Bill Conlan to be honored by IMDA 

Bill Conlan  a long time of the local Irish community and also a member of the Irish Fair in St. Paul during the 80’s plus a musician with a perfect tenor voice. Conlan has been chosen to be honored by Irish Music and Dance Association Honors recognition.

The IMDA is a cultural and educational organization established to support, encourage and promote activities and programs in Irish music and dance in the Twin Cities. Each year the IMDA recognizes a member of the local Irish community who has demonstrated a deep passion for one or more elements of the Irish cultural tradition.
The Honors celebration of Bill Conlan will be held on Friday, November 16 . at Celtic Junction (836 Prior Ave. North St. Paul) at 7 p.m


Connor Haughey, eldest son of Taoiseach Charles Haughey, is seeking investment of €3m in his wave energy company.

Haughey developed the technology for his company, Blue Power Energy, inspired by his father’s efforts to make his private island, Inisvickillane in the Blaskets, self-sufficient.

Blue Power, which Haughey founded four years ago, has developed a new way of capturing energy from waves that has been tested by the Hydraulic Marine Research Centre at University College Cork (UCC).

Haughey, along with his chief financial officer Damien Browne and two private investors, have funded development prior to his decision to seek outside investors.

“We thought, how can we harness the power of the ocean on our doorstep?” Haughey said. “We have the best waves in the whole world. The west coast of Ireland is a huge untapped resource.”

Browne said: “There are 500 million people in Europe who are looking for renewable power and, unlike in the Middle East, we have security of supply.”
Haughey said that UCC concluded his technology was superior to many existing products.

“Efficiencies of up to 80 per cent were achieved with excellent power smoothing characteristics,” Browne said.
“We are looking for angel investors or a utility partner to bring it to commercialisation,” Haughey added.

The company recently met Irish corporate finance houses to discuss fundraising.

Blue Power believes that the success of Eddie O’Connor’s wind ventures and OpenHydro, the Irish tidal energy firm, prove that Ireland can build sustainable renewable firms from scratch.

Blue Power has employed engineer Colin O’Brien to design its prototypes.
“The whole west coast of Ireland has incredible waves,” O’Brien said. “We could be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.”
“Charlie [Haughey] had the original idea,” Browne said. “He tried building wind turbines in the Eighties on Inisvickillane — that’s what gave Conor the interest in powering island communities.”

Haughey and Browne’s interest in the ocean developed from sailing together on his father’s yacht, the Celtic Mist, which earlier this year was donated to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

Blue Ocean plans to initially target its technology at island communities like the Canary Islands or Ireland where transportation of conventional power is expensive.

Haughey has previously worked in both property development and mining, including a company called Feltrim. He was also an investor in Michael Dawson’s Gift Voucher Shop.

The Haughey family made €45m during the boom when they sold their father’s Gandon-designed house and estate at Abbeville to Joe Moran’s Manor Park Homes. The estate has since been put back on the market for just €7.5m.

Merlin’s Beef Short Ribs

Here at Merlins, we denizens of the kitchen live and breathe that basic method at the heart of Celtic cooking: braising meats.  No matter the animal or the cut, cooking meat over flavorful liquids for a long period of time (and at low temperature) is always rewarding.  Eventually, however, even those processes we are most loving and passionate about take on a certain tedium. When the creative mind screams from its idle perch that these (albeit wonderful) recipes simply don’t change, in comes the cook’s saving grace: the special.

This recipe is slightly adapted from our Valentine’s Day special this year.  Elegance in simplicity would seem to be the motto, which in the end is fitting for a romantic holiday celebration at a British pub in Minneapolis.  Of course, that is exactly what we do here-Celtic country cooking performed with the knowledge and experience of trained chefs.

As to the recipe itself, a word of advice: seek out a butcher, or an Asian or Mexican grocer.  Cuts like short ribs can be costly at supermarkets, and will generally be inferior. Certain chuck cuts can easily be substituted for the ribs, but will eliminate the enjoyment of seeing the meat draw back from the bone.  Also, a proper short rib will elucidate the phrase “falling off the bone,” as this recipe will lead to a literal demonstration.

For the Brussels sprouts, the fat-fearing among us may want to reduce or eliminate the pork fat; this will seriously hamper the enjoyment of the dish.  Those who claim to hate the miniature cabbage often change tunes upon encountering bacon fat-braised Brussels sprouts. It can be done, but is seriously recommended against.  Similarly, the already buttery-tasting gold potato should be treated with care. Butter, and please accept no hydrogenated substitute, brings the golden root to its true flower.  At the very least, an eight-hour cooking process isn’t likely to be employed as an everyday meal. Save this one for a holiday, special occasion, or fest noz, and enjoy with gusto!



