Cody not only inherited the warrior gene, but also the Irish “gift of the gab”– Not in a boastful way, but with the confidence of someone who is truly grateful for what they have and opportunities ahead. He spoke with high regard and appreciation for his coaches, trainers, and teammates at Grudge. “This gym produces some of the top fighters on the planet,” pointing out a number trainers and champion fighters and giving brief bios he continued, “It”s like a brotherhood, we have each others back. People might think we just come in here and pound on each other, but we try to help each other be better fighters. If you don”t have a fight you help the one who does…it”s a beautiful thing.” MMA is a full contact sport allowing the use of boxing, wrestling, and other fighting techniques to be used during competition. Strategies include striking, take-downs, and submissions. Victory is determined by judges’ decision at the end of the scheduled fight or by stoppage by the referee, fight doctor, the fighter (tap-out or verbal), a cornerman, throwing in the towel, or knockout. MMA initially had received negative press and painted as barbaric but that image is changing through education and regulation according to Cody. “There is nothing new to the idea of the sport– organized hand to hand combat has been around since Pankration was introduced to the ancient Greek Olympics. With sanctioning bodies now involved at all levels it has become much safer.” Introduction of weight classes, rounds limited to 5 minutes, restrictions on the use of knees to a downed opponent, headbutts, eye-gouging, etc as well as properly trained medical professionals and referees are just some of the precautions set in place by the professions overseers. Some analysts have put forth data suggesting that MMA is considerably safer than boxing with less emphasis on continued head strikes and more time spent with wrestling, grappling, and floor fighting. Still, with all of the quality improvements made to the sport stereotypes remain about MMA and those who compete. “People think that we are retarded meatheads, but my teammates are some of the smartest people I know. They”re all highly competitive very motivated- but to be the best you have to be smart and keep mentally in control in the ring. As in most sports, fighting is 90% mental, you have to get past your circle of concern and focus on your circle of control.” One intense fight early in Cody”s young career was a pivotal lesson in mental control and intestinal fortitude demanded by his profession. Physically challenged by broken bones to his face and hand suffered during the match, he struggled with a reason to continue. “I broke mentally several times during the fight,” recalling his fight with Ian Berg, who is now a teammate and one of his best friends. Cody was able to make it through the fight and was given the win, but gave the respect to Berg. “When it was over we knew that we were in a war ” they gave the fight to me in a decision, but Ian and I call it a draw.” After a fight like that, many would have considered a gentler profession, but for Cody it helped galvanize his resolve to be a MMA champion. “I knew after that fight that the MMA was my calling.” A casual interest in martial arts lead Cody to Brazilian JiuJitsu while a student 19 year old student at Colorado Arts Institute. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree he got a job in graphics design and animation. “I hated it ” I just couldn”t sit still!” he laughed recalling his brief career at a desk. Cody studied Brazilian JiuJitsu (BJJ) at Nate Marquardt”s gym, High Altitude Training (HAT) in Aurora Colorado. It was Marquardt who initially got Cody involved in MMA by recruiting him to help another fighter who was getting ready for a competition and needed to train with someone who was big and had BJJ skills. (Marquardt, a champion MMA fighter, is also a teammate of Cody”s at Grudge). At 6″3″ and over 200lbs Cody fit the bill. Cody also teaches BJJ, MMA and Kickboxing at HAT. With his skills and positive disposition he is a natural to work with the young students. “I”ve been fortunate to have so many people help me, so this is a way for me to give back to the MMA community.” Students train for different reasons, but for those who have high level of MMA aspirations it is helpful to have guidance from someone as grounded as Cody. “There is no Manual on how to become a pro-fighter. It would be a free-for-all if you let fighters enter the ring without strong foundation. You could show them a few tricks but they would fall apart. It”s like building a house– you wouldn”t install the crystal chandelier before you install a good foundation. At ever level of every sport you always practice the basics to build and keep a good foundation.” Cody practices what he preaches. He trains 3 times a day, 6 days a week — alternating sessions of sparring, conditioning, and learning/teaching. Prior to a fight he goes through an 8 week “fight camp” where he trains in varying intervals and intensity. He will have to amend his 8 week fight camp routine as he accepted in mid July an August 7 fight with Ryan Lopez in Oklahoma. 29 years of age, Cody fights at 205 in the Light Heavyweight division. Although he looked ripped to the casual observer, he claimed he was a little overweight “I love Guinness and I love to eat” he chuckled, “Good thing that I love to train and stay in good shape.” Not a trash talker Cody analyzed his challenger succinctly. “He is a big scary looking guy, but I like my skills against his.” Cody talked about strategy and techniques and then added, “You have to believe that you can beat anyone in the world ” or get another job.” Grudge Training Center 4298 Kipling Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 303-432-8858 Also find Cody at:

