What is Social Media and Why Does it Matter to the Ohio Irish American News, and to you?

Editor’s Corner
by John O’Brien, Jr.

Social Media can no longer be called new. It is vital, but not new.  Twitter just celebrated their 10th Anniversary on March 21st, 2006; Facebook preceded them, on February 4th, 2004. Small companies like ours have to find other ways to share our stories. There is the financial reason of course, but far deeper, is reach – reach is everything in publishing, and in advertising.

Social Media has been a Godsend for us, to meet our mission of seeding and promoting people, events, causes and concerns, all on a shoe-string budget, dedicated to being the gardner.  Preserving, presenting and promoting our rich Irish heritage is our passion and our fulfillment.  Through our many platforms of print, webpage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts, we reach and share with an additional 20,000 people each and every month.  In March and December, it is more than 50,000, above and beyond those who read and share our print edition at home and work.

Too many people listen to reply. Listen to understand. We can spray and pray, that someone will see our posts, react to them, and then heed the call to action by liking, sharing and most importantly, attending. But we’d rather have you as part of our army.

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Think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox – We know each has followers and fans. Who is the audience on each platform?  They overlap, but don’t they have very distinctive audiences? What is their need? And how do you fulfill it? It is different for each network; it is different for each platform.

Did you know when you share someone’s post, the number of eyes that see it is 10x what it reaches with no shares, and that number increases at even greater proportions, as the number of shares and likes, activates another level in sheer numbers of people who see your post? What does that mean?

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The number of people who see your post is determined by rules written by Facebook, often called algorithms.  More of your audience sees your post every time a reader shares it to their own followers, so a good post gets a double bonus. Facebook is set up for popular posts to be shown to more people; unpopular ones die a quick death.
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Only 13% of your “followers”, people who have liked your page, actually see your posts, unless they have clicked a button, called ‘subscribe”, which makes sure they see ALL your posts.  This is how Facebook convinces you to buy ads on their site – more people will see your posts when you advertise than when you don’t. As people react to your posts or tweets, the percent of your followers who see it rises, dramatically. If you include an image, the eyes on you multiplies by 3-4 times.

Put feet to your faith, whether it be support for your business, your passion, your spiritual beliefs, your charity or your music. Be verbal, but be physical too – Get up; Lift up; and Show up. And then live it all over again, on Facebook. If you want to give a hand to a friend, share.

Go dtí an mhí seo chugainn, slán a fhágáil

(Until next month, goodbye)

John

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

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May issue of the Ohio Irish American News. Cover features Andrew Fowler, Pipe Instructor, West Side Irish American Club Pipe Band. Photo by John O'Brien, Jr.
May issue of the Ohio Irish American News. Cover features Andrew Fowler, Pipe Instructor, West Side Irish American Club Pipe Band. Photo by John O’Brien, Jr.

This is no April Fools – there is a LOT going on this weekend

Out & About Ohio April 2016

LAST CALL! Flanagan’s Wake to end this month!
The Hilarious Interactive Irish Wake is Every Friday & Saturday at 8pm and Kennedy’s Theatre at Playhouse Square, Downtown Cleveland. 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353 www.playhousesquare.org

Brooklyn – Hooley House!
1 – School Girl Crush, 8 – Abby Normal, 22 – The Fabulous Grungetones. Wed: Pub Trivia. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
4th – Reds Parade Day w Ohio Rose of Tralee Kathleen Rose O’Donnell, 7th – Irish Pub Night 7:00, 9th – The John Byrne Band Concert, 21st – Irish Pub Night w Mick & Friends, 24th – 100th Anniversary Easter Rising 1:00 Laying Memorial wreath @”An Gorta Mor” at Sawyer Point, 1:15 Soup & Soda Bread @ Irish Heritage Center, 2:30 Easter Rising 1916. Irish Teas/Library /Genealogy Detective/ all three by appointment. Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

