Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer Is Coming

Tomorrow is the first of June, an auspicious day for a lot of reasons. It's Canadian Independence Day of course. Dwight Eisenhower's 103rd wedding anniversary. And as you all know, tomorrow we celebrate the 262nd birthday of Austrian composer Ignaz J. Pleyel. Happy birthday, Iggy!

But even more important than those events is this: tomorrow at 8:00am you can volunteer to work at the 17th annual Kansas City Irish Fest. Why sign up? Let me count the ways.

One, you get this cool free t-shirt featuring the ramblin' 2019 Irish Fest cow. Two, you get in to the festival free the day or days you work. With shifts running just 4 hours, on Saturday and Sunday that leaves you 8 hours to play. On Friday, 2 free hours. Work on set up and you're done before we even open! Three, you'll get another free pass to come back an additional day. Four, you become part of the best group of people that you'll ever meet. When you join the Irish Fest family, you're helping put on the best party our city sees all year. And we promise, you'll have a great time doing it. 

So set your alarm. 8:00am, Tomorrow, June 1st. Get your best job and your perfect time to work. 

Summer is coming. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Ireland Fails

So for the 5th time in 6 years, Ireland has failed to advance in the Eurovision song contest and frankly, with this year's entry, I'm not shocked. Dreadful shite. Why in the world with an island bursting at the seams with great trad singers and players they don't go that route more often is beyond me. Or maybe it's time to go back to singing turkey puppets.

Anyway, there'll be amazing music and no turkeys at the KC Irish Fest this year. And we open in just 105 days! Book that hotel!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Irish Ambassador in Cowtown

Last night a bevy of Irish Fest staffers, including myself, attended a very nice reception  at the Kansas City Irish Center in honor of H.E. Daniel Mulhall, the Irish Ambassador to the US. Got to meet the ambassador and he is a lovely fella. He said he's hoping to attend Irish Fest in 2020, so fingers crossed on that.

Turns out he lived in Kansas City for 10 weeks in 1974 and worked at legendary local hamburger joint Winstead's, not a half a mile from where I sit right now. I asked him last night if he was a busboy and he told me that no, he was on "burgers and buns." And he gave me this little bit of wisdom by which I will now live my life: "You can learn a lot when you start out toasting buns."

Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Tomorrow in Dublin's fair city, a new pub will open its doors: The Virgin Mary. Odd name for a pub, yes. But there's an odder oddity. The Virgin Mary will be an alcohol-free pub. Ireland's first. They aim to offer all the ambiance and vibe of a traditional pub, but sans hooch.

“When I mention this concept to friends, the first thing they do is laugh and ask why I’d do this in one of the bar capitals of Europe, ” says the owner Vaughan Yates. 

Why indeed. Best of luck, Mr. Yates. You sick, twisted man. 

Monday, May 06, 2019

We Have A Winner

The 1st annual Battle of The Bands last Friday night was a smashing success. If you weren't there, you have my sympathies. It was a great night. Four great acts competed. Our winner, The Irish Aires from St. Louis will play Irish Fest this year and if I were you I'd make plans to be there for the debut.

Irish Fest, now with 100% more Irish Aires and roughly the same number of derrieres, opens in 116 days, which is the average gestation period for a pig. Use that info tidbit as you see fit.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Five Years Today

Sometimes five years can seem like 5 days and 500 years at the same time. Still miss you, brother.

Friday, May 03, 2019

False Advertising

Okay, well, I confess to be a little disappointed.

I was under the impression that tonight's Irish Fest Battle Of The Bands would involve angry musicians fencing with jagged, snapped-off guitar necks, bludgeoning each other with banjos, and deflecting fiddle bow blows with bodhran shields until only one band was left standing. You know, an actual battle of the bands. Turns out they're just going to be playing music.

Oh well. It's still going to be a great night. I hope to see you there. I'll be tending bar along with the lovely and talented Elizabeth Neal. As a test to see if anybody is actually reading this, the first person who mentions this post gets a pint on me. 

Show starts at 7:00 and admission is FREE! The Irish Center is at Linwood and Baltimore across from McGilley's funeral home...which is where I thought the vanquished bands would be carried. I really need to start paying attention at the meetings.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Battle of The Bands! Friday!

I think probably one of the most coveted jobs here at Irish Fest HQ is the one that me aul pal David Shaughnessy holds. He's the guy who books the bands that play at the fest. Oh sure, we have a lively and knowledgeable entertainment committee who provide input and Dave reports to a member of our board of directors who keep him honest. But ultimately, Dave's the man who either puts you on stage or doesn't.

