My earliest memory of St. Patrick’s Day is how angry it made my mother, who holds dual Irish-American citizenship and strongly identifies with her Celtic roots. It was not the day itself which got her Irish up, so to speak, but rather the way it was depicted in popular American culture: Green-beer drink specials at the bars and St. Patrick’s Day sales in every store, all endorsed by grinning, green-clad, marginally sober leprechauns.
Although Mom stuck to the facts about Ireland; its poets, playwrights, and history, my aunts and uncles would sometimes regale us kids with stories of the fairy-folk, including leprechauns. It gave me nightmares. According to my relatives, you did not want these little guys endorsing your breakfast cereal. They might look cute, but if you pissed them off they were likely to kidnap you, steal your baby out of the crib, or worse. And one of the surest ways to incur their wrath was to cut down their favorite tree, the hawthorn. » Continue Reading.
Getting ready to go green takes on a new meaning as Indian Lake celebrates St Patrick’s Day with a weekend full of activities. With doggie struts and hat parades, there is a wide range of events to make celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a weekend to remember.
“We’ve been hosting this event since 2006, making it our seventh year,” says Vonnie Liddle Indian Lake Events/Activities Coordinator. “The Hat Parade starts everything off. It is now tied into the PARP program (Parents as Reading Partners) so we have an unofficial theme this year of magic. The school children are given a hat and have to decorate it according to the theme.”
Liddle is quick to say that the parade is open to anyone with a hat and not everyone follows the PARP theme. It is really about getting people outside and having fun. » Continue Reading.
Participants in the 4th Annual Adirondack Donegal Beard Contest are preparing to shave their facial hair New Year’s Day in anticipation of growing their Donegal Beard for this year’s contest. New beardsman are welcome to take part in the event, which is free and open to the public.
The Donegal Beard (also called a Chin-curtain or Lincoln) is an Irish-style beard that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin – no soul patch, no mustache. Contestants must be clean shaven January 1st and grow a Donegal Beard by St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). The contest will be held from 4 to 7 pm, Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day), March 17, 2012 at Basil and Wicks (formerly Casey’s North), on Route 28 in North Creek, NY. Judging will be begin at 6 pm, prizes will be awarded. There will be live entertainment.
Judging is based on criteria that includes: Manliness, Fullness, Length, and Style and Sophistication.
Photo: Above, contestants in the Third Donegal Beard Contest in 2011. This year’s Donegal Contest will be held at Basil and Wicks (formerly Casey’s North), on Route 28 in North Creek, NY, March 17, 20011. Contestants should be clean shaven on New Years Day; Below, 2011 Donegal Beard Champion Dan Meehan.
This year’s Adirondack Donegal Beard Contest will take place 4 to 7 pm St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17th, at Basil & Wicks (formerly Casey’s North), Route 28, in North Creek, NY. The contest is open to beardsmen who were clean shaven on January 1, 2011 and have since grown a Donegal beard. A Donegal beard is a traditional Irish beard that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin — no soul patch, no mustache. This year marks the contest’s third year. New beardsmen are welcome to take part in the event, which is free and open to the public. Judging begins at 6 pm; contestants are judged on length, fullness, style, and effort. There will be beer specials, music by Mike Leddick, corned beef and cabbage and complimentary taxi rides home from 7 pm to 11 pm.
To see pictures from previous contests, and to join the Facebook group, go here.
Here are ten songs everyone with Irish aspirations should know, in no particular order. Learn these and you’ll never spend St. Paddy’s alone.
Whiskey in the Jar – This classic tune is believed to have originated in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Since then it’s by been covered by The Dubliners, Thin Lizzy, Peter, Paul & Mary, Gerry Garcia and David Grisman, and Metallica. My favorite line: “I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier.” » Continue Reading.
It’s that time of year again, where all the world becomes, as Jack London would say, bald face. It’s time to shave down for this year’s Adirondack Donegal Beard Contest.
A Donegal Beard (also called a chin-curtain or Lincoln) is a particular style of Irish hirsute appendage (facial hair) that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin — no soul patch, no mustache. In order to take part in the contest (and all are welcome) contestants must be clean shaven January 1st and grow a Donegal Beard by St. Patrick’s Day. On the day of the contest — which will be held at Black Mountain Inn at the corner of Peaceful Valley Road and Route 8 in Johnsburg (North Creek), 4 to 7 pm — all beards must conform to the Donegal standard.
