Wishing You Health, Happiness and Healing on this St. Patrick’s Day

Bartender at the Brazen Head in Dublin

I was tempted to write another lengthy treatise on the Republican’s rather uninspired approach to healthcare. But in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve decided to suspend with the usual political pontificating, and instead offer the possibility for some real healing. Because, quite frankly, I’d rather have my health than healthcare. And there are certainly no forces in the universe more healing than good music and good cookies. And for this St. Patrick’s Day celebration we are able to provide you with both by way of the generous nature of the kind souls in the Celtic band Runa.

During a recent visit to the Bleecker Street Cafe, broadcast live every Friday noon to three over the airwaves and internet at WDVR-FM, we were not only treated to some absolutely magnificent Irish music, but Shannon Lambert-Ryan, the band’s lead vocal, also brought along some of her shortbread cookies–baked to her exacting specifications. And for the very first time on this side of the pond, we are pleased to make that recipe available to a hungry public. And while you’re waiting on the shortbread, we suggest a wee dram, a tall pint, and a long listen to the music of Runa!

              Shannon Lambert-RyanCheryl Prashker

Click on the titles listed below to listen:

Shannon’s Shortbread Recipe

Shannon's Shortbread1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional – but it’s really good!)
1 cup flour (unsifted)

Cream the butter until it’s light. Cream in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on a flourless board until nice and smooth. For a pan, you can use a clay cookie press or metal cake pan.  Spray the pan very lightly with a non-stick vegetable cooking oil spray. Firmly press dough into the shortbread pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork, and bake the shortbread right in the pan at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. After you take the pan out of the oven, let the shortbread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife. Flip the pan over with a wooden board (sometimes it helps to tap the bottom of the pan to help – do not shake the pan or the shortbread will break). Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while it is still warm.

Sláinte from American Public House Review

Posted by: Chris Poh

Chris Poh

 

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Catholic Comfort & Irish Illumination

I’ve reached that late moment in life where I dread the prospect of burying my friends, but at the same time, I’m not terribly keen on the idea of them burying me.                                                                                             author unknown 

pals_at_cryans                                                                                                                     So what do three old friends with longstanding Irish Catholic inclinations that haven’t seen each other for a very long time talk about when they finally do manage to coordinate a rendezvous? The answer, of course, is death–or the ever looming prospect  of personally acquiring the condition. And such was the case a few weeks back when Susan O’Brien, Howard Casey, and I gathered together for an afternoon repast at Cryan’s Tavern in Annandale, New Jersey.

Our conversation began with a recap of those friends and acquaintances in common that were either at death’s door or had already crossed that threshold since last we met. After the appropriate number of toasts to those that had gone before us, we entered into a cheery discussion about our individual preferences concerning the benefits of cremation as opposed to accepting that final embrace from Mother Earth. And when those whimsical ramblings had finally delivered us to that perfect state of melancholia, we opted to augment our need for drink by moving the discourse from that of the inevitable crawl to the grave to the current race for the White House .

Soon the only thing darker than the mood in our hearts would be the Guinness in our glasses. And while we shared an equally pessimistic view about the present state of American politics, those instilled parochial school virtues of faith, hope, and charity combined with that indomitable Irish sense of humor would carry us through that particular day.Whether or not those same attributes will sustain us through the trials and challenges that America will face after this election remains to be seen. But as long as my own life is blessed with tavern mates the likes of Miss O’Brien and Mr. Casey, I will gladly choose to carry on no matter who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The following piece of music by our mutual friend Billy Mulligan, who for the better part of his life has lent his voice to social and political justice, reflects those moments when one might be tempted to seek a bit of divine intervention on the issue of personal mortality.

The entirety of this fine release, Beyond the Paleis available for purchase at CD Baby.

Posted by: Chris Poh for  American Public House Review

Shut Up and Sing

Irish decor at Yesterdays in Warwick, New York

As hard as it is, especially in the wake of having had to endure the most recent round of presidential primary  returns, I will attempt to refrain from the usual political pontificating that has all too often populated the pages of Pub Talk. After all, it is Saint Patrick’s Day! So for the sake of that day, I will defer to those voices that are much better suited to the task of sinking our sorrows and raising our joys!

Click on the titles or thumbs below to enjoy some of our Celtic favorites from the American Public House Review Jukebox.

