Why Your Second Guinness tastes the best.

You go to a nice session or maybe listen to an Irish folk singer belt out a good Irish song, nice. Under extreme social pressure you order a perfect pint of Guinness. Now many would say this first sip is the the best Guinness of the night. I’ve found this to be untrue. In fact research shows it’s the second Guinness.

second guinness

Granted you first need to be sure you are getting the best pint of Guinness available. The Guinness needs to be poured properly. The Guinness needs to be at the right temperature. It should be poured using the proper ratio of C02 and Nitrogen gases. I could go on and on about the glass, as it needs to be served in a proper imperial pint Glass. The glass could be the now established Guinness gravity pint glass or the good old tulip glass. But even with all the conditions met, the first sip of the first pint, still isn’t the best pint of Guinness.

Indeed, I have found that the second Guinness is the best tasting, most rewarding and most pleasing to the palate. After exhaustive research in pub after pub, ordering and tasting perfectly poured pints of guinness, and only for the benefit of the readers of this humble blog, I have come to this monumental conclusion:

Your second Guinness tastes the best

But don’t take my word for it.

According to Yahoo Health and a 2013 study in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology there’s a reason the second Guinness tastes better.

“Well, there’s a reason having a drink feels so relaxing — a 2013 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that, even before you feel buzzed, sipping beer releases the famous feel-good hormone dopamine. This lights up the reward centers in the brain, which in some people, can increase the desire to have another …”

So it’s that dopamine that knows the second Guinness tastes the best, sounds more like something my wife would say. As in that dope of mine is out back herding cats. But I’ll go with those Neuroscientists. They’re wicked smart.

So, This combination of Arthur Guinness’s creation, pour correctly from the tap. Served at the correct temperature of between 42.5 to 44.5 F  (6 to 7 celsius). Using the correct gas mixture of 75% nitrogen 25% C02. Poured in a proper imperial pint glass, and combined with the physical affects of the pleasing neurological characteristics of consuming the first pint combine to make Your second Guinness taste the best.

Now I’m off to the Brendan Behan for a really nice session and to figure out the  reason that pint number Three might not be the best.


Irish session players. How to be accepted to the session.

You listened one day to the Bothy Band or Planxty or you went on a trip to Ireland and fell in love with traditional Irish music, beautiful. You take the next step and explore some of the Irish traditional instruments, maybe starting off with a Bodhran or a tin whistle and you manage to make a noise come out, nice. So you find a chapter of Comhaltas or a local instructor and learn to play a handful of tunes, excellent. So now you are ready to join those Irish session players down at that nice pub that plays every week, Saturday night 5 to 8…….well maybe yes, but most likely no.

Before you get to be one of these Irish session players you need to know the ropes, the rules, the session etiquette. Unless you are a natural player, who grew up in a musical household, and was raised by parents who taught you good manners the chances are you need to learn the session rules

The good news is that the Irish session is an inviting place and the rules are not that hard to pick up, kind of like the words to a good Irish song.

Find a session that fits your level. Seems simple enough, but I can’t tell you how many times a good hearted newbie Irish trad player with basic skills joins in with a seasoned group of players and just wants to play, play, play. Really not a good idea.

Stepping all over the other players, or more than likely playing alone, while the others secretly want you lynched, is not a good thing. So find a beginners session, make your mistakes with others of the same level. The nice thing is that you will progress and get a feeling for playing in the group.

If you find a more advanced session Listen and learn. Don’t push your way into the circle of players. The chances are that the pub pays a seasoned player to recruit and play with advanced players,their spots are almost always reserved for other advanced players. You can listen for tunes you will want to add to your play list, and you have the opportunity to chat a bit with some advanced players when the opportunity presents itself.

Irish session players


So to make it easy on you here are the rules for newbie Irish Session players by Irelandfavorites;

  1. Know you level of playing, beginner, intermediate, advanced, pro.  This is the most important rule and will be the one that makes playing in the session the most enjoyable for you.
  2. If you are at a new session and a bit unsure of the level or song choices, wait watch and listen. You can sit just outside the session circle and learn a lot. Listen to the songs being played. If the session is at your level be polite, don’t barge in and act all important, especially in smaller ones. There is usually a person in charge of the sessions or one that knows whats going on, ask if you can join the session.
  3. Sit in the session only if you are going to play, if you are there to listen leave the session circle for the players

Ok you found a session you like at your level what do you do?

