Pay No Attention to the Curtain Behind the Man

trump_christie

“Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America,”  Governor Chris Christie commenting about Donald Trump at a January campaign stop in New Hampshire

Perhaps it was merely a matter of window dressing on Donald Trump’s own behalf that motivated him to include Governor Christie as part of the political backdrop at the makeshift press room at Mar-a-Lago after Tuesday night’s election returns. The Donald could tout a bit of inside the Republican establishment support while basking in the glow of those very favorable primary results courtesy of the faithful that bank on Trump’s brand of outside the Beltway salvation. But the bigger question remains–just what are Mr. Christie’s motivations for taking the stage at the potential winter White House in Palm Beach?

One might wonder could there possibly be enough room on the same playground for these two blustering, bellicose bullies. And the look in the Governor’s eyes the other night indicated either similar misgivings, or just maybe he was feeling an attack of Catholic conscience coming on. For any of us that have had a past with the Church of Rome, there is always that recollection of some priest or nun that reminded us to be weary of the sin of guilt by association.

There are those pundits and commentators that are suggesting that Governor Christie is simply continuing to set his sights on Washington. Speculation abounds about the possible appointment to attorney general under a Trump presidency. And yes, I could easily imagine Chris and Donald sipping pina coladas at the estate in Palm Beach as they review who on the president’s enemies list should be subject to federal prosecution.

As for myself, I believe Governor Christie was in Florida on the evening of Super Tuesday because he simply can’t stand the idea of having to spend any more time in the Garden State than is absolutely necessary. His travels over the past several years have made that fact abundantly clear. And for the better part of the rest of March, he will most likely not be seen anywhere near the vicinity of the New Jersey Statehouse. And I find that all to be very troubling. Because while there may be many important dates in the month of March that will require the governor to function as the commander-in-chief toady to the Trump campaign–there is no more important date than that of the 17th.

And any self-respecting, bona fide Trenton politician will be spending St. Patrick’s Day at the Tir na nog Irish Pub!  

St. Patty's Day at Tir-na-nog Irish Pub in Trenton, New Jersey

 Posted by Chris Poh for American Public House Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from American Public House Review & Parting Glass Media

Yesterday's - Warwick, NY

Click on the images to relive some of our favorite Irish Pub memories!

McGillan's Philadelphia, PA Bull Feeney's - Portland, Maine

The Late Billy Briggs

BrazenHead - Dublin

Molly's Shebeen - New York City

St. Patrick's Pub - Quebec, Canada

Ah the Irish Eyes are always Smilin!McMenemy's Pub - Portsmouth, NH

Parting Glass Media Logo

An Irish Blessing

A Toast from the Brazen Head in Dublin

For a brief time be not of this place,                        but let your spirit take flight across the gray sea and verdant ground.                                               To the land of Carolan and Joyce.                          A domain where words, voice and song become one in celebration of God’s grand design! 

 

 

In Dublin’s fair city

As I mentioned in my article “Valhalla on the Liffey,”  the plan for my first visit to Dublin was to tour as many of the city’s historic pubs as I possibly could.  The idea was to eat some dinner before heading out on our “crawl”.  But as the article says, I never crawled any further than my barstool at the Brazen Head.  However, before dinner I did manage a couple of quick stops at two of Dublin’s most famous watering holes. 

The first boasts perhaps the most beautiful exterior of any pub in Dublin, O’Neill’s on Suffolk Street.  While the license dates back centuries, the present day pub was built in the first half of the 20th Century.  However, you can see the kind of influence this place has had on Irish pubs in the United States.  How many spots in the U.S. have been influenced by this place?

The other pub I managed to get in a quick visit to, and had all intentions of going back later in the evening, was the Stag’s Head on Dame Court.  You will have a hard time finding anything written about Dublin that does not mention this place.  It is a bonafide Dublin institution.

The Stag’s Head sneaks up on you, being tucked away on a street that can easily be mistaken for an alley.  But make no mistake, when it comes to Dublin’s taverns this is the cathedral.  It’s has a majestic interior, but still manages to keep the kind of warm atmosphere one quickly recognizes in all of Dublin’s great pubs.  I didn’t manage to take any photos of the interior of the Stag’s Head, so I guess you will just have to hop over the pond and check it out for yourself.  Believe me, it’s worth the trip.

by Dave 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

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

Five months to St. Patty’s Day…not that we are counting or anything…

Friday is the 17th of October.  And you know what that means?  It is exactly five months until Saint Patrick’s Day!  What, that didn’t occur to you right away??

looking down Broadway in Jim Thorpe, PA

looking down Broadway in Jim Thorpe, PA

Well, if the 17th of every month does not make you immediately think of that great Irish holiday, then that must mean you have never been to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania on the Sunday before St. Patty’s Day for their annual parade and Celtic flavored, town wide bash.  I have been there many times, and let me assure you that once you attend, you will look forward to going back for the rest of the year.

But don’t wait for March to come around to visit this gem of a town tucked into the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania.  Before you go, check out our coverage of the best places to drink in Jim Thorpe that appeared in the American Public House Review this past March and April.  We visited a cozy café called the Black Bread, an ale house appropriately named JT’S, the only combination tavern and art gallery I have ever seen called FLOW, and the  town’s signature Irish pub the Molly Maguire’s.  Plus you can learn about how wonderful the parade can be and even discover the amazingly rich Irish-American heritage of this old coal mining town.

Posted by: David McBride

Finding an Irish Heritage in Jim Thorpe, PA

As we approach St. Patrick’s Day, and the weekend that is sure to fill Irish pubs all over the country, we continue to highlight the Celtic themed taverns covered inside the American Public House Review.  Today we go deep into the mountains of Carbon County, Pennsylvania to find a truly Irish-American heritage at the Molly Maguires.

The Molly Maguires in Jim Thorpe, PA

The deep and painful history of coal mining in this area of the country permeates the town of Jim Thorpe, PA.  The Molly Maguires focuses on the labor struggles that took place as a result of this sorted past.

So who were the Molly Maguires?  History has lost most of the details to their story, and much of it was shrouded in secrecy.  There is even some who question whether such a group ever existed.   But what we do know is that there were groups of coalminers who fought their companies and attempted to unionize the labor force.  One such group, many of whom were hung in Jim Thorpe when it was known as Mauch Chunk, is now known in history by that name.  It is their legacy that defines the unique Irish-American heritage of this little town.

But besides peaking into a somewhat forgotten history for those of us who are tourists to the area, Molly’s is also a great place to stop for a drink and some grub.  I have been there on more than one St. Patrick’s Day.  And even though it is somewhat subdued when compared to the local parade day, it is still a great place to sit and observe the holiday.

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

%d bloggers like this: