New Irish songs and Irish artists

Now that another year has wrapped up, meaning The St. Patrick’s Day Irish music extravaganzas have subsided, it’s time to recall the new Irish songs and Irish singers who are making their mark in the music world.

New Irish songs

We’ll Start off with Billy Treacy.

Billy has a new cd on the way, which we’ll review soon, but my hats off to Mr Treacy and their friends who are gigging in Dublin and marketing like all get out. The music business is a tough one, the hardest part might be the plugging yourself and keeping your nose to the grindstone while you “wait” to be discovered. That being said Here’s Billy Treacy with his song “Woe”.

The next new Irish song was sent in from a reader of this humble blog.

James Gallagher proud Galway man.

While trying to upload this video of Mr. Gallagher I came across a Busking documentary where He is interviewed. It was reassuring to hear his opinion on Irish music. You could feel he loved the Irish folk tradition, and was proud to carry on the tradition.  It made my heart feel good to hear a true Irish folk artist who was happy to sing the Irish songs people want to hear.

The Next New Irish song or more precise new Irish singers of old Irish songs, We’ll revisit the lads from Drogheda, Robbed and Lynched


And we’ll end this little tidbit of Irish music with my favorite Irish traditional band The Ivy Leaf. to be more accurate it would be The Ivy Leaf and friends recorded at a house concert in Boston. I especially like the Flute playing in this video.

So If you are a struggling Irish artist send in a link and we’ll spread the word.

If you happen to be a lover of Irish music well checkout these new Irish artists, share, like, link. Find out where they are playing, buy some of their music, they don’t call them struggling artist for no reason.




Spuds potatoes and snow madness

Ok sometimes I just get bored and silly. So in the name of nothing too substantial and for a bit of fun we have a little song of spuds for you. Sung to the tune of winter wonderland in honor of winter hopefully relenting, I beg you remember the tune and the changes in the tune so hopefully the words fit the melody.


spuds in transition







Eating Taters With Another side of Spuds.

(sung to the tune of winter wonderland)


The dinner bell rings, and I’m hoping.

For spuds boiled, fried, or roasting,

A dinner delight,

We’re having tonight,

Eating taters with another side of spuds.


Some say chicken, beef, or che-ese,

Maybe cabbage, kale, or p-eas,

But give me that starch,

it helps to march,

Eating taters with another side of spuds


On the table their is mashed and roasties, a side of colcannon is just right.

Maybe then we’ll all be having  boxty?

Nothing could be a better sight.

Later on we’ll retire,

To a plate ever higher,

Crisps filled to the brim, Some for her and for him

Eating taters with another side of spuds


On the table there is mashed and roasties,

No way it could be a better bite,

We’ll have fun with all the mashed and  roasties

Add a side of crisps to make it right.


When spuds grow,

The ground is tilling

Smelling champ is so thrilling

Eating curry and chips, crisps and some dip

Eating taters with another side of spuds


Eating taters with another side of spuds

Eating taters with another side of spuds.


Yes the snow has finally gotten to my senses, thank God spring is on the way and the sun has strengthened to melt that white stuff. If anyone els has come to their wits end, or perhaps has a rhyme or poem they would like to share, leave a comment and share share share.


Gobnait O’Lúnasa.

Happy St Patricks Day from Boston

Happy St Patricks Day.

In Boston we have loudmouth politicians

St. Patricks Day Boston






Some who think they’re Irish and some who are of Irish descent.

In Boston we have a wonderful St Patricks Day Parade, Really makes you want to show your pride.

Happy St Patricks day Boston







The hard part is finding a good seat, so to speak.

Happy St. Patricks Day Boston








So with all due respect to Saint Patrick,

St. Patricks Day Boston







The Best Part of St Patricks Day Boston, is the music.

You would have a hard time beating Saturdays show of Shannon and Matt Heaton, John Coyne, and Joey Arbata with their trad, played so well.

You would have a hard time beating Paul Kenny and Patsy Whelan with the knockout combination of dynamite vocals and hot instrumentals playing the mix of Folk classics I need to hear for St Patricks Day.