  1. Ask to join in a nice unobtrusive way
  2. Join in the tunes, don’t step on the other players, be especially careful with backing instruments like Bodhrans, Guitars, and Bouzoukies
  3. Play to the tempo of the musician who started play, don’t speed up or slow the tune down
  4. Start you own tune if invited to do so, sometimes this will be directed at you “James this is your first time with us do you have a tune for us” or maybe toward the end of the night “does anyone have a tune”.
  5. Pick a tune you know and can play through without a problem. Play a tune most will know so they can join you
  6. Ask if you wish to record the session ask if it is allowed.
  7. In the breaks of music talk to other players, ask questions, always be polite and avoid being annoying. Most will be happy to discuss tunes and such because they love the Irish session
  8. Let some one in charge start up the session again, try not to play while others might be tuning the instruments, and lastly…
  9. Don’t Ever, Never, play, touch, handle, or move, another musicians instrument without asking them first. In fact you are better off staying clear of them until you become an integral part of the session

Every Irish session is different, they have their particular Irish session players, rhythms, and feel. find your level and be an Irish session player that other Irish session players enjoy playing with and never be an Irish session killer.




Special moment captured in an Irish Pub, John Horgan.

I have tried to explain the best times in traveling to Ireland are the unexpected times, the impromptu moments, the “Am I really seeing this” moments, and that what was captured in The Crossroads Pub in Knockavilla Cork Ireland.

Now this video was captured by a patron in the bar that night and shared a bit, well really it went viral and made John Horgan  “The singing barman” an over night sensation.

The best part, the really reassuring part is that Mr. Horgan wasn’t trying to go viral. He wasn’t trying to get some good PR for the pub or push some struggling Cd. He just loves a good Irish Ballad.

There are more than a few lessons to be gleaned from this video,

  • The patrons in the bar sang along in a respectful way adding to the chorus but not ruining the performance.
  • The patrons were quiet and let this Irish song be heard, you didn’t hear random conversations drowning the singer out
  • The barman continued working the whole time paying attention to his customers, proving the Irish pub is more about interaction than boozing.

So if you you find yourself in a Cork bar and have used your best pub etiquette and have found yourself as an accepted part of the crowd, consider yourself fortunate. But there is more……….

You see you are in a Cork bar, and you are hearing a Cork man singing a song written by …..Another Cork man. The Bright Blue Rose was written by Jimmy MacCarthy from Cork. This would also explain why the majority of people in the bar know the song and sing along with the chorus. John Horgan isn’t just singing a nice ballad, he is singing the ballad and representing Cork as well, the love just comes through.

There is something special about local songs, in fact the best Irish songs are the ones that have a meaning to the singer, and they are the ones you should relish the most.

John Horgan has put a CD together for charity and has another more produced but still beautiful song about Cork. I have two reasons for putting this video in;

  1. The first is to highlight Mr. Horgan.
  2. The second is to make Mairead from irishamericanmom.com struggle to get that wee bit of dust from her eye. Though she’s a Dub I know she has some Cork connections as well.

So when you make that first trip over to Ireland you never know what you are going to find. Ireland has a lot to offer and sometimes you get a really nice song from the Bar,



5 best Irish songs you don’t know

There are certain Irish songs I catch myself humming to that I know nobody else knows. These are the Irish songs I love, and  I believe these are the Irish songs you will love too. These tunes are not as common as Raglan Road or The Foggy Dew but once you hear them you’ll not know why you don’t listen to them on a daily basis.

5 best Irish songs

Why don’t you know these great Irish tunes?





                                       5 best Irish songs you don’t know

  1. Lough Sheelin Eviction.  As beautiful, haunting, emotional, historical,and  polarizing a song that has ever been written. The version I like best is the Wolftones classic where they alter the lyrics of this old trad folk song, using planes rather than ships, and tweaking the chorus a bit, but they almost make you feel part of the story, just class.
  2. School days over.   Now I don’t know whether this song reminds us that school ends for our kids eventually and they have to make a living in this world, or it’s another classic Luke Kelly tune that has me amazed no one really knows it. OK it’s that it’s a classic Luke Kelly tune, this should be in the top 5 best Irish songs period, but alas it’s still overlooked.
  3. Whiskey on a Sunday. A fairly recent song from the fifties was written by Glen Hughes of Liverpool, and while it originally wasn’t an Irish song, it was tweaked a bit by Danny Doyle to include some Dublin landmarks, and became Irish. It has a catchy chorus and a nice nostalgic feeling. A good one to sing in a singsong.
  4. Cliffs of Donneen. Just a beautiful song that brings you back to the rugged Irish coast, Great version by Christy Moore and my favorite version by Paddy Reilly, just personal preference.
  5. Teddy O’Neil. A really nice song about teenage angst and heartbreak and no better version than the one sung by Delores Keane.


