture we have partnered very successfully with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Lastly we have Dan Brennan, current Chief Marketing Officer for Skylight Financial Group, who are the event’s title sponsor.

We have been working on putting the 2013 NACB Finals together for fourteen months now. The event comes with multiple expenses and we are very fortunate to have Skylight Financial Group on board as our title sponsor. They are supportive in our efforts, not just put on a great event, but ultimately to add to the GAA legacy in the Cleveland area and help develop the Games here for years to come, regardless of what club or team you may associate yourself with. This is an event that the entire Irish community in Cleveland will be proud of.

The 2013 NACB Finals will be held at the Barton-Bradley Soccer Complex in North Olmsted. We are excited to be able to keep the event local and are very appreciative for the support that our friends in North Olmsted have provided.

The committee wants this event to be a celebration of not only sports but also the social aspect of the local Irish spirit. Over the course of the weekend we aim to create a mini-festival type atmosphere. We will have food and beverages in our ‘festival village’ area, along with live music on Saturday and Sunday, with local favorite Mary’s Lane playing both days. Bagpipers to lead the teams on the fields for the championship games Sunday and a local merchandize vendor will offer everyone the opportunity to purchase a lasting memory of the 2013 Finals. In addition to all the activities at the fields in North Olmsted, Kamm’s Corner in Cleveland will host several social events throughout the weekend.

How Can You Get Involved? Volunteer
The Irish community in Cleveland will be there for you when you need them. What has been a blessing in running this event has been the support from both the Westside and Eastside Irish communities. We often joke that the West and the East do their own thing, but on this occasion help has come in equal shares from members of both the West Side and the Eastside Irish American Clubs.

How can you be part of the big event? Over the next few months we will attend many events, starting with the highly successful Kamm’s Corner Hooley on May 11th, the infamous Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival July 19th-21st and other events yet to be confirmed. We hope to have local volunteers help man the booth for an hour or two to help get the word out about the coming Games. We will also be holding another raffle as well as a special ‘fun’ fundraiser at PJ McIntyre’s on Saturday June 8th. Volunteers to help sell tickets for these events are needed.

Sponsorship – The cost to put on such an event is high. The bid fee alone just to host is $14,000. On Thursday April 11th we will host an information night at PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub for potential sponsors/groups that might be willing to donate at the $1,000 level. This will provide sponsors with a variety of benefits, including the ability to co-brand with our logo in any promotions and advertising, along with exposure on our website and social media outlets. The $1,000 level also provides the sponsor with a special limited edition jersey, four weekend passes and an invitation to a special donor social pre-event in August. For more information, contact me at markfromderry@gmail.com.

In the upcoming months we will also be working on ad book where we will have opportunities for donor levels from $25 to $500.

Word of Mouth: Besides the obvious volunteer and financial help that you can offer, simply spreading the word, talking up the Finals and letting your friends, family, co-workers etc. aware of the event is priceless to us.

For More information – Our website, www.gaacleveland.com, is updated regularly with news, sponsor/vendor announcements, a link to buy commemorative jersey and directions to the fields. Make the site a favorite and be sure to sign up for ‘news updates’, this site can also be used to get in touch with the committee. If you are active on Facebook or Twitter please add us as a friend and share what we post: www.facebook.com/gaacleveland. www.twitter.com/gaacleveland.

Trivia will return next month.
*Mark Owens is originally from Derry City, Ireland and has resided in the Cleveland area since 2001 where he is employed by State Farm Insurance Corporate. Mark is the Chairman of the 2013 North American Gaelic Games Finals to be held in Cleveland. Send questions, comments or suggestions for future articles to Mark at: markfromderry@gmail.com.

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This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks: Fifty Shades of Green .. A story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Out of the Mailbag … Comes Songs and Stories, by John O’Brien, Jr.

This is Your Brain on Shamrocks2; 50 Shades o’ Green by Mike Farragher.
ISBN-13-978-0615732992. 173 pages.

I’ve known of New Jersey Irish funnyman Mike Farragher for more than a decade. I first began reading his work when he started writing for the Irish Voice in 1997. He also started for IrishCentral.com around the same time. I only met him in person at the Dublin Irish Fest last year, but this friendship is a lifetime of shared experiences. Mike has vast, seen it live personal experience in the Irish music scene, and enough introspection to shed new light and point out the darkness. His humor can be deadly. Acerbic at times, respectful most of the time, self-effacing and molded from the Irish-Catholic guilt trips that are ingrained in so many of us, Mike thinks like many but is a little different in that he is willing to write about it. This is his 3rd book.

The story behind the song has always fascinated me. I spent a lot of time with one of the greatest storytellers of all, Tommy Makem, and he was a bit wistful about writing. It is hard to recapture a 3D story in a 1D printed word, he related. Harder still to write funny.

Mike Farragher writes funny. In a series of two page stories, practical, funny and full of …”I remember that!”, Mike can capture a moment, a feeling, a guilt complex, and not only make it breathe, but also live to tell about it. It might be an Irish Catholic thing, it might be an ethnic thing, but the religion/immigrant experience seems especially poignant and piercing in the Irish. It is a life leaving scars and learning sacrifice.

“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can,” said Elsa Maxwell. I know it takes the sting and the ammunition out.
To quote Mike, “We guilt trip, we get teased, but there really is common sense in the pathos instilled, such as using a comb to hold a nail to hammer, rather than your precious fingertips”.

