St. Patrick’s day is over, and with it goes for another year the green beer, leering leprechauns, and the ridiculous and boorish kiss-me-I’m-Irish behavior. Thank God.
This kind of faux Irish revelry, while lucrative for Irish pubs, people who make green sparkly hats, and those who put green coloring in cheap beer, is like, well, like drinking cheap green beer compared to drinking Guinness.
The pure drop—traditional music, set dancing, singing and story telling—is nothing like the commercial event we celebrate in the States. It’s deeper, denser, more satisfying, and infinitely more fun. There’s a community built around it, and it’s going on all around, under the mainstream media radar, in pubs and pizza parlors, churches and granges, living rooms and back patios. And once you get involved in it, you’ll find more and more of it around you.
The best place to start learning about the Irish-American community is to listen to some traditional Irish music at a session. There’s a good list of sessions around the world at thesession.org. And once you’re tapped into this community, well, you may be housing round the set yourself someday. And when that happens, you’ll know what that last sentence means.