I love a good Irish pub environment even though I have never been to Ireland. My favorite Irish pub is the St. James Gate in Banff Canada. The bar was brought over from Ireland. I love to sit by the fire with a draft of Smithwick’s and a shepherd’s pie after a day of hiking or cross country skiing.
I also used to love the Moyie Pub where my friends and I would stop on our way to and from Canadian ski mountains. A pint of Rickard’s Red with a fish & chips next to their fireplace was always a good way to warm up and wait out a snow storm.
Closer to home O’doherty’s Irish Pub is our local watering hole. When my father and I had a studio together downtown in the Hutton building we would alternate between the Satellite Diner and O’Doherty’s. We got to know the O’doherty family and my son played baseball with one of their sons on the little league team I coached.
My son and I also used to go ice skating every Tuesday night throughout the winter and then stop off for a late dinner and an opportunity to listen to the Celtic music jam. Free Whiskey was the house band that would practice there and invite other musicians to join in. The fiddle player’s name is Mary and she was a former student of my father’s and the daughter of one of my colleagues at work so we felt like we were visiting with family.
On St. Patrick’s day you have to leave work early if you expect to get a table. If we didn’t get there by noon we were too late. Fortunately I had another colleague named O’Neal who always got there in time for a table and would invite my father and I to join his group.
I made this portrait of the band many years ago for a concert poster. I photographed them on medium format black and white film. I ran into Mary a few weeks ago and it was great to see her. I think Irish music adds a happy step to her life as she is filled with such a joyful spirit.
I will meet my son for a beer later today and I will stop by and visit my father after that. His days of making it to an Irish pub are gone now but I am keeping him and this blessing in my heart.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.