My favorites? Don’t miss “Write on” on launching your Muse, or the spider tingling, “Danger Will Robinson” sense awakened in Clean up Your Act (Your Mother in Law is coming).

Pick up This is Your Brain on Shamrocks2, a very funny and fun read on the damage done to ourselves, by those who love us the most.

www.thisisyourbrainonshamrocks.com

Prayers for our friend; Her story

Our prayers go out to our Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival Children’s Area coordinator, Stephanie Wetzel-Toole, as well as all those so affected by Lynch Syndrome. Please read her story below, and share to raise awareness, hope and help, in what ever way you can.
Dear Friends,

In 2012 my family began a journey.

A journey to discover why so many immediate family members have been diagnosed with colorectal and endometrial cancers at young ages. Seven total, six of whom lost their battles with cancer at very young ages.

Through extensive family tree research and genetic consoling, the seven living siblings of my parents Sam and Audrey Wetzel, one by one were genetically tested for Lynch Syndrome, an hereditary disorder caused by a mutation in a mismatch repair gene in which affected individuals have a higher than normal chance of developing colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and various other types of aggressive cancers, often at a young age – also called hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer.” (HNPCC)

With the results three of us were told we have inherited this gene, passed down to another generation, by our mother, Audrey Kemp Wetzel, who died March 7, 1991 at the age of 57 after a courageous hard fought five month battle with colorectal cancer.

Stephanie Wetzel-Toole, Marlene Wetzel-Bloomfield and Gerri Wetzel-Schoutko have all inherited this gene…thus our name, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Genes.

A journey that continues….with 19 children between Stephanie(7), Marlene(7), and Gerri(5) we now face the task of having each of our children genetically tested. Praying they flipped the coin heads up and did not inherit Lynch Syndrome.

A journey to be proactive…..in Aug. 2012 Marlene Wetzel-Bloomfield had a complete hysterectomy followed by Stephanie Wetzel-Toole who had her complete hysterectomy in Dec. 2012. Having this surgery Stephanie and Marlene removed a huge part of the risk of developing endometrial cancer. With all pathology reports clear for Marlene and Stephanie they both breathed a sigh of relief.

A journey that has thankfully had all three of us sisters getting colonoscopies proactively for 15 years. Knowing our mother died so young and so fast, we wanted honor her memory and be proactive in our health.

Stephanie and Marlene’s journey is not over. To remain cancer free we will have to be vigilant with our health and stay on top of our wellness with yearly screenings.

A journey that led my family to find out Gerri Wetzel- Schoutko, who in Jan. 2012 became the seventh family member to be diagnosed with cancer. At age 44, nine years after her first cancer diagnosis, Gerri was diagnosed with a second cancer, Endometrial Cancer.

A journey that has recently shown the cancer, malignant thymoma, that Gerri was diagnosed with nine years ago at age 36 has reoccurred.

Please join us as we walk to celebrate Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Public Awareness Day Fri. Mar. 22, 1013.

We walk to raise awareness for Lynch syndrome.

We walk to raise money for LSI….Lynch Syndrome International.

Beginning at 5:00pm on Fri. March 22, 2013 and ending 5:00pm on Sat. March 23, 2013 we will be walking the indoor track at Lakewood High School for 24 hours straight with family and friends to celebrate Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Awareness Day.

Join us as we walk. Come walk 1 mile or 1 hour.

We simply ask that if you would like to join us on this walk, you make a donation to LSI.

Visit our Face book Event for more information about the 24 Hour Walk for Courage:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/490412434328717/

To learn more about Lynch Syndrome please check out their web site: http://www.lynchcancers.com/

The primary mission of Lynch Syndrome International (LSI) is to serve our global communities by focusing on providing support for individuals afflicted with Lynch syndrome, creating public awareness of the syndrome, educating members of the general public and health care professionals and providing support for Lynch syndrome research endeavors.

LSI, an all volunteer organization, is founded and governed by Lynch syndrome survivors, their families, and health care professionals who specialize in Lynch syndrome.

If diagnosed early, we believe Lynch syndrome survivors have favorable outcomes which enhance survival, the longevity and quality of life as well as the emotional well-being of the afflicted.

With the provisions of knowledge, caring and respect for those living with Lynch syndrome, coupled with a common theme of a prevalent positive attitude, we can be change agents, enhancing hope and survivability, impacting the life of countless thousands of people throughout our world.

If you would like to make a donation Currently, approximately sixty percent of our cash funding is derived from the generosity and passionate commitment of members of our Board of Directors. Approximately 20% comes from our base of those affected by Lynch syndrome and 20% from corporate sponsorship. We anticipate this to dramatically change in 2012-2013 as corporate and civic groups have begun to embrace us, during our third year of operation.

Every dollar counts! Each dollar is the equivalent of nine brochures. Each $50 is the equivalent of 500 brochures, one of which most likely will reach a Lynch syndrome family and perhaps save five to ten lives from inherited cancers.

LSI operates as a true nonprofit, in every sense of the word and our success is directly attributed to the outstanding volunteers who are passionate in working with us, in a grassroots manner, throughout the world.

Donations can be made at http://www.lynchcancers.com/index.php/donate

You can indicate it is in Honor of Team Courage: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Genes.

Donations can also be mailed to:

Lynch Syndrome International
P.O. Box 5456
Vacaville, California 95688

In your check memo please mark in Team Courage.

Lynch Syndrome is inherited by random with a 50% chance of getting it. By raising awareness this can give many people a fair fight and chance to prevent/treat cancer early.