ALL under Cleveland;
The Harp
1st – Traditional Irish Session, 2nd – The Porter Sharks, 6th – Lonesome Stars, 8th – Crawley, Custy & Taylor, 9th – Webster, Carr & Custy, 13th – Chris & Tom, 15th – Fior Gael, 16th – Chris Allen, 18th – Support our music variance @ Board of Zoning 9:30am Cleveland City Hall Room 514. 20th – Lonesome Stars, 22nd – Bill Fox, 23rd – Brent Kirby, 27th -Chris & Tom, 29th – The Kilroy’s. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com
Stone Mad
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
1114 Center St. Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968. www.flatironcafe.com
Treehouse
3rd- Michael Crawley, 10th- Chris Allen, 17th- Becky Boyd, 24th- Tom Evanchuck. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com
PJ McIntyre’s
1st – Cats On Holiday, 2nd – Iced Cherry, 5th – Monthly Pub Quiz- w Mike D. 7pm. 8th – Craic Brothers, 9th – Disco Inferno, 15th – Marys Lane, 16th – Stone Pony, 22nd – Big Ship, 23rd – Bluestone Union, 29th – Michael Crawley & Brent Hopper Happy Hour Duo 5-8, then Juice After, 30th – The Westies. Don’t forget T-Shirt Tues: wear any PJs T-Shirt get 15% off bill! Whiskey Wed: ½ off every whiskey in the house. Thurs – Craft Beer $2.50. PJ McIntyre’s is a Local 10 Union establishment. Home of the Celtic Supporter’s Club and the GAA. Book Parties & Events in our Bridgie Ned’s Irish Parlor Party Room. 17119 Lorain Road, 44111. www.pjmcintyres.com 216-941-9311.
Music Box Supper Club
3rd – Ballinloch, 17th – Portersharks, 22nd – Alan Doyle, 24th Brittany Reilly & Achill Sound. 1148 Main Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113. http://www.musicboxcle.com
Flannery’s Pub
323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

April 2016 Easter Rising Commemoration
April 2016 Easter Rising Commemoration

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

Euclid
Irish American Club East Side
1 – Bog Trotters, 15 – Mad Macs, 17 – Padraic Pearse Ladies Reverse Raffle, 22 – 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration. PUB: 7:30 – 10:30. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.eastsideirish.org

Findlay
Logan’s Irish Pub
Trad Sessiún 3rd Wednesday. 414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

Lakewood
Plank Road Tavern
Open Sessiún Every Thursday 7 – 10. $3 Guinness and Jamieson. 16719 Detroit Avenue, 44107

Medina / Montrose
Sully’s
1st – Marys Lane, 2nd – New Barleycorn, 8th – One – A U2 Tribute Band, 9th – Donal O’Shaughnessy, 15th – Craic Brothers, 16th – Dulahan, 22 – – Island Doctor, 23rd – Music Men, 29 – – Brittany Reilly & Achill Crossing, 30th – Big Mike & Company. Come celebrate our 8th Anniversary on April 2nd with the New Barleycorn! 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com.
Hooley House Montrose
1 – Festivus, 15 – Almost famous, 22 – Sunset Strip, 29 – Michelle Romary Band, Wed: Pub Trivia. 145 Montrose West Avenue Copley, Oh 44321 (234) 466-0060 www.1funpub.com

Mentor
Hooley House
1 –Collage, 8 – London Flatts, 15 – Faction, 23 – Abbey Rodeo, 29 – Almost Famous. Wed: Trivia Night. 7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

Olmsted Twp
West Side Irish American Club
16th – Wine Tasting, 23rd – 1916 Easter Rising Centennial Celebration, 24th – Annual Style Show & Luncheon. Great live music & food in The Pub every Friday. WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Valley City
Gandalf’s
9th – Sarena Tamboritza Orchestra, 16th – Marty Scionka. Join us for Brunch EVERY SUNDAY. Great food, atmosphere, staff and fun. 6757 Center Road Valley City, 44280 www.gandalfspub.com.

