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St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Denis Hamill

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The first time I was old enough to have a legal beer with my father in Dorrian’s Red Hand. My old man came over on the same boat with his good pal Red Dorrian. I’d heard a hundred stories about him and now I finally got to drink with someone who knew my father when he was young. Sharing the sanctity of the pub with my father was a rite of passage. It made him regard me as a man instead of as a boy. It made us closer, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. He loved to sing and he loved to drink and he loved being Irish. He also loved Brooklyn and New York and being an American. Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? If so, what group did you march with? I marched once, with my mother, with County Antrim. She loved marching all year. Especially with a picket sign with Northern Aid in front of the British Embassy.
Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: The Best of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem; The Liam Tiernan Collection; The Long Black Veil by The Chieftains.; Irish Songs of Rebellion/Irish Drinking Songs by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem; Those Were the Days by Liam Clancy.
How much green do you wear on March 17th? Not as much as I used to spend in my drinking days. Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread? No. I usually go for Chinese – chicken and broccoli. I love soda bread any day of the year, especially with Lyons tea.
Favorite Irish film? “Bloody Sunday.” Favorite Irish book? “The Gingerman” by JP Donleavy. Favorite Irish song? “Carrickfergus.” Complete this sentence: The most Irish thing about me is . . . telling jokes about the dearly departed at wakes . . .

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Chris Byrne

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The first year I marched with NYPD Emerald Society Pipe Band, we made the turn onto 5th Avenue, the crowd roared, and I got that feeling that only an Irish cop can have in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day. Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? I’ve marched with the above mentioned pipe band, I’ve marched with Irish Northern Aid, I’ve marched with the Glasgow Celtic Supporters Club, I’ve marched with St John’s University (my current employer), I’ve marched with the Richmond County Pipes and Drums, I’ve marched with the County Donegal Association. What can I tell you? I like marching. Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: “Afterhours” by The Bothy Band; “Seize the Day” by Damien Dempsey; “If I Should Fall from Grace with God” by The Pogues; “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison; Anything by Seanchai and the Unity Squad.
How much green do you wear on March 17th? I wear enough green to go with the program. I’ve always found those Irish people too cool to wear green tragically hip – sad, really. Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread? I’ll eat corned beef and cabbage, I find it works better on rye than soda bread. Favorite Irish film? “The Informer” with Victor McLoughlin. My father made us all watch it. In my house if you told on someone, you received a harsher sentence from my father than the offending brother or sister you told on. Favorite Irish book? “Proud Island” by Peadar O’Donnell. He nails Ireland in about 125 pages – of course I didn’t realize the book was about Ireland until about page 123. Favorite Irish song? “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones. I was fifteen the summer it came out, so was she. Complete this sentence: The most Irish thing about me is . . . I can have a great laugh at a wake and get choked up at a baptism.

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Moya Brennan

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Following the local marching bands up to church and back down the hill when I was a child in Gweedore, Donegal. Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? Never. Maybe some day I will. Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: Planxty; Old Hag Youve Killed Me by the Bothy Band; The Lion and The Cobra by Sinead O’Conner; Wavelands by Van Morrison; Macalla by Clannad. How much green do you wear on March 17th? Something green by an Irish designer and lots of Shamrock. Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread? I eat Irish bacon and cabbage and lots of my Aunt Brid’s soda bread throught the year. Favorite Irish film? “Darby O’Gill and The Little People.” Favorite Irish book? “A Monk Swimming” by Malachy McCourt. Favorite Irish song? “Salley Gardens.” Complete this sentence: The most Irish thing about me is . . . my voice.