2 lbs. Beef Short Ribs (Thin Ribs or Jacob’s Ladder in U.K.)
4 Medium Red Beets
2 Large Leeks
1 Bottle/3 Cups Red Wine (Pinot Noir/Burgundy)
2 Cups Beef Stock
2 Tbs. Dry Mustard Powder (Colman’s)
Salt and Pepper


8 Gold Potatoes
½ Cup Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
½ Cup Sour Cream


Braise Liquid
½ Cup Bisto Gravy Powder
2 tsp. Salt
1/3 Cup Potato Starch

Brussels Sprouts:

1 lb. Brussels Sprouts
¼ Cup Butter
¼ Cup Bacon Fat or Lard
½ Cup White Wine


  • Preheat the oven to 250º F
  • Generously rub the meat with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • Slice the beets, 1/4” thick.
  • Slash the leeks end-to-end, just to the center, then slice thinly to create shoestrings.
  • Whisk together wine, beef stock, and mustard.
  • Place beets, leeks, and liquid mixture in a roasting pan with rack.
  • Arrange the meat carefully on the rack so that no two pieces are touching.
  • Cover with tented foil.
  • Put in oven, and set a timer for 6 ½ hours (braise will take 7 ½ hours).


  • When the timer goes off, set the potatoes to boiling in a large saucepan or stockpot with ½ gallon water, and reset the timer for 1 ½ hours.
  • Once boiling point is reached, reduce to simmer.
  • Check potatoes frequently with fork or toothpick; they are ready when al dente-a toothpick will go in easily, but the potato will not slide off when lifted (should take 20-25 min.)
  • Drain the potatoes, and transfer to a baking sheet; set in oven, and bake 30 min.
  • Pull the potatoes from oven, and mash with butter, cream, and sour cream.  Salt to taste.



  • When roast is done, remove foil and set rack on a baking sheet.  
  • Strain vegetables, reserving braise liquid.
  • Pour braise liquid into a large saucepan, over medium heat.
  • Mix Bisto powder (or potato starch) with 1 Cup water, and whisk into saucepan.
  • Simmer until thickened, and salt to taste.


Brussels Sprouts (may need to be done ahead of time and reheated for serving):

  • Cut the tips off the sprouts, and cut each in half through the spine.
  • Arrange face down on a baking sheet, and scatter the butter and pork fat throughout.
  • Sprinkle with wine and salt.
  • Roast at 375º F for 30-40 min., until slightly browned and soft.


Borealis Press has just released a biography of one the greatest Irish-Americans of the twentieth century. He was a champion of the Irish language, a brilliant scholar, a personal friend of Eamon De Valera and Dorothy Day. His shadow will stretch from this side of the Atlantic to the other for the next century, at least. He was a giant, in every measurable way.

Although he may have been better known in Ireland than Minnesota, Dr. Eoin McKiernan was no stranger in the Cities. McKiernan chaired the English Department at the University of St. Thomas from 1961 – 1972. Fr. Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas, said “Dr. McKiernan devoted his life to, and set the standard for, Irish Studies.” Niall O’Dowd, editor of Irish America magazine and The Irish Voice, called him “one of the most powerful voices in the history of the Irish in America, a man who, perhaps more than any other, created the concept of Irish America as we know it today.”

Response to his KCTA-TV series, “Ireland Redisovered” and “Irish Diary” in the early 1960s was so overwhelming that McKiernan was inspired to found, with his wife Jeannette and philanthropist Patrick Butler, the Irish American Cultural Institute (IACI). The Insitute grew so large that he retired to direct it full time in 1972. St. Thomas generously provided housing for the IACI until a new chariman moved it east in 1995.

Published by Borealis Press  ( in Ottowa, the book will shortly be available at Irish on Grand.

Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler
National Board Member, Irish American Cultural Institute
Author, Irish America Reawakening:The Eoin McKiernan Story, Borealis Press, Ottowa


In the Young Irish Disorders, in Ireland in 1948, the following nine men were captured, tried, and convicted of treason against Her Majesty, the Queen, and were sentenced to death: John Mitchell, Morris Lyene, Pat Donahue, Thomas McGee, Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Richard O’Gorman, Terrence McManus, Michael Ireland.

Before passing sentence, the judge asked if there was anything that anyone wished to say. Meagher, speaking for all, said:  “My Lord, this is our first offense but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen, to try to do better next time. And next time–sure we won’t be fools to get caught.”

Thereupon the indignant judge sentenced them all to be hanged by the neck until dead and drawn and quartered. Passionate protest from all the world forced Queen Victoria to commute the sentence to transportation for life to far wild Australia.

In 1874, word reached the astounded Queen Victoria that the Sir Charles Duffy who had been elected Prime Minister of Australis was the same Charles Duffy who had been transported 25 years before to Australia. On the Queen’s demand, the records of the rest of the transported men were revealed and this is what was uncovered:
TERRANCE McMANUS, Brigadier General, U.S. Army.
RICHARD O’GORMAN, Governor of Newfoundland.
MORRIS LYENE, Attorney General of Australia, in which office MICHAEL IRELAND succeeded him.
THOMAS D’ARCY McGEE, member of Parliament, Montreal, Minister of Agriculture and President of Council Dominion of Canada.
JOHN MITCHELL, prominent New York politician. This man was the father of John Purroy Mitchell, Mayor of New York, at the outbreak of World War 1.