During the second week of this November Karri will take time off from her work at Enterprise Auto Rentals, along with co-worker Trish Tesar, Kathy McGee (Kellogg”s), and Heidi Weidemiller (Computer Associates) and will be the first American team to join Irish-Based NMTT team in South Africa as volunteer builders. “We will walk into the city behind a bagpiper, put on our assigned team colors, and a week later we”ll hand over the keys for a new house to a family that had previously lived in a shanty ” very cool! Kerri added that team USA will be in the company of approximately 700 volunteers from Ireland, many who are professionals in building trades. Team USA is required to raise at least $5,000 apiece. About half goes toward travel and expenses and the other half toward building a house (cost is approximately 5,000 Euro to build one house, with a proper roof, running water, sanitation facilities and electricity). Last month they got off to a good start with a fundrasier at the Irish Hound in Denver as Kerri reported, “Troy Kahle (GM of the Irish Hound) was a great help for our Charity event along with his entire staff. Attendees that bought raffle tickets were treated to some Irish Beer or great wine, a taco buffet, and raffle tickets for some great prizes.” She added that there was a very good turn-out and great support from sponsors like Guinness, Lowes, The Artisan Center, Houston’s Restaurant, Little India restaurant, LaLas Restaurant, Cherry Creek Grill, The Colorado Rockies, Silpada Jewelry, The Tattered Cover, Encore Restaurant, Home Depot, Racine’s, and Dixons restaurant. “We are still in the fundraising stage— we are looking to finalize our fundraising by the middle or last part of august.” Donations can be made towards Team USA by going to or and click on the American Flag. “The Niall Mellon Township Trust is a great Charity and we thank everyone for their support,” enthused Karri, “We will be the first volunteer group from the US that will go to South Africa in November and we are very excited about that!!! PM

Colorado Scottish Festival and Rocky Mountain Games August 14 & 15 By Nicole Thomas Now in its 47th year, the Colorado Scottish Festival and Rocky Mountain Highland Games will be hosted Saturday, Aug. 14, and Sunday, Aug. 15, beginning at 9 a.m., at Highlands Heritage Park in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Each year, this community event draws approximately 10,000 people of all ages who come to experience and learn more about authentic Scottish and Celtic heritage, culture, music, dancing, food, history, genealogy and athletics in a family-friendly environment. For the first time, the Colorado Scottish Festival will host the 10th Anniversary Masters World Championships in Scottish athletics. The Championship will feature 114 athletes from seven countries, including one Hall of Fame recipient. Last year”s event was hosted in Inverness, Scotland. Another highlight this year are live concerts Saturday night and Sunday afternoon by Seven Nations, a Celtic rock band that has performed internationally for more than 15 years, including at the Dublin Irish Festival, Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the New York Marathon. Opening for Seven Nations will be Colorado”s own Angus Mohr, a Celtic rock band that combines Highland bagpipes and Irish whistles with electric guitars, bass, Hammond organ, synthesizers, and rock drums. More than 55 authentic Scottish family clans will be represented at the Festival. The 2010 Honored Clan will be Clan MacInnes, which will host its annual Clan meeting at the Festival. Each participating clan will display its unique coat of arms, tartan, genealogy and other historic items passed down from generation to generation. The Festival is enjoyable for people of any heritage and visitors can attempt to trace their ancestry at the Scots” Heritage Centre that features information on genealogy and Scottish clan history. Other Colorado Scottish Festival attractions include: Pipe, drum and Celtic music performances and competitions, featuring some of the nation”s finest bagpipers Irish Step, Traditional Highland and Scottish Country dancing performances and competitions British dog exhibition and British car show Rugby exhibitions Children”s games and living history exhibitions Scottish-style food and drink, including Haggis tasting The Colorado Scottish Festival ( founded in 1963, is a production of the St. Andrew Society of Colorado. The event is planned and produced entirely by more than 200 volunteers who care deeply about retelling and preserving the Scottish heritage. The tradition of this Scottish event goes back to days of old when rival clans or kings would meet. Competitions were organized beginning in 1819 at the Perthshire estate of Lord Gwydir in Scotland, to keep men-at-arms and camp followers out of trouble, as well as impress rival clans. Memories of these gatherings were brought to America by Scottish ancestors who started hosting similar events more than 125 years ago. The origins of games in the Rocky Mountain West are traced back to Scottish fur trappers, who continued the age-old games traditions in their encampments. Discounted event tickets can be purchased via until Saturday, Aug. 7. Advanced ticket prices are $15 per day for adults, and $10 per day for children age 7-11, kids under 7 free, seniors over 60, and active military personnel. Each ticket includes admission to all Festival activities on a particular day, including music concerts. After Aug. 7, Festival tickets will be sold only at the Festival main entrance and will cost $17 per day for adults, and $12 per day for children age 7-11, seniors over 60, and active military personnel. Free event parking and free shuttle service is available both days of the Festival.