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Sean Downes

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Waking up on St. Patrick’s morning when I was in grade school to the smell of my Nana’s (from Cobh, County Cork) Irish soda bread. She would then let us miss school to see the parade and march with Cork.
Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? If so, what group did you march with? These days, I join Sean and Philomena Mackin and their family and march with County Antrim, where we proudly hold the new county banner, bearing the image of murdered civil rights lawyers Pat Finucane and Bobby Sands, and the “England Out of Ireland” banner. Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: Mary Courtney: Sceil Eile – Another Story; Any Wolfe Tones album; Ronan Tynan: The Impossible Dream; Flogging Molly: Within A Mile of Home; Chieftans: The Long Black Veil. How much green do you wear on March 17th? My tie. Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? I haven’t eaten meat since 1978, however I love cabbage with Coleman’s mustard. How about soda bread? I miss my Nana’s. However, Eileen’s Country Kitchen in Woodlawn makes a close second. And yes, I eat it. Favorite Irish film? “Into the West,” written by Jim Sheridan and starring Gabriel Byrne. It’s more than a children’s movie. It captures the Irish soul. Favorite Irish book? Short Stories by Liam O’Flaherty. Favorite Irish song? “Only Our Rivers Run Free.” Complete this sentence: The most Irish thing about me is . . . my “patience” and my pro-bono legal clients.

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Niall Burgess

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

My first year on the reviewing stand for the New York Parade as the first marchers approached at the head of a seemingly endless line stretching down Fifth Avenue – and the look of pride my children’s faces as they too experienced this for the first time. Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? If so, what group did you march with? No – this will be my third year on the reviewing stand. If I did march, it would have to be with the Dublin or Kerry Associations! Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: Invisible Fields or If I Could Read the Sky by Iarla

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Joe Byrne

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

My favorite memory is marching at the head of the Co. Carlow delegation in New York’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in 2000. Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: Anyone claiming to be Irish or to love things Irish should include something from Clannad, U2, Van Morrison, the Chieftains, Frank Patterson, Sinead O’Connor and the Cranberries in their collection. How much green do you wear on March 17th? I take pride in sporting some real Shamrock attached to my coat with a Tourism Ireland logo pin.Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread? Yup – I succumb to the temptation to sample the fare at some of the functions I attend on St Patrick’s Day, which invariably includes both corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. My favorite dishes however would include Wild Irish Atlantic Salmon, Wicklow Lamb and Oysters from Galway Bay.Favorite Irish film? “Once” is a wonderful feel-good Irish movie which surprises you the way it captivates and entertains. It is a wonderful example of how great movies do not depend on huge production budgets. Favorite Irish book? I honestly can’t decide between John McGahern’s “That They May Face the Rising Sun” and Colum McCann’s “Let the Great World Spin,” which I have just finished reading and is truly deserving of the acclaim it has received.Favorite Irish song? Luke Kelly singing “Raglan Road.” Complete this sentence: The most Irish thing about me is . . . not taking myself too seriously.

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Hilary Beirne

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

I have so many St. Patrick’s Day memories, however the one I will remember for the rest of my life was at the 2002 NYC St Patrick’s parade. At midday, the entire parade paused for two minutes and turned around to face South towards the fallen Twin Towers as Cardinal Egan (who stood a few feet from where I was standing) said a prayer for all the victims of 9/11. The silence was amazing; one could hear a pin drop on Fifth Avenue at that moment, even though it was lined with over 100,000 marchers. It was a fitting tribute to the men and women who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? Yes, I marched with the Francis P. Beirne Division 9 Ancient Order of Hibernians for a number of years, and now it is my honor to march up Fifth Avenue in the last group in the Parade, the Parade workers. What a wonderful group of people – without them, there would be no St Patrick’s Day in New York City.
Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: The Best of The Chieftains; Watermark by Enya; Boy by U2; Live at The Point by Christy Moore; Bagatelle by Bagatelle. How much green do you wear on March 17th? I wear the official New York City St Patrick’s Day tie. It has lots of green shamrocks and “St. Patrick” all over it. Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread? Sometimes I eat corned beef & cabbage on St Patrick’s Day. However, I eat lots of my Aunt Mary’s soda bread – nobody makes soda bread as good as hers. Favorite Irish film? “Michael Collins.” Favorite Irish book? “The Barracks” by John McGahern.
Favorite Irish song?

