!! Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers - Blarney Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers - Montgomery County, Maryland

Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

preserving the cultural tradition of Irish ceili and set dancing since 1991

View the prior Blarney edition

News about the RKIDs

February 17, 2021

What's Going on Here?

answer below

 Social Group

Book Discussions

A group of 20 RKIDs gathered virtually on January 19th to discuss the book 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman. Many said the book brought up memories of ethnic meals and city life. If all goes well, the book discussion group will someday visit 97 Orchard, now the home of the Tenement Museum in New York City.

Reading Giant’s Causeway: Frederick Douglass’s Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary by Tom Chaffin was a special way for the RKIDs to celebrate Black History Month. Once again, a sizeable group of 18 congregated on Zoom to discuss the finer details of the book. Most were surprised to learn that Frederick Douglass had visited Ireland. Perhaps even more surprising was his relationship with Daniel O’Connell, an Irish hero. The discussion, lively and interesting, delved into Douglass’s motivations, inspirations, and outcomes. The meeting ended with a viewing of a video about his trip to Ireland.

Next up, the book discussion group reads Bill Cullen’s autobiography, It’s a Long Way from Penny Apples. The review of the book will take place on Tuesday, March 23 at 7:30. If you are not in this group and want to join, please let Tom know you want to be added.

BYOB! (bring your own brunch)

Remote Brunch

Sonja thought it would be a good idea to try a virtual brunch in February. She was right. It was a nice reuniting of 18 people who were able to share as they ate at home. It was so successful we will be meeting again on March 6th. No need to RSVP. A few days in advance of each brunch, Tom will send the Zoom invitation link to all members.

Movie Night

Wild Mountain Thyme is a newly released romantic film set in the rolling landscape of County Mayo near the village of Crossmolina. More than 40 RKIDs joined the virtual viewing set up by Tom and Sonja on Saturday, February 13th.  The scenery, captured by excellent cinematography, made us want to visit the verdant Emerald Isle. The fanciful plot and the familiar music were delightful. Everyone loved hearing an Irish/Scottish classic folk song, Wild Mountain Thyme, sometimes referred to as "Go, Lassie, Go."  All left pondering the symbolism of white swans, honey bees, and agitated horses.

Liz texted this comment: “The movie last night reminded me of my friend here in the US. His brother in Ireland lived in their home place and never married. He died recently and left a very big farm to his nephew – my friend’s son, who has this big job here in the States. Meanwhile, his sisters, who never emigrated, were both married and took care of him, but their children do not have the family name [so didn’t inherit the farm]. So it still goes on. Things don’t change that much.”

Dan and Kate are
Ready to Watch
Marilyn O.:
Bring on the Movie!

Some of our moviegoers kindly sent in snapshots of how they set up to watch the show. Popcorn prevailed.   

By the way, Tom and Sonja would be happy to lend you the DVD if you want to watch the movie again. Jim Cu also reports that the movie is now available for rent from Fandango.  

Bill & Maddy's TV Room
Jim Watches Carefully

In the November 23, 2020 edition of Blarney, it was announced that Alison’s poem, Writing, had been selected for inclusion in the Maryland Bards Poetry Review 2020 Anthology. The book release will be Sunday, March 7th, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Annapolis. According to Alison, “There will be a limited capacity for in-person sessions of poets reading their poems.” She will be pre-ordering copies, but if you would like to pre-order one yourself, the link is https://www.localgemspoetrypress.com/maryland-bards-poetry-review-preorders.html. We are proud of our poet!

Over the past two years or so, lots of RKIDs have turned a new page and partly or fully retired. Marie V, Toni, Michelle, Connie, Sandy, Evan (still working part time), Kathy O, Maureen Kn, and Chuck (also working part time) have taken that plunge and we wish them the best. There are a couple people planning to join the retirees soon – or, at least, they are thinking about it. Read on …

Larisa at Multnomah Falls,
In Her Future Home State

Larisa explained her situation this way, “I am planning to retire at the end of August and in September move to Gresham, Oregon, to live with my son and daughter-in-law. Gresham is a suburb within the Portland Metro area. It is situated between the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood. The town has lots of trails and beautiful views, and it is the host of the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. My son’s house is located very close to the Senior Center, which has a ukulele group. I’m looking forward to being with my son, but I’ll miss all of you!” We will miss her, too!

Breaking Ground this Spring

John and Mo took advantage of the lull in activities for the past year by searching for a place to settle down. Their final decision is Shepherdstown, West Virginia where they bought a three-acre lot with plans to build this Spring. Mo explains it this way, “John may prolong retirement since we’ll be closer to his work place than we anticipated and I’ll continue my training and consulting….we’re excited.” All the best to them! And they will still be close enough to dance with us in the future!

 About Town
Judy Settles In

A few weeks ago, Judy settled very quickly into a new home at The Gardens of Traville, which is near Shady Grove Hospital, and a Giant. She lives on the first floor with a tree right outside her sliding glass door. The birds seem to love the tree and she’s taking great delight in getting to know her new friends. Conveniently, her apartment is right across the hall from another RKID, Mary B.


The RKIDs have a few items you might like to “check out” during these long pandemic days. If you want to borrow any item, please contact Marilyn O. She offers a delivery service, if desired, within the US, but will consider service to Canada, Mexico, and Ireland depending on the amount of the tip. Below is a list of the items:


  • Evelyn – movie starring Pierce Brosnan;
  • The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature; produced by The Great Courses and consisting of 36 lectures by Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.

Books, which were on the RKIDs’ Book Discussion Group's list:

  • Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti;
  • The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930 by Margaret Lynch-Brennan;
  • 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman;
  • Giant’s Causeway: Frederick Douglass’s Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary by Tom Chaffin.
Liz at the Airport
At this time of year, we usually hear about RKIDs heading south to Florida. But this year, Liz seems to be the only one seeking warm sunshine and balmy breezes. Kevin said, “I dropped off Liz this afternoon for her trip to Florida on Southwest Airlines. Liz will be visiting her sister Mary and brother Robert in West Palm Beach. I will be a bachelor for a month.” Their children will be watching after Kevin!