Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

The greatest privilege I have had in my life is to be married to Linda and to be the father of Julia, Carolan, and Emily. I truly thank the Lord for my marriage and my children (they will never truly know the depths of my gratitude and my sense of being blessed). I am very very proud of them and thankful for their Father's Day wishes and presents.

I would like to honor my own Father. Dad has been gone for 12 years now--hard to believe! He was my hero. He lived his life for my Mom and for his five children. The indelible image in memory is playing catch with Dad in front of our Euclid house. We did it almost every day during the warm season. It was such a simple thing, hardly a word being exchanged. But it meant a lot to me in my growing-up years, and it still means a lot to me today. I also remember all the early mornings we would sit silently at the dining room table over coffee--he getting ready to go to work at Fisher Body, me getting ready to deliver the Plain Dealer.

I also think today of my Father-in-Law, Art Sanders. A sweet, kindly man, who with his wife Ruth, raised five of the most extraordinary children. We miss Art and Ruth terribly (we said a prayer at their graves this past Friday).

I also don't want to forget my wonderful grandfather, Connie Coughlin--a wonderful Irishman, full of humor and blarney, a great baseball player, and great father, who, with my Gramma Cora Coughlin, raised four boys and a girl, and saw all their boys fight during World War II. Thanks to our Grandparents and the big extended family that cared for us.

Finally, I want to thank the Uncles and Godfathers, Priests and Brothers, who might not have been biological fathers, but gave me and my family (and those beyond my family) so much of a Father's love. Thanks to the Marianist and Holy Cross bothers and priests, and the priests of the Diocese of Cleveland. Blessings and deepest thanks.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Get Ready for Bloomsday, June 16th!

On June 16th we celebrate "Bloomsday," named after Leopold Bloom, one of the two main characters in James Joyce's novel Ulysses. The novel celebrates a day in the life of Leopold Bloom and his wife Molly, and is set in Dublin, Ireland. A nice discussion of this novel is available on Wikipedia at this link: There is also a discussion of Bloomsday on Wikipedia at this link:

I have received an email telling of a Bloomsday event at the Cleveland Heights tavern/nightclub called "Nighttown." Nighttown is run by Irishman Brendan Ring, and is named after the red-light district of Dublin mentioned in Ulysses. Between 4 and 6 PM on Tuesday, June 16th, people will read Episode 10 of Ulysses at the pub (I'd prefer reading the incredible ending of Episode 18!).

Nighttown is one of Cleveland's treasures--and probably one of the great jazz venues in the country (not just jazz, but Irish music and other kinds of music). The pub has its own website: The pub's address is 12383 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44106. Phone 216-795-0550.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rocky Colavito--4 Straight Homers 50 Years Ago Today

Exactly 50 years ago today, June 10th, 1959, almost to the minute, I listened to radio station WERE in Cleveland as Jimmy Dudley, the great broadcaster, announced the Indians game against the Baltimore Orioles in the spacious Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Rocco Colavito, who we all knew as "Rocky," walked in his first at bat for the Indians that night. But in his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th at bats that evening, Rocky hit home runs--one of the few players in baseball's long history to do that.

I was 10 years old, ready to turn 11, and I was a baseball fanatic. I read all the books on baseball in the Upson branch of the Euclid Public Library. I read the sports pages every day in the Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Press. I knew all the statistics, from the early years of baseball up to that day in 1959.

One player for the Indians that day, first baseman Vic Power, also accomplished an astonishing thing the previous summer--and I was there in Cleveland Municipal Stadium on August 14, 1958. Vic Power actually stole home twice in that game, ending the match with his second steal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mo Ghile Mear--Great Irish-Gaelic Song

Mo Ghile Mear

[Verse 1 and chorus]

Sé mo laoch mo Ghile Mear
‘Sé mo Chaesar, Ghile Mear,
Suan ná séan ní bhfuaireas féin
Ó chuaigh i gcéin mo Ghile Mear.

[2]Seal da rabhas im’ mhaighdean shéimh,
‘S anois im’ bhaintreach chaite thréith,
Mo chéile ag treabhadh na dtonn go tréan
De bharr na gcnoc is imigéin.

--Curfa (chorus)

[3]Bímse buan ar buairt gach ló,
Ag caoi go cruaidh ‘s ag tuar na ndeór
Mar scaoileadh uaim an buachaill beó
‘S ná ríomhtar tuairisc uaidh, mo bhrón.


[4]Ní labhrann cuach go suairc ar nóin
Is níl guth gadhair i gcoillte cnó,
Ná maidin shamhraidh i gcleanntaibh ceoigh
Ó d’imthigh sé uaim an buachaill beó.

