It is only 3 weeks till The Fest. In 21 days, at 8:00 pm on Friday, who will be on stage? Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, The Kilroys Ceili, Girsa, WSIA Pipe Band / Irish Descendants and Scythian … Mighty!


Owens Sports: A Story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Owens Sports

Official Media Partner
The 2013 edition of the North American Gaelic Games Championships are just a few months away. The local organizing committee is very excited to bring what is going to be a fantastic weekend of Irish sports to Northeast Ohio. As you may all know by now the Games will be held at the Barton-Bradley Soccer Complex in North Olmsted.

Ohio Irish American News ~ Official Media Partner of the 2013 Gaelic Athletic Association North American Championships
Ohio Irish American News ~ Official Media Partner of the 2013 Gaelic Athletic Association North American Championships

The committee has been fortunate enough to gather the support of many businesses and local donors over the past year to help fund this great event. One business we are very excited to partner with is none other than this very fine print you are currently reading, The Ohio Irish American News. Publisher and Editor John O’Brien Jr. has been very supportive over the years in helping to promote Gaelic Games; be it regular season games in the Midwest, Seven-a-side tournaments or just getting the word out that the North American Championships are on their way to the area.

The OhIAN has become an official media partner of the 2013 NACB Finals and I personally would take the opportunity to thank John for coming on board and being part of this adventure. This is a win-win for all involved and I would encourage any business owner of local event organizer to keep in mind the opportunities that exist within this publication to promote your business and/or event.

2013 Championships: What is Hurling & Camogie?

With the Gaelic Games on their way, I recently wrote about what Gaelic Football is and how it is played in an effort to educate those that might not be familiar with the sport. This month we present the sports of Hurling and Camogie.
Hurling is believed to be the world’s oldest field game. When the Celts came to Ireland as the last ice age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling.

It is featured in Irish folklore to illustrate the deeds of heroic mystical figures and is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.
The stick or “hurley” (called camán in Irish) is curved outwards at the end, to provide the striking surface, and are made of ash wood, between 30 and 37 inches in length with a broad end. The part of the hurley used to strike the ball is known as the ‘bas’. The ball itself in hurling and Camogie is known as a ‘sliothar’. The ball or “sliotar” is similar in size to a field hockey ball but has raised ridges.

Hurling is played on a pitch that can be up to 145m long and 90m long. The goalposts are similar to those used on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than in rugby and slightly higher than a soccer one. You may strike the ball on the ground, or in the air. Unlike hockey, you may pick up the ball with your hurley and carry it for not more than four steps in the hand.

After those steps you may bounce the ball on the hurley and back to the hand, but you are forbidden to catch the ball more than twice. To get around this, one of the skills is running with the ball balanced on the hurley. To score, you put the ball over the crossbar with the hurley for one point, or under the crossbar and into the net by the hurley for a goal, for three points.

Camogie is the female version of hurling. The game of hurling is unique to Ireland and is one of the fastest field games in the world. It has always been a part of our culture and heritage; It is our national sport.
Come Out & See For Yourself

If recent articles have whet your appetite for Gaelic Games, be sure to come out all year long (see the Midwest Division Schedule, which includes Cleveland St Patrick’s and Cleveland St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Football and Akron Celtic Guards Hurling Team schedules, on page XX) and especially over Labor Day weekend to take in some of the finest talent North America has to offer.

As mentioned earlier this is going to a great event, one not to be missed. A lot of work has gone into making sure both participants and spectators will experience ‘the’ best North American Championships any host city has ever produced. There will be plenty of sporting action with Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie along with beer, live music and food.

Local favorites Marys Lane will be playing at the fields on both Saturday and Sunday, with other bands yet to be announced playing on the same days. Claddagh Irish Pub will be the official food vendor for the weekend; doing what they do best in serving up the finest Irish fare all weekend long.

