March 11, 1996 |
Donegal has been called Ireland's forgotten county, and considering its spot on the map it's not a surprising appellation. Facing the sea on the west and north, pressed against troubled Northern Ireland on the east, its only physical connection to the rest of the Republic of Ireland is its 10-mile border with County Sligo to the south. County Donegal, a dramatic land of mountains, river valleys and rugged shore, has produced a music that might also be called forgotten.
February 24, 1996 |
Some purists cry foul when such bands as the Pogues and Young Dubliners bend the boundaries of Irish music with such noisy, modern-era instruments as the electric guitar, bass and keyboards. The members of Craob Rua, a quartet from Belfast (pronounced Creev-roo-ah), would seem to be good boyos, rooting their jigs and reels firmly in the traditional style of the Chieftains.
July 25, 1995 |
The air in Dublin's St. James Gate area along the River Liffey has a sharp but pleasant tang: the smell of roasting barley that gives Guinness Stout, the national drink of Ireland, its distinctive color. For St. James Gate, which once served as an entry to the old, walled Irish capital, is the home of the Guinness Brewery, the world's largest producer of the dark, heavy brew known as stout.
March 23, 1994 |
Roddy Doyle stood by the window of his 12th-floor hotel room and peered through the hard gray afternoon light at what he assumed to be the general direction of Los Angeles, conjuring his mythic picture of what the city 379 miles south looked like. "This is as close to L.A. as I want to get," he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 1994 |
St. Patrick's Day on Thursday is that time when everyone wants a "wee bit o' heaven" and to be Irish for a day. But for Tom and Mary Kelly of Tustin, every day is St. Patty's Day. At their gift shop on El Camino Real, the shamrocks never disappear. Kelly's Gift and Hobby Shop sells a variety of Irish products throughout the year, from food to clothes to jewelry to gifts.
August 1, 1993 |
With a name like mine, and a face like a map of Ireland, I should have known why the place was calling me. But for years I fought it. The land of my ancestors looked to me like a nation of brawlers and hopeless romantics. I vowed early never to set foot in it. You can say things like that about what is your own. I'd be incensed if anybody who isn't Irish criticized Ireland. But I am: Irish American, three generations, right and left on the family tree.
June 6, 1993
Mad as Hell is an occasional feature in which readers may express their views on issues related to the arts and entertainment. Let the phrase uttered by Howard Beale (as portrayed by Peter Finch, left, in the movie "Network") be your guide: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Psst! Wanna Buy a Ticket? Why are the arts in trouble? Why do classical concert series always need to be bailed out by wealthy patrons? I've got one answer.
September 8, 1991 |
Until about 30 years ago, a score of traveling theater troupes toured small Irish towns and villages. Typically headed up by a flamboyant actor-manager, these troupes would stop in a particular village--like this one hard by the Ulster border--for a week at a time, pitch a tent on the edge of town and perform their repertoire. The actors might have seen a new film in a larger town or city, and would re-enact it for the villagers who lived in areas too remote for moviegoing.
April 19, 1991 |
Andy Irvine had an invitation to join the British folk-rock boom of the early 1970s, but his own musical inclinations left him otherwise engaged. Instead, Irvine, who plays a solo concert Monday at Shade Tree Stringed Instruments in Laguna Niguel, has been content to spend the last 20-odd years exploring new possibilities within the Irish folk tradition.
March 14, 1991 |
Mention of St. Patrick's Day does not bring a twinkle to Dan Cartmell's eye, nor does it make Margie Mirken want to break into a jig. It isn't that these Orange County musicians turn into grinches at the sight of green. Actually, Cartmell's band, the Bold Fenian Men, and Mirken's group, Blackthorn, see more green--of the negotiable type--around St. Patrick's Day than they do the rest of the year.