Michigan’s Oldest Irish Pub and Other Ways To Embrace the Emerald Isle

It’s time once again to put on your favorite green attire, cook up some corned beef and cabbage and embrace your inner Irish spirit! Our friends at the Awesome Mitten gathered up some ways that Michiganders are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day across the state. 

Though Michigan may be thousands of miles away from Ireland, the Mitten State knows how to embrace the spirit of the Emerald Isle. From parades and pub crawls, to beer-filled 5K’s, to visiting what is speculated as “Michigan’s Oldest Irish Pub,” there is a way to celebrate this lucky day in every region of the Great Lakes State.

Irish Pubs and Eateries

The Murphy – St. Clair
It is nearly impossible to say which Irish Pub in Michigan is the very oldest, but The Murphy is a strong contender. It was originally built to be a boarding house in 1836, however, is now a quaint inn with a sneaky, wild Irish Pub downstairs. There are seven guest rooms with private baths available; the perfect place to rest your head if festivities get out of hand downstairs. If you are in Southeast Michigan for the holiday, stop by The Murphy for a traditional Irish beverage and a historical tour of the inn. Staff swear that the dwelling is haunted, so be sure to ask for their best stories.

Photo via The Daily Meal.

Photo via The Daily Meal.

Fenian’s – Conklin
Fenian’s is widely considered the one of the best Irish pubs in Michigan, and for good reason. In fact, it was named to The Daily Meal’s list of 18 Most Authentic Irish Pubs in America.  After the town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, everyone ends up here (free of charge) for live Celtic music, food, and of course, plenty of drink.

Metro Detroit
Detroit may not have a green river, but there are countless ways to fuel up at one of Metro Detroit’s Irish pubs and eateries. Here are just a few to get you started.

Old Shillelagh, Detroit
- Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub, Detroit
- The Blarney Stone Pub, Berkley
- Dick O’Dows Irish Pub, Birmingham
- Rosie O’Grady’s, Ferndale
- Sean O’Callaghan’s, Plymouth
- O’Connor’s Public House, Rochester
- O’Tooles, Royal Oak

Parades and Parties

Photo courtesy of Katy Batdorff Photography

Photo courtesy of Katy Batdorff Photography

Many places got the party started this past weekend with parades, festivals and other gatherings. But the fun doesn’t end on March 17th! There are events planned throughout the entire month of March. Check out michigan.org to see how other Michigan cities celebrate the day.

Irish on Ionia – Grand Rapids
This  event is for the hearty and the rowdy. Festivities got going on Ionia Street as early as 7am on Saturday, March 14th and continued deep into the night. 2015 marked the 5th annual event of Irish on Ionia. DJs and live music entertained the crowds all day, while many participating restaurants served up their favorite Irish concoctions.  Check out this photo gallery from the event to get you geared up for the holiday tomorrow!

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K and Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – Traverse City
Runners rose early on Saturday, March 14th and donned their greenest running attire. The Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K mixed a morning workout with free beer, live entertainment and a smashing post-race party at the Inside Out Gallery.  The State Street Grill welcomed parade-goers before and after the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade presented by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

St. Patrick’s Day Party – Bessemer
As Michiganders know, the snow we accumulate throughout the winter lingers far into March. St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to get some spring skiing in. Big Powderhorn Mountain in the Western Upper Peninsula is featuring a tremendous St. Patrick’s Day party at Caribou Lodge with live music being played all day. Leprechaun costumes are encouraged and the Irish beverages will be abundant.

Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze – Boyne Highlands
While Krazy Daze takes place after St. Patrick’s Day (March 20th-21st), it’s the perfect opportunity to keep the festivities going with green costumes and games galore. Whether you’re a face-painted kid taking a pass at the Silly Slalom, or a kid at heart warming up for the Ski Over the Pond competition at a tailgate party, you’ll find fun and laughter to keep you smiling all weekend long.

For Michiganders, St. Patrick’s Day is another sign that spring is near. So bundle up, raise your glass, celebrate the end of the bitter cold, and salute the hearty Irish at one of the hundreds of events Michigan has to offer.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 

pmphotoJennifer Hamilton has lived in various cities around the great state of Michigan and presently resides in Traverse City. When not drinking, examining, and researching the great craft beers offered in this region, Jennifer can be found trying to balance her marathon training schedule, day job, MSW course load, and three rambunctious dogs

The First-Timer’s Guide to Attending the 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival

The internationally recognized Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks off March 24th. The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres. Guest blogger Ryan Levin shares some tips and tricks if you’re planning to attend for the first time. 

Michigan Theater

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

So you’ve never been to the Ann Arbor Film FestivalWell, this is a great year to attend your first. The 53rd AAFF is a six-day international showcase of experimental, avant garde, animation and documentary cinema at the historic Michigan Theater. And sure, stepping into the festival for the first time can be a daunting experience.

Where do you begin? What must you see? How do you pick between talks, presentations, screenings and performances? And what if you’ve never seen an experimental film before…?

Not to worry! Here are some survival tips if you should happen upon an experimental film in the dark.

