Nobody has a softer spot for traditional Irish music than myself, so I think I know where I’ll be on Tuesday evening. Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has always been a must-to-avoid because of the thousands of drunken pigs who flock to Fifth Avenue; ditto most of the city’s Irish bars. But the Half King (where I had lunch last week) might be a different vibe. It’s an old-fashioned place with plain wooden tables and pub food. My sense is that it doesn’t cater to the ESPN crowd.
When I was married I visited Ireland in the fall of 1988. Myself, my now ex-wife Maggie and Jett, who was then four months old. We stayed at the 200 year-old home/farm of Chris Ryan in the town of Knocklong in County Limerick. Ryan runs a fabled riding-to-hounds business out of his home. Several horses and something like 40 black-and-tans live in the rear stables and kennels. There’s a limited edition book about the operation written by Michael MacEwan called “The Ryan Family and the Scarteen Hounds.”