So please help us raise awareness! Whether it is joining us was we walk or walking where ever you live, by lifting them us up in prayer, by making a donation, or just spreading the word about Lynch Syndrome and genetic testing if cancer is in high occurrence in your family.

Fondly,

Stephanie Wetzel-Toole

We’re Irish 365 Days a Year ~ March Events, Including St. Pat’s

Out & About Ohio – March 2013

Akron
Akron Celtic Guards Hurling Club St. Patrick’s Parade Pancake Breakfast
9th – 7:30 am to 11:00 am, 2000 Brown Street, Akron 44319

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
8th – Lessons from the Field in N. Ireland 7:00 p.m. 14th – Derek Warfield & Young Wolfe Tones, 16th – Parade Day Afters Party 2:00 on: Green Key, Silver Arm, Friendly Sons of St Patrick, Dancers, Children’s Parade, Ceol Mohr, Murphy’s Law, Mick McEvilley. 17th – Mass w Rev Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh 11:00 am, Nancy Bick Clarke & Jude Law, Green Key, Silver Arm, Irish Sing A Long, Changeling, Dancers, Mick McEvilley. Irish Pub Night 3rd Thurs of month, 28th – Celtic Women International Club 4th Thurs of month. Interested in Irish Football and Hurling in Cinci area? Contact Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Ave. Cincinnati 45226 513-533-0100 www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com

Brooklyn – Hooley House!
2nd – Charlie in The Box; 8th – Velvet Shake; 16th – Michael Crawley 12:00, Brigid’s Cross 3:00, Morrison & McCarthy 6:00, Samantha Fitzpatrick 10:00; 17th – Kegs & Eggs @ 7am, Irish DJ 9am, Nick Zuber 12:00, Samantha Fitzpatrick 3:00, Brigid’s Cross 7:00; 30th – Abbey Rodeo. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

The Harp
1st – Irish session, 2nd – the portersharks, 6th – lonesome stars, 8th – g.s.harper, 9th – kristine Jackson, 13th – chris & tom, 15th – the portersharks, 16th – pitch the peat, 17th – the boys from co hell, 20th – lonesome stars, 22nd – walking cane, 23rd – fior gael, 27th – chris & tom, 29th – Brent Kirby, 30th – lonesome stars. All music begins at 9pm. Perch Fish Fry all day Friday in March. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Stone Mad
3rd – Traditional Irish Session 7-10pm, 10th – Mary’s Lane 8-11pm, 16th – Boys from County Hell 4-8pm, 17th – Doors open 10 am, Live music all day, Session, Pitch the Peat, Donegal Doggs. 18th – Professionals Party with The Boys from County Hell. 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
1st – Donegal Doggs, 8th – Marys Lane, 15th – Becky Boyd & Kristine Jackson,
17th – St. Paddy’s Day -Doors open 7am, Donal O’Shaughnessy 12pm. Free shuttle service 2 parade for customers! 22nd – Brittany Reilly Band, 29th – Joe Rollin Porte. Cleveland 44113-2406 216.696.6968. www.flatironcafe.com

Treehouse
3rd – Walkin’Cane, 10th – Chris Allen, 16th – Craic Brothers, 17th – Donegal Doggs & Pitch the Peat, 18th – ” Survivor Party” Marys Lane, 24th – Mike Edgerly, 31st – Becky Boyd. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

PJ McIntyre’s
1st – Sky’s The Limit; 2nd – Ace Molar; 5th – Monthly Pub Quiz, Hosted by MikeD; 8th – New Barleycorn, 9th – Festivus, 13th – LUNASA $20 at the door; 16th – Donegal Doggs; 17th – Open 7am – 1ST 100 people get collecter ” POG MO THOIN” T-shirts, Bagpipers, dancers, music all day: Marys Lane 1PM. Rizzo & Goldhammer Radio 9am-1. Lucky Charms Eating Contest. 22ND – Disco Inferno, 23RD – Carlos Jones, 29TH – Charlie in the Box, 30TH – Time Warp. 17119 Lorain Avenue, 44111 www.pjmcintyres.com

PlayHouse Square – Comedian John Mulaney
15th – Comedian John Mulaney at the Ohio Theatre, 8 pm.

West Park Station
1st – Tamaray & the Tradition HH, 2nd – Drunk Betty, 7th – Jim & Quinn HH,
8th – Etiquette HH, 9th – Porcelain Bus Drivers 10pm, 14th – Stevie Monce HH, 15th – Stevie Monce Band 10pm, 16th – Pre-St. Pat’s Day Warm-up Party & UFC 158 & DJ 10pm, 21st – Mossy Moran HH, 29th – Faction 10pm, 30th – Swagg 10pm, 31st – EASTER SUNDAY – bar open @ 7pm (Kitchen Closed). Fridays thru Lent- Perch Fish Fry- Best on the West Side! Mon: I Hate Mondays 2 Hr Extended HH & Trivia Night 7pm. Tues: Roll Call-discounted drinks for all Fire, Police, Military & Med Professionals 9pm. Wed: Karaoke 9pm. Thur: Ladies Night 9pm. Sun: SIN Night 9pm. 17015 Lorain Avenue Cleveland 44111 www.westparkstation.com. (216) 476-2000.