Westlake
Hooley House
1 – Michelle Romary Band, 8 – New Barleycorn, 9 – Post Road, 15 – London Flatts, 22 – School Girl crush, 29 – Faction. Wed: Pub Trivia. 24940 Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. www.1FunPub.com (440) 835-2890

Columbus
Shamrock Club Events
2nd – Central Ohio Folk Festival, 3rd – General Meeting, 9th – Singer/Songwriters Showcase, 16th – Easter Rising Concert, 17th – Athletic Awards Presentation, 17th General Meeting and Officer Elections, 23rd – Ladies of Longford, 30th – New Officer’s Installation Banquet, 30th – Homeland. Happy Hour every Friday from 5-7pm! 60 W. Castle Rd. Columbus 43207 614-491-4449 www.shamrockclubofcolumbus.com
Columbus GAA
9th – Hosting Men’s Tri-State Invitational w Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Louisville. Columbus GAA will debut their new kits! All are encouraged to come out and enjoy some great games, drinks and fun! Call for female Gaelic Football players! Contact w interest/questions. www.columbusgaa.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.

Traditional Irish Social Dancing
Sunday Ceili’s at the Music Box, April 17, May 8, 15, 4-7 pm, FREE
Set dancing lessons, Tuesdays 8-10 pm, St. Clarence Church, North Olmsted
Wednesdays 7-9 pm, Irish American Club – East Side
Ceili dancing lessons, Thursdays, April 7, 14, 28, 7-9 pm, West Side Irish American Club
Coming on May 22–1916 Commemorative Ceili, West Side Irish American Club, 4-8 pm
For more information, contact CeiliClubCleveland@gmail.com or find us on Facebook

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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
• Bardic Circle @The Shamrock Club of Columbus Beginner – friendly, intermediate level Irish session meeting every other Thursdays 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
• Briquette’s – 1st Saturday of the month, 4-6 pm. Ashtabula on the Harbor
• The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm. 4408 Detroit, Cleveland
• Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 414 S. Main St., Findlay, 7:30 pm
• Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session – 2nd Monday of the month 7 – 9 Slow Train Café, 55 East College St., Oberlin. Informal all experience welcome: www.oberlin.net/~irishsession
• Plank Road – Every Thursday 7 – 10. All ages and experience welcome. 16719 Detroit Road, Lakewood, 44107
• Tara Hall -Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.

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How Do You Celebrate St. Pat’s?

Editor’s Corner

How do you celebrate? I start out with my family, and my extended loving family, the West Side Irish American Club, with the annual mass at St. Colman’s, whose gorgeous marble, and design, commissioned to Irish men in Dublin, I appreciate more and more each year; I may be daydreaming, but ghosts seep out of the marble for me. Then it is off to this year’s 149th Annual Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I walk with the Sheriff’s Dept. at the front of the parade, then circle around and march with the WSIA family, again.

I absolutely love it. The massive crowds are awesome to see, a culture like no other, one that invites all cultures to join us as we celebrate roots, family, and a passionate heritage that touches every curve and corner of the globe, through our own hard work, perseverance, and passion for freedom, in so many forms.

After walking the parade, we walk to a local hotel, and eat, drink and make merry, as outside our walls, downtown clears out. A few other parties and must go to appearances fill out the day, until we all reassemble at the Folks, for dinner, stories and as many cups of tea as your nerves can handle.

#LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish is my personal social media tag line and has been my credo for as long as I can remember; it is a life urgency instilled by my father, to make a difference as you trade each day of your life, for something; let it be worthwhile. You can find that same credo throughout the Irish community; it translates to any culture. Be aware, be awed and be grateful.

There is much to do this month; of course musical and event lists and labels run rampant in this issue. Deliberate, and then deliberately, pick your passion; pick your company, and Live More Life, as the Irish are wont to do.

