What’s going on this Weekend: From your Ohio Irish American News
DJHotCarl Pj McIntyre’s
SalutetotheTroops w The Cleveland POPS Orchestra Severance Hall
Marys Lane The Harp
ShiftyDrifters Irish American Club East Side, Inc
JessicaHannan Sully’s Irish Pub
Samantha Fitzpatrick Hooley House – Mentor
LondonFlatts The Hooley House – Westlake
Monica Robins and the Ninja Cowboys Stampers Bar
The New Barleycorn @WolfCreekTavern
Faith&Whiskey PJ McIntyres Irish Pub
Barflies Flannery’s Pub
AnIRishWakewTheTerriers @IACES, after 5:00 Mass
@MarysLane The Hooley House – Brooklyn
GAA Hurling @Pj 11am Sr. Championship Limerick vs Tipperary
WestPark Summerfest @Jefferson Park 12-4 (W 133rd & Lorain)
Pioneer Mass @8:30 @St. Pat’s Bridge
SummerPatioParty w JeffVarga 6pm @
Add Yours: If you don’t send em, we can’t print em!
“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
Hooley House filled my belly, when the day job was all done
Back to the palace, for some Ohio Irish American News fun
Last minute touches, via the sharpened quill
Final proof approval, always gives me such a thrill
It’s our 90th issue, in our 8th mighty year
How far we have come, from the first initial fear
The cover is grande, the subject a Rose
Did Gráinne know what she was in for: do ya s’pose?
My feet are now up, The Tribe is on
the papers have gone to print; C’mon, C’mon
My eyes are a river, my sneezes scare ghosts
Sky is all cloudy; rain washes the host?
Displays are everywhere, for the 32nd Irish Fest,
My floor is covered; my garage full of laminated guests
Yet still I am happy, perseverance fuels a tunnel bright
Rage rage against the dying, of the light
Do not lead, I may not follow; Do not follow, I may not lead;
walk beside, me, and together, oh what we will achieve!
What’s going on this Weekend: From your Ohio Irish American News
Friday May 23rd:
CarlosJones The Hooley House – Brooklyn
BrentKirby The Harp
TheNewBar Flannery’s Pub
Mossy Moran Sully’s Irish Pub
AlmostFamous Hooley House – Mentor
LiveMusic&FoodinThe Pub & AnnualReverseRaffle West Side Irish American Club
Colin Dussault The Hooley House – Westlake
BrendanBurtBand John Mullarkey’s
Are you ready for the 8th Annual Festival Focus Issue? June is a great kickoff to the festival season. There are over 176,000 people of Irish descent in Cuyahoga County, 450,000 living in Greater Cleveland, more than 1.4 million in Ohio. Want to reach them? Advertise in the Ohio Irish American News: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, Dayton Celtic Fest, Dublin Irish Fest, Great American Irish Fest, Kansas City Irish Fest, Michigan Irish Music Fest, Ohio Celtic Fest, Penn-Mar Irish Fest and Pittsburgh Irish Festival are all in, Are you?
A festival on water – can it be as good? What if sailing the high seas, and sailing on the musical wave of 57 bands, was even better than good? What if it was Epic?
We are pulling out of the Port of Miami, sun, breeze and a pepsi to sail away to the Caribbean. Deck chairs are precious commodities, but leaving behind the 2◦ vortex that is Cleveland winter, is a gift that proved to give far beyond seven days on the Norwegian Epic.
Security and check in lines are long – we all know it, but a great chat with a German national, who allowed me to rest by box of books while we were waiting will always be a part of the fabric of this trip.
Ah, the trip – let’s get to the good stuff. Those deck chairs did get a fair few impressions over the week as the sun won the battle, knot by knot. I am fortunate to be driven by a thirst, to see, to experience when I go to new lands. I need the rest, but I need to groove new roads into my brain more. A lot of people like to journal their experiences, or text them. I am a writer, I understand, but don’t be so bent on recording your experiences, that you miss the best experiences. A deck chair gives perspective and a fantastic view for crowd watching, but the highlights, the things I will remember most, were arrived at, by using by my ears, my eyes and my legs, not my pen.
Fifty-seven bands – that’s not a misprint; as much as you wanted, 3 pm or 3am, center stage or in small little pubs and corners inside and out. Warm breezes can be carried on notes, inside or out.
