Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

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

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News about the RKIDs

May 8, 2021

What's Going on Here?

answer below

 Social Group

Book Discussions

Book Chatting

The RKIDs’ Book Discussion Group tried something new in April - an open-selection book chat. Instead of everyone reading the same book, members read a book of their choice and shared their reactions with the group. Such a variety of literature! It was noted at the meeting's end that lots of books were about strong women, a theme popular among today’s authors. Liz, who spoke about The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Duggoni, reported afterwards that “last night was great, as usual. It was so interesting to hear all the different views." The evening got lots of thumbs up.

In May the group reverted to our normal process. We reviewed  Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Everyone seemed to like Benny, Eve, Kit, and especially Mother Francis. Likewise, all seemed to dislike Sean Walsh, Jack, and Mother Clare. At Marilyn W’s suggestion, we all gave the book a ranking 1 – 10 and most votes gave it a 7, give or take a little. On Tuesday, May 25, we will be watching the eponymous movie and everyone is encouraged to compare it to the book.  For our Tuesday, June 15th discussion, the selection is The Star and The Shamrock by Jean Grainger.

May Brunch and Tips on Winter Sowing

As the pandemic winds down, we are looking forward to gathering in person, but in the meantime our Zooming for the sake of health continues. On Saturday, May 1st, Bill, Maddy, Christine, Marilyn O, Barb, Jim Ca, Gina, Larisa, Kate, Maura, Judy, Marie V, Jean Wo, and Evelyn met on screen for our First Saturday Brunch. Once again, conversation was lively and varied.


Planters in the Snow
Planters in
Early Spring
At the brunch, Gina took her laptop outside and showed us her "winter sowing" garden. She saws plastic gallon jugs nearly in half just below the handle so they can bend as if they were hinged, puts in soil and seeds, then leaves them outside starting in January, with occasional watering and enclosed (unhinged, so to speak) in the containers. The plants she showed us were thriving, even after the freezing temperatures of February and March, so they had a three months head start on other spring plantings and didn't have to be kept indoors.The containers act like miniature greenhouses. What you can learn at these brunches is amazing!

Here's her explanation of how it's done, if you want to try it next year:

Showing the
Container Cuts
The Crop Comes In

"I drilled 4 drain holes in the bottom of each container. Make openings in the top or if a jug, leave the cap off. I cut milk containers in half leaving a "hinge" and 4-inch depth for new, quality moist soil. I gathered a few wildflower seeds in the winter. The seeds were not visible so I planted a lot of "fluff." Label and tape your jugs closed. The planted jugs went outside in the third week of January with no concern for chill or snow. I learned that planting "invisible" seeds can make for very crowded plants. Oh well. Hopefully they will get transplanted soon. I believe this can be done with any seed, including vegetables."


See you on Saturday, June 5th for our next virtual community meal and chat.

Save the Date

Emergency Call Box
Art and Admirer
At Robert Emmet Park with
Tour Guide Maribeth

Plans are underway for an outing in the fall. If all goes well (and Covid is a thing of the past), the RKIDs will be sponsoring a walking tour of the Dupont Circle area in Washington, DC. The tour guide, Maribeth Oakes, will introduce us to the famous Irish people who have lived or visited in the neighborhood. To prepare for the tour, Bill, Maddy, Obie, and Marilyn O did a trial walk-through with the guide. Along the way, we were delighted to find several former police and fire department call boxes that have been repurposed into works of art. SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, October 16th! Details will be coming out soon.

 About Town
Kate and Mother Goose

A few weeks ago, Kate and Dan O’C ventured out for "their first day trip in a year." They ended up in Chesapeake Beach along the Bay near the Rod 'N' Reel Restaurant. After lunch, they strolled through the area noting a Mother Goose bronze statue with her goslings and the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.

Enjoying Southport
Kure Beach

Kure Beach (pronounced as in Madame Curie) extends along a spit of land called Pleasure Island, south of Wilmington, North Carolina and north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Christine and Marilyn O recently rented a condo on this sandy stretch and soaked up the local tourist attractions. Here’s what you can do if you happen to find yourself in this beautiful spot: North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, The Rocks (coquina outcrop), Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Southport Ferry and the town of Southport, Britt’s Donuts, Kure Beach Fishing Pier and Store, plus several top-notch restaurants. “We had four glorious days visiting fun places, watching the waves from our balcony, and catching up on our reading.” A return visit is being planned.

New York New York Casino

Obie made a quick trip to Las Vegas to help celebrate his daughter’s 50th birthday and to spend time with his grandson, Jack. He made a quick visit to see his friend, Bubba, in Pahrump, Nevada, a town that seems to be nearly at the end of the earth. All went well.

Mary Ann and Family
Playing Catan

Mary Ann had the good fortune to be in St. Augustine, Florida, recently visiting her son and his family. The added treat was that her daughter and children arrived, too! Many of the RKIDs know Amy because she was a member of Andes Dandies and the early RKIDs. She also has been to Ireland with the RKIDs. The family rejoiced in being together. Lots of time was spent playing games like Catan, a strategy game in which players trade, build, and settle the island of Catan. Mary Ann loved being with all of them. 

Now that she is back in Gaithersburg, she continues to sort through things at her house. She met up with Ann Marie R at a local store to give her some unique treasures. Mary Ann said Ann Marie looks great and is busy tending to her goats on the farm near Emmitsburg, Maryland.

 Other News

Irish Polar Bears?

Can It Be True?

Following up from a note from Maddy, who saw a surprising and brief segment in the Sunday, April 11, 2021 Washington Post comic section (page SC6, Kidtown). She decided to look a little deeper into the subject. Here are some links about this fascinating bit of ursine ancestry:

“It's a long way from the Arctic to Tipperary, but scientists have discovered polar bears can trace their family tree to Ireland. Genetic evidence shows they are descended from Irish brown bears that lived during the last ice age. ” Source: The Guardian

“International Polar Bear Day: DNA proves Irish brown bears related to polar bears”: DNA proves Irish brown bears related to polar bears (irishcentral.com) Feb 27, 2021 “By studying 17 sets of brown bear teeth and skeletons, found in eight caves across Ireland, scientists found conclusive evidence of the connection in 2011." Source: Irish Central

Video: “Polar Bears Are Irish?” (3:04 minutes). Source: National Geographic


Principal Reporter: Marilyn O.

Editors: Bill and Madelyn A.

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