Photo: Vice Consul General Barry O’Brien at right with Ireland’s President Mary McAleese, and her husband Dr. Martin McAleese. Irish Network Colorado (IN-Colorado) is a business network that connects Irish expatriates, Irish-Americans and friends of Ireland. Its mission is to provide a forum for social, business and professional networking for their members and to strengthen economic, social and cultural ties between Irish and American businesses in Colorado and more broadly between the U.S. and Ireland. By harnessing the energy and synergies of its diverse membership, IN-Colorado hopes to achieve similar networking successes as achieved by other Irish Network efforts throughout the U.S Over the last several weeks, inaugural meetings have been held at two local Irish Pubs, Scruffy Murphy”s and the Celtic Tavern. Under the driven leadership of Tom Burke and Ciaran Dwyer (who were hand picked by the Irish Consul General Gerry Staunton), the network has been given significant direction while beginning to establish itself among local Irish and Irish-American business leaders. In fact, the local British Consul General, Kevin Lynch, (who was born in Ireland) has offered his congratulations and support in establishing such a potentially influential organization. San Francisco-based Vice Consul General Barry O’Brien will formally launch the Irish Network Colorado at a special event to take place at 6:30pm on July 8th at the Celtic Tavern Riverside Downs, 2620 W. Belleview Ave., Littleton, Colo. The Network will become part of the Irish Network USA, which was formally launched by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, on March 14th 2010. The goal of these Networks is to further strengthen the already considerable economic, social and cultural ties between the two countries, as well among Irish-American businesses themselves. Entertainment at the launch party will be provided by Belfast-based McPeake, courtesy of the Colorado Irish Festival. McPeake will bring its unique contemporary take on traditional Irish Music. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the McPeake School of Music, which has been serving the Belfast community for 33 years, developing multiple All-Ireland champions and professional musicians. To attend this event, please RSVP in advance at Irish Network Colorado . IN-Colorado would like to offer special thanks to its event sponsors: the Celtic Tavern Riverside Downs, The Celtic Connection, Coors, Jameson and the Colorado Irish Festival. The Colorado Irish Festival will be officially opened by Vice Consul Barry O’Brien on Friday evening, July 9th and continues through Sunday, July 11th at Clement Park, Littleton, Colo. Go to for more details.

Photo: Natalie MacMaster The 2010 Colorado Irish Festival celebrates its “Sweet Sixteen” year with the right mix of sugar and spice. In its 16th year, the Colorado Irish Festival has grown from a humble gathering of Denver”s Irish non-profit groups and friends to the premier destination Irish festival in the Rocky Mountains. In part, this is due to the history of strong entertainment showcasing both established and rising International acts, along with picks from a talented pool of Colorado acts. This year the Fest welcomes one of the sweetest woman in Celtic music is the fiery fiddler virtuoso Natalie MacMaster from Cape Breton. New to the Fest, she is no stranger to Colorado and electrified audiences from Telluride to Red Rocks. Pogey, will debut their own brand of Nova Scotia spice with high octane and fully interactive stage shows that have been creating a buzz. Maureen and Karen Ennis and their band Ennis from Newfoundland will charm Colorado Irish Fest audiences for the first time with broad mix of songs, tunes, and humorous story telling. The girls have one gold album and two more on compilations. McPeake, from the legendary musical family and school from Belfast will continue the 100 year McPeake legacy of excellence with their second consecutive visit to the Fest. Also returning by popular demand are The Elders. Led by County Wicklow native Ian Byrne, they”ll bring their sweat drenched “arsekickin music from the heartland” to their appreciative fans. Last year Seven Nations made a “surprise” visit to the fest and played a set that brought the house down. The multi-dimensional rockers will play all three days this year. Included among the homegrown talent are Colcannon, The Indulgers, Angus Mohr, Potcheen and others. There”s loads more music, sessions, and workshops – along with Irish dance, battling bagpipes, Irish Sports, Celtic artisans, food and drink. The Cultural Village will offer storytelling, music, history, and Irish genealogical for adults and kids. So come on down and celebrate the three day B-day at Clement Park in Littleton by the banks of Johnson Reservoir! 16th Annual Colorado Irish Festival NATALIE MacMASTER ” ENNIS ” POGEY ” THE ELDERS ” McPEAKE SEVEN NATIONS ” COLCANNON ” THE INDULGERS ” ANGUS MOHR POTCHEEN ” GOB”s O”PHUN ” JUICE O” The BARLEY ” MONDRAGON SKEAN DUBH ” CANNED HAGGIS ” ORION”S BOW ” Irish Dance ” Pipe Bands Irish Sports ” Cultural Village ” Storytelling ” Celtic Marketplace ” Kids Area CLEMENT PARK, 7306 W Bowles Ave, Littleton, Colorado Children under 12 Free All Weekend. FREE Parking & Shuttle Friday July 9th 5 PM ” 10 PM ($5 at door) Saturday July 10th 10 AM ” 10 PM ($12 at door) Sunday & 11th, 9 AM ” 10 PM ($12 at door) ( Help Denver Rescue Mission and get in FREE on Sunday – arrive at the gate on or before noon with three items of non perishable goods for FREE entry)