The OhIAN as an official media partner will have their own tent at the Games, where you can stop by and meet the John and many of the columnists, and check out some of the informative displays that the OhIAN will have for viewing.
For more info on the big weekend, go to or check out the gaacleveland page on Facebook. The dates of the Games are Friday August 30th through Sunday September 1st. Games will start at 7am each day and finish up around 6pm, to ensure you will get plenty of action and value for your money every day. Kamm’s Corner is GAA Central after hours, so come meet many of the players you see during the day, at night.

World Cup 2013 - RLWC Trophy Tour Launch

*Mark Owens is originally from Derry City, Ireland and has resided in the Cleveland area since 2001. He is the Chairman of the 2013 North American Gaelic Games Finals. Send questions, comments or suggestions for future articles to Mark at:

Who’s Coming to the Fest?

1. Ronan Tynan, Boston, MA.
In 1998, Tynan joined Anthony Kearns and John McDermott (later Finbar Wright) as The Irish Tenors, an instant worldwide sensation. He hasn’t stopped since; one of Ireland greatest voices.

2. Eileen Ivers, New York, NY
From blazing a trail with Green Fields of America, Cherish the Ladies and as the original fiddler in Riverdance, Ivers continues her ground breaking music with passion and an electricity you can feel – a show not to be missed!

3. Girsa, Pearl River, NY.
This all female band has grown up in Irish music, and with big name influences. Back by popular demand and better than ever.

4. Patrick O’Sullivan, Ballingeary, Cork
A singer and accordion player, as known for his country music as his Irish, Patrick’s following grows with each performance; bring your dancing shoes!

5. Dance Schools:
Tesse Burke School of Dance,
Brady Campbell School of Dance,
Leneghan Academy of Irish Dance

6. McLean Avenue, New York, NY.
You’ll recognize Padraic Allen from the Whole Shabang, paired with Buddy Connolly. A big hit last year, the vibrant McLean Avenue returns ~ get ready to sing, get ready to dance.

7. Scythian, Washington, DC.
Scythian is one of the best at embracing world music styles and making them their own with a vibrancy and passion fans can’t get enough of. Celtic Rock has become World Music

8. Malachi Cush, Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, IRL.
Singer-songwriter, radio and television presenter, Malachi was awarded Best Irish Newcomer at the Irish World Awards in London in February 2005. Don’t miss this fantastic singer making his first festival appearance.

9. High Kings, Dublin, IRL
Song and story, the ballad tradition has a new master from these sons of Ballad Boom legends. High Kings are selling out shows across the U.S. Come see Ireland’s Folk Band of the Year.

10. New Barleycorn, Cleveland, OH.
From their earliest days of big hits like The Men Behind the Wire and Song for Ireland, The New Barleycorn have carried on the song tradition and earned their reputation as one of the great ballad groups. With Alec’s golden voice and John’s banjo power, this international band based in Cleveland is one of Irish music’s best.

11. Dermot Henry, New York, NY.
A singer? A comedian? Dermot is a master entertainer that can draw a tear or a laugh with equal frequency. Comedy, history, song and laughter from one of Irish music’s great entertainers.

12. Cherish the Ladies, New York, NY
Led by the irrepressible (and world champion) Joanie Madden, Cherish has secured its place as one of the great – and first all-female band – in Irish music – Joanie’s even in the Hall of Fame. The Best of the Best!

13. Brigid’s Cross, Cleveland, OH.
This trio draws huge crowds every time they play – a great song, a bit of history and lots of laughter in every show.

14. Pipe Bands:
West Side Irish American Club
87th Pipe & Drum
Cleveland Fire Fighters Pipe & Drums

15. Seven Nations, Windermere, FL.
A festival favorite, 7N brand of original Irish and Scottish music, matched with exciting fiddle and stellar song writing leave audiences roaring for more.

16. Michael Crawley / Marys Lane– On the pipes or on the guitar, with great vocals, Crawley brings a song to life; see one of Cleveland Irish music’s rising stars.

17. Guaranteed Irish, Pittsburgh, PA.
Bring your dancing shoes and your vocals, these lads will charm your ear and make you dance like stars.

18. Porter Sharks, Cleveland, OH.
Fiddle master Francis Quinn, percussionist Brendan Carr and balladeer Billy Chambers have been nurturing Irish music in Cleveland for more than a decade.

19. Donal O’Shaughnessy, PA.
Playing guitar, fiddle, keyboards, pipe organ, bodhran and mandolin, Donal is a Cleveland favorite balladeer that will charm you into singing right along.

20. Irish Descendants, St John’s, Newfoundland
The band’s award winning recordings range from lilting ballads to toe-tapping reels, and their high energy humorous live performances have made them a popular attraction at home and abroad. Back by popular demand.

21. Dennis Doyle, Glendale, CA.
A Harp and Gaelic language master, teacher and historian, Dennis has appeared at our festival more than any other entertainer. See his shows and workshops for one of our true treasures.

2013 Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
2013 Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

Gaelic Games Championships

Gaelic Games Championships being held in North Olmsted over Labor Day weekend (Aug 30th – Sept 1st). We will need a lot of volunteers all 3 days. If you can give a day, a half day or all weekend I would really appreciate it. Either message me or go to and fill out the volunteer form. Thanks in advance .. feel free to repost or send to friends/family in the area.

Ireland Past and Present: Comparisons ~ A Story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Ireland Past and Present: Comparisons
Niamh O’Sullivan

Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol

On the wall over the computer in my office in the Archives Department of Kilmainham Prison, I had pinned up a quotation from Union General Joshua L Chamberlain. Some time after the closing scenes of the American Civil War had ended, Chamberlain had written those words, “How could we help falling on our knees, all of us together, and praying God to pity and forgive us all?”

I was strongly convinced that those words could apply equally to our own civil war here in Ireland. I firmly believe that the American people have been far more active in the healing of their war wounds than we have in Ireland, but I like to console myself by thinking that they have had infinitely more time to do so. The US is presently experiencing its various 150th anniversaries; we are counting 90 years since the ending of our civil war.

The Chamberlain quote inspired me over the years to search for more similarities in our countries’ painful histories. One of the more poignant parallels concerns the sufferings of the women left behind. Whichever side they chose in their respective conflicts, two legendary widows lived out their lives without ever remarrying.

In Ireland, Grace Gifford Plunkett, who solemnised a tragic eleventh hour wedding in the chapel in Kilmainham Prison to the soon-to-be-executed 1916 leader Joseph Plunkett, spent the remaining thirty nine years of her life alone. In America, Mary Anna Jackson, famous widow of General TJ ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, chose to live out the remaining fifty two years of her life on her own after the accidental shooting of her famous husband by his own men.

This exercise developed purely out of interest, but the parallels kept suggesting themselves; one in particular portraying the Irish in a less than flattering light. We hear so much about Dublin people looting during the early days of the Easter Rising; taking things from shops around the GPO with gleeful abandon – some of which they could not possibly use.

Pacifist leader Francis Sheehy Skeffington was doing his utmost to put a stop to this before he was first arrested and subsequently shot in cold blood by British officer Bowen Colthurst. But those participating in the looting were the people Patrick Pearse had loved – the poorest of the poor. In 1916 the Dublin slums were amongst the worst in the world.

There existed, however, a hideous kind of precedent for this type of behaviour, even if Dubliners in 1916 were probably unaware of it. In July 1863, shortly after the three day battle of Gettysburg, New York experienced the ugly Draft Riots.

Terrible things were done and Irish rioters, occupying as they did a lowly place in society, featured heavily. Irishman Thomas Galwey, of the 8th Ohio, was among the troops sent to New York to restore order. And despite General Thomas F. Meagher’s sincere denials, can we be sure that no soldiers of the famed Irish Brigade took part in the looting of Fredericksburg, Virginia, prior to the battle of 13 December 1862?

Robert Anderson had departed Fort Sumter with his men in the awful opening days of the American Civil War in April, 1861. In April, 1865, he returned for the celebrations at the end of the war, with the same flag he had removed. During the ceremonies he stated: I thank God I have lived to see this day.

