Irish | KCUR

Irish

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When vandals spray-painted anti-immigrant graffiti on Browne’s Irish Market last June, it was front page news in Ireland. Seeing the phrase “Immigrants Not Welcome” painted on a wall at the historic Irish deli, grocery and retail shop at 33rd and Pennsylvania shocked people in Kansas City, too.

Brian Rice

This weekend’s Kansas City Irish Fest, which kicks off Friday at Crown Center when The Maguire Brothers take the stage at 5 p.m., marks the end of an era in local music history.

One of the region’s most popular musical groups of any genre, The Elders, will take the stage for the last time after performing for 16 consecutive years at the annual Labor Day weekend festival. 

The musicians' ages have finally caught up with the name of their band. They've been on a farewell tour throughout 2018, and now it’s time for them to say good-bye to a festival that has done so much to fuel their success.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When the best Irish musicians get together to practice, it might as well be a concert. And some of Kansas City’s most talented players now have a regular place to do that in front of an audience.

On a recent Sunday night at Prospero’s Books, while customers thumbed through used paperbacks and lounged in armchairs, the sound of music drifted down from the second floor, where a couple dozen people were watching flute player Turlach Boylan and guitar player Davey Mathias.

Courtesy Tom Shawver

Some people contend that James Joyce's Ulysses is the best novel of the 20th century. I'm not jumping into that debate. But as the annual worldwide literary holiday known as Bloomsday celebrating Ulysses rolls around again, I've made one more attempt to understand the book.

Not by reading it, but by speaking to some local experts.

courtesy B Trump Photography

For more than three decades, musician Bob Reeder has played weekly gigs — singing Irish folk songs and bawdy limericks — in an underground pub in Weston, Missouri. O'Malley's is roughly 50 feet underneath the ground in a limestone brewery cellar built in 1842. 

Courtesy The Elders

The Kansas City based Celtic-rock band The Elders has long been one of Kansas City’s most popular bands, performing regularly at prominent civic gatherings including the Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, the band oversees another annual tradition: The Elders’ 15th annual hoolie.

In honor of their featured status this week, we're playing "Meetings of the Waters," off of the band's seventh studio album, 2014's Story Road.

Courtesy Kansas City Irish Center

The Kansas City Irish Center begins 2017 with much to celebrate. After almost a decade in the lower level of Union Station, last year the Center bought historic Drexel Hall, in Midtown at the corner of Linwood and Baltimore, and moved into its new home in September. 

“It’s in a location that we really want in the heart of the city, where a lot of the cultural activities are happening, and where the history of the Irish is in Kansas City,” says Nancy Wormington, the center’s executive director.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Eddie Delahunt is Kansas City’s favorite Irish troubadour, and it's Irish Fest weekend in Kansas City. That's enough reason to spotlight Delahunt, but we'll get a bit more specific.

3 reasons we're listening to Eddie Delahunt this week:

1. Delahunt moved to the United States from his native Ireland in 1989. He’s been a mainstay of Kansas City’s music community for more than 20 years.

courtesy Kansas City Irish Center

The luck of the Irish was with two arts organizations this past weekend at the 13th annual Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center.

The Irish Center of Kansas City kicked off a $3.5 million capital campaign for a new home. Festival officials matched on-site donations with a check for $125,000 for the non-profit, which has been housed in the lower level of Union Station since 2007. Also at the festival, a new company, Irish Repertory Theatre, announced its inaugural season. 

After gaining independence, the people of Ireland used pageantry to express their heritage. These thematic recreations of historical and mythical events were subversive acts of forging a new national identity. In All Dressed Up: Modern Irish Historical Pageantry, Joan Dean explores the public imagination of history.

Guest:  

Michael McDonald/MKD Photography Ltd

Belfast bard Gearóid Mac Lochlainn is back in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to perform at the Irish Fest. Known for his bilingual work with poetry and music, his most recent book and CD is called Criss-Cross Mo Chara

In 2008, after then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, honored him for his contribution to Irish arts, he talked with New Letters on the Air host, Angela Elam, about his first book and CD called Stream of Tongues.

Local Listen: Carswell & Hope

Aug 29, 2014

Carswell & Hope, a soulful folk-rock band from Lawrence, Kan., will be among the performers at this weekend's Kansas City Irish Fest. A collaboration between the Irish transplant Nick Carswell, two native Kansans, and a New Yorker, Carswell & Hope released its debut album in May. This week's Local Listen is a curiously pensive track from the project, "Hunger."

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Dublin-born Irish musician Eddie Delahunt has lived in Kansas City since 1989. His first St. Patrick's Day celebration here took him by surprise. "The Kelly green was everywhere and I went, 'Oh my gosh, what is this?' I was in shock," Delahunt said.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

St. Patrick's Day is a cultural and religious holiday that takes place every March 17 – and it’s been embraced widely in America by descendants of Irish immigrants. Kansas City's celebration began early this year with the annual St. Pat’s Senior Ball.

Irish History in Kansas City

Mar 14, 2013

As St. Patrick's Day approaches next week, the 'Kiss Me I'm Irish' t-shirts are getting pulled out of the closets and shamrocks will plaster the city. Kansas City has a special relationship with Irish culture that goes hand in hand with the city's narrative.

University of Missouri - Kansas City

The Irish played a crucial role in the development of Kansas City.  While their labor helped to literally build the city, their community found members on both sides of the law.

Trying to get in the mood for a festive St. Patrick's Day?