On May 19, 2010, at Infinity Park, in the heart of “Rugbytown USA”, a proclamation was read decreeing June as Rugby Month in Colorado. Acting on behalf of Governor Bill Ritter, Lt. Governor Barbara O”Brien read the proclamation to Glendale Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Dunafon, USA Rugby Men”s National Team Head Coach, Eddie O”Sullivan and a room full of Rugby enthusiasts at the Guinness Try Club. “It is great to have Infinity Park here in Glendale and Colorado, we have a wonderful month of rugby coming up” Said the self-proclaimed “Rugby Mom”. “Rugby is a sport that”s gaining a lot of traction here in Colorado, Infinity Park is the nation”s only municipally-owned rugby stadium and it”s attracting a lot of positive attention”. Attention will continue in June as Infinity Park will again showcase to the rugby world The Churchill Cup, on the 5th, 9th, and 13th. This year the high profile XV-a-side rugby tournament feature teams from U.S., Canada, Russia, England Saxons, France, and Uruguay. It will be the second consecutive year that Infinity Park presents the prestigious games. Other action at Infinity Park in June includes some of the top men”s rugby players in the country competing for the USA Rugby Men”s Club Championships on June 5-6, and the Men”s Collegiate All-Star Championships on June 10 and 12. And of course there will be action from the home team, Glendale Raptors, as well. After Lt. Governor O”Brien spoke, Coach O”Sullivan took to the microphone and underscored what a remarkable achievement Infinity Park has attained in hosting the Churchill Cup for the second straight year and suggested that the crown jewel of rugby venues become the permanent home of the premier event. Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Dunafon also took a turn at the podium and thanked the rugby supporters, visionaries, and those behind the construction of Infinity Park, and extolled the community building that surrounds the sport of rugby that has turned Glendale, Colorado into “RugbyTown USA”. “Rugbytown USA” is now the official title and logo of Glendale. On May 14, “Rugby World” world host Dave Sitton introduced the term to the TV audience watching the first of 8 half-hour programs on the FOX Sports Net. “All of the shows were produced in Glendale” Dunafon said, “Which will be great marketing for Glendale and the heart of Denver.” Ask anyone in the know, and they will credit Dunafon as the driving force behind Affinity Park and “RugbyTwon USA”. “Well, their too kind” Dunafon said, “I”ll tell you that because nobody makes anything happen on their own.” It took an event that happened over a decade ago in Glendale that led Dunafon and friends to Affinity Park and the re-branding of Glendale “Debbie”s (Mathews) business was attacked by another new Carrie Nation movement” Dunafon said, referring to a temperance movement figure in pre-Prohibition America who promoted her viewpoint by vandalizing bars with a hatchet. “They decided they didn”t want Glendale being the home of Shotgun Willie”s, since everyone knew were Shotgun”s was but not Glendale. So I said to the Mayor at the time, “Well change that, brand the city some way positive”. Dunafon said that the idea of a local government trying to dictate how peoples live really got his Irish up. “We had a voter”s drive that tripled the voter role in two weeks and 31 days later they were out of office and we rescinded the ordinance, downsized the government payroll and clean up outdated ordinance with the goal of using commons sense and not controlling people”s lives… It”s a real Libertarian success story- the idea to let the people make their own decisions.” Rugby was relatively unknown to Dunafon growing up in Golden, Colorado. He attended University of Northern Colorado where he lettered in football for four years and was part of the All-Conference team. He signed contracts to play with the Denver Broncos in 1976 and 1977. After the injury riddled two years that put him in the unemployment line he grew a beard and pony tail and traded his house for a sail boat and ended up in British Virgin Islands where he worked as a musician and scuba instructor. It was there that he was introduced to rugby. Dunafon recalled the day, “I was standing on side of a boat and a guy walked up to me on the dock and said “mate you look fit do you play sports… would you fancy a game of footie?” After a bit of cross-cultural interpretation and explanation, Dunafon came to realize the local man was talking about rugby. Dunafon was further baffled when he was instructed to put on a blazer and report to the HMS Cardiff warship to have a pre-game banquet with their opposing team, the British Marines. “You”re going to have a beer and sing a song with your opponent”? he asked his new teammate. The concept of breaking bread instead of breaking heads with your opponent was unfamiliar to Dunafon who was entrenched in the American football mindset. But he did go to the ship. “The Governor of Island was there, the captain of the ship ” it was incredible!” The next day they played rugby. “I was addicted to the sport the minute I played it,” adding with a chuckle, “But they just kicked my butt all over the place.” The camaraderie and greater community aspect