BOOKBITES . . .
VOICES OF ERIN
John J. Walsh & Michael L. Neary
John J. Walsh was my grand uncle, who co-authored Voices of Erin March 1, 1918 in St. Joseph's Seminary, Baltimore, Md. I hope you enjoy one of the poems from this book during this month of St. Patrick's Day.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY
(Sincerely addressed to an Irish patriot and poet, Mr. H. Frain, Passaic, N.J.)
Next to the God that gave thee soul You love the distant Em'rald Isle, O'erspread with dews that glist'ning glean, Where lovely scenes in beauty smile, Your pulsing heart, your Irish heart, Is still as 'twas in days long o'er, The Fenian fire made hot its blood Beside your old, lov'd Rooskey Shore.
Say could that blood that fired you then With manhood's thoughts and vigor's glow, Now in its lesser power despise Its love of land of long ago? As well, as vain, as useless, too, To blend the night with noontide ray; And, hence, it is I pray my God To ever guard and guide the way.
“THE CROOKED ROAD”
A Ramble through Irish History in Words and Music
With Diarmuid Johnson
Poet, Musician and Gaelic scholar
“The Crooked Road” is a musical and poetic review of Irish history leading up to the Easter Rebellion of 1916. Sequentially woven into the show are lyrics from the earliest times, and music from a lost world that evoke the many distinct and dramatic chapters in the history of Ireland. Diarmuid* Johnson will had two public performances in Santa Barbara at La Arcada Bistro on March 9 and Hillside House on March 13 for an afternoon matinee. Both were intimate locations with limited seating. It was a grand way to get in the spirit for St. Patrick’s Day.
“The Crooked Road” is the first cross-country collaboration for the Irish American Business and Cultural Network/Santa Barbara (IABCN/SB). The group was formed in 2015 to exchange business and cultural projects between the two locations. As the 100th Anniversary of Ireland’s Easter Rebellion is upon us, it’s an auspicious time to introduce American audiences to Diarmuid Johnson. There is no one of his caliber here to tell the history of Ireland and bring the awareness of what the Great Irish Uprising of 1916 meant; how that event shaped the country into what it is today. Irish Americans have been naturally drawn to this authentic performance to hear a good tale told in the grand Irish tradition.
Diarmuid, a Celtic scholar, musician and poet, gives audiences a new appreciation for the struggles of the Celts. Fifteen hundred years are covered. As an immigrant race, these Celtic stories resonate with anyone who has been an immigrant or comes from immigrant stock.
Diarmuid begins with the old tales; works forward through history in words and music (e.g. the Flight of the Earls, Napoleonic tunes, melodies of exile and longing, and of fighting the battles of others.) He takes guests through the events of 1798 and The Battle of Vinegar Hill, the time of the Fenians, and the trauma of exile, up to the time of the Rising. The finale goes back to the beginning with *Cuchulainn and the statue in the GPO. (*Slides were used in the background at La Arcada Bistro as the tale is told to add atmosphere.) Audiences came away with a better understanding of the holistic history of Ireland and its influence on its’ people over the centuries.
“The Crooked Road” is the work of a poet and musician who writes about place, people, culture and emotion through the passing of time. This show gives audiences a more complete understanding of the history of Ireland, all to the music that accompanied the lives of Irish people for several hundred years. Diarmuid’s book by the same name as the show will be available for purchase at the events.
IRELAND FILM NEWS . . .
PECK FAMILY HONORED AT SBIFF BY DINGLE FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
by Bonnie Carroll
Dingle International Film Festival was honored to make a presentation to The Peck Family to acknowledge and celebrate Gregory Peck’s Birth Centenary. Members of the Peck family were presented with The Gregory Peck Award at a ceremony on Saturday 6th February in Santa Barbara, CA. where Maurice Galway, Festival Director, was presenting a programme of Irish animated films as part of the 31stSanta Barbara International Film Festival.
Gregory Peck was born on April 5th 1916, a unique and seminal year in Irish history. His grandmother, Catherine Ashe, was Irish and from Minard, just outside Dingle and Gregory was related to the republican Thomas Ashe who played a major role in The 1916 Easter Rising. It is more than fitting then for Dingle IFF in this Ireland’s centenary to honour The Pecks.
“The Peck family is thrilled to be receive the Gregory Peck Award during Gregory’s centennial year, and the centenary of Irish independence. We welcome the Dingle International Film Festival to California, and to a bit of craic with Maurice Galway and our Dingle friends Brian and Maraid De Staic” said Cecilia Peck
The Gregory Peck Award is based on the Aglish Pillar from Minard, now housed in the National Museum of Ireland. The award was designed by Brian de Staic who also attended the presentation in Santa Barbara.
Recipients of The Gregory Peck Award to date have included Laura Dern, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Stephen Frears.
Dingle IFF, runs from 17thto 20thMarch, will close its 10th and will close with a screening of Gregory Peck’s classic film ROMAN HOLIDAY on March 20th.
MUSIC NEWS . . .