Contestants are judged on the following criteria:
1. Length 2. Fullness 3. Style and Sophistication 4. General Manliness
To see pictures from last year’s contest, and to join the Facebook group, go here.
Mary’s post on local traditional Irish music today inspired this list of “must have” Irish music everyone with Irish aspirations should know. Although these tunes are in no particular order, learn them and you’ll never spend St. Paddy’s alone.
Whiskey in the Jar – This classic tune is believed to have originated in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Since then it’s by been covered by The Dubliners, Thin Lizzy, Peter, Paul & Mary, Gerry Garcia and David Grisman, and Metallica. My favorite line: “I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier.”
Wild Colonial Boy – About 40,000 Irish convicts were transported to Australia between 1791 and 1867, many as political prisoners. There they continued to battle the British authorities as Jack Duggan does in this ditty – it doesn’t end well for Jack. My favorite line: “A terror to Australia was, the wild colonial boy” Whiskey, You’re The Devil – Whiskey leads our happy balladeer over hills and mountains. The word whiskey is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic “uisce beatha” (pronounced sort of like ishka ba) which translates as “water of life.” Today the Irish word is “craythur”; get The Pouges version. My favorite line: “Oh, whiskey you’re the devil, you’re leading me astray”
Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce based his book in part on this song which includes the death of Tim – a hod carrier (a mason’s laborer) – and his subsequent wake at which a brawl breaks out, whiskey is spilled on Tim and he is revived. The Dropkick Murphy’s punk version is good craic. My favorite line: “You see he’d a sort of a tipplers way, but for the love for the liquor poor Tim was born. To help him on his way each day, he’d a drop of the craythur every morn.”
I Got Laid on James Joyce Grave – A Black 47 original. The band is named for the worst year of the Famine, Black 47. The song is an homage to Joyce and that says enough. My favorite line: “I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave, I was hoping that his genius would rub off on me.”
Wild Rover – A Traditional favorite you will hear on St. Paddy’s almost anywhere. It sounds like a proper old Irish drinking song, but in truth it is a Temperance song from the early 1800s. My favorite line “I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year, and I spent all me money on whiskey and beer.”
James Connolly – One of my favorite songs of all time about the socialist labor leader, one time resident of Troy, NY, and commander of the Free Dublin forces during the Easter Rebellion of 1916. “With Pearce and Connolly bidding each other goodbye,” he was seriously wounded, captured, and taken to Kilmainham Jail where he was tied to a chair and executed. My favorite line: “So don’t give up your rifles boys, hold on to the dream, of a republic for the working class – economic liberty.”
Come Out Ye Black and Tans – Although Americans typically don’t know it, the half ale and half stout served as a “Black and Tan” is called a “Half and Half” in Ireland, and for good reason. The Black and Tans were a paramilitary group used to suppress revolution in Ireland in the 1920s. Their main targets were the Irish Republican Army, but they were notorious for their attacks on Irish civilians. My favorite line: “Come out ye Black and Tans, come out and fight me like a man, show your wife how you won medals out in Flanders, tell her how the IRA, made you run like hell away, from the green and lovely lanes in Killeshandra.”
Seven Drunken Nights – When The Dubliners play this song, they announce they can only sing five of the nights – the last two verses are generally considered too raunchy for the general public. If you hear them in the pub where you are, you know you are in the right place. My favorite line: “Your drunk, your drunk, you silly old fool, and still you cannot see.”
Irish Men Will Set Them Free – The beginning line – “In the jail that held McSwiney; In the prison where he died” – is all you need here, but there is more to this tale of women imprisoned for their “love of dear old Ireland.” The title is sometimes offered as “The IRA Will Set them Free.” My favorite line: “Twas the love of dear old Ireland brought them to a prison hell, but the ghosts of Pearse and Connolly, filled their lonely prison cell, Clarke and Plunkett stand beside them, McDonagh McDermott and Wolfe Tone, and all the voices of old Ireland, cry for us to bring them home.”
