For our family Christmas party this year (the one involving my Mom and siblings—one family Christmas party of many), we conducted a neighborhood food drive to benefit the Pennsylvania Food Bank. We were aiming for a repeat of the year the homeless person crashed our party. Not a repeat of the event, of course, but of the mood and the lesson. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Two days before the party we distributed fliers in the neighborhood, telling people what we were doing and inviting them to leave donations in bags on their porches. That project was our first hint that the thing wasn’t going to go as planned.
Boy 12 was pissy the whole time as we walked from door to door spreading Christmas good will with our fliers. Because of our Irish ancestry, we decided to explain to our kids a little bit about Christmas being a 2-day feast in some countries.
The Irish Isle Restaurant and Bridget’s Pub
7843 Main Street
Middletown, Virginia 22645
Phone: (540) 868-9877 “A Taste of Ireland in the Shenandoah Valley”
The Irish Isle is located in historic Middletown, Virginia on Route 11 (Main Street) just 1/2 mile from the I-81 exit. They are one block north of the popular Wayside Theatre.
The owners, Brian, Philomena, and Tara Coughlan, are very pleased to be here in Middletown and to be able to preserve this beautiful historic building. This was originally the Middletown State Bank that was built in 1890. You will notice that the bank vault on the main level is now used as a server station with the original safe still in use inside.
The Emerald Isle: a fitting name for a place that gets nearly 55-inches of rain per year, just shy of the 68+ inches that would classify it as a rainforest. Although we came expecting rain and were content with a little moisture falling on our trip, the weather as a whole wasn’t too bad. Highs around 65, lows around 55; pretty ideal temperatures for biking considering most of the U.S. was pushing triple digits. It seemed that this year was actually one of the driest they’ve had for a long time. Bad for agriculture, but pretty nice for us.
In fact, if you can get over the rain, Ireland is set up perfectly for bike touring. In general, the topography is mild (although we did curse a few of the steep hills), the back roads have little to no traffic, the locals are extremely friendly and very bike conscious while driving (although most still think you’re mad for cycling around the country).
Compared to the U.S., the towns are located fairly close to each other and the entire country can be biked in a few weeks fairly easily. And most importantly, EVERY community has a pub, even if they don’t have a single place that serves food. If you’re looking for something new to do, bike touring in Ireland will not disappoint.
The easiest way to begin is with a tin whistle. All you need is 6 fingers and a tin whistle. A lot of musicians start out playing tin whistle and some choose to explore other instruments such as flute, fiddle, uilleann pipes, button accordions, concertina, bodhrán, banjo, mandolin, guitar, or bouzouki. The tin whistle is small, portable, and it a good foundation for those who want to start learning Irish music.
We recommend that you begin with a tin whistle in the key of D. This is the ‘D’ above middle C on the piano. You will find other keys available and are divided into high and low whistles. The low whistles are in lower octaves. If you are a complete beginner you will find it easier to start with a high D whistle rather than a Low D whistle.
Thinking about visiting Ireland? Well, don’t forget to check out Limerick, a great historic city that boasts great rugby legends, which offers sizzling food, and comes with interesting street art.
There’s always something going on in Limerick. The town’s riverside walks, revamped quays, and casual dining food scenes will steal your heart, that’s for sure!
Here are a few good reasons to visit Limerick: Limerick’s Georgian grid When you think of Georgian architecture in Ireland, you’d probably think of Dublin, but the country has more to offer. The Georgian grid of Limerick (referred to as Newtown Pery) looks unfortunately for the larger part still like a crumbling wreck, but if you look a little deeper, you’ll come aware of its historic relevance, the quality, and its mouthwatering potential. Even the roughest corners echo the city’s heritage.
Come to Limerick and marvel at the dilapidated fanlights and iron balconies around Mallow Street, and set-pieces like the Crescent on O’Connell Street. Outside of Dublin, Limerick boasts the largest Irish collection of Georgian townhouses. Newtown Pery was founded by the First Viscount Pery in Limerick’s old medieval quarter around the end of the 18th century, and though its demise is obvious, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Many Irish people are trying to speak with an American accent
There have been many times that the Irish poked a bit of fun at folks from across the Atlantic who tried, but miserably failed, to put up a convincingly sounding Irish accent. This has particularly been true when some Hollywood star was put in some Irish film role and was apparently unable to even get some basic accents right, despite all the classes they went through for building up their acting skills.
Today, the tables may have turned slightly, however, as is shown in a new YouTube video that is showing some Irish people who do their utmost to copy a few North American accents. Don’t be surprised, they’re faring just as shockingly….
While most people on our side of the big pond are quite capable of identifying one American accent from the other, would most Irish people not be able to tell a California accent from a Boston one, or even a Canadian from a New Yorker. Things get a bit funny the moment the video begins, and we can hear one lady say that she’s really afraid she’s going to offend all Americans, and probably the Canadians as well….
Many of us claim Irish heritage, but also those who don’t are welcome at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center. Feel free to enjoy the vibrant and warm Irish culture and benefit from the center’s facilities such as the elegant and spacious ballroom.
The Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center—formerly known as the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club—has had a long and storied history. Here are some of the highlights.
The Pelham Auto Club is Built
“It was Pelham’s social institution, with billiards, a bowling alley, a dining room, a ballroom, card rooms, and a garage with a full-time mechanic.”
28 Sep 1936
Pelham Club Becomes First Home of Germantown Jewish Centre
The Centre leased the auditorium for $200 a month. “It was the largest auditorium in the city at that time and for many years after. It had a seating capacity of 750 at tables and 1,200 in chairs for lectures. This was the space we rented as our first home.”
When people think about the Irish in America, often the first things that come to mind are the St. Patrick’s Day Parades, JFK, or Irish pride, and we also have the same attitude towards our paycheck. We love to count our cents, and the hourly paycheck online calculator (very popular in the States) was originally introduced from Ireland.
But let’s be honest, Irish-American ties are running far deeper than you would maybe expect at first glance. Do you, for example, know that the first man who stepped off Columbus’ ship, and as first European set foot on American soil, was an Irishman?
And do you know that the first U.S. woman who walked in space was Irish-American? Well, let’s dig a little deeper and show you a few some Irish accomplishments in the U.S. Just check out these interesting and sometimes maybe surprising facts about the Irish in America.
Do you know how many U.S. Presidents have Irish ancestry? In general, it is believed that more than 40% of all presidents of the United States have Irish heritage, but of 22 of these important individuals, we know that they have confirmed Irish ancestry. The presidents that are known to be ‘most Irish’ are James Buchanan and Andrew Jackson who both have parents that were all born in Ireland.
In the northern portions of the Bronx, located just above Woodlawn cemetery and east of The Bronx’ Van Cortlandt Park, you will find a neighborhood called Little Ireland, New York City’s proud center of Irish culture and its people. The neighborhood is actually called Woodlawn Heights but New Yorkers simply say Woodlawn, that’s how it is known. For many years, the neighborhood has been an important New York destination for the Irish exodus.
Woodlawn was originally populated by people of Germans descent, but today, the neighborhood is predominantly Irish in combination with quite a few Italian-Americans. Woodlawn is the part of New York City where you will find the most 4-leaf clover insignias on buildings and storefronts across the city. Woodlawn has pretty definitive borders, but you’ll find the local Irish community on either side of McLean Avenue, the city line between Yonkers and New York City.