Ah the lazy, hazy, crazy, days of summer are upon us. So of course I wish to put an Irish bent on Irish things to do. The best Irish things to do of course.
Irish things to do:
Find a festival.
If you happen to be traveling to Ireland there are a myriad of festivals, from plowing competitions, to potato festivals, to art festivals, feises and fleadhs. Find the one you like the best. Some are small and intimate and some are large extravaganzas like the Galway Arts festival, but small or large there is fun to be had.
If you are staying near home don’t fear as their are plenty of Irish fairs that take advantage of the summer weather. The fairs are nice but they do take a time commitment and sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little more laid back…so…..
Find some Irish music.
There is always some Irish music playing near you, sometimes you are lucky and a day of Irish music will come to town, like the CelticfestMilton which is playing June 26 2016 in Milton, ma.
My favorite Irish music opportunity is to find a good session. Now good session means different things to different people, but nothing screams contentment like great old Irish tunes being played well by great musicians. If you are in the Boston area checkout these venues for a good Irish session:
The Burren Somerville
The Druid Cambridge
The Brendan Behan Jamaica Plain
and for good singing acts Mr. Dooleys Boston has plenty of Boston’s best.
Now if you are looking for maybe the best of Irish things to do and maybe you don’t want to travel you might consider your own Irish music festival.
My favorite music selections and libations for my personal Irish festival
The Ivy leaf trad music, really good, with one or two songs as well, but mainly instrumental this link will take you to their site and you can buy their music if you choose
Once you have a nice base of trad it’s time for the Irish music legend Luke Kelly, I like Luke Kelly’s greatest hits but you can’t go wrong with anything from the legend who was Luke Kelly.
Then you have other choices to steer your Irish festival, these are your Irish things so what direction you go in is up to you. Maybe, Women of Irish music, Mary Black, Frances Black, Delores Keane. Maybe a bit new wave with Luka Bloom or Lunasa. Maybe a little rockier with the Cranberries or the Corrs, or full on rock with Rory Gallagher or Thin Lizzy. Then there are always the Chieftains, Van Morrison, Paddy Reilly, or the Undertones.
Once you have your music selections you going to need some food and libation.
There is a great book A course called Ireland about traveling Ireland and golfing where the author describes a meal served to his group in an upscale hotel,
“each table was brought the same sides to share along with carrots and greens came a generous helping of au gratin potatoes, a banquet sized bowl of boiled potatoes,and a baked potato for each of us.” I knew I’ld been in Ireland too long when three sides of potatoes didn’t strike me as funny, but in the face of so much starch, the guy next to us stopped the waitress and asked her to please bring him a bowl of french fries. It was almost enough to make me reach for the carrots, but I didn’t.”
So pick you favorite starch cooked your favorite way, maybe for the summer a good potato salad is appropriate, and a bowl of crisps as well, go full on Irish and get the new large sized bag of Taytos brand crisps.
Now my old friend Alfie, who is dearly missed, would throw a bit of goat on the grill, but, it’s your party so pick your main meal as you like, these days you can get Irish sausages and rashes from any good grocer. Since I’m an American of Irish descent, I’ll add the American stables of Steak tips and chicken tenderloins, hot sausage, and grilled veggies.
Now what to wash it all down with?
White lemonade, sure,
Club soda? sure, but I’ll have a lemon club, though most like the orange.
Lucozade? not really my cup of tea.
Tea? always appropriate, my choice is Barrys Gold.
Then of Course you could have a nice pint of stout.
Then again a nice cold ale might hit the spot, in moderation of course.
I’ll confess to enjoying a good Pepsi with my grill feast, not very Irish, that seems to come later, a few good stouts or ales, always enjoyable.
After a Guinness or Smithwicks or Magners, or Beamish, maybe a wee taste of a good Irish cream. The king is Baileys but the best may be Coole Swan give her a try.
So when you’re looking for nice Irish things give these a try or suggest your own.