We would love to hear and share how you celebrate – send me a note (jobrien@ianohio.com) or post on our FB page. Pics are welcome, as long as you own them. Follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages listed below and Opt-in to our Cleveland Irish Fest (clevelandirish.org) and Ohio Irish American News (ianohio.com) occasionally and respectfully sent and guarded email list, and win prizes like fest tickets, an annual OhIAN subscription, books or CD’s. We will run favorites in our April issue; share your memories, share your milestones, share all that being Irish, means to you.

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Go dtí an mhí seo chugainn, slán a fhágáil
(Until next month, goodbye)
John

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

Who Was St. Patrick?

Who Was St. Patrick?

Patrick wasn’t Irish, yet America’s biggest Irish celebration is held in his name; he wasn’t the first bishop sent to Ireland, yet he is responsible for launching the evangelical push that converted the pagan Irish to Christianity. He never drove the snakes out of Ireland – there weren’t any, at least not in the literal sense.

St. Patrick is one of three patron saints of Ireland (the other two are Brigid and Columba). He was born in the late 4th century, most sources say 387, somewhere on the coast of Britain, perhaps in Wales or Scotland. As early as 431, Pope Celestine sent a bishop named Palladius to minister to the Christians in Ireland. Patrick came to Ireland when he was sixteen, but he came against his will, as a slave.

Fortunately, we have his own words left to us in the form of his autobiography, referred to as his Confessio, and his Epistola, an admonition of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.

StPatrick
Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders who were searching for slave labor, a common practice in those days. He worked for six years as a shepherd, and in those lonely times, as he later explained in his Confessio, he began to pray in earnest and trust God. He escaped and made his way back to his homeland.

Later he became a bishop and had a dream or a vision in which he heard the voice of the Irish calling to him to come and walk again among them. He did return, and apparently had several run-ins with pagan kings. Patrick stood up for his beliefs and was instrumental in guiding the Irish people to Christ. His predecessor, who was probably already in the country when Patrick returned, had been sent to minister to people who already believed; Patrick ministered to the unbelievers.

Did Patrick convert all of Ireland? That would have been a near impossible task in one man’s lifetime, especially since it was done without warfare, unlike Europe during the Crusades. Others came after him and carried on his work in Ireland and beyond: Brigid, Columba, Brendan, Aidan, and Columban to name a few. But St. Patrick is the name today that identifies all things Irish. The holiday is no longer just a religious observance; it is a day of cultural pride for all those with Irish blood.

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/
http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/ www.instagram.com/LiveMoreLife

17 Amazing Things To Do in March to celebrate the month of St. Patrick!

17 Amazing Things To Do in March
to celebrate the month of St. Patrick!

1. #17DaysofMarch – @Croagh Patrick’s, features music, special events, toasts, and fantastic food, with a different theme and special each day. www.facebook.com/Croagh-Patricks-Pub

2. Irish Music Sundays every Sunday @Music Box Cleveland www.musicboxcle.com

3. March 8th – Kathleen Linn – Rebel Doctor (Film) – Never before shown in the US, the film celebrates the rebel Dr., commanding officer, medical pioneer and humanitarian. River’s Edge 3430 Rocky River Drive (next to St. Joe’s Academy). 7pm

4. March 11 – We Banjo 3 @ Logan’s Irish Pub www.LogansIrishPubFindlay.com

5. Pogues Tribute w Boys from the Co Hell @MusicBoxCLE

March 12:
6. #StMalachiChurchRun www.hermescleveland.com

7. LunaLaunch – #LyricsofIrishFreedom – Luna Team Shop is the new, year-round provider of amazing and fun gear for Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival. To celebrate the launch, Luna and surrounding shops are offering great specials from 11am to 3pm. Author John O’Brien, Jr. will be signing his new book, The Lyrics of Irish Freedom, the story behind the Irish songs of rebellion and freedom, with bagpipers, Irish Wolfhounds and more. Luna is at 113 Front Street, just 4 miles from the festival grounds. www.lunateamshop.com