There were legends and lasting friendships; Cherish the Ladies, Sharon Shannon, T.R. Dallas, Tommy Sands, Makem & Spain Brothers, Gabe Donoghue, Guaranteed Irish, and talent rich musicians and singers I couldn’t get enough of like Mickey Coleman, Donnchadh Gough, Alan Connor, Harry O’Donoughue, Don Stiffe, the guys & gals from The StepCrew dancing with Cherish – so excited to see the full cast appearing at Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival for the first time this July 18-20.
Three sessions and presentations on sea days left my mind buzzing: Cathie Ryan sat on a chair and weaved a tale of Irish Myths & Folklore, with Brigid, Irish myth and mystery and relevance to today’s frantic pace and ills. Ennis’ Karen and Maureen Ennis and Mark Murphy sang and told tales of factories closing and fisheries decapitated – the echoes of Ireland were palpable.
Remember Phoebe from Friends? She has been resurrected! Karen Ennis’ dry humor, self-deprecating, and laugh out loud funny, were the perfect counter balance to some of the more poignant songs Ennis sang, many of them original works. Maureen gives it back to her sister, and she and Mark are magnificent song writers, sharing their gift, and the history of the Irish in their St. John’s, Newfoundland home, as well as songs and stories from across the world.
The final of the three living works of art I saw was a surreal performance by Tommy Sands in the same Blues club as the Ennis performance. Tommy is often called the Irish Pete Seeger and performed at Pete’s 90th Birthday party at Madison Square Garden. They were friends, who shared music and a passion for civil rights, of fighting for those who could not fight for themselves. He wove, and transported in time to the pivotal moments.
Tommy had a laptop beaming pics on a small screen as he sang, read from his book and told stories of Sarajevo, of Northern Ireland, of Pete Seeger. He sang Little Boxes, which I sang with Tommy Makem one day on the side of a stage at Milwaukee Irish Fest, many years ago; I felt it.
In Ocho Rios we took a cab right at the port, for $40 p/person. We hit the road for Mick Jagger’s house, stopping to swing on a cool 80 year old tree with giant bamboo on a skyscraper of a 5 – 6 stories high tree; watched the fire man jet huge plumes of fire from his throat and tasted a coconut right off a tree (think oysters). Pics on plains and good humored street side vendors gave way to climbing a water fall by ourselves well off the beaten path. You should see the spiders!
Our guide took us to hideaways and took photos of us as we climbed, posed, swam and took in the lush beauty canvassed around us. Hours later, as we headed back down, the ship excursion bus passed, still on their way up to Mick’s house. Jamaica is known for their chicken jerky, so we stopped for lunch and tried it out, kind of like blackened chicken, with no kick-back, yum.. We saw more, and saw a bit of the soul of Jamaica with our cab guide, for less than half the usual fee.
In Costa Maya, we took a short walk to the rock beach, searching out shells and trying to capture the hues of blue and green, translucent and magnificent, as it calmed the soul and crashed the rocks, throwing huge spray. If you are searching for peace, it’s sitting on the rocks, stark and wild and beautiful. A spectacular place to stare into the water, but don’t kill the multitude and multicolored snails, so you can have their shells on a shelf at home. I did not succeed in capturing the hues and the magnificence, just a glimpse and a trigger, for my memory bank.
After the dolphins leaped and chattered, we moved inland, to a huge saltwater swimming pool, with jets and both Froggy’s and Charlies converging on the ocean, leaving a perfect gap to the sea, and our ship, the Norwegian Epic, dead center in front. Swim up bars and plenty of lawn chairs to watch the sun and sun seekers chase the Vortex away. Next time I will go directly there, for it was fantastic: swimming, the view, beers and music, atmosphere in spades. I could be there all week and be very happy.
In Cozumel we took a purple VW convertible bug and toured the island, first stopping to snorkel amidst vivid colors and patient fish, Sea urchins stuck to my hand and starfish burned red rock colors as we floated above.
I had hard time with water in my air tube, but adapted quickly. Gotta be calm, be open to new experiences and laugh. Tony, our guide, led us to silent beehive-like shelters and the blues and yellows of the fish stand stark in my mind.
Off to climb dunes, more shells and more postcard like views as we wrote in the sand, jumped waves and tried a local onion like treat sprinkled with a cinnamon like spice – so good.
