Ceol and Craic.

craicWe visitors to Ireland are sometimes dumbfounded by the vocabulary of Irish words for a good time. The most common of which is the Craic. Living on the east coast of The U.S. the Craic is almost as common here in the many pubs of Irish descent that dot every city and town than it is in Ireland. Almost. But having a good time, truly enjoying the events that surround you at that moment, being able to appreciate the craziness or specialness of the situation is especially Irish, and is seldom done in the singular. The Craic, the good times, usually has a partner, and on this fair blog that partner is the Ceol. I can think of few things better than a bit of Craic and Ceol. Good times induced by good Irish music.

So as is my way here are some Craic and Ceol moments and some beautiful updates. Chris Lucas playing at Johnny Foxes Dublins highest pub when we both were young and having fun. The Craic was only out done by the music, as this hardworking Irish folk player belted out the best of Dublin folk music. Needless to say the Guinness flowed as much as the laughter, as well as times of pure reverence and respect for the character of the music. Ceol and Craic it’s a funny thing, it’s a gorgeous thing, it’s an organic thing. Mr Lucas wouldn’t know me, but that night of fun is one of my favorite memories, ah the craic was good that night. Listen to this video as Mr Lucas has put out a Christmas song, nice.

Favorite memories are are funny thing. You would think the night in O’Donohues by St. Stephens Green, with the band playing and the mix of people in the pub reminiscent of the bar scene in Star Wars would be the lasting memory. Perhaps the late night concert that followed in the Gaiety theater nearby and the late night madness that followed would be the fondest memory. Yet the line that forever stays in my mind happens the next day, In a nearly empty Nearys Pub, while my cousin and I recollect the night. A Scotsman we had met the night before happens to pop in and exclaims, “Wasn’t the Craic Mighty last night lads”. Nothing could have summed up the night better. My God it was great craic. Ceol and Craic, hard to beat.

Now this might fall into the category of pure Ceol but the feeling of appreciation borders on the craicish, the boys from the Led Farmers an Irish trad/folk/fusion band are coming out with a new Cd in January and have offered to send along a track or two for a listen. They even gave this humble blogger a bit of billing on their website

Luke Kelly God rest his soul, is Irish Folk music, but I find myself seeking the next generation of Irish musicians to carry the torch, to keep alive the Craic and Ceol. So support those that are giving their all, it is not easy. Look for the new while appreciating the classics.
So as a little send off maybe a track from a great Boston Irish trad band the Ivy leaf with a great bit of Trad music.

 

Cheers and if you know a band that is keeping the Irish tradition of Ceol alive with a bit of Craic send their vitals along in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Irish Thanksgiving ah come on really?

Irish ThanksgivingIf you ever want to know if you are Irish, or American of Irish descent, just ask yourself if you celebrate Thanksgiving. If your answer is a resounding yes, followed by a drooling longing for a roasted bird, stuffed and ready to be cut and drown in gravy and or cranberry sauce…..You are American. That is not to say the Irish wouldn’t be understanding and accommodating if you were to find yourself in Ireland for an Irish Thanksgiving.

To Quote The Merry Plough Boy Pub Dublin on an Irish Thanksgiving

The Merry Ploughboy Pub will be celebrating Thanksgiving when our traditional dinner & show takes on a seasonal Thanksgiving twist.

Celebrated annually in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November, the holiday of Thanksgiving was first observed in 1621 and continues to be an American tradition today.

Thanksgiving means many things to different people but for most, the holiday of Thanksgiving is synonymous with a festive meal with friends and family and of course  turkey!

Speaking of turkeys the only real Irish Thanksgiving story would be as follows in this important video.

Ok they are Christmas turkeys, but that is the point. The closest thing to Thanksgiving in America, even Irish America, would be an Irish Christmas feast. For those that truly know the Thanksgiving story, they would know it is in thanks given  to God Almighty for all that we have been blessed with. None say it better than The Father of our Country George Washington, when he opened his Thanksgiving Proclamation with these words; “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor” –  So enjoy the day, be it in Dublin Ireland or Dublin Ohio. In the end we are all created in the Image of God, and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. While I still have Life, Liberty, and Happiness, I will be truly Thankful, and I wish all, on both sides of the Atlantic, all the best this Thanksgiving Day.

Cheers.

 

 

Irish Musicians to increase Climate Change.

