Jerry Crilly’s final farewell

Jerry Crilly

Frank Cullen and Jerry Crilly in May 2013, at the exhibition of my urban reflection photographs organized by the Irish Fulbright Commission. Photos of Jerry are by my family member, Dave Chance. See a full set of photos from the 2013 event by clicking here.

You may recall my friends Jerry Crilly and Kevin Donleavy. Both have dedicated their lives to Irish music, Irish history, and the pursuit of social justice.

On my first visit to the Cobblestone pub in Smithfield (Dublin 7), I met Jerry. That was back in 2012, and he soon asked me to find his pal Kevin who had moved to Virginia. It wasn’t long before I located Kevin in Charlottesville. On my visit to Virginia for Christmas that year, I brought Kevin a vinyl record, sent by Jerry as a gift. You can read more about that in a blog I posted long ago. The record had a lovely cover and contained songs by Rakish Paddy, one of Jerry’s musical groups.

Jerry was also at my photographic exhibition and my American wake so there are many blogs on this site that include him. He was a dear, sweet man, who never failed to mention the importance of his partner Deirdre in his life.

Jerry’s health has been declining over the past few years. I haven’t gotten to see him much as he rarely traveled as far as the Cobblestone at night. I did make a trip down to the south of Dublin, to visit the Bottle Tower one night so I could hear a musical gig organized by Jerry. It was enjoyable, but as these trad sessions didn’t start until 9:30 PM and ran on school nights, they weren’t very accessible to me.

Jerry Crilly 2

Jerry Crilly in May 2013.

Sadly, Jerry’s health got the better of him, and he recently passed away. Kevin has kept me informed of events, and forwarded on these details sent by Jerry’s beloved partner, Deirdre.

Dear Kevin,

Jerry had a lovely send off today. Everything went smoothly. We had a folk mass in the church that was beautiful. Then in the crematorium we had Jerry singing “John of Dreams” from the Rakish Paddy cd as we entered followed by his great friend Pat Ludford from Cornwall sing “Fields of Athenry” & for the final curtain his dear friend Julie played on flute “The Jerry Crilly Jig” kindly written by yourself & she did it a great justice. I so wished you could have been there to hear  her play it was so lovely. Then we went back to the Ballinteer House for food & a fantastic session from musicians from all over. Eric Fleming who was in Jerrys group the Connolly Folk & Brendan Leeson the last member alive of the Rakish Paddy Group the list goes on & on. They also had a session in O’Donoghues singing a lot of Jerry’s songs that I was delighted to hear about. Hope you’re ok. Thanks for all your kind emails over the past weeks & for letting us use your wonderful tune dedicated to Jerry for his final farewell.
Kind regards, Deirdre 

As Kevin Donleavy noted: “It is a sign of the regard in which Jerry Crilly was held that so many musicians participated in his last rites, and the seisiun at famed O’Donoghue’s (yip, the pub in Dublin)  must have been phenomenal. What a send-off — friends at every turning remembering him !  Requiescat in pace, Jerry.”

We will miss you, and the sincerity and social conscious you brought us, Jerry. I will never forget the lessons of the bonsai tree or the family in the tenement. May you rest in peace and your spirit continue inspire the best in us all.

Sister Sister

My sister, Heather, is visiting.  She’s come to take acting classes.

Last night, we took in a play… Major Barbara, written by Shaw, performed at the Abbey Theater in Dublin.  I discovered that I’ve really got to concentrate to keep up with Shaw, but it’s worth the effort.  His work is packed with meaning….

Heather has been spending quite  a bit of time down at the Cobblestone. She goes in much later in the evening than I do. Evidentially late hours are the best for finding Tom, the owner, who is a night owl.

On Friday evening, I’d gone into the Cobblestone to hear some singing and I left at 9.  Heather stopped in later and met even more of Tom’s family.  She’d gone to thank Tom because he had taken her to see construction of a new theater that he serves as a member of the board.