 Billy                                                         Mulligan as seen                                                         in American                                                         Public House                                                         Review Billy Mulligan “Traditional Tunes

Jealousy by                                                     RUNA as seen in                                                     American Public                                                     House review Runa “Courted a Sailor

Gerry Timlin as                                                     seen in American                                                     Public House Review Gerry Timlin “Will Ye Go Lassie Go

Charlie                                                       Zahm's album; THE                                                       CELTIC CONCERT as                                                       seen in American                                                       Public House                                                       Review Charlie Zahm “The Minstrel Boy

Totes                                                   for Goats Burning Bridget Cleary “The king and the Fair Maid

Slainte 

Stand Your Round and Sing those Songs

instrumnets
“Let it flow outta ya as it’s been flowin’ inta ya for the last couple a hours!”    (The late Tommy Makem’s signature appeal for audience sing-along participation)

I was in conversation a few days ago with a Joe Jencks, a very passionate and talented singer/songwriter who can also tout his fair share of Erin’s heritage. He spoke of a recent house party at which the host made multiple requests that he sing some of the old Irish drinking songs. Rather than regale his parlor audience with those raucous strains, he chose instead to give his host a history lesson.


By his account, those particular songs only speak to the diabolical behavior of the British during the Great Famine of the 19th century in which the English government kept a starving population from engaging in a violent civil uprising by keeping them pleasantly plied on whiskey and beer. While there is probably some degree of truth in that particular point of view, there are many political, social and economic factors that fueled this terrible human tragedy. During the famine years, Ireland was in fact a net exporter of food to England. And during the first nine months of what was to become known as “Black 47” the actual export of grain distilled spirits from Ireland was 1,336,220 gallons.

This great starvation was not a matter of there not being enough food, but instead it was a matter of there not being enough human compassion coupled to an over abundance of prejudice and greed.

So it would still be my inclination  to stand my round and to sing those merry songs that may have been rooted in a very sad bit of Irish history.


We wish all of our friends and readers a very joyous St. Patrick’s Day!


And to help you along with the festivities of the day we invite to listen to and download some of our favorite Celtic artists from our podcasts at Sit Downs and Sessions.


Green Tag

This Stuff Really is Self-evident

download

When you get right down to it,  like many of mankind’s  defining  (yet seldom read)  documents,  our Declaration of Independence is that perfect fusion of optimism and enlightened thought attached to our need to complain about those who hold the power. So it is no wonder that an extremely vocal segment of  society will pervert the words of  Jefferson, Franklin and Adams in order to justify their own delusional rants against some imagined ongoing tyranny. But the true measure of  American virtue will not be decided by that handful of angry voices. The realization of our founder’s aspirations lies  with those who in their own pursuits of life, liberty and happiness do nothing to limit the potential and freedom of their fellowman.  Two such fine people, Adam Price and Susan Kimani, recently paid me a visit at the Indian Rock Inn.

For me this delightful young couple represent everything that is right with America. Susan is an artist and fashion designer who found her way to New York City by way of  Kenya, East Africa. Adam’s origins are somewhat less exotic. This extremely accomplished jazz musician, and may I add fellow bartender, is from Boyertown, PA. During our brief time together, we conversed about history, travel, music and beer. And since  all of us were devotees of the American cause, we reveled in our memories of consuming the Ales of the Revolution at Philadelphia’s renowned City Tavern.

RUNA_Promo_Photo_2014So to Susan and Adam, and all the followers of American Public House Review  we wish everyone a very joyous 4th of July! And to further aid in that celebration, we’ve included an absolutely wonderful version of our nation’s anthem. Click here to listen to the work of Francis  Scott key as performed by the Celtic group–Runa.

Posted by: Chris Poh

 

Countdown to St. Patty’s Day; Apparently Now Everybody’s Irish

Corrigan Brothers 2012

In yesterday’s post we learned a bit about President Barack Obama’s Celtic roots, thanks in no small part to the musical genius and handiwork of the Corrigan Brothers. This talented trio from County Tipperary, now living and taking their libations in Limerick, have once again reminded us of that all of humanity is bound by a common thread and a divine spark. We are all Irish–Especially on St. Patrick’s Day!

The Corrigan BrothersSo let us raise a pint and join Gerald, Brian and Donncha Corrigan as they perform what will most likely become Erin’s next great anthem!

Click on the You Tube link to hear “Saint Patrick’s Day (everybody’s Irish)”

Posted by: Chris Poh

Countdown to St. Patty’s Day; Saluting our Commander-in-Celtic Chief

Corrigan Brothers Cover ArtWhile there are those who still question the constitutional legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency, most Americans accept that he was born on American soil, assuming that one  accepts the possibility that a chain of lava spewing volcanic islands in the South Pacific  could legally qualify for statehood in the first place. Perhaps this is where the so-called “birthers”  should actually be focusing their attention. And the rest of us can just take comfort in the fact that, like so many other truly great American statesmen, Mr. Obama can trace a bit of his heritage to the Emerald isle.

 A combination of church, census and genealogical records has  revealed that in 1850, the President’s great-great-great grandfather, Fulmuth Keary, left his native home in Moneygall, Ireland to immigrate  to America. 