So there’s my list of the 5 best Irish songs that no one knows but should, if you have a song to add to the list it would be nice to hear your recommendation.



A Halloween tale to turn you pale.


                             “A Halloween Tale”

This roundish sphere before me waits, still alive I hold it’s fate

this pleasant living thing that was, would like to move, but can’t because

a slice around it’s upper crown will gain entrance to what is down

opened up to see guts revealed, it’s fate that is so gravely sealed

the knife slides through with some resistance, but it just needs some ghostly persistence

and routing out the guts and sinew, leaving piles and piles of guts and gut goo

it’s time to slice, the nose and eyes, and make them a bit trianglized

the teeth, ha ha, none should show, just a zig zagged horror show

And so the living will always see, we’ll burn it’s bottom with kerosene

and light a fire to burn within, it’s light blazing a warning to all it’s kin

This is the perfect beacon for evil phantoms,

I think you call it a Jack-O-Lantern.

Halloween tale







I hope you enjoyed this Halloween tale  and bits                                                                               Happy Halloween from Ireland favorites.

Irish Ghosts and ghouls, and a poem from an Irish fool.

 Irish ghosts

                            “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 never know happiness ever again

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

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


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

The bonfire blazes 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

But 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 It cackles loudly of Its’ misdeeds it boasts so proudly

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

The ravens feast on his mortal coil and what is 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 We spirits  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




Happy Halloween from irelandfavorites.

Musicians makes the difference

You know a lot of times we are in a pub or restaurant with a hard working musician giving their all in the background and we hardly know it. It’s not because they are not giving it their all, it is not because they are not talented, it is because we are busy, caught up in our everyday mentality. We need to take a bit of time and give these musicians a bit of love and recognition. Because in the end we really do like some good live music, it makes our time out really special. What can be better than a soulful song, good friends, good food, and good libation………. nothing…..in my humble opinion.

musicians work for tips

a tip can make the difference to a talented musician, or a not so talented musician for that matter.

What does it take to throw a dollar or two into a tip jar?

Not much.

What does that do to that hard working musician?

Well it keeps them going, helps them stay positive, helps them believe that they are appreciated, and maybe it helps keeping good honest music alive in this world, not such a bad thing.

My wife teases me, but I am proud of the fact that I ran across the steet to throw a couple of dollars into a tip jar of a girl singing at an Old Orchard Beach bar. She was awesome, she was old school, she was unafraid, she deserved to be told she was good. I only wish I was there for the whole show.

Buskers giving it their all on the street, some are good, some are bad, and some are tremendous. When you find tremendous throw some dough their way, they may just need that justification to take it to the next level.

Who are these Buskers? Well in times gone by- you might have heard- Luke Kelly, Jim McCann, Paddy Reilly, or some unknown phenomonal superstar singing the best version of Raglan Road you ever heard (Damien Dempsey). Why can’t we throw a bit of money at them? help them out a bit? Do we have to wait till they are filling the concert halls and charging $ 60.00 a pop?

The next time you hear a young artist groping their way through a set, an unknown artist belting a great tune, or a seasoned folkster not giving in to the commercial way of doing things, show them some love, and keep them playing, we all make out better.


A nice Irish tune

I just needed a good Irish tune, where else to find one than the Catskills Irish Arts festival.

And in the famous words of Joe Perry (Aerosmith) I’ll

Nice Irish tune


“let the music do the Talking”




September 11 2015, a short memory

September 11 2015

Survivors of Septemper 11,








Do you remember? Have you forgotten? Do you know the enemy and what is in their make up and their goal? Well let us reflect.

The Enemy, are you afraid to call them by their name? On September 11 they were Radical Islamist muslim fanatics who’s goal was/is to convert all, to their version of Islam.  Then Al Qaeda now Isis, And the really scary news is that presently the current occupant of the whitehouse  is removing sanctions from the largest state sponsored terrorist country in the world and allowing them the means to deliver a nuclear bomb, but hey what’s the biggie michelle might be the next Jackie O.

The enemy recruited human beings to commit suicide and murder 3000 civilians on that fateful day.

This enemy slaughters their own population if they do not commit fully to their cause.