But my favorite music is heard around the kitchen counter in my own house, No the notes are not as pure as the pro’s, but the feeling is pure, pure fun. It’s the day Gerry Hailler is Irish and pulls out the guitar and plays his best backing to “The old triangle”, “Finnegan’s wake”, and even McGinnty’s Goat. It’s the day my youngest who used to be one of the kids relegated to the cellar, now is singing a sweet version of “Grace”. It’s the day when our oldest daughter after playing around the pubs of Boston gets to play a slow air for the old man. It’s the day when I am allowed to sing a song or two myself, a passable version of “The Water is Wide” or “A man you don’t meet everyday”.

But after the meal is consumed and the songs are sung and a pint or two is consumed, after all in the house go to bed and it’s just me and Arthur Guinness rummaging through the cds, I pick out my favorites.

The parting glass is poured and Paddy Reilly is selected and the day is extended for just one more song.



Orthodox Celts Paddys day in Belgrade

For those who don’t know how to celebrate St. Patricks Day you might want to check out the Orthodox Celts. I was checking out their website and found this new release available for download and was blown away. So many artists from around the world not only carry on the Irish tradition of music but blaze a trail of pure joy, passion, and fierceness.

It does my heart good to know that while Ireland’s emigrant sons and daughters will be striking a blow for freedom and passing on the Irish music tradition here in Boston, that over in Belgrade, Serbia’s favorite Irish band will be rocking ST. Patricks day to the sound of the Orthodox Celts.     (Only a band of their stature deserves a run on sentence like the last one.)

Do yourself a favor and listen to a good rebel song with a Serbian brogue and powerful vocals by lead singer and powerhouse, Aleksandar Petrović – Lead VocalDejan Lalić.

Listen to good Irish reels, with Mandolins, fiddles, Bodhrans, guitars, and one of the best whistle players around, just good stuff. Yes I copied the fellows names from their website, yes my western brain has a hard time with the names of who does what, but my Irish ears don’t have any problem appreciating great Music, Great Irish Music at that.

                         The Orthodox Celts Paddys Day favorite


Aleksandar Petrović – Lead VocalDejan Lalić – Octave Mandola, Mandolin, Back VocalsNikola Stanojević – ViolinBojan Petrović – Whistles, Back VocalsVladan Jovković – Acc. Guitar, Back VocalsDejan Grujić – Bass, Back VocalsDušan Živanović – Drums,

So I’m off to get the feast ready for the 17th, ready to have mobs filled with Irish pride strike a blow for ……………..


Orthodox celts


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all.

You might also like this previous article about the Orthodox Celts. Orthodox Celts rock irish music.




March 17 is coming fast, learn an Irish song.

March 17 is coming and it’s time to prepare. I’m not talking about cleaning the parlor, scrubbing the fridge, or swabbing the commode, though my wife might disagree. No a more important task needs to be addressed- It’s time to learn a new Irish song.

Don’t be caught of guard this St. Patrick’s Day, don’t be that guy, You know that guy who knows some of the chorus of a few famous songs but thinks he knows them all. It kind of goes like this-

“Oh I love that song, let me see how does it go?”  “Low lies the fields of Athenry where ah no I know it, how does that go, low lies the field of Athenry where once I listened to Freebird live, No that’s not it, let me try another.”

March 17

That’s not how it goes knuckle head, come on it’s almost St Paddys.




So let’s start today to prepare for March 17.

  • Pick a song you like. A good folk song performance depends on the energy and feel of the singer, and nothing helps more than singing a song you truly love
  • Find a version of the song performed by an artist you like. Know that many folk songs lyrics are different for the same song. Each artist has his own take and interpretation of a song.
  • Sing the version appropriate for you.
  • Listen to your version, notice the inflections, figure out if you can handle the high and low notes.
  • learn one stanza at a time, do not go on to a second stanza until the first is fully learned.
  • Like the Twelve days of Christmas sing your now remembered stanzas every time you learn a new stanza, ingraining the song into your memory.

So now you are ready for March 17 th, well not quite.

Good you have learned a hearty Irish song, now it’s time to make sure you have the feeling of the song. Try to envision what was going on when your favorite Irish song was penned. Some songs will be a tribute to rebel sons, some will be of futile courage, some will be of drunken maidens or hungry goats. Whatever the condition be it rebels or goats know what  the song has conveyed for all it’s history and re singing.