Flannery’s Pub
13th-16th – MAC Tournament, 16th – The Bloody Tinth, 17th – Boys from the Co Hell, 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

PaddyRock Irish SuperPub
16700 A Lorain Avenue Cleveland, 44111
***

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

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Makem & Spain Brothers Concert
8th – Happy Valley Lodge: http://www.conservancyforcvnp.org/events/general-park/information/Heritage-Series-Concert-The-Makem-and-Spain-Brothers

Euclid
Irish American Club East Side
1st – One More Pint, 2nd – Guinness & Harp Night I w/ “CRAIC” $12, 3rd – Mossy Moran, 8th — Loch Erie, 9th – Guinness & Harp Night II w/Boys from the County Hell $12, 10th – Plaid Sabbath, 15th – Mary Agnes Kennedy, 16th – Two2Many $10, 17th – Two2Many @ 6:30 $5, 22nd – Wally Franz, 29th – Kevin McCarthy. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.irishamericanclubeastside.org
Paddy’s Pour House
Open @10am. Guinness or Paddy Punch Specials $3.00. Corned Beef Sand $8.00. Get your St. Patricks Day t-shirts while supplies last only $20. 922 East 222nd Street, Euclid, 44123
 216.289.2569

Findlay
Logan’s Irish Pub
2nd – Paul Bruno, 9th – Mossy Moran, 16th – The Athen Rye; 17th – Rusty Musket (12-3), The Athen Rye (7-10), Prodigals, 10:30-2am). 2414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

Lakewood
Beck Center for the Arts
1st-31st – Next to Normal; 16th – Super Saturdays w/ arts activities for ages 1 – 8), 16th-17th –Coppelia, 22nd-31st – The House of Blue Leaves, 23rd – Music Student Showcase. 17801 Detroit Avenue Lakewood 44107 (216) 521-2540 www.beckcenter.org

Medina – Sully’s
1st – Mossy Moran, 2nd – Donegal Doggs, 8th – Other Brothers, 9th – Lisa Spicer, 15th – The New Barleycorn, 16th – Marys Lane, 17th – Loch Erie, 22nd – Callahan & O’Connor, 23rd – High Strung Irish, 29th – Good Friday, 30th – Pompous Ass. Every Tuesday 6 – 8pm Magician Paul Gallagher performs tableside. 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Mentor
Hooley House
All starts @9:30: 1st – Pout;
2nd – Abbey Rodeo; 8th – Matt Johnson Dueling Pianos; 16th – inside: Nick Zuber 7:00, Brigid’s Cross, Countdown Party 10:00. 17th – Kegs & Eggs @ 6am, Irish DJ ~ 9:00, Nick Zuber 12:00, Brigid’s Cross 3:00, Irish DJ 7:00. Outside: Morrison & McCarthy 2:00, Irish DJ 5:00, Samantha Fitzpatrick 9:00. 23rd – Charlie in the Box, 29th – Schoolgirl Crush. Tues – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Wed – Trivia Night. 7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

Olmsted Twp
West Side Irish American Club
Fish Fry and Great live music every Friday: 1st – Loch Erie, 8th – Pub Quiz, 15th – Bald Paul, 22nd, Tom Todd. 2nd – Senior Marching Groups Exhibition Dance, 9th – Claddagh Ball w/ Marie McVicker, 16th – Boxty & Sausage and Irish Coffee Night, 17th – Mass @ St. Colman’s 11:30 am, 146th Annual Parade 2:05pm. Food in the Pub 4:00, Terriers 5:30. WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Willoughby
Mullarkey’s
2nd – Kevin McCarthy, 8th – Eric Butler, 9th – One More Pint, 15th – Donegal Doggs, 16th – Dan McCoy; 17th – One more Pint 1-5, Dan McCoy 6-close; 22nd – Brendan Burt Band, 23rd – Mossy Moran, 29th – Pat Shepherd, 30th – Terriers. Wed: Karaoke, Thurs: Ladies Night w/ D.J. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com
Croagh Patrick’s
4857 Robinhood Drive Willoughby, 44094 (440) 946-8250. www.croaghpatrickspub.webs.com

Columbus
Shamrock Club Events
1st – Fish Fry, 2nd – Quiz Night, 3rd – General Mtg; 8th – Proclamation Day; 8th – Fish Fry, Mossy Moran; 9th – Drowsy Lads; 10th – General Mtg; 11th – Irishman of Year Party Byrne’s Pub; 17th – St. Patrick’s Day Mass @ Sacred Heart, Procession & Parade 9am; Irish Family Reunion Vet’s Memorial 12pm w/The Hooligans, Drowsy Lads, Shamrock Club Pipes & Drums, Richens-Timm Academy, Regan-Rankin Academy, Millennium Academy; Party, 5:30 Morningstarre Celtic Band, Ladies of Longford. Happy Hour Fridays 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.

146th Annual Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Step off is 2:04 pm. preceded by the American and Irish Anthems


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
The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm
Stone Mad – 1st Sunday of the month Holleran Traditional Irish Session, 7pm
Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session –has a new home @the Slow Train Café, 55 East
College St. Oberlin 44074 2nd Monday of the month 8 – 10 pm
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
Wooster Street Center, 1124 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green 2nd & 4th Monday, 7:00 –
8:00.
Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7:30 pm
Claddagh Irish Pub – Sundays 6 – 9pm, All experience levels welcome
585 S. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43215

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

A St. Pat’s Kickoff of a Different Kind

Hope you will join me Monday for a St. Pat’s Kickoff of a Different Kind, at the Cuyahoga County Library Fairview Park Branch ~ I’ll be premiering my new, “Song & Story: An Irish American Journey”, a 30 minute presentation on Irish immigrants to America, followed by a signing session for my 3 books.

