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.

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.

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

History of the Horseshoe (and Mike Heivly’s Upcoming Art Show)

News from Charlottesville’s Kevin Donleavy:

Shannon,

I forgot to mention to you that the Horseshoe is quite famous as a venue for trad musicianers over the past 5 or 6 decades.  Lynch can tell you all about why.  It hinges on magnificent fiddler-and-concertina-player John Kelly who ran the shop for aeons.  He’s gone, RIP,  but his fiddling sons James (lives in Florida now) and John (still lives in Ireland)  carry on that family musical tradition. Ah, John Kelly the elder — he attracted the likes of Seamus Ennis and John Egan and loads and tons of musicianers to that wee shop.  Why don’t ya ask Lynch about the pub at the corner where John and others held forth of an evening ? or the pub called the Meeting Place (also fairly nearby).
 
Oh, I also nearly disremembered the following — that Mike Heivly has sent some of his work to the Embassy of Ireland, and will probably have a one-man show sometime in the next few months.  Stay tuned!
Kevin
Incidentally, Mike’s show will be at the Irish Embassy.  Kevin explained:
The Embassy is in DC, on prestigious Mass Ave (ie, Massachusetts Avenue).  A small edifice, but it’s (I’m guessing) early 19th c., sorta French looking with Baroque elements. Neat building.

Uncovering History at the Cobblestone Pub

Last week’s impromptu visit by (Fulbright student) Amanda Bernhard and her husband Jonathan Kennedy was a most welcome excuse to visit the Cobblestone!

Jonathan Kennedy playing uilleann pipes with an Irish man he has played pipes with the States.

Jonathan Kennedy playing uilleann pipes with an Irish man he has played pipes with the United States.

A casteen player with Tom Mulligan.

A casteen player with Tom Mulligan. Tom’s doing his best to keep Irish traditions alive and thriving here in Dublin.

My friends arrived late in the evening Thursday after a day of Irish classes followed by a cross-country drive.

They took me out for dinner at L. Mulligan. Grocer then we popped back to my apartment to fetch their instruments and retraced our steps one block to Tom Mulligan’s Cobblestone pub.

The last two times Jonathan and Amanda went to the Cobblestone I wasn’t with them (they were staying at my apartment while I was away). They went on weekends and the musicians’ corner was already full. They didn’t play then, although they did introduce themselves to Tom.

Last Thursday, however, they found space to play alongside the Irish musicians. We had a great time and enjoyed meeting new people, seeing Tom, and catching up on recent events.

After talking with Tom, I finally understand how Fergus Whelan came to have close friends on both sides of the “Troubles.” He is/was both Protestant and Republican (though today he’s a peacemaker as per my earlier blog). Protestants are typically associated with the other side — usually sticking with the Queen, so to speak — while Fergus apparently supported the unification of Ireland and Irish rule for the entire island. See how much like the American Civil War it all was? As a Virginian, I too had family on both sides of a bitter conflict. And some tensions run high on that conflict even today….