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Kathleen Biggins

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The parade! Always the parade. My favorite memory was being taken out of school by my father in the third grade, along with my friend Eileen, to watch the parade in the Grandstand. Crashing last year’s ESPN St. Patrick’s Day party with my friend Karen was also pretty memorable.
Have you ever marched n the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? With what group or organization? Yes, I’ve marched – with Fordham University, all four years while I was a student. I even carried the banner one year.
Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: In no particular order, and this can change based on my mood: The Woman I Loved So Well by Planxty; Pride of New York ; If The Cap Fits by Kevin Burke; In Person at Carnegie Hall by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem; Water From the Well by The Chieftains.
How much green do you wear on March 17th?Not much. I’m an Aran sweater kind of girl. But I might adorn it with a green scarf.
Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread?I’ve never eaten corned beef and cabbage in my life! But you can never have enough Irish soda bread. Nana Biggins’s was the best! Favorite Irish film? “The Quiet Man.”
Favorite Irish book? James Joyce’s “The Dubliners.”
Favorite Irish song? Tommy Makem’s “Four Green Fields.” Complete this sentence: The most Irish thing about me is . . . My smiling eyes? My lilting laughter? I think that’s better left for others to decide.

St. Patrick’s Day Memories: Seamus Boyle

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Marching with my father in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the 1950’s shortly after arriving in the U. S.
Have you ever marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade? If so, what group did you march with? Yes in the 1960 or 1961 parade, but cannot remember what the name of the group was.
Five essential Irish albums that should be part of everyone’s music library: I would highly recommend albums by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Wolfe Tones, Phil Coulter, Johnny McEvoy, and Paddy Reilly.
How much green do you wear on March 17th?
I usually get shamrocks from relatives in Ireland but other than that very little green.
Do you eat corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about soda bread? If it is served at a party I attend, I will eat it. I love corned beef and eat cabbage quite often during the year with ham or other meats at dinner. Soda bread is my downfall and my family does bake the soda bread all year long, not just in March.
Favorite Irish film? Since Michael Collins is my hero, I have been to and brought numerous people to B

Campion to leave cautionary tales at the door

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

He will leave the cautionary tales, though, to the other 364 days of the year. “It even takes a while to get to in the book,” he said, referring to his memoir “Escape from Bellevue,” which details his struggles with alcoholism.
The book, which was commissioned by Penguin following successful runs for his off-Broadway play, begins with his Huntington, L.I., childhood, where he was the fifth of six children born to an Irish-American couple from Woodside, Queens.
All sorts of factors in his 1970s and ’80s youth appear significant in retrospect: the gift of a transistor radio and earpiece for his First Communion led him to Scott Muni and WNEW; his older brothers’ played in garage bands; and then a rock god moved in next door.
Campion has since had a tumultuous career with the indie band Knockout Drops, which is ongoing.
“I’ll read some appropriate stories from the book. We’ll sing Knockout Drops songs and some traditional Irish songs. And we’ll throw in some Pogues,” he said about Wednesday’s event.
Some will feel that a person who has written a book subtitled “A Memoir of Rock ‘n Roll, Recovery and Redemption” might not be the ideal person to host a St. Patrick’s party in a Manhattan bar. But Campion, a gifted mimic and storyteller, disagrees. “I’m sober, not dead,” he said.
“We’re on pretty early, but I’m sure that we’ll get some of the Parade stragglers,” he said.
Campion has also adapted his act for salon-style parties. He brought what he calls “Escape from the House” to horseracing country in Kentucky last week.
“There were 40 or 50 breeders there, many of them from Ireland” he said. “It was great fun.”

Chris Campion will be profiled in next week’s Echo. The Bar Nine (53rd Street at 9th Avenue) event on St. Patrick Day’s will begin at 8 p.m. For more on Campion go to www.escapefrombellevue.com.

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