Mind Your Manners lads, There’s a Lady in the House

Carol Bishop at Mitchell's Cafe

Carol Bishop at Mitchell’s Cafe

Somewhere just a bit north of my eighteenth birthday, Margaret O’Connor spread a protective wing over me and my best friend, Michael. Maggie was the proprietor of a family run Irish tavern in Port Jervis, New York that had opened its doors shortly after the Second World War. And Michael and I were a couple of young bucks trying to get both our feet and whistles wet in an old man’s habitat–an undertaking that has been known not to end so well. But once the Widow O’Connor discovered that the lads from Jersey  had been reared by Catholics and schooled by nuns, we were given her blessing and welcomed into the family–as long as we minded our manners and didn’t take up one of the regular’s preordained positions at the bar.

Those cherished memories of O’Connor’s Bar still serve as a reminder of a lesson well learned–many times the ship sails a steadier course if there’s a lady at the helm.  

Mitchell's Cafe SignTucked away on a quiet street in Lambertville, New Jersey is one of those illustrious local institutions that also just happens to have a very fine woman watching over the house. Ever since her parents retired from the business several years back, Carol Bishop has been the friendly face and guiding hand at Mitchell’s Cafe. With its warm atmosphere, a warm fire, and its exceedingly warm host–the staff and friends of American Public House Review have made Mitchell’s Cafe the traditional kickoff location for any of our extended Celtic oriented celebrations.

So before we get any further down this very long road, let us take the time to wish everyone a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

Mitchell's Irish SessionMitchell’s is also the home of one of the oldest Irish sessions in America. Click on the links below to hear a couple of tunes from past attendee Matt DeBlass.

Posted by: Chris Poh

Back Bar at Mitchell's Cafe

Click on the image above to get some very tasteful decorating tips for every holiday season from Victoria Ann Davis.

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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

 

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 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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 Molloy.

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! 

 

 

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

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

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