Heeeeeere’s January! Get yours at over 240 locations statewide Thursday

Happy New Year!  Happy 7th Anniversary!

 

We hope you had a Merry Christmas.  Janie Mac we’re seven!  This issue marks our 7th Anniversary.  The journey to date has been both surprising and gratifying.  From our group of great writers to our advertisers, we have been able to grow and expand because of the quality of our content and the quality of our advertisers.  We now have thirteen regular columnists and are available at over 240 locations in Ohio, plus in six states (New York, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois and Pennsylvania).  West Virginia, Here we come!

Sincerest of thank yous to our advertisers, who continue to support our endeavors with great enthusiasm and actively talk up the OhIAN to their customers and equally importantly, to other potential advertisers.  You are at the heart of what we do and OUR best ambassadors!

In very tough times, your continued support is priceless.

thank you_page

The usual and unusual buffet of offerings are included in this issue, with book reviews, puzzle, Milestone, Illuminations of Irish history, Sports and recipes.  We have a new column premiering this month on Press and Policy Makers making an impact in the Northeast Ohio community, kicked off with profiles on Denise Dufala and Erin Kennedy.  Dan Coughlin’s update on St. Colman’s, a Letter from Ireland’s tour of Dublin, a few insights and perspectives on Christmas and of course, Out & Abut Ohio events going on in January are opportunities to support the locals, hear great music or make new friends.

Thanks to Mary French and the folks at The Emigrant Flame in New Ross, Co. Wexford for our cover photo.  A story about the monument that beckons the past and the present emigrant all over the world is inside.  Looking forward to Joanie Madden’s 3rd Annual Folk n Irish Cruise of the Western Caribbean in February (see inside for details of the 60+ Irish bands performing on the cruise), and of course, the green season that follows, in March.

If your organization has honorees for St. Pat’s, please send a bio & pic on to us, we’d love to honor them in the Ohio Irish American News too.  Just remember, Patrick was a mighty man; if you must shorten it, it’s Paddy, not Patty.

We have much to celebrate, every day of the year.  This Thanksgiving to Christmas to St. Pat’s season is especially poignant and present. I believe and pray that 2014 will be a most prosperous and blessed one for us, we will work hard to make it so.

Milestones:

Congratulations to The University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s World Champion Ceili Team, holding their 1st Place Trophy, Belfast, Northern Ireland, at Waterfront Hall.

Congratulations to Denise Dufala, celebrating 20 years with 19 Action News and Erin Kennedy, celebrating 2 years with Channel 3 News, both are featured in our new Inner View column this month.

Congrats to Brady Campbell School of Dance, winning U8 and Adult Ceili categories at the Mid America Oireachtas Irish dance competition in Grand Rapids, MI.

Congrats to Sean Lackey and all the gang at Flanagan’s Wake, back for their 5th year at Playhouse Square.  Fantastic fun, don’t miss it.

Athbhliain faoi shéan agus faoi shona duit  ~ A prosperous and happy New Year to you

John

***

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

O’Bent Enterprises includes:

www.songsandstories.net   www.ianohio.com  www.clevelandirish.org

www.twitter.com/jobjr   www.twitter.com/365Irish  www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish

www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews  www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish

www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/ http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

0114_ohio01

Cover photo courtesy of Patrick Browne www.brownesphotography.ie

What’s Going on This Weekend: from your Ohio Irish American News

Friday:

Samantha Fitzpatrick @ Hooley House Brooklyn

BrentKirby@TheHarp

JimmyO@FlatIron

VelvetShake@PjMcIntyres

Faction@WestParkStation

@WalkingCane@Flannery’s

ShiftyDrifters@IACES

DonalOShaughnessy@Sully’s

ITEX@HooleyHouse Mentor

BrendanBurt@Mullarkeys

@Kristine Jackson@Stampers

Sat:

UFC168@HooleyHouse Brooklyn

@WalkingCane@TheHarp

DonalOShaughnessy@FlatIron

AbbeyNormal@PjMcIntyre’s

BarFlys@Flannerys

ThatIrishBand@Sully’s

UFC168@HooleyHouse Mentor

Donegal Doggs@Mullarkeys

Gravity@Stampers

 Sun:

ThorPlatter@Treehouse

@MarysLane@StoneMad

Add Yours!

If you don’t send ‘em, we can’t print ‘em

84 Dec 13 Cover

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
O’Bent Enterprises includes:
www.songsandstories.net www.ianohio.com www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr www.twitter.com/365Irish www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/ http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Christmas Celebration – A Penny for the Wren

It is Christmas +1… A Penny for the Wren
by John O’Brien, Jr.

