Friday, 15 March 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day weekend!

Dear readers, I have put together a posting to highlight some of the activities this weekend. Besides the usual green beer swilling (I'm not really into it and never was!) there are some family activities available sans the green beer (and by the way, the beer isn't green in Ireland...). Still, if you're of legal age, have a few pints, and enjoy them responsibly. Let's not be reading about you in the news on Monday!

The Irish Society of the National Capital Region (ISNCR) has been going all week long so far, and tomorrow (Sat. 16th) is the big parade in downtown Ottawa. The Parade will leave the intersection of Laurier Avenue West and Elgin St at 11:00 AM, and proceed west on Laurier Avenue West, turn right on Bank St., then left on Wellington St., and continue west on Wellington St. to an area near the Library and Archives Canada building, arriving there at approximately 12:00 – 12:30. After the parade, revellers will make their way by any route back to St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts for the annual Grand Irish Party. St. Brigid's is also home of the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre – a likely place to hold a St. Patrick’s Parade Party. The Party will run from 12 noon until 4:00 PM, with food and beverage service provided by St. Brigid’s (I haven't checked...will the beer be the horrid green?). Get the black stuff, better for you anyway!

On Saturday night the other major Irish organisation in Ottawa, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE), is hosting their annual St. Patrick's Day Ceili and Dinner at Blessed Sacrament Church, 194 Fourth Ave in the Glebe at 6PM. This is a major event, with approximately 150 people served a delicious catered multicourse meal, followed by a large Irish ceili at 8PM. Paying for the dinner gets you into the ceili. But if you skip the dinner, your entry to the ceili will depend on the number of people in the hall when you arrive to keep within fire limits. The ceili will involve all participants young and old dancing to a large and live ceili band playing all traditional Irish dance tunes. At the halftime break there will be live entertainment from an outside group, typically Irish dancing, or a musical troupe, all of high calibre. Yet another break typically occurs at around 10:30pm where members provide free of charge tea and home made Irish soda bread with jam and cheese. These events generally have a cash bar as well, but it is not a drinking event, there are many children and the events are quite family friendly. I hear that the event is practically sold out, as it does EVERY YEAR!

On Sunday, which is actually Saint Patrick's Day, there are the usual packed bars offering liquid refreshments and live, overly amplified, music, and there are still a few places where one's sanity may remain in tact. First, start off your morning by listening to the weekly Irish radio program on CHIN FM,  The Gaelic Hour with host Austin Comerton at 8-10AM.

There is the St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, Noon to 3PM, at St. Brigid's Centre (Kildare Room), 310 St. Patrick Street at Cumberland street. Enjoy live entertainment, song and dance. Seating is limited seating and advanced ticket sales only ($35.00).  With hardly a half-hour to spare, the 2013 Rose of Tralee Ottawa Centre Selection takes place at the official Residence of the Irish Ambassador, Park Road, Rockcliffe Park at 3:30 PM. During the selection one of 9 extremely bright and talented young woman will be selected to represent Ottawa at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Ireland in August. Attend this afternoon reception and enjoy onstage interviews and party pieces of all Ottawa Rose applicants. Interviews will be conducted by CTV's Michael O'Byrne. Refreshments will be provided and a portion of event proceeds going to the Ottawa Valley Aid for Chernobyl Children. Finally, if you can't make it out to any of the fancy events, on March 17 head over to Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Pub on 1211 Wellington west, near Parkadale (the bowling alley and Fil's Diner) and listen to some authentic Irish music, un-amplified, with the regular session players (they are also there every Thursday night!). They are supposed to play around 3PM. If you miss it, there's no guarantee of hearing some traditional music.

If you really want to hear the very best in Irish traditional music this March, on Tuesday 26 March head down to St. Brigid's and listen to Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly on fiddle and accordion. These are two very famous Irish musicians with an impeccable background and musical pedigree. For more information, see the story in this blog, as it is presented by Irish Music Ottawa! This really will be the absolute best quality in Irish traditional music you will hear in Ottawa this spring. Advance tickets are highly discounted!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and if you must drink, drink responsibly!