This enemy kills children if they are Christian, like so many stateists in the past that we are suppose to re write history for.

How is one to counter the Barberism that is Radical Islam, and counter the enabling Muslim religion.


Remember 2001, Remember Todd Beamer, Remember the planes, Remember the jumps, Remember the apologists, Remember the responders.

So here 14 years later on September 11 2015 we sit fat and happy thinking our government will do what is right, well fat chance.

Today the president seeks approval of a treaty to release Iran from sanctions, allow their nuclear program to go forward and unfreeze up to 150 billion dollars to this terrorist sponsor. Without Congressional support! How? He calls it an agreement not a treaty, he has manipulated and castrated the Constitution once again. So maybe it is time to


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article I (Article 1 – Legislative)

Section 1

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Maybe we should all take a look at our Constitution it shows when Tyrants are in charge, and Make no mistake Obama is a classic Tyrant. If only the Congress would open their eyes instead of holding their breath hoping World war three won’t start before the next election.


Remember the good.

Glen Doherty, Ty Woods, Chris Stephens, Sean Smith. Read their story here. The story of the Benghazi Heroes 

Remember the bad.

Bin Laden, Saddam Husein, ISIS, The Ayatollahs,

Remember the ugly.

Clinton lies about Benghazi. obama undermines the US Constitution. obama fans the fires of racial divide. obama described the muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” And now obama aids Iran in acquiring the BOMB.

The sad part is the founders of this nation anticipated tin pot dictators like obama would rise to power on occasion and put in provisions so that Congress could limit their power. It is time we said enough. I don’t want a nanny state government that is more concerned with aiding our enemies than it is with upholding our founding principles.

We voted them out in the Senate

We voted them out in the house

Please God let us make it to the election in 2016 so we might be able to repair the damage done.

I don’t wish the freedoms given to us by our founding fathers and the founding documents end up being a Memory

Irish session snobs?

Irish session

So you made the decision to pick up a Bodhran or fiddle or flute and learn some good Irish tunes. Good for you. You have spent some time and enjoyed the playing, maybe had a lesson or two and now want to join the fun of an Irish session. Good for you. The Irish session is the place to join other traditional Irish musicians in the playing of good Irish music. But you seem to be getting a weird vibe from the Irish session players, they seem a bit, well, snobby.

Well the truth of the matter is that besides being willing to learn the nice Irish music you need to know the hierarchy of the session.


Yes there is a hierarchy, a set of levels, a bit of educated listening that comes with the Irish session. I like to describe it this way……………………

You and four of your friends want to play some basketball, you have all played with each other, you have all played with other good players, you all have learned to dribble the ball, set pics, pass the ball, some are excellent outside shooters, some are good around the hoop, some rebound well. You all learned these skills in camps, you played in developmental leagues, you accumulated skills from pee wee to grade school to intramural leagues. In the end you find your level where you can play with others and Enjoy the game.

Irish session like basketball

Now imagine you go to a pick up game of hoop where you play against 5 good players, your team consists of 2 other good players and 2 unknown players. These two unknown players have just learned to play basketball, they don’t dribble well, they can’t play at the speed of the other players and are kind of useless on the court. The game is a one sided slaughter, the experienced players are frustrated and a bit put off. The inexperienced players can’t figure out why they are being looked down on, I mean they tried hard, they gave it their all, they think they did ok, they just didn’t know that this basketball hour was for former college level players. They really just wasted time for people. If however they had found a beginner league they would have done better, their skills could have room to grow, they could go on intermediate levels, and with enough skills maybe sit in with the expert leagues for a play or two.

The Irish session is similar, know your level. Know the rules

If you find yourself in an advanced level (good players) do not panic!

You have a great opportunity to learn. Listen to the tunes, train your ear you are listening to the tunes played well. You will also hear tunes that you do not know, when there is a lull ask what the tune is so you can play it. You do have an advantage in music over basketball, you can play along softly. This means that you can try to keep up with the more advanced player but it will not intrude on the game er session.

Beginner sessions will have advanced players in them. Many advanced players will sit in on beginner sessions to help beginners improve. They all played in them, most remember some nice whistle or fiddler showing them a thing or two. They want you to progress, learn, enjoy, love, revel, in the music it is a fellowship, a brother/sister hood that they wish to expand.

So the next time you find yourself in an Irish session and it feels a bit snobby you may just need to consider what level that session is, and learn, and enjoy the Irish music played well.