In 1915 Joseph Mary Plunkett joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and quickly rose in rank to become a leader of the Easter Rising of 1916. Joseph had contracted Tuberculosis at an early age and struggled with poor health all of his life. Joseph was well educated and even wrote a book of poetry. One of his poems was incorporated into a song about his relationship with his wife, Grace. In 1916 shortly before the Rising, Joseph was taken to the hospital to undergo surgery to the glands in his neck. He practically crawled from his hospital bed with bandages still on his neck to join the other leaders in the General Post Office. Several days later after heavy shelling and running low on ammunition the GPO was surrendered. Joseph was taken and held at the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin to be court martial. His poor health was never an issue to the British who quickly sentenced him to execution by firing squad. Seven days before the execution was to be carried out he was allowed to marry his long time sweetheart Grace Gifford. They were allowed one kiss and 10 minutes to talk with guards all around them in a small room. On May 04, 1916 Joseph Mary Plunkett was shot in the court yard of the Kilmainham Gaol. So ended the life of one of Ireland's bravest patriots. Grace Gifford Plunkett died in Dublin on December 13, 1955. Grace had never remarried. Please listen to this moving story in song by Wolftones:Click here to hear - Wolf Tones - Grace
Have you ever heard Kansas City's world famous Elders Band? The Elders Band was founded in 1998. Since their founding they have released seven studio albums, four live albums and three DVD's. This world famous six piece Irish American Folk Band will be touring around the U.S. from March until October so you should find them near you sometime. The band members are Ian Byrne (Vocals & Bodhran), Norm Dahlor (Bass, Mandolin, Keyboard, & Vocals), Brent Hoad (Violin, Keyboard & Vocals), Steve Phillips (Guitar, Mandolin, Keyboard & Vocals), Kian Byrne (Drums, Percussion, Mandolin, & Bass) and Diana Ladio (Violin). This band is loaded with talent and their music is powerful to say the least. Truly they are one of the best bands in this genre. You can visit their website to download their schedule. https://www.eldersmusic.com/home Here is a sample of their music: Chieftains If you were wondering why the band is touring the U.S. only until October it's because they will be touring Ireland October 16 thru 27th. It looks like a great tour and if you are interested in touring with them you can AND the price is affordable. You can find information for this grand tour at: http://www.hammondtours.com/images/stories/celtic%20tours/band_pdfs/ELDERS-OCT16-27-2017.pdf.
I first saw and heard this lovely lady performing with Scartaglen in the old Hollywood Theatre in Leavenworth, Kansas. Until that night I had never heard of Connie Dover but after hearing her sing, I would never forget her. The performance was part of a fund raiser for the Leavenworth St. Patrick's Day Parade. The sounds that night made my Irish roots take a firm hold of my heart. Connie was born in Arkansas and raised in Kansas City, MO. She began her career with Scartaglen and progressed from there. She has made several TV appearances and produced several albums/Cd's, Including: Somebody; The Wishing Well; If Ever I Return and The Border of Heaven. She has won 1 Emmy for acoustic music for the KCPT production of Bad Blood: The Border War That Triggered the Civil War. Connie has won many other awards and has had many wonderful reviews like this one - "Connie Dover is the finest folk ballad singer America has produced since Joan Baez . . . Her soprano is shimmeringly pure, her phrasing pristine, her evocations of ancient Anglo-Scottish, Irish and American cowboy ballads melodically exquisite and utterly believable." - Boston Globe. Connie can be heard locally at various venues but I look forward to her Sunday afternoon performance annually at the Weston Irishfest. Her amazing voice can take you through a range of emotions from sadness to joy. What a gift. Listen to a sample of her work on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRBzZZk20NE
You don’t need to look far for a reason to party like a Celt. With eight sacred days in addition to the typical Church holidays like Christmas and Easter, Celts are always either planning a party or recovering from one. Here’s the yearly run-down for special occasions to celebrate: February 1 – St. Brigid’s Day, marking the beginning of Spring March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day, also the Vernal Equinox May 1 – Bealtine, or May Day, marking the beginning of Summer June 21 – Summer Solstice mid-August – Lughnasa, marking the beginning of harvest September 21 – Autumnal Equinox October 31-November 2 – Samhain, marking the sacred period between All Hallow’s Eve and All Souls Day December 21 – Winter Solstice But you don’t need to wait for a special day to host a celebration. Put out the invites for a “céilidh” (“a visit” or kitchen party), a féis (festival), a luadhadh (a milling frolic) or a bogadh (an immersion dance) and you can party like a Celt any old day of the year. Just make sure you have the appropriate food, drink, stories, and music on hand. Invite your favorite harpist, fiddler or bagpiper. Fire up the kettle with an Irish stew or colcannon. Break out your finest Irish whiskey and chill the glasses for the Guinness. Tell your favorite Celtic story, or just throw such a great party that it becomes the stuff of legend itself.