I really enjoyed Friday evening there.  Some of the songs transported me back to my first trip to Ireland in 2003.  The country was quite a bit different at that time: songs were full of political strife and pubs were full of families, chatter, and smokey haze. The ban on smoking in pubs, apparent tightening of age limits in pubs, and the economic boom / Celtic Tiger all took their toll on Ireland’s pub culture.  The country’s newfound peace also shifted the tone, and for the peace I’m grateful.

The Cobblestone, however, has managed to retain its charm. And it continues to do that despite being listed in every tourist guide. A lot of that, I believe, has to do with Tom’s warm and generous spirit. He makes every person feel special and welcome.

Heather left town today, but sent me over to hear Tom and his friends from the Cobblestone play at the Northside Music Festival in Wolftone ‘Park’.

Irish Music Radio this Weekend

This just in from Kevin Donleavy:

Pull up your easy chair this Saturday, and have a listen to Irish trad music on-line.  The date is June 1,  and the programme runs from 10 am till 12 noon in the eastern US,  which means 3 to 5 pm in Ireland. Kevin Donleavy is the usual host,  and the show is called ATLANTIC WEEKLY PART TWO.
 
Here are the easy listening steps.  On your computer, go to http://wtju.net. Next, select Listen Live on the right side bar.  Then, choose between Ogg and MP3.
 
Here are some highlights from the music to be broadcast. Mary McNamara will play Co. Clare tunes on her concertina. You can hear songs and two uilleann pipers from the Belfast band Réalta.  Kerry’s own Mary Courtney will sing some ballads, and you can hear Liam Weldon singing that powerful song,  “Where Is Our James Connolly.”  Harper Sue Richards will perform, and you can hear Paudie O’Connor on accordion play polkas and reels with John O’Brien on uilleann pipes.  Dublin singer Pat Broaders will  do a fine version of the US trad song called  “Storms Are on the Ocean.”  That’s just the beginning ….
 
Hope you can tune in. You will also hear the latest news from the only Irish archaeological dig in the state of Virginia,  and there’s more information about it at www.clannmhor.org.  And the latest news from such groups as BRIMS (the Blue Ridge Irish Music School), and the Washington branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.  

Irish Music Radio with Mick O’Grady

Charlottesville’s Kevin Donleavy has an Irish music program on air tomorrow.  I hope you’ll tune in via internet!  He explains how, below.  I always enjoy hearing Mick O’Grady play at the Cobblestone pub, and he’ll be featured in the program.

Photo of Stefan Paz Berrios and Mick O'Grady, downloaded from Danny Diamond's Flicker page.

Photo of Stefan Paz Berrios and Mick O’Grady, downloaded from Danny Diamond’s Flickr site.

Hi, music heads and tune-fanciers,

The next radio program of Irish trad music presented by Kevin Donleavy can be heard on-line as usual this Saturday, May 18, from 10 am till 12 noon. (Irish listeners should tune in from 3 to 5 pm that day.) The program is called ATLANTIC WEEKLY PART TWO,  and here are the easy listening steps :
 
To listen on your internet radio, select WTJU in Virginia, USA, or pick up the  “Tune In Radio”  app for your iPhone or other mobile device and easily dial up the station.
 
On your computer,  go to http://wtju.net. Next, select Listen Live on the right side bar. Then, choose between Ogg and MP3.
 
This week’s musical material includes singers Andy Irvine, Paddy Reilly, Tim Browne, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (Maryann McCauley), and Christy Moore. There will  be tunes from banjo expert Kieran Hanrahan and fine box-player Danny O’Mahony. The fiddlers this week are Mick O’Grady and Washington/Baltimore’s own Jesse Smith. And if you like the sounds of uilleann pipes and fiddle, you’ll enjoy tunes from Mick O’Brien and Caoimhin O Raghallaigh. 
 
There will also be some chat about such Irish organizations as Comhaltas, Clann Mhor, and BRIMS (the Blue Ridge Irish Music School). 
 