We pot hole weaved our way to a Mayan ruin, with ancient church, temple and village. Authentic Mayan arts and crafts and in costume presenters and animals, were fun, but the peace in the church as I thought of the generations that have prayed there, married and began their final journeys to God there gave me great pause.
Grumbling stomachs were silenced as Tony took us to a wide-open bar on stilts, massive logs everywhere, covered in script and messages from previous visitors written in black or occasional red thick sharpies. Tony provided us with tortillas, salsa, guacamole and chicken, with chips and rice, a most fantastic home cooked Mexican meal, cooled by breezes and Mexican beer, satisfying, unique, flavorful and authentic. Across the road, we worked it off jumping massive waves, green turning to blue to the endless horizon.
Tony was one of a kind – patient, fun and funny, hell bent on making sure we had a blast. He showed us places we would never have seen and flavors of all the senses that only a local can locate and present. At $74 p/person, it was a fantastic bargain.
Group dinners began and ended the cruise, but Norwegian Epic has a very different, and very cool protocol. “Free Style Dining” means no set meal times, no reservations, no hassles. A few of the upscale places require a reservation, and a coat, but we only did that once, for the sake of the experience, everything else was eat when (and if) you are hungry at more than a dozen locations, your choice. The SuperBowl was on, but the first time I remembered and saw the game/score, it was 22-0 Seattle.
Instead, I was busy, with:
While on the Epic, we strolled state to stage to see 57 bands, presentations, workshops and my own performance of At Each End of the Rifle. Jam sessions were frequent, and were also scheduled. At the end of each night, with whoever was the last band still playing across the whole ship, 10, 15 or more musicians, singers, and even a dancer or three, joined them after their last set, in an unscripted session that had no limit to the passion, the variety, the eloquence or the clock.
You are not limited to the Irish entertainment. Comedy, Cirque de Soleil, deck bands and others were readily available. I went to Blue Man Crew, with loads of special effects with paint and such, choreographed into something special. The cast brought audience members on stage and used them in hilarious ways, then gave them the paintings they created. In finale, from high in the ceiling at the back of the theatre, all the way down across the room, white strips of paper unrolled down toward stage, people pulled it from behind them, over them, to the next row, in a floating, shimmering strobe light like effect covered our heads; t’was awesome.
I was so honored and excited to be asked by Joanie Madden to perform my, “At Each End of the Rifle” monologue on the cruise. It was the one time the pen came in handy as I performed one of my monologues. Held in comedy club “Headliners” (all kinds of Freudian interpretations could be made of that one), told as a single journey throughout Irish history, the monologue features song, story and verse by the famous and infamous, and starkly shows how the similarities of man are much vaster than the differences. I had a great chat after with an older fella from New Zealand and throughout the rest of the week, met up with many who attended the presentation.
The Ceilis were magnificent, not only for the talent assembled, including Joanie Madden, Matt Molloy, John Carty, Mirella Murray, Arty McGlynn and bodhran player Donnchadh Gough, the passion of the players almost took your breath away. Dancing pros and dancing addicts let loose, as blurring feet answered the beat and sailed away.
I loved watching TR Dallas – a great singer who brought back memories of growing up, all the dances we went to, all the beautiful waltzing music. Sing, dance, stare or story, more than you could ever embrace.
Sharon Shannon with incredible piano player Alan Connors just blew my mind. Alan’s hands danced in a way I have never seen, and had the same blurring, know it happened but couldn’t actually see it motion as Jon Pilatske, Cara Butler, Michael Boyle, John Jennings and Donnie Golden had when dancing as part of Cherish the Ladies or an impromptu free style rift during many of the other shows. Sharon is a virtuoso, excitement courses through her, on stage or off, and the music is magic, learning and lifting; cooling in the waves of rhythm.
Then, Mickey Coleman’s CD launch. After maybe 12 songs, while introducing a song, Mickey thanked to his mom, dad and sis, who came out from Ireland for the CD launch. He told of walking down the street in NY, knowing no one, and Joanie stops, twice offering a ride. Mickey didn’t yet know Joanie and refused. Eventually they become friends, and now “ … here I am. I met my girlfriend Erin Lochery, her family have been so supportive and are all here now. It has been most incredible, so I would like … “ (and Mickey moves aside the guitar and drops to one knee) “ …to ask Erin to Marry Me.”