A Hooley ~ @Luna Team Shop Mach 12th - author John O'Brien, Jr, Irish Wolfhounds, Bag Pipers and more
A Hooley ~ @Luna Team Shop Mach 12th – author John O’Brien, Jr, Irish Wolfhounds, Bag Pipers and more

8. Claddagh Ball @ West Side Irish American Club www.wsia-club.org

9. March 14TH – #LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish If you would like to volunteer to help “Make the Irish Fest Great Again” (Sorry Donald), the magnificent Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival Creative Team, charged with nurturing new ideas and making sure guests and volunteers alike have a blast, meet Monday March 14th, @PJ McIntyre’s (17119 Lorain Road at Kamm’s Corner, in their basement Party room) 6:15pm. Good food, good friends and exciting new things coming for 2016. We need your ideas, but most of all, we need YOU.

34th Annual Cleveland Irish Fest
34th Annual Cleveland Irish Fest

10. March 15th – If you want a say in making a better America, you have to have a seat at the table – PLEASE VOTE!

11. March 17th – Sober 17th – non-alcohol alternative Bash with James Kilbane, Mary Agnes Kennedy, Brady-Campbell School of Dance, St. Ignatius Circus Company: great food, fellowship and family fun. Ahern’s Banquet Center 726 Avon-Beldon Road. 5-8pm sober17th@gmail.com
12. THE High Holy Day! Many start with Mass at one of the local Irish parishes. The 149th Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 1:04 pm: parties, pomp and great craic fill the day at pubs and clubs across the state.

Happy St. Pat's
Happy St. Pat’s

March 18th:
13. Win a trip to the Auld Sod! And support Historic St. Patrick’s Church on Bridge Avenue in Cleveland. Tickets are $5 ea or 3/$10 Kathy Pierce @ 216.49.9064.
14. Welcome Home – Irish artist Kathleen Dorsey show at 78th Street Studios (West 78th Street, Cleveland) – amazing paintings of Ireland. 5pm to 10 pm. She is in Room 105, but all the studios are open that night.

15. March 20th – Emmitt Cahill (Celtic Thunder) @ West Side Irish American Club www.wsia-club.org

16. March 29th – Speak Irish Cleveland new classes begin, every Tuesday, 6:15 to 8, all levels welcome. Jobrien@ianohio.com

17. March 30th – #CIFF – the Cleveland International Film Festival kicks off March 30th. 193 feature films and 213 short films fill Cleveland Tower City and surrounding theatres. Supporting the arts is part of our blood; check out CIFF at www.clevelandfilm.org

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See live music events & much more @ www.ianohio.com

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews

www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/
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Little Boxes, Little Boxes …

Little Boxes, little boxes,
and their all made out of ticky tacky
and their all in my closet
and they all need a good home

Won’t you grab my new book; won’t you share with your friends, and their friends too (please, they NEED a good home):

The Lyrics of Irish Freedom by John O’Brien Jr.​
A great book to frame the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising (Ireland’s American Revolution) with commemorations now starting across the Irish Diaspora.

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#LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish

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Get yours at songsandstories.net; I’d be honored to sign it for you.
John

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

#LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish
O’Bent Enterprises includes:

Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites: 

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

 

Happy New Year, and Happy Anniversary too!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. I’d also like to add, Happy Anniversary – to all our Ohio Irish American News writers, advertisers, distributors and supporters – we are 9 years old; we are very blessed to know you, and to have your active support. We continue to learn, to grow and to get better, thanks to your feedback.

 

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As always, there is much going on in and around Ohio. Every month ads and the Out & About Ohio section are filled with what’s to come; so save the date, share the wealth and plan accordingly to not miss the best the Irish have to offer each other, and our friends.