Please spread the word and join us, so the Library keeps doing these events and providing us writers with the opportunity to share our work.

Who am I? Here is this week’s story in WorldIrish:

http://www.worldirish.com/story/24114-from-athlone-stock-to-irish-ohio-meet-john-obrien-director-of-the-cleveland-irish-festival

From Athlone stock to Irish Ohio: meet John O’Brien, director of the Cleveland Irish Festival

Story by DAVEMOLLOY POSTED 4 DAYS AGO

John O’Brien Jr is a pillar of the Irish-American community out in Ohio. Deputy Director of the Cleveland Irish cultural Festival, author of a book on Irish music in the US, and editor of the Ohio Irish American News, he’s overcome not one, but two serious medical obstacles to get where he is today.

Founding the Cleveland Festival

John’s father moved to America from the Athlone area, first to Montreal, and later to Cleveland, where he became a core part of the local Irish community. He set up the first Cleveland Irish Festival when John was 16 years old, and the spirit of volunteering and chipping in at community events stuck with him the rest of his life.

‘When I look back, I see as being unusual, but growing up, it was just what we grew up with. We didn’t know any different,’ he said.

‘We all went every year, and prepared for it, and worked it all weekend and the week around it, and the love of the Irish culture really just took root. We always had a part of it as part of us.’

The festival is now in its 31st year, set to return this July with a full line-up of Irish and Irish-American acts. But it’s not easy running a festival without corporate backing. The 15 festivals in the area less than a decade ago have been reduced to just eight – two of which are in difficulty.

‘There are a few [festivals] that are put on by cities and corporations, but most are put on by “mom and pop”-type operations like us,’ John explained. ‘And the reality is, that if someone is not working they’re not going to be able to risk that, to organise it, and keep it going … it’s just become a much more personal risk.’

A change of plans

The Cleveland Festival is still going strong, but John has suffered his own share of personal misfortune. At 19, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – though the doctors didn’t know what to call it at the time. As a young man, he wanted to get involved in criminal justice, and maybe apply to the Secret Service, or the FBI.

‘…they said “you will probably graduate in a wheelchair. You need to find something else.”

‘That was my goal. But when I got rheumatoid they were very direct … they said “you will probably graduate in a wheelchair. You need to find something else.”’

So John changed his major, and became a banker, working away on the festival and being very much a part of the community, leaving his aspirations to work in criminal justice behind.

But his life would take another drastic turn years later, when he broke his back in an accident playing hockey, leaving him unable to work. Even during recovery, he knew he wouldn’t be able to return to the 70-hour weeks at the bank. ‘I had to find income and try something different, and relay that into money.’

John had always had a passion for the folklore around Irish music legends on the America circuit: the stories, legends and tall tales around the music. But the stories were always confused, with several versions of the same tale that changed every time it was told. He had always planned to collect some of the stories himself, and find the truth.

While recovering from his back injury, one of the big musical figures John admired passed away – Derek McCormick from Barleycorn. ‘I was sitting in Pittsburgh … and I said you know, I’m not going to wait any longer, I’m just going to do it.’

300 hours of interviews later, John’s first book, Festival Legends, Songs and Stories, hit the shelves. It was a commitment he never would have been able to make while working, and his back injury changed his life entirely, opening doors for him as a writer.

The Ohio Irish American News

On a book tour in Chicago for Songs and Stories he was being shown around by Shay Clarke, a journalist with the Irish American News in Chicago. After spending some time together, Clarke pulled over to the side of the road, out of the blue.

‘He stopped and made a phone call and he said, “Cliff, I know you’ve been trying to start a paper in Ohio, and here’s your man.” And he handed me the phone, and that was my introduction to Cliff Carlson.’

Carlson, editor of the Chicago Irish American News, was looking to launch in Ohio. Two months later, in January 2007, John O’Brien found himself launching the first issue as both publisher and editor. More than half a decade later, the paper is distributed from 240 locations and has a circulation of 24,000, covering its costs every month.

‘If we had tried to do this ten years ago, it would have failed. But with the newspaper business in general failing, it’s actually opened doors for us,’ John said.

‘because the Irish community are so geared towards supporting its own, our advertising dollars are sufficient, our support has been tremendous.’

‘Because we’re such a niche market and because the Irish community are so geared towards supporting its own, our advertising dollars are sufficient, our support has been tremendous, and we don’t need to appeal to a huge mass.’

And John would never have ended up working as an author, now with two additional books under his belt – the Cleveland Irish Directory and First Generation, a book of his own poetry – if it hadn’t been for that serious accident. Even his dreams of working in criminal justice came full circle: today he works as the public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

‘I’ve always been of the belief that you keep your mind open and see what doors are open: you walk through them. And the ones that close, close for a reason, and you can lament that, but it won’t get you anywhere.’

I’ve always been very patient. Things may look dark down one hallway – well, what’s this hallway? It’s lit up. Let’s go see what’s there.’

You can find out more about O’Brien’s books on his website, and learn about the Cleveland Irish Festival and the Ohio Irish American News online.

So Many Choices – What to do 2Nite?

Hmmm, so much to choose from – what’s to do 2Nite?
CharleyintheBox The Hooley House – Brooklyn PorterSharks@Harp AceMolar@Pj McIntyre’s DrunkBetty@WestParkStation Guinness&HarpNite@IACES PaulBruno@LogansIrishPub DonegalDoggs@SullysIrishPub AbbeyRodeo@HooleyHouseMentor QuizNite@ShamrockClubColumbus KevinMcCarthy@John Mullarkey’s .

oh logo+web+phone-rev

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

Out & About Ohio March and St. Pat’s Events ~ Stick it to the fridge!