of rugby sat well with Dunafon. He found the idea of helping your opponent and sense of fairplay for the greater good of the sport intriguing. It brought back memories of his dad and uncle whom he called, “The original Marlboro Men.” “They were world class cowboys – bull dogging, bronco riders… it was a world where you would help the guy you”re competing with on his horse- haze for him- and you were competing with on another. In contrast, when I played football I learned to hate your opponent.” Eventually Island life wore on Dunafon and it was time to return to the States. “I game back to the states in 93, I was developing a case of A.I.M.S. disease – Acquired Island Mentality Syndrome ” where you find yourself on the same bar stool 10 years later.” Back home, Dunafon continued to play rugby and earned a USA Rugby Level 3 Coaching Certification and coached high school age teams. “I”ve never seen a sport that is better for kids ” it allows for travel, doesn”t cost much to play, you create a real fellowship with your teammates and opponents.” Dunafon added. “Another thing about a mentoring sport ” I call it multi-level mentoring – you”re not always there when a kid needs help, so if you have a community, a rugby village, the old boys and gals who are a part of the club are there, and the know the culture ” it”s like a giant family.” In recent years Dunafon was talked into playing in an “old-timers” tournament, but has now hung up his playing cleats. But there is still plenty to do off the field. “There is always politics and sometimes you feel like Sisyphus pushing a rock up hill, put then you feel the positive – the team is incredible and the energy is just building.” The amazing vision and hard work of Dunafon and his team has become a reality and it continues to unfold. Not only do they have the Affinity Field with accompanying Sports Center, Events Center, and High Altitude Training Center that continue to impressed visitors from around the world, but they have just opened a new practice field and Park and have scheduled to open the World Rugby Hall of Fame in the next few years. Dunafon pointed out “Think about, Canton (football), Cooperstown (baseball), Springfield (basketball), they are all little towns that branded themselves after a sport.” Hey, nothings impossible in RugbyTown USA. PM The Celtic Connection June 2010

The Irish government, proud of its progress in establishing Irish economic and business connections in America, decided at its economic conference at Farmleigh in Dublin in 2009 to make economic and other ties with America even stronger. To that end, and as part of a strategic review of the relationship between the US and Ireland, the Irish Embassy in Washington DC and Irish Consulates throughout the US are promoting and assisting in the establishment of Irish Business Networks-USA. The goal of these Networks will be to further strengthen the already considerable economic, social and cultural ties between the two countries, as well among Irish-American businesses themselves. The Irish Prime Minister, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, formally launched Irish Network USA on March 14th in San Francisco, as a direct outcome of the Farmleigh conference”s recommendations. The Irish government intends to make Farmleigh, and future such conferences, Ireland”s version of the highly successful Davos, Switzerland model that annually maps out critical economic pathways for Western Europe and other parts of the world economy. The intention is to make Irish Network USA its umbrella organization for regional Irish business networking groups already in existence in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Cowen also wants to expand Ireland”s footprint in the USA by reaching out to other major metropolitan areas, like Seattle, Denver, Boulder and other cities with large numbers of Irish-Americans, Irish expatriates, and friends of Ireland. San Francisco-based Irish Consul General, Gerry Staunton commented after the March 14 announcement that “this platform for cooperation within the large Irish-friendly American business community is an idea whose time has surely come. Not only will Irish Network- USA serve as a bridge between Ireland”s business community and American business, but it will also bring Irish America and its considerable economic clout in closer contact within itself” The Consul General went to say that “the establishment of a Nationwide Database, as proposed by Irish Network-USA, will be hugely beneficial to the individual members of the Networks in their own business activities” Staunton, during a recent visit to Denver, asked Irish-born Denver executive Ciar”n Dwyer and longtime Denver attorney Tom Burke, to look into the possibility of establishing an Irish Business Network in Colorado. An inaugural meeting of the Irish Network- Colorado will be held Thursday, May 20,, 2010 at 6.30pm in the Robert Burns room at the Celtic Tavern (1801 Blake St. 303-308-1795). This meeting seeks to kick off the same Colorado-based economic, cultural and social ties Taoiseach Cowen wants to establish with Irish Network USA. Dwyer, when asked how the kickoff meeting will be organized, said “it will be Irish, free form and friendly, but with serious purpose and intent. Everyone needs to bring his or her business cards along so we can get our Irish Network Colorado off the blocks as soon as possible.”