Irish musiciansThere seems to be consensus that as the winter approaches there will be a change in the climate. Environmentalist specialist predict that the temperatures will plunge in the up coming months where snow and ice are likely to cause problems in December, January, and February. And apparently Irish musicians are to blame.

Although no scientific evidence proves that increase rates of CO2 have any effect on weather, there are many who believe they do. Since there is a consensus of people who believe that increase rates of CO2 causes global climate change there is an effort to curtail  traditional Irish musicians. More specifically the fiddlers and accordionists are the most guilty of contributing to increases in CO2. Apparently a hot lick played on such instruments cause the players to exhale profusely and combined with good ceilli music causes crowds to dance, cavort, and enjoy life. None of this can be allowed, when such jocularity occurs humans tend to breathe at a greater rate and increase the levels of CO2. Now in the past the consensus was that this would cause global warming, but as todays consensus shows these activities cause climate change.

Now not all people go along with the consensus of climate change enthusiasts. Perhaps they have no idea how dangerous using science is these days, perhaps they don’t have an ear for the pied pipers playing, or perhaps they have decided not to join the lemmings heading en mass toward the global warming cliff. Perhaps they are scientists who rely on imperical data, actual numbers not predictive numbers, actual data points, not a fudged hockey stick graph. To those that have an un-biased mind, which is hard to find these days as it is not cool or comfortable to fight the media and the peer pressure of social influences, I thought I’ld add a some logic to the subject.

So here’s a little not so light reading for Irish musicians or other curious minds

 

Aliens cause global warming by  Michael Crichton

Aliens cause global warming? Yes by former Nasa scientist, climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer PH. D.

Or you can choose to let Oprah be your guide to climate change. Don’t read anything that might make you think for yourself or be an independent thinker. Just remember when you see some hot lick being played by your favorite Irish musicians the CO2 levels will increase and probably the cause for the next super storm. In case the full lecture of Michael Crichton’s  was to voluminous for you, I’ll leave with a paragraph I liked. I especially liked that Mr. Chrichton’s logic would let Irish musicians play as hard, lively and as long as they want without any guilt of causing  cataclysmic global climate events.

Excerpt from Michael Crichton’s lecture.

Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?

Let’s think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn’t know what an atom was. They didn’t know its structure. They also didn’t know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS? None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn’t know what you are talking about.

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it’s even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future.

 

Cheers, and never be afraid to live life and play Irish music.

Veterans Day 2014

 

vetrans day

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this veterans day 2014 I wish to offer my gratitude for all that served and are serving in the armed services, their families who sacrifice so much, and all those who aid returning veterans.

Freedom isn’t free is a catch phrase people like to use but it is the soldier that does the work, they are where the rubber meets the road and when things get tough it is the military that preserves our freedom from those who would deny it.

The soldier takes his oath, perhaps we fat and happy recipients of their dedication should do the same, maybe then we can remember that the US Constitution enables we inhabitants of this country with certain inalienable rights.

Soldiers oath

I, do solemnly swear  that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

So on this veterans day 2014 go out and thank the protectors of your freedom and maybe extend this gratitude to the rest of the days of the year as well, so help you God.

Thank you to all Veterans.

Irish poetry in Irish song

Irish poetryI was sitting around in a local pub with a musician friend of mine and we got discussing some music he was thinking of putting down on a cd. Now I love discussing the ins and outs of what goes through an artists head, musically that is, but the thing he was most interested in was a poem he wanted to include. So this got me thinking of some famous Irish songs that include Irish poetry and the massive impact Irish poetry has on the feel of the song or cd.

Irish poetry in Irish Song

  • The first song that comes to mind is the song about Irish Patriot Michael Collins appropriately titled “Michael” by Johnny McEvoy which has a moving set of prose to add power to an already powerful rebel song. I once heard an Irish born rugby player belt this out from the bar, intro and song done flawlessly, and to put it in American form, He was awesome.

 

  • One of my favorite pieces of Irish music is the the Lonely Boatman by Finbar Furey and the Furey Brothers. I’m not sure if its the Irish poetry, the sea, the ship, or the boatman that captures my heart. Now that I think of it, the more likely reason I love this song is that I’m a sucker for a slow air.

 

  • There are times when an artist recites a poem and you would swear he is singing especially when he is a legend of Irish music Luke Kelly. Thank God for youtube and this rendition of Luke Kelly’s Irish Poetry.