This is the last of the “30 Days of Christmas” blog series. Thank you for all your comments and perspectives, shared stories and memories rekindled. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and can continue the joy and appreciation, throughout the year.

In Ireland, a Christmas tradition involved celebrating St. Stephen’s Day (the day after Christmas) in a unique and different way. In the days leading up to Christmas, young boys would find a big stick and then kill a small bird, called the Wren (pron. Wran). They would place the bird’s body in a Holly Bush and then decorate the bush. On the day after Christmas, they would place the corpse into a box, get themselves all mussed up in the dirt and put on crazy bits of clothing. Going door to door, they would sing a song called The Wren Song, hoping to get a penny from the landlord, “for the funeral” of the wren. Multiple groups of boys would be doing this at the same time, often yielding a mad flurry of noise and shouting voices. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (certain “ethnic folk types”) tell this story with a bit of an ironic twist at the end, in their 1963 concert, In Person at Carnegie Hall, recorded live.

Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, The

“On St. Stephen’s Day, you’d hear all the different groups of Wren Boys, some of them singing as fast as they could to get from one door to another, to get more money. But then there was always the ethnic folk types, who sang it slowly and deliberately. They never made any money, of course. [ … after a long pause] But they ended up in Carnegie Hall.”

The audience roared their approval.

See that I mean: http://bit.ly/1c8FKhV or

___

It is Christmas! ~ For 30 days, I write about things that matter to me as we approach Christmas. I got the idea a few years ago from Maggie Keenan, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. She inspired me this year again, as she and her daughter left the States and are spending 3 months in The Netherlands, just for the experience it will give her daughter ~ that’s a gift that will give for a lifetime.

This is the last of the “30 Days of Christmas” blog series. Thank you for all your comments and perspectives, shared stories and memories rekindled. I hop you had a wonderful Christmas, and con continue the joy and appreciation, throughout the year.

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
 www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/ClevelandIrish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr

It is Christmas … At Last

• ˚ •˛•˚ * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
• ˚Merry★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★Christmas!★ 。* • ˚。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門| ˚

It is Christmas Day ~ One of my sisters birthday is today. She is my Irish twin. We always celebrate her birthday Christmas Eve and her husband makes this amazing Chicken Cordon Blue. I could eat just that, leave all the other stuff behind, and be one very happy man. We eat, have a great cuppa or three and exchange gifts. Seeing the kids open their gifts, their joy and excitement, is a highlight for me for every year. I am a fan of tradition, for it gives me great joy.

Cherish the Mystery
by John O’Brien, Jr.

Ghosts of Christmas past, go floating through my brain
I remember cold and snow, yet remember not much pain
Joyful childhood, waking up Christmas morn’
Delivering the paper, before the wrapping could be shorn
The house all dark but the tree lights still lit.
Not a sound in the sharp air, as I pull on my mitts
Bag over my shoulder, paper in my hands
Had to be in the door, not today’s “wherever it lands”
Quiet, so quiet, but this one morn I’m not afraid
I think not of dark driveways or who hasn’t paid
The stillness so peaceful, I try not to make a sound
I’m all alone in the world, as six a.m. comes ‘round.

Up the long driveways and then back down them again,
Can’t jump the snow, stuck like a pig in a pen
Broom hockey shoes keep me from falling in the snow
No matter how I hurried, I went much too slow
Frozen and often wet, I’d turn the corner for home
My mind is on presents, and Christmas’ past poems
The last paper’s delivered, each door tightly closed
My Irish cheeks look like Santa, the weather has rosed
I trudge up the hill and see my dad at the door
My mind sees those less blessed, many reasons for the poor
The houses in the neighborhood with no presents or a tree
My world’s not so cold, I’m starting to see.

Into the house I go, my bag hung on the stairs
One sister wakes up the others, who come down as a pair
Warm clothes, thick socks, and hot chocolate whipped to a foam
Rush through breakfast quickly, eyes wonder and to roam.
My stocking off the fireplace, filled with fun little gifts
Then under the trees too sharp needles, the attention snaps & shifts
Clothes and cool games, wall holders for my collection
We each had our spot, our haul’s little own section
And when it’s all over, put the wrapping in the bag
Mom always says: “for thank you’s keep the tag”

Tho’ my sister is all tired, as my mother did warn her
I lean back against the wall, in my section in the corner
I think of the morning, from high chaos to early still
Of the food and the company, that this day will fill
The smell of the turkey, reaches me as I stretch out
Such wonderful memories are without a doubt
The reason I still cherish Christmas, and the still of the morn
Jesus works in mysterious ways, since the very night he was born.

