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Getting our Irish on @ Riley’s Pour House

March 18th, 2018

The music started when Young John Gallagher took the stage before a packed house in Riley’s Outdoor Pavilion. An hour later, The Connolly-Davis Band followed suit before an SRO crowd inside the pub. For the rest of the day, Riley’s delivered a double-track of Irish-trad and Celtic-rock that also featured The Danny McGoo Duo, John Walsh, and The Wild Geese. St. Patrick himself even made an appearance (portrayed by Rich O’Malley), as did a freshly distilled barrel of whiskey, courtesy of Ryan Kanto and the newly opened Quantum Spirits of Carnegie.

Festivities continued through the night, with the music wrapping up after midnight.

Other features included Riley’s new Pour House marker, a bullet-shaped buoy modeled after the Southpoint Buoy that marks the southern edge of the continental United States. Mounted at the Main Street entrance to Riley’s Gardens, the marker serves to guide the “way to great food, great fun, great memories and a whole lot of craic!” according to pub owner Jim Riley.

Displaying the names of all previous Pour House owners and emblazoned with green shamrocks and a white Celtic cross, the marker pays tribute to the Irish community’s long history in Carnegie and beyond.

I got a chance to check out the marker during one of our breaks. It’s a beauty. At night, it lights up to serve as a beacon for those huddled masses looking for music, craic, and a perfect pint.

Another community highlight for the day centered on the whiskey barrel presented by Quantum Spirits. Taking the stage before our second set, Jim Riley encouraged everyone to to commemorate the day by signing the cask. The last I saw it, it was covered with signatures but still untapped.

The day also marked our first performance with drummer Pace Petrella, who performed as if he’d been with us from the beginning.

As they did at Riley’s two previous Parade Day celebrations, The Wild Geese provided the grand finale, rocking us into the wee hours with their driving arrangements of Irish standards.

I’m ready to do it again. Sláinte!

Images:

Young John Gallagher opens at noon before a packed crowd in Riley’s Outdoor Pavilion.

The 21st Century Scop and the new Riley’s marker.

Quantum Spirits of Carnegie presents Riley’s with a signature barrel of whiskey.

The Wild Geese Band bring the night to a close in Riley’s Pavilion.

 

 

 

Parade Day 2016 @ Riley’s Pour House:
“the sweetest melody”

March 13th, 2016

walsh from stage“I thought I heard a piper play the sweetest melody / People gathered round a’ dancing and singing so merrily . . .”
– “Caledonia” by Dougie MacLean

But we didn’t just think it. If you were one of the 1,000-plus revelers who packed the tent and pub at Riley’s Pour House on Parade Day, you saw and heard it for real.

Here’s how it happened.

As band mate Duane Davis and I were midway through our second of four sets on Riley’s outdoor stage, we noticed bagpiper John Walsh standing in the wings. We’d been waiting for him, since John’s piping has always been one of the high points of Riley’s Parade Day celebrations. We wrapped up our song, introduced him, and for the next 10 minutes the tent rang with the echoes of the highlands.

That’s John on the left, in a photo taken from the stage, looking out over the packed tent. An amazing performance.

SPMeanwhile, inside the pub, St. Patrick (Richard O’Malley) held court at a center table, taking a break after marching through the streets of Pittsburgh.  His appearance was another one of the many offstage attractions that always makes Riley’s the place to be on Parade Day. Other attractions included a pair of sword-wielding belly dancers who performed atop the bar later that night.

That’s Richard “St. Patrick” O’Malley pictured on the right.

Sorry . . . but I didn’t get photos of the belly dancers.

Riley's Parade DayNevertheless, the real attraction was the crowd that overflowed both tent and pub, spilling into the street out front and the alley behind.

Composed of some of the best people you’re likely to meet this side of the Blasket Islands, the members of the audience made the show, dancing to “500 Miles” and singing along with us on a show-capping performance of “Wagon Wheel.”

What a rush!

Duane and Larry at Riley compressed (340x247)At 8:00, Duane and I moved to the pub stage, where we  continued playing until midnight while The Wild Geese Band performed under the tent. (That’s Wild Geese below, Connolly & Davis to the right, in case you’re wondering.)

Along the way, we were joined by Lauren Connolly-Moore on mandolin and vocals. All told, Connolly Davis performed for eight hours. Quite a workout, but I’m ready to do it The Wilde Geese Bandagain. Scop on! 

Image Credits:

All photos copyright © 2016 Lawrence C. Connolly, The 21st Century Scop.

The Parade Day banner is from the Riley’s Pour House website: rileyspourhouse.com/