Roddy Doyle is an internationally bestselling writer and winner of the 1993 Booker Prize for the novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His first three novels-The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van-are known as The Barrytown Trilogy. Doyle will read from and sign his eagerly anticipated new novel The Dead Republic, the triumphant conclusion to the trilogy that includes A Star Called Henry and Oh, Play That Thing. Raucous, colorful, epic, and full of intrigue and incident, The Dead Republic is also a moving love story-the magnificent final act in the life of one of Roddy Doyle’s most unforgettable characters, Henry Smart. Roddy Doyle will be at the Tattered Cover Book Store 1628 16th Street Denver, CO 80202 (303-322-1965 ext: 2736 ) Monday May 10, 7:30 pm. The Celtic Connection”s Mary McWay Seaman interviewed Doyle by email in Ireland last month) Interview… MMS Congratulations on your new novel, The Dead Republic, the third of a trilogy. How did you decide to set Henry Smart up with legendary characters like John Ford and Henry Fonda on a California landscape? RD Thank you. As I was finishing the first volume, A Star Called Henry, I knew that Henry would be leaving Ireland and going to America, and I knew that I”d need an excuse to bring him back to Ireland, for the third volume, The Dead Republic. I”d read a biography of a veteran of the Irish War of Independence, called Ernie O”Malley. The biography included the fascinating, almost absurd, detail that O”Malley had assisted John Ford in the making of The Quiet Man, and was credited as the “IRA Consultant”. So, I thought, “I”ll make Henry the IRA consultant.” Then I had to come up with a way for them to meet. Ford made many films in the desert, so I sent Henry to the desert. MMS Have you ever personally suffered what Henry did by editorial attempts to sentimentalize some of your work? If so, how did you fight back? RD Never. MMS Please tell us a bit about your research in preparation for this book. RD A lot of reading ” biographies of Ford, Wayne and anyone who seemed close to Ford, books about the making of The Quiet Man ” anything at all that might give me a glimpse of the people or the weather or the setting, both in Los Angeles and Ireland. I stared at photographs, watched a lot of movies ” never a hardship. I researched and read as I wrote, added little details if I thought they”d add to the story. Henry returns to Ireland in the early “50s, and the closer he got to Dublin ” my home ” and my time ” I was born in 1958 ” the less research I had to do. He was wandering my streets ” and my head! MMS So many characters, so many backgrounds! How do you prepare for the assortment of voices and their testimonies? RD Again, reading helps, trying to find words that characters might have used in their own particular ways. For example, Henry meets Louis Armstrong in Oh Play That Thing, the second volume. Armstrong carried a typewriter everywhere he went, for years. He left behind two memoirs and thousands of letters. He used the word “nice” a lot. It”s usually a bland word but, in his hands and from his mouth, it was lively and funny. So, I took that word and made him use it in the novel. Getting to know the characters and their distinctive rhythms and words is a gradual process, and very slow at first, until I feel I know them. MMS Does the 1974 Dublin bombing act as a turning point? How was Henry changed other than physically? RD I suppose it is. Henry is caught in the bomb and its aftermath, and his name becomes public ” so the IRA finds him, and uses him for the rest of the book. Also, the bombs wakes him. He becomes aware again about the Troubles in the North, that there seems to be unfinished business, that the trouble didn”t end just because he left Ireland in 1922. MMS Has the Celtic Tiger bitten into Ireland”s strong regional and cultural differences? Please share some observations. RD I”m sick of even seeing the term “Celtic Tiger”, let alone thinking about it. That”s an honest observation, by the way. MMS Who are your favorite authors and why? What daily reading do you do? RD Dickens. I”ve been reading and re-reading his books every decade of my life, and they seem to get better. Philip Roth ” I love his anger and his brilliance, and he makes me laugh like no other writer has ever done. MMS Favorite music? Favorite food? Favorite drink? RD The last few days I”ve been listening to Joy Division, Galaxie 500, Gil Scott Heron, and an Icelandic composer, Johan Johannson. I don”t have a favourite food; it”s not something I get worked up about ” unless I”m hungry. A pint of Guinness, occasionally, and a cup of coffee, almost constantly. MMS Please tell us about your early education and how you came to be a writer. RD I don”t remember much about my early education. I was only a kid and I didn”t take notes. I started writing because I loved reading. MMS Favorite travel destination? RD I was in India earlier this year. I”ll go back. MMS Ireland is so different today from when I first visited in the 1980s. What is your favorite place in Ireland (besides home)? RD Dublin is the best place on Earth, and Ireland is lucky to have it. I like Wexford, in the south-east. It”s friendly, relatively rain-free ” and near Dublin. MMS It seems that Ireland”s privations of the past are completely lost on young people. Is this a good thing? RD I wouldn”t want to inflict privation on young people just because they”re young. MMS Do you think that former Irish rebels are still admired and revered as heroes? RD Yes. MMS What is your opinion on the decline of print media? Will it level off or continue to slide? RD I honestly don”t know the answer to this question. But my gut tells me it will level off. Too many people like the smell and the feel of books ” there”ll always be a market. MMS What differences do you notice between the Irish and the Americans? (cultural, social, philosophical ” that sort of thing.) RD Sorry, there are several books in this subject. MMS What are the best and worst parts of book tours? RD The best part is the reading events. The worst part is the almost daily early morning flights, and loneliness. THANK YOU! (from May 2020 Celtic Connection)