Be careful to pick a song you can handle, many an Irish song will have a chorus you love only to have high or lows in it’s body that are just out of mere mortals range. But again if you love the song most will forgive a strained note or two.

Don’t be surprised if your favorite Irish artist’s version and the song writers version are out of whack. A lot of artists rearrange stanzas and skip many stanzas completely, again it’s your call on what version you like.

There are a couple of common pit falls you should try to avoid.

  1. Sing with your own accent, try to avoid a forced fake Irish accent. The artists I listen to all sing with an Irish accent, you will find yourself slipping into an Irish accent on occasion. As long as you are not trying to be something you’re not, no one will hold it against you.
  2. Wait for your turn to sing, don’t force your way in.
  3. Try not to sing a really long song, the point is to add to the revelry not to make peoples eyes roll back into their heads.

So this March 17 be prepared, have your Irish song at the ready, shock your friends and family and let that song out. It’s a lot of fun.


Beware before ordering that Guinness!

Yes Beware. In my thirty three years of partaking of the black stuff there have been many a bad pour. Please I implore you to heed this warning and properly vet your local constabulary on the proper care handling and pouring of this Irish staple.

Plastic cups.

Leave, run, hide, and never darken the halls of what ever fictional bar that would serve Guinness in a plastic cup. My normal answer to any hotel barkeep or festival operator who plans on serving me Arthur Guinness’s pride and joy in a plastic cup is—give me a Budweiser. I mean what’s the point.

Nitrogen gas.

A lesser known fact is that a barrel of Guinness to properly cascade down a properly chosen Imperial pint glass requires a draught system that utilizes nitrogen and CO2 gases. For the Guinness to cascade down the glass and form it’s distinctive head you need to have the increased pressure which the addition of Nitrogen gas to the system allows

Double pour.

If you are in a hurry a proper pint of Guinness may not be the best choice, a pint of Guinness takes what is called a double pour. The tulip glass or modern Guinness glass is filled almost 3/4s full then let to rest, to form it’s magic, to cascade down the sides, to grow anticipation. Once the glass has settled it is topped off with a reverse push of the tap to fill the glass, ending in a creamy headed pint. If your bartender fills your glass on a straight pour you have three options,

  1. Run away
  2. Send it back
  3. Open a proper pub next door.

Temperature of Guinness.

Guinness is served cool around 45 degrees, it can be served a bit colder and in Ireland mostly, you will also find Guinness extra cold being served, both are good. A warm Guinness is not a good thing. It can mean the kegs aren’t stored properly, the lines to the kegs are too far from the tap, or that the pub doesn’t serve Guinness regularly and it could be stale.

What is a pint glass?

A pint glass for Guinness holds more than a pint. It is an imperial pint or 20 ounces. A properly poured Guinness is poured in a 20 ounce pint glass not a 16 ounce pint glass. Now on to more controversy. A 20 ounce tulip glass was the standard container for a properly poured pint, then Guinness came out with their modern day version of the same. Sleeker modern 20 ounce pint glass that I must concede is still not as comfortable or welcoming as the old tulip glass. Others however love the glass so I might just be nostalgic. There are other Imperial pint glasses whose shapes might hinder the cascading effect of Guinness but still work in an acceptable way. I will say though that a Magners glass just doesn’t do it for me, odd shape thin on the bottom.

Ok, So you have your double poured Guinness in a proper 20 ounce pint glass served at the proper temperature with a draught system that has the proper proportion of CO2 and Nitrogen gas feeds, you are all set right, not quite.


Even the best poured Guinness can be ruined by your surroundings. A well poured Guinness can overcome some of the fake Irish pubs that are out there, but tragically these plastic pubs tend to sell Guinness poorly and pour Guinness poorly.

Warning signs of a plastic paddy pub.

  1. Four leaf Clover instead of a Shamrock.
  2. Happy St. Patty’s Day.
  3. Irish nachos.
  4. Green beer.

The good news is with a little tolerance that  properly poured Guinness can still be enjoyed.

What makes a good pub.