If you like real Irish music, the northern Adirondacks is a good place to be this St. Patrick’s Day. Michael Cooney, an All-Ireland champion piper many times over, is playing in several venues.
Cooney was born in Tipperary, where he learned tunes from local fiddle and accordion players. In the 1980s he came to the United States, recently moving to Lake Placid.
With the band Aiseiri, Cooney will be playing today at P2s Pub in Tupper Lake 4-6 p.m. and at Kyna’s Pub in Malone 8-11 p.m. Wednesday Aisieri will play 12:10-1:10 p.m. at North Country Community College’s Saranac Lake campus, in the Connector (cafeteria). A lot of bands play Irish music, but it’s rare to find musicians so dedicated to the old-country style. Aiseiri also features a singer, bodhrán (drum) and banjo player as well as another uilleann (elbow) pipes player who complement each other beautifully.
Aiseiri is organizing the second annual Festival of Ireland in Lake Placid, to be held Labor Day weekend.
Join your favorite Adirondack Almanack editor (yeah… me) at the St. Paddy’s Day Donegal Beard Contest, Gore Mountain Base Lodge, today between 1-4 pm; judging at 3 pm.
A Donegal Beard (also called a Chin-curtain or Lincoln) is a particular style of Irish hirsute appendage (facial hair) that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin – no soul patch, no mustache. Contest Rules: All contestants must be clean shaven January 1st and grow a Donegal Beard by St. Patrick’s Day. On the day of the contest all beards must conform to the Donegal standard.
Contestants will be judged on the following criteria:
1. Length 2. Fullness 3. Style and Sophistication 4. General Manliness
Judges will be chosen at random from the crowd by three wise Adirondack women – the Donegal Biddies. Donegal Biddies are also responsible for the issuance of Clean Face Citations for violations of the Donegal standard. All men without a Donegal Beard are subject to a $1 fine.
Padriac reminds me of Ireland, and Ireland reminds me of Irish Republicanismand the working class. Those are two themes, along with the Irish diaspora (and drinking) that are heavily reflected in Celtic punk.
Wikipedia says Celtic punk (paddybeat, celtcore) emerged from “both the British folk rock bands of the 1960s and 70s who first electrified the music of the British Isles and more directly in folk bands such as The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers.” Wikipedia points to the Skids 1981 album Joy and the Pouges.
Irish oriented punk in America might be traced to the many Ancient Order of Hibernian halls that hosted late punk shows in the early 1980s. Celtic punk came into popular American culture with Black-47
Check out The Men They Couldn’t Hang – he’s an intersting tidbit from wikipedia about the band:
The following year they were signed by Elvis Costello to his Demon label, and released their debut album, “The Night of a Thousand Candles”, and its accompanying single “Ironmasters”, a self-penned number by main songwriter Simmonds, linking the Industrial Revolution to the present-day treatment of the working class. The original final line of the song – “and oh, that iron bastard, she still gets her way” (a reference to the then Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher) had to be removed for the single version to ensure radio airplay. They were again named in Peel’s yearly Festive 50, this time at No.11.
In 1987 the band switched to Magnet Records and the new record released was, what many fans consider their best “Waiting For Bonaparte”. Once again the strongest songs were stories of historical origin. “The Colours” told of an English mutineer sailor during the Napoleonic War and “The Crest” a stretcher bearer during World War II. Sadly whilst “The Colours” was at no.61 in the British top 75 it was blacklisted by BBC Radio 1 due to the line “You’ve Come Here To Watch Me Hang”, which echoed the events happening in South African townships at the time.
Flogging Molly, Black-47, The Barleycorns, Dropkick Murphys, Fighting Men of Crossmaglen, The Pouges, is all great St. Paddy’s Day musical fare.
Even though businesses can’t vote and the media is supposed to present all sides of the story, New York candidates for governor Eliot Spitzer and John Fasospent the day talking to the notoriously conservative New York State Business Council and the myopic Associated Press statewide meeting.
The first event was held at the Sagamore in Bolton Landing – not exactly a bastion of us common folk either. It really makes it clear who they are interested in impressing, and it’s not the actual voter but the candidate’s wealthy inside men (and women) in these organizations. » Continue Reading.
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