For What Died the Sons of Róisín

 

  • My favorite version of the parting glass which includes the poem “Forever in your debt” by Kirk Jones, a beautiful haunting, yet hopeful tune.

For those not conversant in the Irish language here is the English translation;

With thanks to those who blew the wind
and those who sailed the ship,
We sailed it tight against the tide
and I shall be forever in your debt.

 

  • And as it is the day after election day in my part of the world we’ll end with a poetic rendition from the Woletones and their tribute to the founding fathers and patriots who fought and died for the independence of The United States.

Please add your favorite song that has Irish poetry included, or perhaps a favorite verse of an Irish poem that has been put to music and let others know the richness of Irish poetry.

Cheers,

 

 

 

Halloween spirits and beware.

halloween spirits

                     Beware the Spirits of halloween

 

The kettle steams for tea it seems or maybe a brew of other means

To take the wary caught off guard to a place in time that has been barred

A place it seems of ghouls and ghosts of time forgotten of spirit hosts

That steal your soul with disregard that cloaks all in an evil shroud

 

 

Come closer child take the bait, enclosed in sweetness to seal your fate

Your soul is ours to enrich our powers during these bewitching hours

All Hallows eve when time stands still, the past the future are at our will

When the clock strikes twelve we’ll collect our prize of unwary girls  and boys

 

To replenish spirits of darkness and dawn, of Banshee, Pookas, and Leprechauns

To roam the woods, meadows, and glens, to know happiness never again

The bonfires burn for other spirits the good and friendly little twits

The fairy folk with their helpful ways, always looking for better days

 

The shiny lights they love so much might save some from us such and such

The bonfires blaze are few and scattered we’ll find our childish lives to shatter

Though as I search all I find, are witches, goblins, and evil kinds

They act so odd in their little groups as they travel onto human’s stoops

 

These gaggles of goblins are so strange their voices pitch they need to change

They almost sound full of joy and laughter a sound unknown in the everafter

And tricks or treats for evil folk this must be some demonic joke

Come now spirits of October lets find a victim before it’s over

 

A trail of pumpkin guts revealed a victim now who’s fate is sealed

In the darkness he cackles loudly of his misdeeds he boasts proudly

His soul is ours till time forgotten his entrails spewing and turning rotten

The ravens feast on his mortal coil and whats left just turns to soil

 

So beware and take this warning, don’t disregard our evil  scorning

We will find you when they meet, the dawn of time, and time incomplete

The time when souls roam the earth, to steal your soul for our rebirth

We leave you now with our horrific treasure, for you to contemplate, at your leisure

 

Woohahahaoohaaa,

Happy Halloween from irelandfavorites.

 

Dublin musicians

Dublin musicians

Damien Dempsey the next Irish warrior poet, rocker, folk singer. Image c/o Damiendempsey.com

Dublin Musicians highlighted in this post

  1. Billy Treacy
  2. George Murphy
  3. Janet Grogan
  4. Damien Dempsey

Dublin musician Billy Treacy has come out with a new cd and has sent yours truly a nice video of a new track. I thought it would be nice to showcase Billy and some of the new Dublin musicians that are trying to make it in the rough and tumble world of music. Here goes.

Dublin musicians… let’s hear from Billy Treacy and Temple bar.

A nice catchy tune, a lot of good advice included, keep an eye on your phone. Billy has been hard at work  at his chosen craft, gigin in the Ha’penny Bridge Inn Dublin producing Cd’s and promoting like the devil. It’s not easy being an over night success, it usually happens after years of hard work. We’ll add another video from Billy and then check out some more Dublin musicians.

Billy Treacy Spancill Hill a nice Irish Folk Song

Checkout Billy Treacy at his website billytreacy.com

Another Ireland favorites favorite Dublin musician George Murphy

We’ll start of with a powerful original song really class. Something out of nothing George Murphy

Hard to find any updates on George short of a Dublin show at the Royal theater Dublin on September 11, we did a little story and bio on irelandfavorites.com/georgemurphy so check it out or just listen to a classic Irish folk song by Mr. Murphy, School days over

One of the great voices to emerge from the Dublin streets and one of the finest Dublin musicians we highlighted on irelandfavorites.com and apparently taking the X factor by storm, Janet Grogan

A little background can be found on Janet Grogan new irish voices irelandfavorites

Is writing a post on new Irish stars before they make it big on X Factor patting myself on the back..you bet.