C & H Xmas

Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán fein. Nollaig shona daoibh
(There is no fireside like your own fireside. Merry Christmas to you and your family)

___

It is Christmas! ~ For 30 days, I write about things that matter to me as we approach Christmas. I got the idea a few years ago from Maggie Keenan, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. She inspired me this year again, as she and her daughter left the States and are spending 3 months in The Netherlands, just for the experience it will give her daughter ~ that’s a gift that will give for a lifetime.

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
 www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/ClevelandIrish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr

It is 1 Day Until Christmas … Shake the Bones

It is 1 Day Until Christmas
by John O’Brien, Jr.

• ˚ •˛•˚ * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
• ˚Merry★* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★Christmas!★ 。* • ˚。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門| ˚

It is 1 Day Until Christmas ~ There can be only One. One day, one Best friend, one quarterback, one God, in life, and of life. I wrote yesterday about Situational Awareness – living in the moment, not just in our own small worlds, but the greater world too. Being able to not only smell the roses, but be able to also see how it affects you, and others as well.

It is easier than ever to spread ourselves thin – the more technologically advanced we are, the busier we are – and the more easily distracted, unfocused, missing the forest for the trees we are, because we have been conditioned to multi-task: tell everyone, tell everyone in 140 characters, and move on … to the next experience, satisfy the next urge, NOW.

I come from a deep and ingrained tradition of telling stories. Today, the oral tradition is more readily available than ever. Only now, it is electric! Name the poem, story or song, and you can often find it on the internet. This is an amazing this for our culture, for every culture, and brings us full circle, because we can see more than just our viewpoint, our own little world.

hooked o trees

There are three sides to every story – your side, my side, and the truth. I have been writing a lot over the last six months about the similarities of different people. I do a presentation called “At Each End of the Rifle”. The presentation is poems, verse and lyrics that illustrates how, from throughout mankind’s history, people with remarkably similar hurts, angers, struggles, joys and goals, have insisted on killing each other. With the advent of the internet and sharing, we can now hear more than one side of the story; we can see a struggle from a perspective not often available to us, and we can make our own decision, based upon a person, and their character, not their religion, or the place they were born, whether born in Boston, Belfast or Bethlehem.

Shake the Bones
By John O’Brien, Jr.

Christmas smells and sounds drift through the house.
The sun is shining brightly. There is no snow
but the cold and wind shake the bones, the panes
shudder and stress; sticks against the racing clouds.
On the beautiful blue canvas of the half clear sky.
cinnamon and pine and the green, red and gold
brightly tantalize the nose and the eyes.
Ave Maria, O Holy Night. Tynan in my ears,
praise and wonder in my mind.
Regret not the confusion, the chaos and the urgency
Of preparation. Of Thanksgiving. Of Christmas.
What gathers people, crafts hugs, kisses, handshakes, peace.
That which draws people together across miles, continents and anger,
is worth celebrating itself, let alone for the miracle that gave birth
to more than a child.
Contact, in cards and letters and pictures sent, seeing old friends
reunions, the healing power of hugs,
the healing power of God.

Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán fein. Nollaig shona daoibh
(There is no fireside like your own fireside. Merry Christmas to you and your family)
___

It is Christmas! ~ For 30 days, I write about things that matter to me as we approach Christmas. I got the idea a few years ago from Maggie Keenan, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. She inspired me this year again, as she and her daughter left the States and are spending 3 months in The Netherlands, just for the experience it will give her daughter ~ that’s a gift that will give for a lifetime.

tried to sed cute

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
 www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/ClevelandIrish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr

Festival on Water … A Story from the Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

Festival on Water … A Story from the Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News
By John O’Brien, Jr.

In the cold Ohio winter, when the summer sun is hiding in your memory, much likes the ones of festivals, music, family and fun, what do you do? You take to the water, the warmth, the Southern Hemisphere…, A Festival on Water is the ticket to beating your winter Blues.
The 3rd Annual Joanie Madden Folk n Irish Cruise on the Norwegian Epic sails February 2nd out of Miami, to the Western Caribbean. Ocho Rios, Costa Mesa and Cozumel will burn off any winter cold. I have been fortunate to sail on the first two, so I know not to miss the 3rd. It is a perfect Christmas present, and with 65 bands highlighting the other well-documented gifts a cruise brings, an unparalleled bargain. I’m talking from experience here folks; Book it and I’ll buy your first beverage of choice.