In 1995, Father John Pahls, an Episcopal priest, third-generation County El Paso native and a weaver, designed the pattern that became the Colorado Tartan. On January 1, 1997, the Scottish Register of Tartans accepted it as a “district” tartan that may be worn by any resident or friend of Colorado, whether or not of Celtic heritage; on March 3, 1997, the Colorado General Assembly passed a resolution adopting it as the official tartan of the State of Colorado and designated July 1 as Colorado Tartan Day. After passage of that resolution (making Colorado only the second state in the nation to have its own tartan), it was also registered with the International Association of Tartan Studies. Father Pahls was inspired by the colors of those things that are uniquely Colorado; the blue of the skies, the green of the pine and spruce trees, the lavender and white of the mountains and their snowcaps and the colors of the columbine. The gold represents the mineral wealth that helped build the state and red the sandstone soil and rocks that give the state its name. Even though the official State day is July 1, the Colorado Tartan Day Council, an auxiliary group of the St. Andrew Society has been observing it in the spring for the past eleven years to coincide with National Tartan day on April 6. This year, the celebration will be held on Saturday, April 10th from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. in McIlvoy Park in Olde Town Arvada at Ralston Road and Upham Street where there will be performances by pipe bands, Mulligan Stew, the Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers, Moriarty/Moffit Irish Dancers, and the Ren-Scots and Castle Wall Productions, historical re-enactment groups. There will be booths with vendors offering Celtic merchandise including Thistle and Shamrock, Gilded Dragon and Calico Custom Jewelry, a magician, face painter, caricature artist and others. In addition to the Colorado Tartan, attendees will also be able to see the tartans of over 20 Scottish clans ranging from Clan Campbell to Clan Wallace at their booths. Other activities will include a Highland tea and silent auction in Bread Winners at 12:30 P.M. (rumor has it that the tea will be served by kilted-gentlemen”) and a tasting conducted by Master of Whisky Robert Sickler at 3:00 P.M. The evening will be capped off by dinner and a ceildh at the Arvada Elks Lodge just east of the Park with entertainment from Gobs O”Phun at 5:30 P.M., a kitchen pipe band competition at 7:00 P.M. and to wrap up the night, a grand set by Angus Mohr at 8:00. Admission to the park and activities there is free. Tickets will be required for the other events and may be purchased online at a discount from the price paid at the door for each event. Funds raised will be used to support the activities of the Colorado Tartan Day Council. For more information and to order tickets, please go to .

“Fiery Scots”One of the best living examples of the humor, passion, and majesty that imbues Celtic music.” – Dirty Linen “Old Blind Dogs play with a compelling energy and intoxicating rhythm as players and audience seem to share a wild ecstasy of emotion,” -The Scotsman Celtic Events/Celtic Connection,Swallow Hill, and the Colorado Scottish Festival presents the OLD BLIND DOGS Sat, June 26, 8 pm Show (7pm doors) Swallow Hill Music 71 East Yale Ave., Denver, CO 80210. Tickets $22 adv; $25 day of ($2 discount for Swallow Hill/Celtic Events Members) Since forming in the early 1990′s, the Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of Scotland”s roots revival. The band has developed its own trademark style, with an energetic mix of songs and tunes. The only group to win ‘Folk Band of the Year’ twice at the BBC Scots Trad Music Awards, the Los Angeles Times has said “Old Blind Dogs bring freshness and color to acoustic music steeped in centuries of Scottish folklore and history.” The Dogs latest album ‘Four On The Floor’ also picked up the IAP ‘Best Celtic CD’ Award. Call Swallow Hill 303-777-1003 or Celtic Events 303-777-0502

by Susan Harold It would have been three years this July since I had traveled “home” to Ireland. Seeing the Aer Lingus ticket sale in the Denver Post one frosty winter Sunday Prompted me to once again travel toward the Isle of Tears, good Craic and precious friends. My plans were to circumvent the island starting in Dublin moving down to An Daingean, up to Westport, on to Convoy, then to Cushendall, Belfast and back to Dublin. Along the way I wanted to visit four places: Ceann Sle”, the Abbey Church on Clare Island (St Bridget”s Church to some), the North of Ireland where I have spent very little time in past travels, and The Hill of Tara. However, for this particular article I would like to focus on my visit to Cushendall and the Ballyeamon Camping Barn owned by storyteller Liz Weir. Pat McCullough introduced Liz and I through email and plans were set in place for me to spend four days at the Ballyeamon Camping Barn. Liz offered me the option of renting a separate room, which would allow more privacy and quiet. We made plans for her to meet me at the train station in Ballymena, Liz”s birthplace, and from there we would drive to the Barn. This would be my last full week in Ireland. After saying goodbye to my cara (friend) Sorcha in Convoy, who happens to be Mick Bolgers (Colorado band Colocannon/Irish language instructor) sister, I headed by bus to Derry to catch the train to Ballymena. The stop in Derry was a bit tense because I could not get a straight answer about the connecting bus to the train station. The fun part while anxiously waiting was watching all of the uniformed students coming from school and going directly to the snack bar for munchies. They had that end of a long day look: Shirts were un-tucked, shoes scuffed, and hair all askew. The students use the city buses, which scatter in all directions in and around Derry delivering precious cargo when school is out for the day. Relieved to see the correct bus appear I was happy to be on the move once again. The train station was just over the bridge much to my surprise but too far