Tag Archives: kilts

St. Patrick’s Day Goodies

March 17th, and everyone is Irish, just for today. Can’t turn down an excuse to drink good beer — please don’t dye it green, ye turist — and listen to some of the best toe-tapping music on the planet. I’ll be at the session with my fiddle, Meggie with her harp, and Steven, from O’Carolan’s Seduction, will have his uillean pipes.

Have corned beef and cabbage if you like, though it’s not as traditional as you’d think. Try soda bread or colcannon, a tasty mix of potato, cabbage, and in the traditional way, a heck of a lot of butter,  for a more authentic Irish food. Or boxties.

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan —
If you can’t make boxty,
You’ll never get a man.

This is an old Irish chant, but one that Hugh Kelly, transplanted from Ireland to Boulder, Colorado, remembers at an opportune moment for Steven. Have a read appropriate for the day, in O’Carolan’s Seduction.

Hugh Kelly’s come to America to leave Ireland, its traditions, and its conflicting attitudes behind, but the best money he can make is by tending bar in an “Irish pub.” The would-be Gaels love his authentic accent, but Hugh has eyes only for Steven, an uilleann piper with the damnable taste to wear kilts.

Hugh doesn’t care much for the traditional Irish music and is determined not to tap his toes along with the reels, jigs, and the O’Carolan tunes, but the music and Steven are irresistible. Steven gives Hugh a piping lesson, and the tune they play just might be called “O’Carolan’s Seduction.”

Here’s how to improve your chances at romance the Irish way:

1 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg

1 tablespoon skim milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup oil (olive or canola work, butter’s more traditional)

Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a large bowl. Stir in mashed potatoes until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and skim milk; mix into the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop in the potato mixture, forming patties about 2 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm.

The Tunes from O’Carolan’s Seduction

My upcoming story, O’Carolan’s Seduction, features a uilleann piper, Steven, and Hugh, an Irishman who’s been running away from his traditions and roots. Hugh gets stuck at a session and has to hear the tunes. Is it the music or is it Steven’s gentle persuasion that makes him want to hear more? Decide for yourself when O’Carolan’s Seduction comes out at Torquere Press on January 16, but you can hear the tunes.

Music Playlist at MixPod.com

Okay, this isn’t perfect as a system, but I shall continue to work on it. At least you can hear. This software and server doesn’t permit adding Flash players, which may be the limit with everything I’ll try, but hey! It’s the best I’ve found so far. Enjoy.

Details on O’Carolan’s Seduction

I’ll be working on the edits today for a new short story due soon from Torquere: O’Carolan’s Seduction. Featuring an Irish expatriate bartender and a kilt-wearing musician, there’s plenty of room for attraction, misunderstandings, explanations, and some m/m lovin’.

I took the title from the name of a famous Irish harper and composer, Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), who was a notable musician and also a notable sot. His music combined traditional Irish harping and the then modern style of Baroque music, making something new and still played often today. O’Carolan (he seems to get the “O” only when his surname appears alone) wrote many tribute songs, which he called “planxties” and named for the person who had done him some kindness. Dr. John Hart and Mrs. Fanny Power must have performed some remarkable favors to have such lovely tunes written in their honor. One of the many Hugh Kellys of Ireland had to have done the old harper some good turn, for there is a tune in his honor, and now a story with his namesake.

A lot of his tunes have some biographical component to them, reflected in the title. O’Carolan’s Farewell to Drinking, O’Carolan’s Receipt for Drinking, (he was told by a doctor to stop drinking or it would kill him, and when he did, he was so miserable that he found a different doctor who told him to start again!) O’Carolan’s Quarrel With the Landlady… There are rumors that more than one of the planxties could have also been titled “O’Carolan’s Seduction” because he was a charming man and a much sought-after harper.

The initial setting for the story is a session, where musicians can come to play the traditional Irish music. Thesession.org lists many pubs and other locations around the world where these volunteer gatherings happen, so if you’d just like to listen to the tunes over a meal and a glass of beer, you can, or if you’d like to play, bring your instrument and join in politely. It’s a great time, even if it doesn’t come with a guarantee of finding love. Irish love songs often have an undercurrent of misery, but I assure you that I’ve left Hugh happy.