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

 

Stand Your Round and Sing those Songs

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“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

The First of the Day

Noel at the Brazen Head

With only a few more hours remaining before the raising up of that first pint in celebration of  another St. Patrick’s Day, I find myself soothing my own melancholic disposition with the usual measure of Irish music. And even though  it’s been some forty plus years since I first heard Tommy Makem  put his voice to “Four Green Fields,” I’m still in awe of a people that can extract mirth from misery, and create sweet song from the suffering and sorrow that has all too often been the consequence of Irish history. So in keeping with the spirit of the day and Erin’s fine musical tradition, we present a couple of our favorites from the archives of Parting Glass Media.

  • (a reprise of Rebels at the Rock)  – Why this particular video hasn’t gone viral is beyond my grasp of what the viewing public finds entertaining. But here in its entirety is a well-lubricated group of lads attempting to pay homage to that hero of Irish independence, James Connolly.

Irene Molloy And a perfectly sublime rendition of the “Fields of Athenry” from Irene Molly.

Wishing all of our friends a very joyful Saint Patrick’s Day from the staff and contributors of American Public House Review and Parting Glass Media!

Glasses Raised…Spirits Lifted…Journeys Shared!

Rebels United Against the Shutdown

“Our demands most moderate are – We only want the earth!”
James Connolly
 
Depending on one’s position or perspective, presented herein is either the best or worst rendition of the song “James Connolly” ever attempted by anyone. But these affable lads stand united against any shutdown–no matter how many times the bartender makes last call!
 
  
 

Captured live (and later released back to their natural habitat) at the Indian Rock Inn in Upper Black Eddy, PA.

Cheers from American Public House Review and  Parting Glass Media

 

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

Finding the New Spirit of the Molly Maguires in Jim Thorpe, PA

Standing on the heights above Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania one can not help but get a sense of the powerful mystique that pervades this historic American town. Every door and window beckons to those that care enough to hear the tale. Step through these portals and meet the ghosts of our past and the spirit of our future.

I began this year’s annual March pilgrimage  with a pint and a song at the quiet shebeen located off the back parlor of the Gilded Cupid Bed and Breakfast. My cup was filled with Guinness, and my ears were filled with a tune trumpeting the struggles and exploits of the Molly Maguires. In past years, I would have raised that first glass honoring those intrepid Irish colliers from a bar stool at the old Molly Maguire’s Pub; but unfortunately that celebrated saloon on Broadway, like so many of the region’s anthracite mines,  is no longer in operation. 

But Jim Thorpe is that resilient community that epitomizes the grit and fortitude of the nation. Today once more you can hear the coal cars of the Reading and Northern Railroad  rolling through the Lehigh Gorge from the outside deck of the  recently reincarnated Molly Maguires Pub. It was there that I ended this year’s journey – raising a final pint in tribute to both the Irish heart and the American spirit! 

All of us at American Public House Review wish everyone a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 Click here to enjoy some suitable Irish tunes for the celebration.

    Posted by: Chris Poh

Warming up at Washington D.C.’s Dubliner

This week, in continued celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, the American Public House Review heads to our nation’s capitol to visit perhaps Washington D.C.’s most famous public house, the Dubliner.  If you are looking to hobnob with the politicos, this is the place to be.

dubliner-entrance

An Irish Tavern that keeps true to its heritage with great atmosphere and live Celtic music, the Dubliner has become the place for the D.C. recognizables to come and unwind with a pint.  In the days leading up to the Inauguration, MSNBC chose this pub as almost its home base of operations.  I was proud to see the network recognize what we here at the APHR have always know, if you want to find the soul of a town you must start your search in the tavern.

So click here for the story and to join Chris Poh as he seeks shelter from the snow and ice of an Atlantic winter in Washington D.C. with a happy and warm ending at the Dubliner, the capitol city’s most renowned Irish tavern.

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Published in: Uncategorized on March 20, 2009 at 6:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mitchell’s Cafe offers an honest Irish Ceili

With only three days until St. Patrick’s Day (and who’s counting?) we take a look at one of New Jersey’s great and largely unheralded Celtic gems.  Ed Petersen makes his way into Mitchell’s Café in Lambertville, a beautiful and quaint town hugging the Delaware River, for a roaring session of traditional Irish music.

Mitchell’s Cafe in Lambertville, NJ

While Mitchell’s may not look and feel like your typical local Irish pub, on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month it looks, feels and sounds like you have been transported straight to the heart of County Cork.  Take a look at some of Ed’s feelings on this event…

As I search for a few words to convey the richness and joyfulness of this evening in Mitchell’s Cafe, all I can find to say is that the music was beyond description and the comradery beyond compare. The experience perhaps embodied perfectly that quality in a tavern which we at the AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW are forever seeking; and when we find it, share it with you. What is that quality? It’s not about beverage selection, the food, the decor, nor even the history of a pub. It’s about the energy and the fellowship found inside its walls. It’s about the soul of a place, and the spirit which is created when folks convene for no other reason than to share an hour, hoist a glass, and celebrate our journey together towards .  .  . who knows where?

Now if this seems like hyperbole to you, then you haven’t seen a true Irish Ceili in person.  It can raise your spirits instantly and keep a smile on your face for days after.  Have a look at Ed Peterson’s “A Bonny Celtic Music Session”.

In session at Mitchell’s

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