A Q & A with the force that is … Joanie Madden
This is the 3rd Annual, where is the cruise going this year?
“This year we are heading for the beautiful Western Caribbean, departing from Miami and heading to the ports of Ocho Rios, Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico.”

With all that you do, how did organizing your own cruise come about, and why?
“I did my first cruise with the Clancy Brothers over 25 years ago and loved everything that a real Irish cruise had to offer, from the fabulous entertainment to the beautiful ports of call, and most importantly, the camaraderie and friendships that are built and developed with people who love all things Irish. I wanted that to continue, so decided to embark on running my own cruise.
“I do it because I’ve dedicated my life to the spread of Irish music and culture; I love the social aspect of it. The payoff is at the end of the week, when you see the happy, smiling faces of people who came from all over the world for the experience, and you know that the entertainers that you have arranged brought them a memory of a lifetime, while brightening up the cold dark days of winter.
“Every year we always try and bring the best and brightest on board. After nearly thirty years on the road, we have made so many great friends with our fellow performers and entertainers, you’d love to bring them all on board! But this year we have joining us the incredible Sharon Shannon, Matt Molloy from the Chieftains, the Makem and Spain Brothers, comedian Shawn Connors, set dancing masters Padraig and Roisin McEneany and over 57 entertainers and lots of guest musicians coming along!!!”

This year’s lineup (to date):
Joanie Madden & Cherish the Ladies, Sharon Shannon & Alan Conner, The Makem & Spain Brothers, Shawn Conners, Matt Molloy, John Carty & Arty McGlynn, Don Stiffe, Tommy Sands, Cathie Ryan, Guaranteed Irish, Danny Quinn, Padraig Allen & the McLean Avenue Band, Gabriel Donohue, Dermot Hagerty, Harry O’Donoghue, The Ennis Sisters, Donie Carroll, Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band, TR Dallas, Dermot Hegarty and Frank McKenna, Brigids Cross 2,;
All Ireland Champions: John Nolan, Dylan Foley, Buddy Connolly, Monsignor Charlie Coen, Josh Dukes, Donnchadh Gough, The Epic Ceili Band, Legendary Step dancers Donny Golden, Cara Butler, John Jennings, Michael Boyle and Jon Pilatzke. Set Dance Masters Padraig & Roisin McEneany, Ceili Dance instructor Marianne MacDonald, plus Norwegian’s World Class entertainment; The Blue Man Group, Legends in Concert, Howl at the Moon, Cirque Dreams, Fat Cat’s Jazz, Second City Comedy Group and more! Sessions, Sing alongs, Concerts, Lectures, Ceilis and Set Dancing on the beautiful wood dance floor, waltzing, jives, quiz showsand craic!!!!

Joanie cruise 2014

What else goes on, on the cruise?
“Concerts, dancing lessons, lectures, waltzing, jiving, quiz shows, late night jam sessions and sing-a-longs … All of that is on top of the fabulous Norwegian Epic’s incredible array of talent from the Blue Man Group, Legends in Concerts, Howl at the Moon, Fat Cat’s Jazz and more!”

What are the best memories/stories from the cruises so far?
“Some of my best memories of my life have happened on a cruise ship – but the old saying what happens on a cruise ship….”

Joanie Madden Cruise by Frank  Rudiger

Join us. Your icey cold beverage of choice awaits … Tell em OB sent ya. To Book or for further information, go to www.joaniemaddencruise.com or phone 1-855-474-7427.

(Photo by by Frank Rudiger)

It is 2 Days Until Christmas … it is not too late to seek a better world

It is 2 Days Until Christmas
by John O’Brien, Jr.

It is 2 Days Until Christmas ~ Come my friends, it is not too late to seek a better world. – Tennyson

Living in the moment isn’t hard to do ~ it is so easy that we often forget to do it. Being aware of our surroundings, our blessings, right now, as well as the ripples outward, is called situational awareness.

I work a government job, with the Sheriff’s Office. Every day I trade one day of my life for something. It drives me to make that something traded worthwhile. I can’t recover the day. The opportunities may be repeated, but not in the same way. There is not a lot of money in it, but the opportunity to significantly help people, to make this world a better place for our having been here, exists every day.

The same is true for editing and Publishing the Ohio Irish American News ~ We are celebrating our 7th Anniversary this month. There is no money in it, but the chance to learn and share our rich heritage with those around me, and to capture stories of the past and the present, for the future, have their own rewards.

This year more than ever, we are aware of situations of struggle, of heartache, of loss and so many in need of a helping hand. This year, we have seen those blessed with enough have taken to paying off other’s layaways – how incredibly thoughtful, subtle and loving, without any banging on chests or self-congratulations. Those without money try to find ways to make the world better by giving in other ways. We can’t let the lack of money dictate a lack of action.

