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    Catch us at these upcoming festivals:

    Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival – September 16-17 in Olcott, NY

    Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival – September 16 in Ballston Spa, NY

    Celtic Classic – September 22-24 in Bethlehem, PA

    Wildwood Irish Fall Festival – September 22-24 in Wildwood, NJ

  • ‘Irish Friends’ – The Irish Senator

    Sullivan William Collins, Francis Collins, and I used to ride together in the old days. We were like the

    James gang, or the Ned Kelly gang, but loot or revenge were not are motives. No, we were after fun

    any way we could find it. I have to be careful because the Statute of Limitations has not ran out on

    some of our crimes. The intent of our gang was not organized or contrived mayhem, but it

    happened because of the virtue of our breeding. We fought, not well mind you, just gamely when

    confronted.

    We broke things that needed to be broken, and we insulted people who needed to be insulted. It

    was the English, after all, that made swearing insults at a rival indecent (as one friend, who could

    really fight, said: “it comes to me, I attract it boys”. The truth is far more simple: he loved to fight,

    and that was the attraction).

    Decency for us was what sociologists and the like call a cultural construct: a fancy

    term, that gave us a green light to do whatever we damned pleased (yes, we fully realize it was

    childish, a bit selfish, and above all loads of fun). It’s a joke, but not a stretch, especially, for the

    many others who rode with us (besides we never hurt the innocent, that we remember, anyway). I

    know what people will say,”You shouldn’t glamorize carousing fueled by too much alcohol.” But

    that is exactly what I intend to do, because you couldn’t beat the smiles off our faces when we got

    together.

    The fact of the matter is that most of my best friends became that way through that very rite of

    passage—hell, where we come from it is practically a religion. Why? I speculate it is because it is so

    damn fun, and that pure exhilaration brings people together. Besides, people are too interested in

    perfection these days, always doing the right thing, and never swerving off the path

    doing the wrong thing is often how we learn. You get your nose bloody…fall into a ditch…wake up

    in jail or… the wrong house. This author has had all of those happen more than once, which

    contradicts the learning aspect of the enterprise.

    Our little clan waged a war of attrition on boredom, and the public houses where our battlegrounds

    of choice (choose the high ground lads). Clubs, or (I am showing my age now) discos were just

    synthetic noise factories for us… large headache rooms filled with herds of morons with huge

    gaudy chains, and too much cologne. No, we liked good music, dance, food, and above all craic, as

    the Irish call it. Now, we could have a grand time in a garage with a boom box and some brews: we

    had the expertise to take care of the rest. We didn’t need flipping board games or silly themes—no,

    we had jokes, conversation…original characters who entertained us (Billy and Frankie dancing

    alone, was awe inspiring performance art…a twisted hybrid of Grateful Dead, Blackfoot Sun Dance

    ritual, and Irish Step dancing).

    We are truly blessed , not because we have fortunes, or power, or homes, or etc., but

    because we have true friends. For us it was about the clan; a ritual that forged music, drink, sports,

    women, dance and food together in perfect harmony (disharmony for some). As far as conversation

    goes…we were Irish for God’s sake, so we could talk about anything, it didn’t matter if we knew

    anything about the said subject matter (what fun is talking about something you truly know,

    anyway: where is the adventure in that? ). Endless possibility always hovered over our heads when

    we were together, and that intense fire forged the bond that still exists today…stronger and more

    refined through the passing of time…like Irish whiskey in the cask! So raise your glasses for the

    craic of solid friendship: may it dance and sing eternal in your souls.

     

    -The Irish Senator

     

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    Artwork by Kevin McKrell  http://www.kmckrell.com/home.html

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