Monday, May 31, 2010

Gaelic Guatemalans

Chicago's massive Irish population was for a century or more as divided as the island nation itself! The Northsiders were originally from the west side of Chicago and besides being part of the Cubbie Nation they tended be the musicians and scholars. The Southsiders were die hard Sox fans and were the sportsmen and entertainers. The Southsiders outnumbered the Northsiders...by a lot! When it became ridiculously evident that such a large diaspora of Irishmen needed some kind of cultural center that also served as a social center, the two groups fought over where to locate such a place. This battle also raged over the fund raising and which group would control the checkbook. In the end, they agreed to disagree!!

The Northsiders raised their own funds and bought an abandoned city college building which they've turned into a cultural and social center with it's magnificent library and knotwork painted meeting rooms. The Southsiders used their fundraising efforts to purchase land. For years the land had only a small little building which acted as a locker room/bar. As more cash built up in the coffers, the Southsiders bought up adjoining properties. Finally it was deemed time to erect a proper facility with banquet halls and meeting rooms on the land so the Southsiders decided to sell 'shares' in the new development. The then single and carefree Patrick Mahoney decided, as a loyal Southsider, to invest in two shares of this proposed 'Gaelic Park".....great move!!!! The building became an instant success with it's banquet hall book for years out and many athletic teams renting it's facility for their playoffs and championships. Now as shareholders we aren't exactly seeing any cash payouts! The 'profits' are always reinvested into expanding the building and stadiums and practice fields. But we do have one nice perk....free passes to events!

The biggest event in the Gaelic Park schedule is their annual Irish Fest held every Memorial Day weekend. Hundreds of entertainers come as well as vendors and that makes for one heck of a party. Oh, and did I mention the all you can ride carnival?

Now the big bit of back ground information you would need here is that Memorial Day weekend in Chicago is....weather challenged!!!! Irish Fest has a notorious reputation for being held in the extremes of weather conditions. Most notably THE RAIN!!!! We've worn everything from winter parkas to tank tops and Wellingtons to sun screen at past Irish Fest festivities. For the past two years the weather was horrific on Memorial Day weekend so we gave our passes away and skipped the event all together. 

This year the weather was simply perfect! With a little bit of a nudge from Auntie Peggy, we opened our summer festival season with the Irish.


We heard great fiddle music...

 
and many a balladeer!


We even gave Patrick a few minutes listen since he had to work 
instead of party!


There were fireworks.....




and lots of shops selling Irish themed items... 




and did I mention the carnival rides?


The BFF/Cousins had a blast well into the night....




even if two of them are Guatrish...or Irimalan...or Gaelic Guatemalans?

3 comments:

  1. Looks like a great holiday weekend! My 8-year old, Greta, LOVES Irish music!

    I was so sad by your post the other day and the way your children have been treated because of their skin color. I had my 2 teenage daughters read your post and they couldn't believe that others could be that cruel. I am dreading the day that people do that to my son. Kids can be so nasty. I'm so sorry...

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  2. how cool. I'm sorry to say I've never heard of this festival. it's something I'll definitely want to check out one of these years. thanks for the history lesson, also which I did not know about. and what is a wellington?

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  3. well we took your downpouring rain and boy could I use some wellingtons, actually its wasn't cold just wet. Ok so back to your older posts, I asked my husband where the term spic came from, I figured her would know since he grew up in a small town, I never heard any of this kind of stuff, just the N word nothing else. He actually didn't know so I asked my dad and he says it refers to italians???? so just curious, since the girl aren't from italy what the deal is? any of the slangs names would be awfula nd hurtful, but are the kids not educated enough to come up with the right one, or are we wrong?

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