Both families erupt, screaming and hugging. Erin bends over hugs Mickey, crying a little. She hugs him for a long time; he leans back and says, “She said yes”.
To see it live, was unforgettable. About 3am, I took my leave, quietly, as I’ve learned, so Joanie wouldn’t catch me and haul me back again.
Gabriel Donaghue is the most gifted performer I have seen in a long while – no matter the style of music, he can play it, add to it, whether with banging a beat with his hand on the guitar body or accompanying with rifts and rises that are magnificent, mesmerizing and fun. He blew me away, even though I have seen him with others before and know he is on a ton of recordings, performing, mixing and producing. He was a highlight of the cruise.
The Makem & Spain Brothers, Danny Quinn, Tommy Sands, Donie Carroll, Bruce Foley, Paddy Folan and Jim Lamb started off “Ballads and Sea Shanties”, but all kinds of different folks jumped in over the next few hours. Harry O’Donoghue and Karen Ennis’ songs stick with me; it went until 1:45. So far my luck had held out; Joanie hadn’t caught me slipping out to bed once on this cruise!
A life well lived has a bit of blood in it, don’t you think? After a day on shore, we walked back to port, showered and went to Joanie’s cocktail hour. Wonderful rum concoctions, perfect after a sun drenched (but not burned!) day. Stories, loads of stories, with Rory Makem, Peggy Goonin Baker, Paddy and Bridget Folan and Jim and Anne Lamb as we thanked our Host, Joanie Madden and toasted a magnificent, magnificent cruise.
Had the chance to sit with Danny Quinn, Tommy Makem’s playing partner for many years and a gifted singer and storyteller. Usually very funny, our chat was deeper, and such a pleasure to finally sit down and talk with one of the gentle giants.
Throughout the cruise, the food was plentiful, and wonderful. I love salads, and the ingredients were varied and fresh. Fish, reds, vegetables and fruit were readily available. Deserts filled whole rows ~ Thank God I don’t have a sweet tooth.
On the last day, an Artist Meet n Greet, where I got to share a table with Guaranteed Irish and Tommy Sands. It was highlighted by a final group picture of all the cruise performers. I will treasure that pic, captured magnificently by Marianne Mangan. I sold the last of my “Festival Legends; Songs & Stories” and “First Generation” books, lightening the load for the trip to Chicago as I primed my mind for the minus degrees forthcoming and presenting “At Each End of the Rifle” at Shay Clarke’s McNally’s Irish Pub.
Check out many more pics, including Honeymoon Island, the ship American Freedom, Clearwater Beach, Port of Miami and Tarpon Springs, the Book Tour in Chicago and the 80 degree drop in temperature to end the trip: www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews.
Notes, nicks and advice:
Don’t be late, but don’t go back to the boat early – in a beautiful, welcoming, fun foreign country, maybe a once in a lifetime, who knows how life will twist, go back screaming against time and the end of the beach.
A cruise is meant to be romantic, recommend going with significant other, or with someone who will laugh, love the music and be willing to try lots of new experiences, foods, excursions and music.
When shopping, remember, everything, in every port, is negotiable, don’t forget that.
On the cruise, Tips are ALWAYS included on your receipt, then you can tip more, as it is less than 10%, but don’t forget it is there already, so tune your tip accordingly.
2015’s 4th Annual Joanie Madden Folk n Irish Cruise sails out of New York in May, during Joanie’s 50th Birthday Bash! You’ve been warned; you’ve been edumacated; get your ticket, now!
What’s Going on this Weekend, from your Ohio Irish American News
Friday, May 2nd:
AbbeyNormal@The Hooley House – Brooklyn
LiveMusic&FoodinThePub@ West Side Irish American Club
CelticUnion@Irish American Club East Side, Inc
TheOtherBrothers@Sully’s Irish Pub
CarlosJones@The Hooley House
BlueStoneUnion@The Hooley House – Westlake
Marys Lane@Stampers Bar
Sat, May 3rd:
The New Barleycorn@PJ McIntyres Irish Pub
Austin Walkin’ Cane@Flannerys
Sunday, May 4th:
HolleranTradMusicSessiunSTONE MAD PUB, RESTAURANT AND BOCCE
If you don’t send ‘em, we can’t print ‘em
Share the experience: Get Up; Show Up; Lift Up.
“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
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