Hope that you can have a listen on Saturday ….
Kevin

Filming at the Cobblestone Pub

Setting up to film, the room was filled to capacity with Mulligan relations.

Setting up to film, the room was filled to capacity with Mulligan relations.

Cinematographers and musicians filled the tiny musicians’ corner at the Cobblestone pub last week.  They were filming a documentary about traditional Irish music, focusing on the influence of the Travelers (the ethnic group that’s had the roughest time here in Ireland).  I’ll try to keep you posted as to when and where the documentary will air.

And then the filming commenced.

And then the filming commenced.

St. Patrick’s Day, Academic Style!

What a phenomenally Irish weekend!

I didn’t do the things a tourist to Dublin normally does on St. Patrick’s Day (which seems to include a lot of roaming the streets while intoxicated).  Instead, I packed my schedule full of St. Patrick’s Day Festival events.  My friends an I pooled out ticket allotment so we could see many shows.

I’ve pictured some of the events below (I didn’t even take photos at every event, believe it or not).  The photos show how academics enjoy St. Paddy’s!  You can see my brainy friends and me enjoying short films in the Examination Hall of Trinity, for instance.

The group that coordinates the St. Patrick’s Day Festival did a fabulous job!  I send my heartfelt thanks to them!

Incidentally, you’d be amazed to see the streets of Temple Bar on Sunday night:  wall to wall people dressed in green velvet!?!!  I elbowed my way through at 7 PM  (I don’t even want to think what the place was like by midnight).  Even at 7, I was clutching my belongings so tight that I forgot to take a photo!

The Cobblestone Recordings on Air April 6

Kevin Donleavy’s emails are so charming and informative that I just can’t resist posting them in their original form.  Here, he discusses some history of traditional Irish music and his plans to play Tom Mulligan’s Cobblestone recordings on his upcoming radio show.  Anyone can tune in on April 6 by using the Internet (see below).

Hiya again, Shannon,

Whoa, thanks for sending along the Cobblestone recording.  I’m just in the door tonight, and will have a chance to play it tomorrow.  I recognize some of the musicianers’ names, but others are known only to their local fellow-players, I betcha.
 
The entire growth of Irish trad music the past 4 decades is pretty astonishing, as you might already know.
 
Local and private music teachers in loads of communities took a big cue from Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the country-wide music and dance organization which was founded about 50 years ago. Comhaltas lined up the best of fiddlers, uilleann pipers, concertina, and flute players (and loads more besides) to expand the circle of their students.  The overall result is that there are probably 100,000 people in Ireland who play trad music — just my guess, but it probably is close to real. It is the “in” thing for lots of kids — especially if either another family member or a peer plays an instrument.  And they all learn by ear, an astonishing thing. A coupla years ago somebody estimated that a new trad CD is issued somewhere in Ireland or the States every 3 days.  Much more successful growth of Irish folk music than the folk movement in the US.
 
Enough.  Beddyby time.
Thanks again,  
Kevin
Here are Kevin’s instructions for tuning in:
Shannon, hiya —

 
Hope this e-mail addy is good for ya.
 
I listened to the Cobblestone CD today, and heard some great stuff.  More uilleann pipers than I would have imagined would be included — a good sign. Have already chosen 4 cuts for the April 6 (Saturday) radio show on-line, so can you let Tom know the date, please ? Also that the show is  called ATLANTIC WEEKLY PART TWO,  and is found at www.wtju.net,  and that it will be broadcast in Ireland from 3 to 5 pm that day. He and some of the musicianers might wanna have a listen. Since the program is archived for 2 weeks afterward,  they can also listen in later at the Vault spot at the website.
 
Mike Heivly rang today,  and I’ll go share muffins and coffee with him tomorrow morning.  He wants to yammer about setting up his photo-art display at the big Comhaltas convention in D.C. in early April.
 
All for the now,
Kevo