  1. Poors a good Guinness
  2. has a good Irish session on days besides St Patrick’s Day
  3. You can have a nice chat.
  4. Has a friendly feel to it.
  5. Bartenders are happy to have you as a customer.
  6. Customers are in for a social event not a binge.

In the end everyone has an opinion about what makes a place good. Some of my favorite places are tiny hole in the wall pubs that have provided some of the best Irish traditional music and perfectly poured pints a man could want. The key point being that perfectly poured pint, as in the end after heeding the warning signs nothing really beats it.

Guinness and Irish music















I’m Irish, embracing my Irish roots.

I'm Irish in AmericaOk I realize I just spent a whole post explaining to we American tourists that we are not Irish, but… that’s in Ireland

In the good old U S of A we have many roots that keep our American family tree straight and strong. I like to think the strongest deepest roots are those transplanted from that Island to the east, Ireland.


Things that Ireland and America have in common.

  • British tyranny.
  • Mostly common language
  • Religion
  • Love of Liberty.

Now there are books written by historians and scholars much wiser and more learned than I, explaining the American revolution, the Continental Congress, the ethnic make up of revolutionary times, the Dutch, the French, The Germans, The English. The Crown eventually chose to exercise it’s control and force the colonies to submit to it’s terms. And the resulting revolution is, well, History. In this virgining Republic a free people were established endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and best yet an opportunity to be free.

It was/is this promise for Liberty that propelled so many to America’s shores.

Skipping forward to today, we get to let time soften the horrendous times many Irish suffered along the way. We instead get to revel in the traditions our forefathers believed were important enough to pass on from generation to generation.

Music, Food, Story, Good Cheer, Doom, sayings and proverbs.

I’m Irish because I enjoy all my heritage has to offer.

Irish music, I especially like Irish folk music, CD’s of Luke Kelly, Paddy Reilly, The Dubliners, The Fury’s, The Dublin City Ramblers, and the trad- Irish traditional music full of reels, jigs, hornpipes, airs, fiddles, flutes, bodhrans, accordions, pipes, just awesome.

Irish foods, In my neck of the woods we have good Irish tea, Barrys by name. Irish soda bread on special occasions mostly at St. Paddys Day. A bag of taytos on occasion, a crunchy bar, maybe a flake. Now in homage to my Immigrant ancestors we have the traditional Irish American meal of St. Patricks day Corned beef and Cabbage on of course St Patricks day. Might want to check out (How to cook corned Beef)

Favorite Irishisms, “Glory be to God it’s a beautiful day”  –  “I’d give a month of cold days if I could only see the sun” – “Ah, she’s a big woman”- “wee goat”- “jeesus what an eejit” Oh and then there are some nice proverbs like the Irish blessing, and knowing your lucky enough to be Irish. And of course “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy that sustained him through temporary periods of joy”.

I’m Irish because it is a hoot to be Irish,

As long as you remember you are Irish American, I always thought that phrase should be turned around to read American of Irish, that might solve some of the confusion.

Now There are people who go overboard, I remember in My Irish gift shop a customer or two would go on about The English and Irish history and the problems in the north like they lived in Belfast or Dublin. They thought they were more Irish than the Irish themselves, but that’s the way things go sometimes.

So why do we sons and daughters of emigrants past call ourselves Irish?

Again it goes back to the roots of that American Family Tree. there are many roots but only the best that are Irish. America has a population of 320,000,000 people 30,000,000 million of which have a claim to Irish heritage.  When you are one in 300 million you look for ways to differentiate yourself a bit. One way is by national heritage. Then it depends on how far removed you might be. I’ve a friend born in Galway, an American citizen, who plays hockey with me, most on the team don’t know his name, he’s “that Irish guy”.


I’m Irish because there isn’t an insult or a stereo type that can hurt me and for the most part makes me laugh.

Irish stereotypes;

Potato eater.   God love you, I’ll have a side of fries with those mashed potatoes please.

Drinkers.         Though this can get a bit carried away, I think the problem stems from all the others not being able to handle their grog. I’ll take a nice pint of plain, it gives you strength and it’s good for your health

Fighters.          Much rather have a person willing to mix it up rather than be cowardly.

Dumb Mic.      I was never able to figure this one out, perhaps I need to get my doctorate.