1. Stay calm; it’s just a movie

Most of us are well accustomed to the popular cinema. These movies have a stake in being understood, using standardized story cues, recognizable characters, and familiar structures to help the viewer follow along. You filled the seat. Hollywood wants to meet you halfway. The avant garde does away with an easily recognizable format in order to free the medium for the full range of human expression.

So if you don’t get it (or don’t think you do), don’t worry. Some of these films are meant to be vague. Some evocative and strange. Some are meant to be experienced in the moment, and may not solidify into meaning until weeks later.

2. Read the title; skip the synopsis

Pick up a program guide and pay close attention to the slides between screenings. A film’s title is often the first clue to what the filmmaker is trying to convey. Re-read the title before viewing. But skip the synopsis! The AAFF’s movies are meant to first be experienced on the screen.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

3. Watch actively, question and categorize

Every movie is a collection of a thousand choices, careful selections and thoughtful omissions. Assume everything you see on screen is there for a reason, then figure out why. Why this color? Why that sound? By understanding the pieces you can better grasp what the work means as a whole.

4. Talk, brainstorm, guess and share

Don’t let bewilderment set in! In between movies, talk. Seriously. Use the pause between films to lean over to your neighbor and discuss with them what you’ve just seen. Sometimes the best way to parse a film’s meaning is by talking about it. You might just stumble upon the perfect interpretation as you’re trying to put it into words.

5. If all else fails…

Read the artist’s synopsis. Some movies are experiments in artistic form, some will have esoteric contexts that will require a summary to clarify. There will be that occasional film that’s so totally baffling only the filmmaker’s description can help you decode what it is you’ve just seen.

But you’ll only get to see it if you’re in Ann Arbor March 24 – 29. Check out VisitAnnArbor.org for more details and don’t forget the hotel package available at Weber’s Inn if you need a place to stay.

See you there!

Do you have any tried and true tips for attending a new festival for the first time? 

Ryan Levin is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Screen Arts and Cultures program and a guest blogger for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. A version of this blog originally appeared in the Ann Arbor News on March 25, 2012.

Six Fascinating Artifacts to See at the Michigan Historical Museum

A day spent exploring a Michigan museum can cure your cabin fever in a hurry! Guest blogger Mary Dettloff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources give us some inside information on what you’ll find at the Michigan Historical Museum this winter and beyond. 

Michigan Historical Museum

Michigan Historical Museum

The end of the U.S. Civil War, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the economic boom in post-war Michigan – these facets of American history are all examined in a new special exhibit at the Michigan Historical Museum called “Conceived in Liberty.”

The exhibit takes its themes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It opens with the Battle of Gettysburg and follows Michigan soldiers through the end of the war. There are stories of cavalrymen in battle, engineers and mechanics building bridges, Native Americans serving in Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters and Michigan’s 102nd U.S. Colored Troops.

The exhibit then turns to the war’s end and the following two decades. It includes artifacts associated with Lincoln’s assassination, stories of Michigan’s economic expansion and diversity, and illustrations of equality and inequality following the war. The final segment, which includes the Civil War flag exhibit area, focuses on how we have remembered the war.

Some of the special artifacts included in the exhibit are:

1. An 1863 newspaper from Vicksburg, Mississippi, printed on the back of wallpaper because there was no newsprint available due to the Union siege.

2. A rosette from the casket of Abraham Lincoln. Dell Root Howard, who graduated from Coldwater High School in 1876, donated the rosette to the Coldwater Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which in turn donated to the Michigan Historical Museum in 1941. It is unknown how Howard came to possess the rosette. She was 8 years old the year Lincoln was assassinated. An illustration of Lincoln lying in state shows a very similar rosette as part of the casket presentation.ConceivedInLiberty-20141003-5273_rosette_small

3. An invitation received by U.S. Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan to attend President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral services at the White House on April 19, 1865. The card is on loan from the Library of Congress.

4.  A lady’s jacket said to be worn by a Michigan resident who was at Ford Theater the night President Lincoln was shot there.

ConceivedInLiberty-20141003-5269_jacket_small

5. A headband created by Michigan Indians from Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters for their commander, Colonel Charles V. DeLand.

6.  A tobacco pouch carried by abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth, who lived in Battle Creek after the war. She traveled to Kansas in 1879 in support of the “Exodusters,” blacks who fled the south after federal troops were withdrawn at the end of Reconstruction.

Sojourner Truth Tobacco Pouch

Family programming related to exhibit is being offered through the summer of 2015. For more information on the popular “Second Saturdays” program, go to www.michigan.gov/museum.

The Michigan Historical Museum is located at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. near downtown Lansing. Weekdays during the school year, the museum is busy hosting students from across the state on educational field trips. Weekends and summer months are less crowded. The museum is an easy drive from the Grand Rapids and metro Detroit regions.

The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free. General admission fees for the Michigan Historical Museum, which include the special exhibit, are $6 for adults 18-64, children through age 5 are free, youth ages 6-17 are $2, and seniors 65 and up are $4. Annual passes are available, and there is no admission charge on Sundays.

Have you ever made a visit to the Michigan Historical Museum? 

Mary Dettloff is senior advisor for communications for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and a native of Northern Michigan.