Damien Dempsey might be the most well known of the Dublin Musicians on the scene today. Powerful emotional blend of Irish traditional folk songs, contemporary soul artist, full of conflict and resolution. Saw Damien at the Brighton Music Hall and he was pure energy, fun, and emotion. Great show.

I hope you enjoyed this little summation of some of the current Dublin musicians, They all have their own unique talents, they have their own unique musical style, and they all have Irish musical roots that keep them well grounded.

Cheers.

Ireland’s favorite potato recipes

Ireland's favorite potatoesWhile perusing Irish websites I like I happened upon potato.ie which had their favorite potato recipes. To be more accurate “Ireland’s favourite” recipes with the Irish spelling as opposed to yours trulys Ireland’s favorite Americanized spelling, but I digress. It got me thinking “What are my favorite potato recipes and would they be Ireland’s favorite also?”

Lets find out.

According to Potato.ie Ireland’s favorite potato recipes are.

 

shutterstock_148360283(1)

1. Rich & Hearty Beef & Potato Stew

 

cheesy potato bites

    2. Potato Bites with Egg & Cheese

 

patata revolcanas

     3. Patatas Revolconas

 

chickenchasseur

    4. Chicken Chasseur & Mashed Potatoes

 

batata harra

     5. Batata Harra

potatopakora

     6. Potato & Onion Pakora

 

potatoturnipgratin

     7. Potato & Turnip Gratin

All great choices but the potato is such a versatile tuber there must be more.

So here are a few of Irelandfavorites favorite potato recipes which really are my favorite potato recipes Irish or not.

Re-mashed potato crunchies.

Mashed potatoes are great on their own but thrown in a frying pan, either nonstick or well seasoned cast iron, add a nice hunk of butter to brown and scrape and fold potatoes until you have a nice amount of crunchy bits. The resulting potato mashed is heaven on a fork.

Fried baked potato.

Take your favorite left over cooked baking potato and slice into 1/4 inch or so slices and reheat in a frying pan over medium high heat with a tablespoon of oil and a bit of butter, add herbs of your choice be they dill, parsley, chives, and you have one crispy potato treat.

Potato salad.

I’ll have to confess that as potato salads go Claire O’Shea’s version is the best by far, that would be my mothers.

Boil a waxy type potato (I like PEI or Maine) until a knife goes through without resistance drain peel cut into chunks and pour 1/4 cup of caesar salad dressing over warm potatoes. grate 1/4 small onion and add, grate 1 clove of garlic and add, 1 teaspoon mustard, dash of celery salt, dash of onion powder, dash of fresh ground pepper, 1/2 to 1 cup of good mayonnaise to just cover the potatoes, a tablespoon of good vinegar optional. cover refrigerate.

Hash browns.

roughly grate 2 large floury potatoes, chop 1 onion, combine onion and potato and use your method of choice to drain as much moisture from them as possible, either wrap in cheese cloth and squeeze moisture out. Use a potato ricer to squeeze moisture out but not so much potatoes go through ricer or spread out on paper towels several times. The point is to get as much moisture out of the spuds as possible. heat up your skillet add tablespoon of veg oil and hunk of butter and add a layer 1/2 inch of potato to pan, turn when sides are browning and remove soon after, I like them with just a little salt and pepper but any herbs are up to you.

Potato and egg.

I know pretty simple but there might not be a better meal when there is nothing left in the fridge. First off you need pre cooked potatoes, either boiled, baked, or microwaved. Heat up your skillet add a bit of butter and oil, add potato and chopped onion. Take 3 eggs scrambled wait for potatoes to brown a bit. Pour eggs over potatoes, turn over once trying to keep large pieces of egg intact. Feel free to add butter around sides of skillet to help from sticking, scrape contents onto plate with plenty of pepper and a bit of salt. a bottle of hot sauce is great as are any of the chile verde sauces.

If you have a favorite potato recipe be it your favorite Irish potato recipe or your favorite American potato recipe or your favorite peruvian potato recipe let me know and we’ll add it to the list. Now that I think of it  Ireland’s favorite potato recipe would be a nice boiled Queenie with a side of chips and maybe a baked twice Kerr.