So in the end enjoy your Irish heritage. Plan a visit to Ireland and enjoy that beautiful piece of earth. Take the time to find a venue and hear a good Irish session. Dare I say it, strike a blow for freedom and raise a pint to revolutionaries for liberty with a properly poured Guinness,






Irish or American, Kip or messed up.

Sometimes whilst I read my favorite Irish blogs I come across others of my own ilk. Americans proud of their Irish heritage, but, I learned a long time ago that to be Irish or to be American are two very different things.

Irish or American

Many of my fellow Americans of Irish decent are convinced they are Irish. They are convinced that that island to the east of us is just the 51st state of the union, and in some ways they are right. But, in many ways they are wrong, and the quicker you realize you are American with your own American culture and ways the better time you’ll have enjoying your Irish heritage. I remember an Irish fellow lamenting to me about some American girl who went on and on about being Irish. He asked her where she was born and raised, and her answer was– Chicago. He couldn’t figure out how she could be Irish if she was American. He had a good point.

To be or not to be that is the question.

Irish or American? Let’s take the quiz.

  • Jeans, knickers, pants, trousers. be careful what you choose.
  • ride or lift?
  • your kidding me, or For Fecks sake
  • Your man.
  • Barrys or Lyons, Taytos or Kings
  • Are ya off your nut or off the drink, you might be off your nut to be off the drink, just don’t be a langer.
  • That was awesome.
  • I’m Irish, I was born in Chicago.
  • Hey man.
  • That was a home run.
  • Can you give me a ride home?
  • Dinner at eight.
  • Fanny pac


I’ve been over to Ireland a good many times, thought I was Irish once and learned a good lesson. The funny thing is that when you don’t pretend to be Irish you get to be friendly with a lot of the locals who will start telling you that “sure you must be Irish”, It’s a funny world.

People have asked me when visiting Ireland how would people know they are American? I tell them they have to do one simple thing. They only need to open their mouth and talk. We tourists forget that it’s a great big world out there, the Irish not only will know we are from America but most will be able to guess the part of America we are from.

So when you visit the home of your forefathers past, remember you are a visitor from another country, a great country, a country that provided hope and opportunity to desperate waves of emigrant sons and daughters escaping devastating times.

Be polite, listen, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or if you don’t understand an Irish phrase, politely tell the person what you don’t understand. I remember my friend John Condron telling me about a person’s business, He said “Ah that man’s shop’s a kip” I had no idea what he meant. “John what’s a kip”? He just laughed and told me the guy was a mess, un-organized, and didn’t know how he stayed in business.

So how did you do on the Irish or American quiz?

Just wondering.



Travel Ireland what to pack?

Travel Ireland

Travel Ireland for Irish musicTraveling to Ireland? After your Itinerary is made out and the excitement increases you’ll want to make sure you pack correctly.

The five most important things to pack when you travel Ireland.