Ohio Irish American News’ Out & About Ohio – March 2013

Akron
Akron Celtic Guards Hurling Club St. Patrick’s Parade Pancake Breakfast
9th – 7:30 am to 11:00 am, 2000 Brown Street, Akron 44319

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
8th – Lessons from the Field in N. Ireland 7:00 p.m. 14th – Derek Warfield & Young Wolfe Tones, 16th – Parade Day Afters Party 2:00 on: Green Key, Silver Arm, Friendly Sons of St Patrick, Dancers, Children’s Parade, Ceol Mohr, Murphy’s Law, Mick McEvilley. 17th – Mass w Rev Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh 11:00 am, Nancy Bick Clarke & Jude Law, Green Key, Silver Arm, Irish Sing A Long, Changeling, Dancers, Mick McEvilley. Irish Pub Night 3rd Thurs of month, 28th – Celtic Women International Club 4th Thurs of month. Interested in Irish Football and Hurling in Cinci area? Contact Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Ave. Cincinnati 45226 513-533-0100 www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com

Brooklyn – Hooley House!
2nd – Charlie in The Box; 8th – Velvet Shake; 16th – Michael Crawley 12:00, Brigid’s Cross 3:00, Morrison & McCarthy 6:00, Samantha Fitzpatrick 10:00; 17th – Kegs & Eggs @ 7am, Irish DJ 9am, Nick Zuber 12:00, Samantha Fitzpatrick 3:00, Brigid’s Cross 7:00; 30th – Abbey Rodeo. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

The Harp
1st – Irish session, 2nd – the portersharks, 6th – lonesome stars, 8th – g.s.harper, 9th – kristine Jackson, 13th – chris & tom, 15th – the portersharks, 16th – pitch the peat, 17th – the boys from co hell, 20th – lonesome stars, 22nd – walking cane, 23rd – fior gael, 27th – chris & tom, 29th – Brent Kirby, 30th – lonesome stars. All music begins at 9pm. Perch Fish Fry all day Friday in March. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Stone Mad
3rd – Traditional Irish Session 7-10pm, 10th – Mary’s Lane 8-11pm, 16th – Boys from County Hell 4-8pm, 17th – Doors open 10 am, Live music all day, Session, Pitch the Peat, Donegal Doggs. 18th – Professionals Party with The Boys from County Hell. 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
1st – Donegal Doggs, 8th – Marys Lane, 15th – Becky Boyd & Kristine Jackson,
17th – St. Paddy’s Day -Doors open 7am, Donal O’Shaughnessy 12pm. Free shuttle service 2 parade for customers! 22nd – Brittany Reilly Band, 29th – Joe Rollin Porte. Cleveland 44113-2406 216.696.6968. www.flatironcafe.com

Treehouse
3rd – Walkin’Cane, 10th – Chris Allen, 16th – Craic Brothers, 17th – Donegal Doggs & Pitch the Peat, 18th – ” Survivor Party” Marys Lane, 24th – Mike Edgerly, 31st – Becky Boyd. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

PJ McIntyre’s
1st – Sky’s The Limit; 2nd – Ace Molar; 5th – Monthly Pub Quiz, Hosted by MikeD; 8th – New Barleycorn, 9th – Festivus, 13th – LUNASA $20 at the door; 16th – Donegal Doggs; 17th – Open 7am – 1ST 100 people get collecter ” POG MO THOIN” T-shirts, Bagpipers, dancers, music all day: Marys Lane 1PM. Rizzo & Goldhammer Radio 9am-1. Lucky Charms Eating Contest. 22ND – Disco Inferno, 23RD – Carlos Jones, 29TH – Charlie in the Box, 30TH – Time Warp. 17119 Lorain Avenue, 44111 www.pjmcintyres.com

PlayHouse Square – Comedian John Mulaney
15th – Comedian John Mulaney at the Ohio Theatre, 8 pm.

West Park Station
1st – Tamaray & the Tradition HH, 2nd – Drunk Betty, 7th – Jim & Quinn HH,
8th – Etiquette HH, 9th – Porcelain Bus Drivers 10pm, 14th – Stevie Monce HH, 15th – Stevie Monce Band 10pm, 16th – Pre-St. Pat’s Day Warm-up Party & UFC 158 & DJ 10pm, 21st – Mossy Moran HH, 29th – Faction 10pm, 30th – Swagg 10pm, 31st – EASTER SUNDAY – bar open @ 7pm (Kitchen Closed). Fridays thru Lent- Perch Fish Fry- Best on the West Side! Mon: I Hate Mondays 2 Hr Extended HH & Trivia Night 7pm. Tues: Roll Call-discounted drinks for all Fire, Police, Military & Med Professionals 9pm. Wed: Karaoke 9pm. Thur: Ladies Night 9pm. Sun: SIN Night 9pm. 17015 Lorain Avenue Cleveland 44111 www.westparkstation.com. (216) 476-2000.