Until now.

This coming Friday, May 3rd at the Kansas City Irish Center, it's your turn. Four bands/performers will take the stage. One will take home a contract. Your votes will decide. The event is free to attend and drinks will available for purchase. The battling bands are: Blame Not the Bard from Iowa, Barnacle Duggles from St. Louis, Stolen Apples from KC and Irish Aires from St. Louis.

Sadly for you and the world at large, I am disqualified from competing. Because my a cappella rendition of "Fields of Athenry" has been know to bring grown men to tears. While I won't be singing, I will be tending bar, so come see me. Show starts at 7:00 and rumor has it a couple special musical guests will perform as well.

Friday, March 15, 2019

But Number 1 In Your Heart

We'll be rolling out our soon-to-be-prize-winning float tomorrow at the beautiful Brookside parade and you should come see this thing. It's going to make you swell up with Irish pride or gas or something. We will be number 31 in the warm up parade. Then on Sunday, we're back at it as number 28 in the venerable Kansas City St. Patrick's Day parade. The weather both days looks lovely and lots of our lily-white Irish hides will be roasting in the rare sunshine. Maybe that's what will be making us swell up. Anyway it will be swell.

If you're a member of the Irish Fest staff or committee or, okay, even the board of directors, please put on your KCIF uni and come march with us. If you're an Irish Fest patron, please shout nice things to us as we roll by. If you've never heard of Irish Fest, please scratch your head and say "what's Irish Fest?" as we roll by.  It's going to be a grand weekend altogether.

Irish Pride?

So in my duties as St. Patrick's Day float designer, I had to stop in at a local party goods store Wednesday to get a couple last minute things for our soon-to-be-prize-winning entry in Sunday's parade. And I saw these items for sale.

I'm not easily offended, I swear. But come on. Seriously? Don't we deserve better than this shite?

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Mucho March Marches

We get downright giddy around here at Irish Fest HQ this time of year. Maybe it's all the alcohol. But with so many great events, great music, drinking and laughing with's like Irish Fest but with super crappy weather. Best of all though are the parades. This year you'll have a chance to see representatives of the best west in the Midwest in two parades on two consecutive days. Our feet get sore just thinking about it.

On the 16th of the month we'll be unveiling our brand new float at the annual Brookside St. Patrick's Day Warm Up Parade, assuming we finish the float by then. And then the very next day we'll roll it out again for the top tater, the huge hooley, the premiere peripatetic Paddy party; the Kansas City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Please come out and support these great local events and wave to us when we march by. And keep in mind, we use the word "march" very loosely.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Get Your Socks On

You have a chance to see a trio of Irish Fest alums next week as you start St. Patrick's Day weekend. All the way from The Banner County come the great Socks In The Frying Pan, arguably the silliest-named band we've ever put on stage in our 16 years. (They're likely to hold that title until we book a Galway band we saw at Trad Fest in Dublin a few years ago called My Fellow Sponges.)

But I digress. Socks In The Frying Pan, Thursday March 14th at the Kansas City Irish Center. You don't want to miss this show, it's going to be great. I'll be tending bar, come say hi.

Tickets are here. Preview is there.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Yawn...Good Morning! Wait, What Year Is It?!!??

So, what did I miss?

Hello again, blog-ka-teers! Yes, I've been away. For 4 years. Sorry.

So here's what happened: I kinda got busy with other fest stuff and life stuff, let the blog go fallow. About the time I put Tir na Blog on mothballs, I returned to the Irish Fest board of directors for another 5 year term, which is a great gig but is also a huge time suck. My second term ended on January 1st and through some masterful bamboozlement on my part I invented and took on the totally made up job of Irish Fest Creative Director. And as part of my new pretend job, I promised the current board that I'd put the defibrillator to the aul blog. So we're back! Yay! Yay?

If you're new to Tir na Blog–and I'd imagine most of my regular readers have died of old age by now– I'll be here reporting, commenting, cartooning, and giving you the inside view of the Kansas City Irish Fest, and Irish life in Kansas City in general. Wander through the archives to see what I mean and then check back often. Better yet, subscribe. I think you can do that. And comment if you like. It's always lovely to hear from you.

Happy March! Happy St. Patrick's Day season! Happy Mardi Gras! Irish Fest opens in 178 days!