  1. Travel Ireland with: A rain Jacket. Now don’t let the vision of having to bring rain gear dampen your spirits about your upcoming trip to Ireland. There will be gorgeous sunny days to be enjoyed, but the funny thing about being an island stuck out in the Atlantic is that weather has a way of changing and changing fast. It is very common to have a quick shower come up out of nowhere and a cotton hoodie just won’t do. Then there are the grey misty “soft” days that really are part of the Irish experience, you’ll need something to keep that gentle drizzle from throwing cold water on your Ireland travel vacation.
  2. Travel Ireland in: Layers. Now this again has it’s reasoning from the quick changing Irish weather. You can have fast changes in temperature again due to the Great Atlantic surrounding you. We once left Letterkenny at 9:00 am in teeshirts and headed north to explore the beautiful Donegal countryside. We stopped by a seaside restaurant as we headed up one of the peninsulas to a temperature drop of 30 degrees (F). We skidaddled into the pub/restaurant to looks of amazement from the locals. “Daft tourists wearing teeshirts on a 50 F degree day”. Well needless to say after warming up in the pub we dug out some sweaters and sweatshirts from the car and headed up to the beaches of the Inishowen peninsula. Of course and to our delight we found ourselves stripping off the coats and sweaters to a gorgeous 75 degree beach day. So think layers, a windbreaker, a sweater or two, and remember a rain shower can come by at any time so the more water repelling the better.
  3. Travel Ireland with: Electric plug converter and power adaptors. The appliances i.e. hairdryers, electric razors, laptops operate on a different electric current level in North America than in Europe and Ireland. Some appliances need only the plug adapter some need to convert the electric charge. This is where you will want  some assistance to ensure you do not fry your hair dryer or laptop. Personally, I am in the club of leaving the computers, dryers, and such at home. Then there is the phone. I’m not a techno geek so here is a good reference on phones in Europe by world traveling expert Rick Steves.
  4. Travel Ireland in: Shoes. More specifically walking shoes. More specifically comfortable walking shoes. More specifically 2 pairs of shoes that can be walked in for miles occasionally get wet, muddy, sandy, grassy, and hangout in pubs till the great Irish music ends. It use to be easy to pick out Americans as they were the ones with the white Nikes. A good pair of walking sneakers are fine, a good pair of hiking shoes may be better. And these days those comfortable sneaker like shoes don’t immediatly label you as a tourist.
  5. Travel Ireland with: Small comforts. Face cloths, moisturizers, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, razor. Sunscreen, yes I said sunscreen, there will be days of endless sun where you’ll be out in the elements for long stretches and sunscreen is expensive in Ireland. Sunglasses, and a good camera you’ll take twice as many photos as you ever thought you would. Be sure to check on the regulations for carry ons or pack in your checked luggage.

So there’s the start to you Ireland travel packing, remember the lighter you can pack the less bags you have to schlep.


My Ireland, Your Ireland.

My ireland

My Ireland or your Ireland

Mairead from was nice enough to send along a comment on Irish travel and it got me to thinking about the reasons why people visit Ireland. You may think it is a simple topic but your trip to Ireland and My Ireland favorites are as different and plentiful as the shades of green in an Irish meadow. Not to worry I won’t be listing 40 reasons to visit Ireland.

My Ireland Enniskerry

My Ireland Enniskerry

My Ireland Trips;

My Ireland trips have been for family and always goes back to the Wicklow town of Enniskerry. It’s a nice Irish town with a proper pub, B&B’s, stone center roundabout. It’s near the Powerscourt Waterfall, Powerscourt Gardens, and home to my cousin Jimmy. Nothing makes a drive through the Wicklow hills or a proper pint more enjoyable than to share them with a good friend.

My Ireland trips have been for business. Staying in a Dublin B&B and attending the Enterprise Ireland Shows at the RDS. Crafters, Weavers, Potters, Jewelers, Photographers, Artists, and more all in one huge exposition center showing the best Ireland has to offer.

My Ireland trips have been for Irish music. Chaperoning for the 14 year old Irish whistle and flute player who had qualified to compete in the All Ireland Fleadh. Nothing like staying up to all hours listening to session players from around the world share their love of Irish traditional music with each other.

My Ireland trips have been for pure touristy reasons. Checking out the Book of Kells, The Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, Wicklow Hills, Glendalough, Skibbereen, The Ring of Kerry, The O’Shea bar,

My Ireland trips have been for pleasant chats and sometimes heated discussions over a cup of Barry’s tea or a good pint of plain. The chats are one of the nicest unexpected benefits to traveling in Ireland, it does take a little skill though, you need to listen and think before answering. I can remember being in a Dingle pub with a group of locals and a friend from Dublin listening to the political unrest at the time. I was honored to be let into the talks, I listened and learned and realized yet another side of Ireland. I’ve had great chats about wee goats, good dogs, fine horses, bad pubs, fat gossips, old blowhards, and mighty Irish music players. All good.

I’ve enjoyed and hope to enjoy again the good, the bad, and the outrageous experiences of Ireland. The Irish phrase that sums up a good time had, maybe what makes my Ireland times the best, is as follows.– “Ah lads wasn’t the Craic last night grand”. –The Craic, the pure good times, for what ever reason, is shared by all who will engage and share in the experience that is Ireland.

So there are a few of my Irish favorites what are your reasons to visit Ireland? If you have visited before reply with a little story or occurrence and remember, The Craic can be mighty.