A look at the history and culture of the Irish in Cleveland. Topic: Diversity
St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland 2012

St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland 2012

On Sunday, March 17, 2013, Cleveland Connection celebrated St. Patrick’s Day!

Listen to a podcast of the show here: Cleveland Connection March 17, 2013

We talked to John O’Brien Jr., a pillar of the Cleveland Irish American community.  He explained why so many of Irish  settled in Cleveland.  He also talked about how his father started the Irish Cultural Festival, and his leadership of the Ohio Irish American Newspaper.

We also talked about all the big events happening around greater Cleveland on St. Patrick’s Day… including the parade!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade website: www.stpatricksdaycleveland.com

And we rounded out the hour with two of Northeast Ohio’s most popular Irish bands: The New Barleycorn and Mossy Moran.

So start your St. Patrick’s Day off right and join host Katherine Boyd for a wee bit of Irish culture.

Katherine Boyd and her husband, Eric, at the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland

Katherine Boyd and her husband, Eric, at the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Cleveland


John O'Brien, Jr.

John O’Brien, Jr.

Guest: John O’Brien

John’s website: www.songsandstories.net

John O’Brien Jr. is a pillar of the Irish-American community in Ohio. He’s Deputy Director of the Cleveland Irish cultural Festival, author of a book on Irish music in the US, and editor of the Ohio Irish American News.

Founding the Cleveland Festival

John’s father moved to America from Ireland, first to Montreal, and later to Cleveland, where he became a core part of the local Irish community. He set up the first Cleveland Irish Festival when John Jr. was 16. It’s now in it’s 33rd year and is one of the largest Irish Cultural Festivals in the country.

John is also a published author.  He’s written three books:  “Festival Legends, Songs and Stories,” Irish, and a book of poems titled, “First Generation.” 

The Ohio Irish American News

On a book tour in Chicago for Songs and Stories he was being shown around by Shay Clarke, a journalist with the Irish American News in Chicago. After spending some time together, Clarke pulled over to the side of the road, out of the blue.

‘He stopped and made a phone call and he said, “Cliff, I know you’ve been trying to start a paper in Ohio, and here’s your man.” And he handed me the phone, and that was my introduction to Cliff Carlson.’

Carlson, editor of the Chicago Irish American News, was looking to launch in Ohio. Two months later, in January 2007, John O’Brien found himself launching the first issue as both publisher and editor. More than half a decade later, the paper is distributed from 240 locations and has a circulation of 24,000, covering its costs every month.

‘If we had tried to do this ten years ago, it would have failed. But with the newspaper business in general failing, it’s actually opened doors for us,’ John said.


Musical Guest: The New Barleycorn

New Barley Corn

‘The New Barleycorn’ is an Irish band that performs across Cleveland and beyond.

Members Alec DeGabriele and John Delaney play their live Irish show with vitality, passion and a touch of humor, singing and playing both contemporary folk and traditional Celtic songs and music, which they have woven into their own musical tapestry of intricate rhythms and melodies. Alec and John have performed live and also on many television and radio shows, both together and separately in such places as Ireland, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and U.K.

Both Alec and John were born and raised in Ireland in counties Dublin and Down where they learned to play music at an early age, they have both performed professionally since their teenage years both enjoying considerable success with their respective careers.

They each bring their own individual style and background to their stage and they took ‘The New Barleycorn’ show on the road performing from Vancouver to the Caribbean islands and Ireland to Australia.

Cleveland Connection host Katherine Boyd talks with JOHN DELANEY,  a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Irish group ‘Barleycorn’, who joined forces with Alec DeGabriele seventeen years ago to form  ‘The New Barleycorn’.

John plays 5 string and tenor banjos, mandolin, guitar and whistle.

The other half of The New Barley Corn is ALEC DeGABRIELE.  He spent his young years learning the business of music, theatre and  entertaining with his families traveling theatrical show, ‘The Shannon Players’, which was well known and highly regarded throughout Ireland.

He was the band-leader with a top Irish Show Band before moving to the USA in the ‘70’s where he continued very successfully with his own band based in Cleveland, Ohio. Song writing has more recently become part of his trade and he has written several very fine songs, such as ‘Just a thought Away’ and ‘Back to Sea’. Alec plays guitar and bass.

They regularly host tours to Ireland ( the next one being 2014 ) and perform on cruises usually in the Caribbean every winter.

Six of their CD’s are available: ‘Ireland’s Celtic Heartbeat’ – ‘The New Barleycorn at Flannery’s’  – ‘Sing Irishmen Sing’ – ‘Music in the Woods’ – ‘Live at The Public House’ and ‘It’s Good to See You’.

To learn more about the band and  buy its CDs visit TheNewBarleyCorn.com


Musical Guest: Mossy Moran

Mossy Moran

One of Cleveland’s favorite Irish singers is Mossy Moran.

Mossy Moran plays traditional and contemporary Irish music. He hails from Ireland’s southeast coastal city of Waterford. (Yes, where the fine crystal was made!)

Mossy joined his first band at age 15.  At 19, Mossy went solo… singing songs and telling stories of the Irish People all over Ireland’s southeastern coast. He made a break for the United States in 1996… and he’s been singing his Irish music here ever since.

Mossy Moran 2

Mossy released his latest album, Hard Times, and included some family and friends he’s met along his journey in the U.S.  A beautiful, and strong, compilation of songs which highlight not only troubles, but the hope in all of us, Hard Times showcases Mossy’s talent for singing his stories to a wide range of listeners.

His 2nd CD entitled Navigator is his first studio production. Engineered and recorded by John Delaney, founder of the world-famous Barleycorn, this CD presents Mossy singing classic Irish ballads along with several spirited and meaningful songs which highlight the strength and character of his talent and his Irish roots.

Mossy’s first CD entitled Mossy Moran Live-From Both Sides of the Pond was recorded live in three pubs in the U.S and in Waterford, Ireland. The best of Mossy’s gigs are caught on this one great CD, including a memorable performance of “The Town I Loved So Well”, a bring-to-your-feet rendition of “A Nation Once Again”, and the fastest version of the “Rattlin Bog” ever heard!

To learn more about Mossy, check out his website www.MossyMoran.com