Flannery’s Pub
13th-16th – MAC Tournament, 16th – The Bloody Tinth, 17th – Boys from the Co Hell, 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

PaddyRock Irish SuperPub
16700 A Lorain Avenue Cleveland, 44111

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

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Makem & Spain Brothers Concert
8th – Happy Valley Lodge: http://www.conservancyforcvnp.org/events/general-park/information/Heritage-Series-Concert-The-Makem-and-Spain-Brothers

Euclid
Irish American Club East Side
1st – One More Pint, 2nd – Guinness & Harp Night I w/ “CRAIC” $12, 3rd – Mossy Moran, 8th — Loch Erie, 9th – Guinness & Harp Night II w/Boys from the County Hell $12, 10th – Plaid Sabbath, 15th – Mary Agnes Kennedy, 16th – Two2Many $10, 17th – Two2Many @ 6:30 $5, 22nd – Wally Franz, 29th – Kevin McCarthy. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.irishamericanclubeastside.org
Paddy’s Pour House
Open @10am. Guinness or Paddy Punch Specials $3.00. Corned Beef Sand $8.00. Get your St. Patricks Day t-shirts while supplies last only $20. 922 East 222nd Street, Euclid, 44123
 216.289.2569

Findlay
Logan’s Irish Pub
2nd – Paul Bruno, 9th – Mossy Moran, 16th – The Athen Rye; 17th – Rusty Musket (12-3), The Athen Rye (7-10), Prodigals, 10:30-2am). 2414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

Lakewood
Beck Center for the Arts
1st-31st – Next to Normal; 16th – Super Saturdays w/ arts activities for ages 1 – 8), 16th-17th –Coppelia, 22nd-31st – The House of Blue Leaves, 23rd – Music Student Showcase. 17801 Detroit Avenue Lakewood 44107 (216) 521-2540 www.beckcenter.org

Medina – Sully’s
1st – Mossy Moran, 2nd – Donegal Doggs, 8th – Other Brothers, 9th – Lisa Spicer, 15th – The New Barleycorn, 16th – Marys Lane, 17th – Loch Erie, 22nd – Callahan & O’Connor, 23rd – High Strung Irish, 29th – Good Friday, 30th – Pompous Ass. Every Tuesday 6 – 8pm Magician Paul Gallagher performs tableside. 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Mentor
Hooley House
All starts @9:30: 1st – Pout;
2nd – Abbey Rodeo; 8th – Matt Johnson Dueling Pianos; 16th – inside: Nick Zuber 7:00, Brigid’s Cross, Countdown Party 10:00. 17th – Kegs & Eggs @ 6am, Irish DJ ~ 9:00, Nick Zuber 12:00, Brigid’s Cross 3:00, Irish DJ 7:00. Outside: Morrison & McCarthy 2:00, Irish DJ 5:00, Samantha Fitzpatrick 9:00. 23rd – Charlie in the Box, 29th – Schoolgirl Crush. Tues – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Wed – Trivia Night. 7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

Olmsted Twp
West Side Irish American Club
Fish Fry and Great live music every Friday: 1st – Loch Erie, 8th – Pub Quiz, 15th – Bald Paul, 22nd, Tom Todd. 2nd – Senior Marching Groups Exhibition Dance, 9th – Claddagh Ball w/ Marie McVicker, 16th – Boxty & Sausage and Irish Coffee Night, 17th – Mass @ St. Colman’s 11:30 am, 146th Annual Parade 2:05pm. Food in the Pub 4:00, Terriers 5:30. WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Willoughby
Mullarkey’s
2nd – Kevin McCarthy, 8th – Eric Butler, 9th – One More Pint, 15th – Donegal Doggs, 16th – Dan McCoy; 17th – One more Pint 1-5, Dan McCoy 6-close; 22nd – Brendan Burt Band, 23rd – Mossy Moran, 29th – Pat Shepherd, 30th – Terriers. Wed: Karaoke, Thurs: Ladies Night w/ D.J. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com
Croagh Patrick’s
4857 Robinhood Drive Willoughby, 44094 (440) 946-8250. www.croaghpatrickspub.webs.com

Columbus
Shamrock Club Events
1st – Fish Fry, 2nd – Quiz Night, 3rd – General Mtg; 8th – Proclamation Day; 8th – Fish Fry, Mossy Moran; 9th – Drowsy Lads; 10th – General Mtg; 11th – Irishman of Year Party Byrne’s Pub; 17th – St. Patrick’s Day Mass @ Sacred Heart, Procession & Parade 9am; Irish Family Reunion Vet’s Memorial 12pm w/The Hooligans, Drowsy Lads, Shamrock Club Pipes & Drums, Richens-Timm Academy, Regan-Rankin Academy, Millennium Academy; Party, 5:30 Morningstarre Celtic Band, Ladies of Longford. Happy Hour Fridays 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
The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm
Stone Mad – 1st Sunday of the month Holleran Traditional Irish Session, 7pm
Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session –has a new home @the Slow Train Café, 55 East
College St. Oberlin 44074 2nd Monday of the month 8 – 10 pm
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
Wooster Street Center, 1124 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green 2nd & 4th Monday, 7:00 –
8:00.
Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7:30 pm
Claddagh Irish Pub – Sundays 6 – 9pm, All experience levels welcome
585 S. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43215


Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.
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St. Pat’s Kickoff of a Different Kind

Library 3 4 13

This Monday at the Cuyahoga County Library Fairview Park Branch, the premier of my new program, “Song & Story ~ An Irish-American Journey” at 7:00pm. Followed by a signing of all three of my books: Festival Legends: Songs & Stories The People Who Made the Music that Defined a People; The Greater Cleveland Irish DIrectory; and First Generation ~ my new book of all original poetry, until 8:30 pm.