 

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It gives us great joy to share the wealth of our heritage, past present and to come. Seeding others bears so much fruit; just as it has for generations of ground breakers, immigrants, sponsors and saviors, who then sent those proceeds back and forward, to ease the road for the next one on it. We aim to have the same impact. In 2015, our budget for helping those in need was $10,000; we blew by that in June, and will end up being nearly double it for the year. To whom much is given …

 

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Irish Network Cleveland, the Irish Chamber of Commerce in Cleveland, has launched; Music Box Cleveland Sundays are back, The Cleveland International Film Festival; Northern Ohio Rose of Tralee, and RISE Foundation events are fast approaching; Primary elections are March 15th, with many Judicial races impacting our communities; The 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising is fast approaching; Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival and many more events are this month, next, or deep into planning. I know they would welcome your support, and your help; they are asking, if you are looking for that chance to make a difference, and have fun.

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

#LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish
O’Bent Enterprises includes:

Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites: 

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

It is Christmas …

It is Christmas Day … One of my sisters birthday is today.  She is my Irish twin, born less than a year apart.  We don’t talk as often as I’d like, but I love her with all my heart.  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.  Family comes in, from where ever they can. 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. I am a fan of tradition, knowing where we come from matters.

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


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 around.

Up the long driveways and then back down them again,

Can’t jump the snow high on the grass, stuck like a pig in a pen

Broom hockey shoes keep me from falling, on my ass, 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 to wonder and to roam.

My stocking off the fireplace, filled with fun little gifts

Then under the trees too sharp needles, the attention snaps and shifts

Clothes and cool games, wall holders for my collection

We each had our spot, our haul’s own little 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.

Christmas dunk

***

Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you. “Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know”:
#LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish
O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites:

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

It is 3 Days Until Christmas …

It is 3 Days until Christmas …

Being Irish and being Catholic, three has a significant presence on my life.  A symbol of Ireland oft used is a shamrock, which has three leaves.  It is very prevalent in Ireland, but rare here, and considered lucky because of its rarity. 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 ….

Shamrock vs clover

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

Faith, Hope and Charity; like many immigrant nations who forge a new home, my family had no relatives in the U.S. while I was growing up.  My dad, from Co. Roscommon, 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. But Faith, Hope and Charity blessed us, again.

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 its own, but inseparable from the whole, very much like Christ, celebration, and Christmas.

This year will be our 34th Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.  The planning and booking is well under way, the grunt work has not yet begun.  I am excited about what, and who, is coming, but dread the havoc the physical work will wreak on my joints. I steel myself to it, and bow my head; by the grace of God, I get through that week each year.  I have 34 years of practice. To Date, we have Scythian, Ronan Tynan, The Fitzgerald’s, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Socks in the Frying Pan, Garry Gormley, Irish Descendants, Young Wolfe Tones, New Barleycorn, Brigid’s Cross, Marys Lane, Dermot Henry, Ashley Davis, Dennis Doyle and The Kilroys, with a throw out the the young wans, The Spazmatics. With that lineup, I hope you can see why I am excited; there is still much to come and slots to fill.

Temple Bar & Museum was a big hit last year, and will be expanded again this year.  We have moved forward from a one-year focus, to a longer term one; The Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising is on our minds as well.  If you’d like to get involved, we’d love to have you. Social Media, planning, entertainment and hospitality is in need of your help, just call out my name (john@clevelandirish.org).

Ireland and America are so heavily intertwined.  Many in Ireland are surprised when they see the fervor of Americans for Ireland. Festivals not only allow our music and culture to reach so many, they employ all the music makers: performers, sound men, vendors of food and merchandise, grounds rental and a myriad of direct and indirect saints and sinners. At many festival’s, you will see a t-shirt that says, “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough”. #truth #LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish

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. Each, alone and together, a very, very, very lucky legacy of life, love and liberty.  My country, my heritage is tattooed across my back, and in my heart.

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

#LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish
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