With visits to six pubs and the new Irish Cultural Center of the Mohawk Valley still under construction, our Bloomsday Pub Crawl was an amazing success.
Sporting new custom T-shirts for the event (included in the ticket price) our group of 45 pub crawlers traveled to each stop where we heard lively authentic Irish music supplied by our own Craobh Dugan and dramatic readings from James Joyce's literary classic, Ulysses. The final reading by local professor and actress Ann Carey took our breath away!
Many new friends were made and spontaneous dancing broke out from time to time. Each Varick Street pub put on a generous spread of snacks to keep us fortified for our journey. Above and beyond that, they also supplied delightful door prizes, with Saranac Brewery donating a gift for every member of the pub crawl.
One of the greatest highlights of the day was our glimpse of the much anticipated Irish Cultural Center of the Mohawk Valley. Vaughn Lang and Linda Voce were on hand to answer questions and explain details about the building. We were able to see the sturdy steel beams and a sample of the stone that will be used on the outside. Vaughn said he's building this center to last, and we could see that's true. Craobh Dugan distinguished themselves as the very first musicians to play at the center, and then we all raised miniature green glasses in a champagne toast to Vaughn and the new center.
One little snafu took place when O'Donnell's pub turned out to be closed despite all our careful communication and planning. But as they say in Ireland, "No worries!" Lukin's Brick Oven Pizza welcomed us with open arms, and bartender Morgan handled the sudden crowd with a smile!
Many of us had not had the opportunity to see the inside of these establishments before, but it's safe to say we can highly recommend them all now. So if you're looking for a lovely evening out in Utica, NY, with great food, atmosphere and entertainment, think of one of these fine pubs on Varick Street.
Our event, featuring Irish storyteller Helena Byrne, was a brilliant success.
Hailing from Kilkenny, Ireland, Helena Byrne has performed with well-known artists such as James Taylor and Moya Brennan. She is the voice of An Evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies, an event that is ranked #1 of Trip Advisor's 72 concerts and shows in Dublin.
A talented singer, songwriter, and storyteller, Helena transported us to a magical Celtic world at the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, NY.
If you missed the show, you can find out more about her and buy CDs of her stories and songs by visiting her website here.
We had a great time listening to Helena sing and entertain us with stories of the fairies.
1916 Easter Rising Commemoration Events
At our first meeting in January 2016 we set to work planning events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The Rising, which took place in Dublin in April 1916, eventually led to Irish independence from England. On April 9, 2016, we held our first event, a screening of the landmark new documentary produced by Notre Dame University entitled 1916 The Irish Rebellion. Featuring Liam Neeson as narrator, the documentary traces the history of Ireland's struggle for independence from its earliest roots through the 1916 Rising and into its repercussions in modern times. The series is now available on Amazon.
On April 30, 2016, we honored those who gave their lives for Irish freedom during the 1916 Rising in Dublin. We celebrated the rich music, dance, poetry, and spirit they fought to preserve. And we honored local people who have given generous service to the Irish community in Central New York. All of this added up to a lovely gala dinner at Hart's Hill Inn in Whitesboro, NY.