Citizens Report American Irish Culture

Mike Danahey’s Lament

Danahey doing what he does best, eating.
Danahey doing what he does best, eating.


The second Mt. Prospect Irish Fest  happened in the village’s downtown yesterday, and I missed it.

I had every intention in the world – or at least in the northwest suburbs – of being there to write about it for

After all, I had attended the inaugural event last year and had a fine time. While this last few months’ weather has made us nostalgic for the heat of 2012, we forget there was a lousy April cold spell.

Despite that, the initial Mt. Prospect Irish fest was able to draw about 4,000 people to the parking lot of the Chase Bank at  Emerson Street and Busse Avenue. That led to organizers expanding the hours this time. And the lineup featured the Trinity Irish Dancers, Ceiltori Chicago/Ceili Mor Irish Dancing, The Dooley Brothers, They Might Be Irish, Larkin & Moran Brothers and strolling bagpipers. I think every neighborhood should have strolling bagpipers who could wake us at dawn, much like roosters allegedly do on farms.

Last year, people crowded under the tent, with few standing outside and shivering in their corned beef and cabbage.  With Saturday’s beautiful weather, my guess is the crowd was even bigger than 2012, and probably spilling out and milling about at what I see as the first event of summer Irish Fest season.

Hey, if the summer blockbuster movie gets underway May 3 with yet another Iron Man flick and hockey going  into July, the Irish can do what they please with the calendar, too.

As for why I didn’t make it, I spent more time than I thought I would at a benefit in East Dundee at Diamond Jim’s for Jeremy “Froggy” Lindsay.

Lindsay was in a horrible car accident Jan. 3, 2011, when a guy who probably had a stroke or heart attack drove head-on into his car.  Lindsay broke a good many bones on the right side of his body and the other man died.

Lindsay has had five surgeries already, with at least two more planned. His medical bills are approaching what U2 makes for playing one night of arena rock. Despite having health insurance and he and his wife having jobs, they and their kids lost their house and are now renting a smaller place.

To keep with my intended theme for the day, I did drink Guinness at this benefit. I munched down on something called garbage fries, which were like nachos but with fries instead of chips. With this story, there should be a picture of me getting very personal with a pair of frog legs, which really do taste a little like chicken, if chicken liked to hang out in ponds.

One of our waitresses looked like Jessica Chastain, which was an added bonus, but had me worried for a bit that we might be waterboarded. My drinking buddy Tom sort of liked that idea.

Lindsay has a lot of biker friends, so instead of spending time with folks in kilts, caps and woolen sweaters in Mt. Prospect, I was where it was very furry and leathery.

One big baby faced biker with a crewcut and a strawberry blonde bushie chin beard had a patch on his vest about wanting be buried face down, so people would have to kiss his ass at his funeral – which reminded me, of course, of the Irish phrase from which the Pogues took their name.

Speaking of music, while at Irish fests you are sure to hear a rebel song or two, a Fields of Athenry, a Tell Me Ma, and, God forbid, a Danny Boy,  biker events also have standards, standards that probably will be played 100 years from now when motorcycles hover and fly like in Blade Runner.

Bikers, of course, are partial to Southern-tinged rock and blues, roughly from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. So the group Southern Jack covered tunes by the likes of .38 Special, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Marshall Tucker, Georgia Satellites, Molly Hatchet, the Allman Brothers,  and Cher. Okay, I lied about the last one on the list.

Nay, the lead singer wasn’t an aging Vegas diva, but a Duck Dynasty-looking kind of guy.

So was the only guy who got up to shake his money maker for a number. Sexier was a young Lollapalooza lady who did a Hula Hoop routine, a hippie-ish Salome slinking to the sounds. This time, Tom was scared because she reminded him of the girl with the dragon tattoo. He was relieved that no Swedes appeared to be in attendance, as that could have led to trouble and the Hula Hoop winding up somewhere it wasn’t designed to be.

Before I knew it – and a dozen Blue Point oysters later – it was approaching 7 p.m. The band finished its last set with the Southern rock national anthem, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird.

I’ve actually heard that played at many an Irish show by Brigid’s Cross, with frontman Paul Baker bringing the crowd to a frenzy per his fiddle solo to end all fiddle solos.

Which brings us full circle and back to Mt. Prospect – sort of, as I never got there Saturday. That’s to say, for, I’ve volunteered to attend Irish fests and events throughout Chicago and vicinity and to share my musings or whatever it is you want to call my typing.

I’m not going to be Yelp and review things. That site is nonsense.

This will be more about heading out with some friends to have some Irish or Celtic fun than putting what happened online. In other words, a festing we will go.

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