By Eileen Murphy
Looking for something fun to do over Labor Day Weekend? Well, just point the car in the direction of the Catskill Mountains and head for the town of Leeds, where the the annual Leeds Irish Festival will be putting the GREEN in Greene County for the 20th time in as many years.
The festival kicks off at noon on Saturday, Sept. 2, and continues on Sunday, Sept. 3, with 11 a.m. Mass. A stellar lineup of Irish entertainers will be on hand, many of whom traveled over from Ireland for the event. Great music will be provided by acts including Sean Wilson, The Conquerors Showband, and Theresa Flanagan and her band. A pair of newly solo singers – Terry McCarty (former lead singer of The Dixies Showband) and Tom Comerford (former lead singer with The Whole Shabang) will also be on hand to entertain what is sure to be a record crowd.
We’re looking forward to the performances by Dermot Heggarty, whose hit, “21 Years,” was my sister Tara’s favorite song – at the age of 3, she’d get up and sing it whenever the mood struck her (which was often in church, to Mom’s complete mortification). Local faves Gerry Finaly and the cara Band will keep the party going, and for trad music lovers, the Pete Kelly Ceili Band will fire up the fiddles on Sunday. Those who crave the skirl of the bagpipes will want to catch the performance of the Albany Police Pipe and Drums, and Irish dance fans will be enjoy the performance by the Farrell School of Irish dancers. Those inclined to shop will find a great array of Irish goods for sale, and there will be plenty of Irish-style food and drink available as well.
Admission to the festival is $10 per day. For more info, call 1 (800) 356-4713 or (518) 943-3736.
Go West, young people
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
It seems like, for American pop stars, meeting Westlife is a bit like kissing the Blarney Stone – if you’re in the neighborhood, you might as well pucker up.
The boys are in Florida at the moment, where they took part in Music Mania 2000. This put them within spittin’ distance of other pop acts like Mandy Moore, 98 Degrees, Jessica Simpson (who is a singer and not, as we thought, Bart’s little sister), N Sync (swoon!), Boys & Girls United (a subsidiary of Manchest . . . oh, never mind) and Destiny’s Child.
Of course, the boys were most taken with the glamorous Destiny divas.
“They are absolutely amazing singers,” gushed Westie Mark, adding, “And they are a bit of alright!” Ah, all those raging hormones . . .
You’ll all be relieved to know that Westlife is putting the finishing touches on their new album. In their Sunday World column this week, the boys promise that that fans will be “really amazed by the new songs.” We couldn’t help giggling at Mark’s promise that the new songs will be “really different and a lot more upbeat.” As if their last effort plumbed the dark side of the human soul with numbers like “Swear it Again” and “Seasons in the Sun.”
Sinead: money where her mouth is
You know, it’s easy to write obnoxious things about Sinead O’Connor, because the girl just can’t seem to keep her mouth shut – she loves to push people’s buttons. One minute she’s a priest, the next she’s celibate, then she’s a lesbian, then she’s not celibate, nor is she a lesbian or a priest – really, it’s hard to keep track. But every now and again, she’ll do or say something that’s so sweet, it wipes out all the bratty stuff.
This week, Sinead has put one of her homes up for auction to fund a drug center in Limerick City. She was moved by the story of Tommy Roche, whose two drug-addicted brothers committed suicide within 48 hours of one another. She decided to sell the house in Atlanta, Ga. – valued at over a half million dollars – and use the money to fund the Aljeff Centre, which is named for the late Roche brothers, Alan and Geoffrey.
O’Connor sees establishing the center as a vital step in stemming the rash of suicides in the area.
“There have been 17 suicides since January this year, so myself and a group of people are auctioning my house to get this charity up and running and also build a center where these young people can go for counseling,” she said.
“We want to do some research and find out what’s going on, because no one is really doing anything about the problem,” she continued. “So flogging my house to the highest bidder is the first thing we’re planning to do.” Which means she’ll at last get what she seems to crave: the love and approval of Irish people everywhere. At least until she rips up another papal headshot, or finds another way to tick them off. Some things never change.
A new Irish movie called “Titanic Town” opens in New York City on Friday, Sept. 1, for a two-week run. Ten lucky Irish Echo readers (and one friend apiece) will get to see the movie as our guests.
“Titanic Town” is the true story about a mother’s crusade to end the war in Northern Ireland, and the effect the war, and her efforts, have on the family.
The film stars Julie Walters (of “Educating Rita” fame) as Bernie, the matriarch of the McPhelimy family. She, her husband and four kids move into a housing estate in Andersonstown, West Belfast, in the 1970s – at the height of the Troubles. Despite the violence around them, despite the helicopters overhead and a constant stream of soldiers trampling the front yard, the family carries on with their lives. But when tragedy touches someone close to the family, Bernie decides to stop the war herself – by having some strong words with both the IRA and the British government. We won’t give away the ending – see it yourself.
The film, which also stars Ciaran Hinds, was shot on location in Belfast and London. It will play a limited engagement at the Loew’s State Theater on the lower level of the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, from Sept. 1-14.
We have 10 pairs of screening passes to give away for “Titanic Town.” To enter, click here to e-mail your name, address and daytime phone number to email@example.com. The subject line must contain your last name and the words “Titanic Town.” Entries without an address or daytime phone number will be disqualified. You can also fax your entry to (212) 686-1756. The fax should be attention: “Titanic Town” and contain the information listed above. The deadline for entries is Thursday, Aug. 31, at 4 p.m. Winners will be chosen at random from among all qualifying entries.
Cong, Mayo 90210
Well, it had to happen sometime. The classic – nay, quintessential, Irish movie, “The Quiet Man,” has inspired a film about its genesis. We hear that American TV star Luke Perry will lead a distinguished cast in “Connemara Days,” a film about the making of the granddaddy of all Irish movies. The film will be shot in the twon of Cong, which was where “The Quiet Man” was shot half a century ago.
Perry, who played the brooding Dylan on TV’s “Beverly Hills 90210,” will play an assistant director who idolizes his boss, legendary filmmaker John Ford. Others in the cast include Rosaleen Linehan, Jason Robards and Aussie Bryan Brown. No word yet on who’ll play the parts of john Wayne or Maureen O’Hara. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, no patty fingers, if you please.