Come out, kick off the St. Pat’s holiday and celebrate our rich Irish heritage. Very grateful to The Friends of the Fairview Park Library for sponsoring this event.

PLEASE SHARE for a great crowd and in support of our wonderful libraries! The Fairview Park Branch is at 21255 Lorain Road in Fairview Park. THANK YOU and I hope to see you there, John

Here’s a little bit about me, from WorldIrish: http://bit.ly/147bDoa

From Athlone stock to Irish Ohio: meet John O’Brien

CROP first_generation_back

John O’Brien Jr is a pillar of the Irish-American community out in Ohio. Deputy Director of the Cleveland Irish cultural Festival, author of a book on Irish music in the US, and editor of the Ohio Irish American News, he’s overcome not one, but two serious medical obstacles to get where he is today.

Founding the Cleveland Festival

John’s father moved to America from the Athlone area, first to Montreal, and later to Cleveland, where he became a core part of the local Irish community. He set up the first Cleveland Irish Festival when John was 16 years old, and the spirit of volunteering and chipping in at community events stuck with him the rest of his life.

Fest Logo High Res

‘When I look back, I see as being unusual, but growing up, it was just what we grew up with. We didn’t know any different,’ he said.

‘We all went every year, and prepared for it, and worked it all weekend and the week around it, and the love of the Irish culture really just took root. We always had a part of it as part of us.’

The festival is now in its 31st year, set to return this July with a full line-up of Irish and Irish-American acts. But it’s not easy running a festival without corporate backing. The 15 festivals in the area less than a decade ago have been reduced to just eight – two of which are in difficulty.

‘There are a few [festivals] that are put on by cities and corporations, but most are put on by “mom and pop”-type operations like us,’ John explained. ‘And the reality is, that if someone is not working they’re not going to be able to risk that, to organise it, and keep it going … it’s just become a much more personal risk.’

A change of plans

The Cleveland Festival is still going strong, but John has suffered his own share of personal misfortune. At 19, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – though the doctors didn’t know what to call it at the time. As a young man, he wanted to get involved in criminal justice, and maybe apply to the Secret Service, or the FBI.

‘…they said “you will probably graduate in a wheelchair. You need to find something else.”

‘That was my goal. But when I got rheumatoid they were very direct … they said “you will probably graduate in a wheelchair. You need to find something else.”’

So John changed his major, and became a banker, working away on the festival and being very much a part of the community, leaving his aspirations to work in criminal justice behind.

But his life would take another drastic turn years later, when he broke his back in an accident playing hockey, leaving him unable to work. Even during recovery, he knew he wouldn’t be able to return to the 70-hour weeks at the bank. ‘I had to find income and try something different, and relay that into money.’

John had always had a passion for the folklore around Irish music legends on the America circuit: the stories, legends and tall tales around the music. But the stories were always confused, with several versions of the same tale that changed every time it was told. He had always planned to collect some of the stories himself, and find the truth.

While recovering from his back injury, one of the big musical figures John admired passed away – Derek McCormick from Barleycorn. ‘I was sitting in Pittsburgh … and I said you know, I’m not going to wait any longer, I’m just going to do it.’

Festival Legends: Songs & Stories - by John O'Brien, Jr. Biographical look at Irish music legends ~ the people who made the music that defined a people
Festival Legends: Songs & Stories – by John O’Brien, Jr.
Biographical look at Irish music legends ~ the people who made the music that defined a people

300 hours of interviews later, John’s first book, Festival Legends, Songs and Stories, hit the shelves. It was a commitment he never would have been able to make while working, and his back injury changed his life entirely, opening doors for him as a writer.

The Ohio Irish American News

March 13 cover

On a book tour in Chicago for Songs and Stories he was being shown around by Shay Clarke, a journalist with the Irish American News in Chicago. After spending some time together, Clarke pulled over to the side of the road, out of the blue.

‘He stopped and made a phone call and he said, “Cliff, I know you’ve been trying to start a paper in Ohio, and here’s your man.” And he handed me the phone, and that was my introduction to Cliff Carlson.’

Carlson, editor of the Chicago Irish American News, was looking to launch in Ohio. Two months later, in January 2007, John O’Brien found himself launching the first issue as both publisher and editor. More than half a decade later, the paper is distributed from 240 locations and has a circulation of 24,000, covering its costs every month.

‘If we had tried to do this ten years ago, it would have failed. But with the newspaper business in general failing, it’s actually opened doors for us,’ John said.

‘because the Irish community are so geared towards supporting its own, our advertising dollars are sufficient, our support has been tremendous.’

‘Because we’re such a niche market and because the Irish community are so geared towards supporting its own, our advertising dollars are sufficient, our support has been tremendous, and we don’t need to appeal to a huge mass.’

And John would never have ended up working as an author, now with two additional books under his belt – the Cleveland Irish Directory and First Generation, a book of his own poetry – if it hadn’t been for that serious accident. Even his dreams of working in criminal justice came full circle: today he works as the public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

‘I’ve always been of the belief that you keep your mind open and see what doors are open: you walk through them. And the ones that close, close for a reason, and you can lament that, but it won’t get you anywhere.’

I’ve always been very patient. Things may look dark down one hallway – well, what’s this hallway? It’s lit up. Let’s go see what’s there.’

book banner

You can find out more about O’Brien’s books on his website, and learn about the Cleveland Irish Festival and the Ohio Irish American News online.

oh logo+web+phone-rev