The smallest gift – of word, assistance, thoughtfulness, can have the biggest impact ~ random acts of kindness can be a part of everyone’s day, not just at Christmas time. The theory is sound, the practice of this situational awareness, how we impact others, is so easy, we often forget to live it. But it is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting. It is 2 days until Christmas … Two words have so much meaning: Merry Christmas; Happy Anniversary; Thank You…

If not now, when? If we won’t begin putting other’s first, of thinking beyond ourselves now, at Christmas, whether we have money or not, when will we? It is 2 days until Christmas, “Come my friends, it is not too late to seek a better world”?
___

It is Christmas! ~ For 30 days, I write about things that matter to me as we approach Christmas. I got the idea a few years ago from Maggie Keenan, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. She inspired me this year again, as she and her daughter left the States and are spending 3 months in The Netherlands, just for the experience it will give her daughter ~ that’s a gift that will give for a lifetime.

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
 www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/ClevelandIrish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr

It is 3 Days Until Christmas … A Sign

It is 3 Days Until Christmas
by John O’Brien, Jr.

It is 3 Days Until Christmas ~ Being Irish and being Catholic, three has a significant presence on my life. The shamrock has three leaves. It is very prevalent in Ireland, but rare here, and considered lucky because of its rarity – kind of like my friends. The shamrock is not to be confused with the clover, which has four leaves (I’m looking over, a four leaf clover, that I’ve over looked before…”) and is everywhere here, like a weed – oh wait ….

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

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

3

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

Ireland and America are so heavily intertwined. Many in Ireland are surprised when they see the fervor of Americans for Ireland. At many festival’s, you will see a t-shirt that says, “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough”, decorated with shamrocks. Being Irish is a shamrock of faith, family and friends – each with their own identity and characteristics, but each an inseparable part of being Irish in America, and each, alone and together, a very, very, very lucky legacy of life, love and liberty. My country, my heritage is tattood on my back, and in my heart.

___

*Most assume the 12 Days of Christmas are the 12 days leading up to Christmas, but the 12 Days of Christmas actually run from December 25th, Christmas Day, until the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. The 12 Days of Christmas is a song of symbolism ~ little clues to help young goslings remember tenants of our Catholic faith. Long ago, writing or even talking about Catholics, being Catholic or observing any Catholic rite, passage or ceremony was subject to death. A way to teach and help children remember the most important things in our faith, in a way that was safe should they run across authorities, birthed the 12 Days of Christmas song.
The ‘True love” is the song is Jesus (On the 1st Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …)

It is Christmas! ~ For 30 days, I write about things that matter to me as we approach Christmas. I got the idea a few years ago from Maggie Keenan, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. She inspired me this year again, as she and her daughter left the States and are spending 3 months in The Netherlands, just for the experience it will give her daughter ~ that’s a gift that will give for a lifetime.

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
 www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/ClevelandIrish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr

What’s Going on this weekend:

What’s Going on this Weekend? from your Ohio Irish American News

Sat:
FiorGael@TheHarp
The New Barleycorn at PJ McIntyres Irish Pub
Brigid’s Cross@HooleyHouseBrooklyn
Flanagan’s Wake @PlayhouseSquare
AmandaBarton&BillWard@Flannerys
AthenRyLogan’s Irish Pub
MarysLane@Sullys
WiskeyCourage@HooleyHouseMentor

Sun:
ChestnutsRoastingonanOpenFire PartySTONE MAD PUB, RESTAURANT AND BOCCE w OhioCity Singers, Carriage Rides, More
Marys LaneTreehouse Bar
DanMcCoy Mullarkey’s Irish Pub

Add Yours!

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

O’Bent Enterprises includes:

www.songsandstories.net   www.ianohio.com  www.clevelandirish.org

www.twitter.com/jobjr   www.twitter.com/365Irish  www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish

www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews  www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish

www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/ http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Issue #84, cover photo courtesy of Barry Conway
Issue #84, cover photo courtesy of Barry Conway

It is 4 Days Until Christmas … 4 Green Fields

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

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

makem proc

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is Christmas! ~ For 30 days, I write about things that matter to me as we approach Christmas. I got the idea a few years ago from Maggie Keenan, who wrote about things she appreciated or was grateful for. She inspired me this year again, as she and her daughter left the States and are spending 3 months in The Netherlands, just for the experience it will give her daughter ~ that’s a gift that will give for a lifetime.

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