to walk with heavy suitcase and aimsir ceobhr”nach (drizzly weather). This leg of the trip was uneventful and go h”lainn (beautiful). The train tracks run along the sea for many miles and signs inside the train suggest we travelers watch for different kinds of birds and waterfowl. The trains also allow space for people in wheelchairs and they were being used. As we chugged along the late afternoon light softened the landscape and seascape. Clouds of white changed to pale blues and pinks that reflected in the water. It was lovely to watch evening come. I was happy I had chosen the train for this part of the journey and would recommend the trip. Liz was waiting at the station in Ballymena as she said she would be. By now it is dark and snowing. She immediately whisks me off to a writing workshop she is facilitating. I am happy to say I learned new ways of approaching writing and how to develop ideas. The students were all veterans of the class except for two, a mother and daughter, and all were serious about improving their writing skills. After the rang (class) we drove toward Ballyeamon Camping Barn. The snow continued to fall but the gritters had been out clearing the roads making for a safer journey. By the time we arrived the sky had cleared and we could see the realta” (stars). The air in the hills was crisp. We breathed deep before going inside. Liz showed me to my abode, introduced me to her barn manager and said she would be very busy that week. I would see little of her for the next tr” days. We were by then very tired and made short the conversation. On Tuesday maidin (morning) I awakened to a clear view of the Antrim mountains surrounded by the Glenariff National Forest: A view soon to disappear behind a wall of white. For the next three days the snow fell wet and heavy. It blocked the view of the hills, as did the fog coming in from the sea. I was without a cell phone, a computer, a car, and I did not turn on the teilifis. I stayed cloistered in my artist studio leaving only for two meals a day, breakfast and tea. It is normally a self-catering kitchen however because of the weather I was able to use some of the food in the kitchen. In my room I had a stash of apples, dates, almonds, and of course the daily supply of seacl”id (chocolate) agus cup”n tae. I can survive on simple fare. The barn is a two-story structure painted white with red trim. The bright exterior is a welcoming sight. It is a very attractive building lovingly cared for with an interesting history. Behind the barn is an area that looks like an old canal but is actually where the train tracks were that went to the mianach iarann (iron mines). Liz lives in the attached cottage at one end of the barn with her two beloved German shepherds. Rick the barn manager had the kitchen turned upside down while he hurriedly plastered cracks and finished painting for he was soon to leave to work near Corcaigh. Because of this we ate in the activity room where there is music and storytelling every Saturday night unless the weather prohibits travel. As I looked around this room I felt this haven that Liz has provided for friends, neighbors, and strangers like me was a healing place, a place where we put down our swords. She is a respected storyteller, works with conflict resolution, writes children”s books, teaches people to express themselves through writing, and hopes for a continued moving forward and away from the conflicts of the past in the North. And sometimes she stops and breathes. As most of you know who have visited Ireland the heating system is different from ours in the United States and used sparingly. The Irish are a hardy breed. There were times when I had on three or more layers of clothing. Thank goodness for silk thermals and the exercise machine in the studio. I am not complaining. I am spoiled. There was a great classical BBC radio station, which helped me focus on reading, editing some writing, and painting small watercolors. In spite of my struggling with the cold it was a fruitful visit and a spiritually challenging experience. My time at Ballyeamon Camping Barn was what I had hoped it would be. Liz Weir was welcoming and generous. I felt renewed in spirit and rested for the last leg of my trip to Belfast and then on to the Hill of Tara. If you are hoping for time off the beaten track while in Ireland find Ballyeamon Camping Barn and Liz Weir owner both on the Internet. Take time to appreciate the quiet beauty of the Antrim Hills and the surrounding forest. (Susan Harold lives in Greeley Colorado where her hobbies include gardening, visual arts, music/singing, and Irish language)

Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and AOH will present Ciaran Staunton, co-founder and President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR), in Denver Thursday March 4th where he will speak to Irish-Irish Americans and friends about the mission of ILIR. Staunton”s talked is designed to be educational and not political and invites all to attend who have an interest in Irish in America and future Irish immigration. His talk will take place at 7pm at Delaney”s/Celtic Tavern at 18th and Blake in downtown Denver. According to Staunton, “We have 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States, tens of thousands more trying to leave the mass unemployment lines in Ireland. “No Irish Need Apply” hangs at U.S immigration.” Ciaran Staunton is a native of Westport County Mayo. He is the owner of O’Neill’s Bar and Restaurant, one of the most popular hostelries in Manhattan. Ciaran was a co-founder of the Irish Immigration Reform Movement in the late 1980s which lobbied successfully for the Donnelly and Morrison visa schemes. He played a major part in the American role in the peace process and worked closely with the Sinn Fein leadership and Irish American leaders to bring about the Adams visa and the IRA ceasefire. He lives in Queens with his wife Orlaith and son Rory and daughter Kathleen. Ciaran Staunton, Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform Thursday March 4th @ 7:00PM RSVP to RSVP or 303-668-8278 Delaney”s/Celtic Tavern, 18th and Blake, Downtown Denver 303-308-1795