Abraham Lincoln had uttered much the same words after the fall of Richmond that same April, 1865. Fifty one years later, in another April, in another country, James Connolly turned to Patrick Pearse outside the GPO, after Pearse had read the 1916 Proclamation, also exclaiming: Thank God, Pearse, we have lived to see this day.

Both countries share a strong religious symbolism. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox Courthouse on Palm Sunday, 1865. Several days later, on Good Friday, Abraham Lincoln was fatally wounded in Ford’s Theater. The leaders of 1916 specially chose Easter Sunday for their highly symbolic Uprising, even if it did not in fact, commence until the following day, Easter Monday.

Two men sharing similar dispositions also merit a mention in my informal list. In America, Union General George B. McClellan is universally considered to have been so slow to put his men to battle on nearly every occasion required, that he was nicknamed the Virginia Creeper. He was also, however, one of the most gifted military organisers, putting together the huge Army of the Potomac and infusing his men with great morale. In Ireland, Bulmer Hobson organised the Fianna Éireann – a republican youth movement, and he also played a prominent role in the establishment of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. These men would participate in the Easter Rising throughout Dublin less than three years later, despite Hobson’s best wishes. Hobson was so opposed to this Rising that he was ‘arrested’ just prior to Easter Week 1916 in order to prevent him from possible interference with the plans. Yet no single person on the Irish side could ever deny the man’s utter sincerity.

Both our nations have used euphemisms to describe their brutal days, amongst others the Late Unpleasantness (America) and the Troubles (Ireland)… In both nations December 6 features strongly: in the US the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on 6 December 1865; whilst the Anglo Irish Treaty was signed in London by the Irish delegates on 6 December 1921.

I find myself reflecting on Joshua Chamberlain’s writings once more: “In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass, bodies disappear, but spirits linger”… Locking up Kilmainham, especially the East Wing, in the late evenings when everyone else had left for the day, I would whisper these words of Chamberlain, hearing them echo gently around the thick walls.

Whereas Chamberlain applied them to his erstwhile comrades on the stony ground of Little Round Top, I was acutely aware of their applying with equal power to the old prison, and fancied I could catch fleeting glimpses, perhaps, of our Irish civil war women prisoners readying themselves to leave their cells and once more perform one of their plays on the large stone ground floor area. Or maybe I could glimpse some of the male civil war prisoners on hunger strike for unconditional release. Was it God’s command we [all] heard, or His forgiveness we must forever implore?

Niamh O’Sullivan worked in Kilmainham Prison for 24 years with Kilmainham Jail Restoration Society & in the Archives. She is involved with the Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina, and the Irish Life and Lore Series, Kerry”.

Sean Moore Memorial Irish Vocals Scholarship Event

Sean Moore Memorial Irish Vocals Scholarship Fundraiser Event is Wednesday, featuring New Barleycorn, Mossy Moran Lisa Spicer Busta & Michael Crawley. West Side Irish American Club. Includes dinner, raffles and more. SMMIVS funds scholarships to young vocalists with an appreciation for the Irish ballad tradition. Please join us (and please share).

GREAT Event today:

Today: Cleveland St. Pats vs Cleveland St Jarlaths Irish Football (Cross between soccer & rugby) 2pm West Side Irish American Club 8559 Jennings (2 miles off 480 & Stearns). BIG Rivalry – at end of season, Winner of this division competes in the National Championships against teams from across the U.S. Come on down and see a fast-paced, physical and graceful game of Ireland, Live right here in Cleveland. Gaa Cleveland. What is Irish Football? . Walk over to the pub and meet the lads after.

45 Days till The Fest!

31st Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival  July 19-21, Berea Fairgrounds
31st Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival July 19-21, Berea Fairgrounds

45 Days till The Fest! Lets go for 5,000 likes on our Festival Page: we will give away Tickets, CD’s, books n more – spread the word and share the heritage:

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