Starry Plough - Berkely, CA

The Corrigan Brothers (aka Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys) soon after wrote and recorded a song celebrating Mr. Obama’s ties to Erin. Along the way a number of Irish troubadours have added a few of their own verses to the song. My favorite rendition comes by way of Shay Black caught on video during a live session at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, California. Click on the You Tube link to catch that classic ode to our Commander-in-Celtic Chief. 

 

 

Posted by: Chris Poh

Irish Music and a great Irish Pub

Few things in this world go together as well as traditional Irish music and a great Irish pub.  Last month, those of us lucky enough to be in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania got to see the fruits of such a great combination as the High Kings, one of Ireland’s best folk groups, played at Brittingham’s, a truly fine Irish pub.

The High Kings are Ireland’s latest “supergroup” of folk music, with all four members coming to the band with enormous resumes and impressive pedigree.  Martin Furey and Finbarr Clancy come from perhaps the two most prominent families in Irish music history, while Brian Dunphy and Darren Holden joined the band after careers spanning from Ireland to Broadway and back again.  Together they bring a new yet solidly traditional take on some of Ireland’s best known and loved folksongs.

The High Kings made their name in Irish music with a PBS special that is not at all representative of what the band is now.  The polished performance of old has been replaced by what is now a raucous and romping Irish band.  Yes, you will have to put the pint down every once in a while to clap or sing.

Last month they blew the doors off of Brittingham’s pub in Lafayette Hill, PA.  The Kings played two fantastic shows for an eager crowd, and Brittingham’s provided just the right setting for the night.  If you get a chance and are in the area, check out Brittingham’s.

And while you are there, take the few steps up the street to the General Lafayette Inn and Brewery, a terrific brewpub we featured in APHR. 

Posted by: David McBride

What We Really Need is a Good Tune and a Good Drink

Jukebox at J.J. Bitting Brewing Co.

       The jukebox at the J.J. Bitting Brewing Company

As the Northeast prepares for yet another day of record-breaking heat, I realize that I don’t need to be adding to the abundance of hot air circulating over the continental United States. So rather than embarking on another round of some maudlin discourse or political pontificating, I thought it might be nice to provide some relief to the sultry weather with some tunes and a tonic.  

Some featured favorites from the our jukebox:

Runa Courted a Sailor

Garnet RogersBetter Days

David John and the Comstock CowboysShenandoah

Jackie TiceYou Love the Rain

 Jack TannehillBabe

 

Gerry TimlinWill You Go Lassie Go

  

Now as to that tonic, might I recommend a Singapore Sling mixed with Bluecoat American Dry Gin from our friends at Philadelphia Distilling.

Posted by: Chris Poh

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is considered a holy day.  The celebration marking the death of their country’s patron saint, the man credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland, is a family and church day.  But here in America, where the world’s first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1762 by Irish soldiers serving in the English army, it is one big party.

flag-sign-at-mcsorleys

In the United States, the Irish pub has come to be ground zero for St. Patty’s Day celebrations.  Those marching in the many grand parades like the one in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, or just attending them, often start and end their day at the pub.  For those of Irish heritage, and those who wish they were, the Irish pub remains a special place all year long.  But on the 17th of March, people are willing to wait in long lines for hours just to belly up to one of these great bars.

And we here at the American Public House Review are no exception.  We seem to find ourselves spending time in many of America’s great Irish taverns.  So if you are sitting home today, or at the office, and you are curious about the influence Erin’s Isle has had on our country, you needn’t look any further than the archives of APHR for some great examples.

the-old-triangle-mollys-nyc

Of course few are more famous the Manhattan’s McSorley’s Ale House on the lower eastside, or P.J. Clarke’s found uptown.  Molly’s Shebeen, also downtown, ranks right there with those two in the annals of great turn of the century Irish taverns.  They are testaments to the lasting power of a great Irish pub. 

shanacie-stained-glass

But a great tavern doesn’t need to be old to be great.  The Dubliner in Washington D.C. and the Dublin Pub in Morristown both opened in the early 1970’s, but feel as though they were transported here from Ireland’s largest city centuries ago.  For great music, try Mitchell’s Café along the Delaware River in New Jersey.  Or maybe you will be lucky enough to hear Gerry Timlin play at the Shanacie Pub in Ambler, Pa, where he is at once the entertainer, resident storyteller, and owner.

Needless to say, I love a good Irish pub.  I can literally say I was raised in them.  They are what brought me to my love of great taverns.  Yes, today may be the toughest day to get into one, and rightly so, but it is worth it.  I’ll be leaving for mine in just a couple of hours.

dublin-pub-morristown-exterior-painting

So from all of us here at the American Public House Review, to our readers of Irish and wishful-Irish heritage, we raise a glass and say “Thirst is a shameless disease, so here’s to a shameful cure”, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

Posted by: David McBride

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