* Níl curfa anseo... (no chorus this time)

[5]Ghile Mear ‘sa seal faoi chumha,
‘S Eire go léir faoi chlócaibh dubha;
Suan ná séan ní bhfuaireas féin
Ó cuaigh i gcéin mo Ghile Mear.

A rough phonetic transcription I found on the internet:

[1 and Chorus]Shay muh lay moe Gil-ah Mar
Shay moe Hay-suh, Gil-ah Mar,
Soon nawh shayn nee voor-ahs hayn
Oh coo-ig EE-gayne moe Gil-ah Mar.

[2]Shall dah ross im wy-gem hay-v,
Sa-nEEsh im vahn-trock caw-cha tray,
Moe kayl egg trav-ah nah gun guh train
Deh var nah ng-ic iss im-ee-gayn.


[3]Beem-sha boo-in air boo-urch gawk low,
Egg key guh crew-eh seg toor nah nyoar
Mar squeal-ah oo-im aun boo-cull b-yo
Snah riv-tar toorisk oo-ig, muh v-roan.


[4]Nee lauw-ron cooirk guh sooirk air no-n
Iss neel guh gah-air ee key-olteh kno,
Nah mah-jen how-ree ee glan-tehv keo
Oh dimmy shay whim aun boo-cul byo.

* No Chorus Here...

[5]Gil-ah Mar sah shall fwee coov(a),
Iss Air guh lair fwee cloak-ev doov(a);
Soon nah shayne nee voor-ahs hayne
Oh coo-ig e gayne muh Gil-ah Mar.

Here's what Wikipedia says about this song: "'Mo Ghile Mear' is an old Irish love song, written in the Irish language by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill in the 18th Century. It's a lament by Éire to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was then in exile."

Many people in Ireland and in Highland Scotland thought that Bonnie Prince Charles would come to their rescue, in the face of oppression from the likes of William of Orange (William had defeated James II in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and Protestant Orangemen march to this day in Northern Ireland).

[translation coming]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Hard Road to Klondike" --Fascinating Irish Book and Film

My Irish-Gaelic class, held every Wednesday evening at the Irish-American Club East Side (in Euclid, Ohio), read a book in Irish called "Rotha Mor an tSaoil," which means literally "Big Wheel of Life." The book has been translated into English with a different title, "The Hard Road to Klondike." A few years ago (1999), Desmond Bell, a documentary filmmaker who is also a professor at Queens University Belfast, made a film of the book and titled it "Hard Road to Klondike." The 55-minute film is not widely available, but I was able to borrow it from the Oberlin College Library. Last night our Irish class viewed the film at our regular Wednesday night meeting.

The book is the autobiography of Mickey MacGowan, born in 1865 in a Gaelic-speaking region of County Donegal, Ireland [more coming].

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oró, sé do bheatha abhaile --in Irish and English

Oró, sé do bheatha abhaile

[Padraig Pearse Version]:

Oró, sé do bheatha abhaile,
Oró, sé do bheatha abhaile,
Oró, sé do bheatha abhaile
Anois ar theacht an tsamhraidh.

'Sé do bheatha, a bhean ba léanmhar,
do b' é ár gcreach tú bheith i ngéibheann,
do dhúiche bhreá i seilbh méirleach,
is tú díolta leis na Gallaibh.


Tá Gráinne Mhaol ag teacht thar sáile,
óglaigh armtha léi mar gharda,
Gaeil iad féin is ní Gaill ná Spáinnigh,
is cuirfidh siad ruaig ar Ghallaibh.


A bhuí le Rí na bhFeart go bhfeiceam,
mura mbeam beo ina dhiaidh ach seachtain,
Gráinne Mhaol agus míle gaiscíoch,
ag fógairt fáin ar Ghallaibh.


English translation


Oh-ro You're welcome home,
Oh-ro You're welcome home,
Oh-ro You're welcome home...
Now that summer's coming!

Welcome oh woman who was so afflicted,
It was our ruin that you were in bondage,
Our fine land in the possession of thieves...
And you sold to the foreigners!


Grainne Mhaol is coming over the sea,
Armed warriors along with her as her guard,
They are Irishmen, not foreigners nor Spanish...
And they will rout the foreigners!


May it please the King of Miracles,
Although we may live for a week once after,
Grainne Mhaol and a thousand warriors...
Dispersing the foreigners!


There are many excellent versions of this song available. Some performances can be located on Try Mary Black's version or Sinnead O'Connor's! Here's Mary Black's:

After listening to this song, you may want to take up arms to defend Ireland! You are fairly warned!