Cheers.

Potato and leek soup courtesy of Mairead at irishamericanmom.com

Irish country music.

Irish country musicI’m a lucky man, I have talented children and friends that surround me with beautiful music. If you have read this humble blog before you would know I love traditional Irish tunes, I love Irish folk music, I love Irish rock. There is however an Irish music tradition that I have been negligent of. Irish country music and Irish country songs are the unknown genre of Irish music. I think it took my youngest child’s love of American country music to open up my mind to the possibilities of Irish country.

We can go old school Irish country music  with a classic of Irish country Big Tom.

Big Tom and the Mainliners story has a familiar ring, their big break came by accident. The band played the B side of a “vinyl” record that was being promoted on TV when they needed to fill time. The “B” side featuring Big Tom singing Gentle Mother was played and an Irish country legend was born.

I used to have Irish country music fans asking me if i could get ahold of some Big Tom recordings in my shop. There were no wifi, mp3s, no iPhones, no youtube, and record companies didn’t think there was a market for Irish country so Big Tom’s fans had to import there own music.

Big Tom’s story included working for an ice cream factory, family farming, and picking tomatoes abroad, checkout this link for an in depth Biography for Big Tom and the Mainliners one  of the great Irish show bands

 We can go a little more modern Irish country music with Declan  Nerney

Declan Nerney was born in Drumlish County Longford, growing up on the family farm Declan always dreamed of playing music, good Irish country music. the best Bio might be Declan’s song “The Marquee in Drumlish”, so here goes.

This video shows the fun and energy from the country Irish fans along with Big Tom and the boys along with Declan.

John Brophy used to sell me Christmas trees and before he left he would always buy 2 Crunchies and a Declan Nerney cassette. Check out the goings on with Declan Nerney at his website declannerney.com

 we can go full boat modern Irish country with Derek Ryan

Derek Ryan  grew up in Garyhill near Carlow town, Derek was born into  Irish traditional music, attending The All Ireland Fleadh Ceoils on a regular basis with his father. Derek achieved  two all-Ireland titles in both bodhran and ceili drumming, himself. Quite an accomplishment. Derek has found his niche, his love, Irish country and look for him to be an international hit.

So here’s just a small sample of Irish country music, just another side of the musical island across the Atlantic.

Cheers.

I miss Philip Lynott

January 4, 1986, the night the music died. Phiipl Lynott lead singer, song writer, rocker, produced some of the best music this planet will ever know. Most Know these Irish rockers for songs from their Jailbreak album and that’s a good thing. For the songs are monumental. The Boys are back in town, Jailbreak, The Warrior, The Cowboy song, all classics.

Philip Lynott.

Phil Lynott not a statue but a visionary

 

But now as I grow older, I appreciate the versions of Irish classic folk songs that Phil and the boys played to perfection.

What makes a night complete?

What makes you stay in your car at the end of the day to listen to the song on the radio?

What validates all the folk songs you love and all the rock songs you yearn for?

Is it as simple as an Irish folk classic?

Is it as simple as adding a good riff?

No.

As I’ve always said, it is the feel, the emotion, the righteous knowing how a song should be.

Whiskey in the Jar by Phil Lynott and the Thin Lizzy group does all of the above, I feel so bad that I love this song so much.

An after thought, spurred on by their record label to do a “traditional song” Thin Lizzy takes the bumpers off and has one hell of a rocking Irish folk song. The kind of song that keeps you in the car even at the end of a long night because you want to hear it finish.

I think sometimes the Irish fellas don’t realize how much emotion can be translated into we descendants of emigrants past. We are of different histories, but of the same blood, never knowing, but empathetic all the same. When I hear Phil Lynott sing whiskey in the Jar I truly believe it is the best version of this Irish classic, and I miss Philip Lynott  with the heart of a true music  purist. I think the devil created heroin to steal music makers from this world.

So with humble appreciation, and non humble adoration I implore any who have withstood reading my drivel to pay homage to the late great Philip Lynott and his version of an Irish folk classic Whiskey in the Jar.

I miss Philip Lynott, I miss his music, I miss his vision, I miss snowy white’s riffs on a warm summers day. I know the hands of time can not go back and pluck poor Phil from his fate. But I want all to know the greatness of the  man, and I for one miss him dearly.

In Memoriam irelandfavorites salute Philip Lynott.