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


Countdown to St. Patty’s Day; The Guinness Storehouse

Let’s be honest, when people on this side of the pond think of Ireland, many of them conjure up images in their mind of green rolling hills, ancient castles, and pint glasses slowly filling with that delicious black nectar we call Guinness.  So while we anxiously look forward to the holiday season of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s hard not to pine a bit for a toast of that legendary stout.

Take my word for it, for whatever reason the Guinness is better in Ireland.  I have heard many many theories as to why this is, but all I know for certain is that it is true.  And it is even better yet at the Guinness Storehouse itself, which is not surprisingly Ireland’s number one tourist attraction.

If you have never been to the Guinness Storehouse, prepare yourself to read an article on the American Public House Review that is certain to fill you with not only a longing to head to this epicenter of brewing history and culture, but also a little jealousy and maybe the spirit of the holiday as well.  A couple of years ago, Madeleine Best Henn sent APHR a story from her pilgrimage to Dublin and for everyone who dreams of going there, it provides all the motivation you will need to hop the pond.

by Dave McBride

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Missing Link Discovered in Ireland

A team of archaeologists and anthropologists, working on the site of an abandoned public house in the village of Knockaderry in County Limerick, announced today that they have uncovered the elusive missing link between Christmas and Easter. The remains of this strange humanoid creature was found in an old cardboard box tucked away in the attic of the former Gilhooley House.

This came as welcomed news to the folks at Guinness who are attempting the have Saint Patrick’s  Day recognized as an official holiday in the United States; but whom are facing stiff resistance from the Vatican. Church officials in Rome are citing an obscure edict from the Council of  Trent which states that in order for a religious observance to become a state sanctioned holiday it must have a secular biological mascot, e.g. (exempli gratia) Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. In theory Halloween,(All Souls Day) and St. Valentines Day could be recognized because of Cupid and the Great Pumpkin.

When asked if he was surprised by the find, team leader Dr. Mac McCrackin, from the Edinburgh Institute of  Scholarly Advanced Academics – Glasgow Campus, said that he was more surprised to find an abandoned public house in Knockaderry.

The official classification for this new genus is “Viridis Vir Instituo  Tabernus” which translates from Latin to mean “Green Man Found in a Tavern” but most of the team just call him  Paddy.

Paddy O'Pine

Paddy O'Pine

Posted by: Chris Poh, American Public House Review




Forget 2012…the World Can’t End Before 10,759 A.D.

You can forget about  Nostradamus, the Bible code, the Mayan calendar 2012 scenario and all that other end times malarkey. The answers to mankind’s future lie not in the written ravings of a Frenchmen or the ancient texts; but can be found in a simple document penned in the city of Dublin in 1759. 

It was there that  Arthur Guinness put his signature on a sacred pact that allowed him to lease the dormant brewery at St. James’s Gate for the next 9000 years. The very funds that made this tenancy possible came to Arthur by way of an inheritance from his Godfather, the Reverend Arthur Price, Archbishop of Cashel. Even someone with a rudimentary understanding of the relationship between Ireland and its clergy would know that this was a covenant between Heaven and Earth, and the terms of that agreement are sacrosanct.

Since we now know that the folks at Guinness are releasing a special anniversary stout this spring to mark the 250th year of production at the original brewery, we can calculate that there are approximately 8,750 years left on the lease and that mankind’s stay on planet Earth is good until at least 10,759 A.D. Although, based upon our continued unreasonable behavior, it’s probably not to early to begin to negotiate an extension.

Today over 750,000 “pilgrims of the perfect pint” visit St. James’s Gate each year. Recently Madeleine Best Henn, a contributing editor to American Public House Review, visited the Guinness compound in Dublin. Click here to read her account.

And for those of you who can’t travel to Ireland for that spot-on pint of Guinness, here is the secret of the perfect pour, courtesy of the pros at Diageo.

For the perfect pint, tilt the glass to 45 degrees and carefully pour until three-quarters full. Then place the glass on the bar counter and leave to settle. Once the surge has settled to perfection, fill the glass to the brim. This is the legendary Guinness ‘two-part pour’. It takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint.

The Perfect Pint - Image by Matthew Trevithick


Posted by: Chris Poh

What day of the year would you guess sees the highest beer sales?

One of the many great benefits of this thing we call the internet is that if you look around a bit you will find a wealth of fascinating, if perhaps somewhat less then earth shattering, nuggets of information.  And you don’t even have to look that hard. 

Take for example this little piece from Tampa Bay Online, the city hosting this year’s Super Bowl.  Did you know what yearly event brings the highest beer sales?  No, it is not football’s championship game with its parties full of salty snacks and aluminum cans of beer.  It’s not New Years Eve or even my guess, Saint Patrick’s Day with its day long drink fest full of corned beef, whiskey and lots of Guinness.

Actually, according to the Nielsen Company, it is Easter Week?  Now, can anyone reading tell me how this could be?  Do you drink lots of beer on Easter?  Do you know anyone who makes Easter into a holiday filled with drunken fun?  Well, the source of this statistic has obviously looked into this more than I have so I won’t dispute it too much, but it does make me wonder what other people are doing on Easter???

Rare Canadian Floppy Ear

Rare Canadian Floppy Ear


Posted by: David McBride

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 10:53 am  Comments (1)  
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