Sláinte Somerville!

On March 13, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

St. Patrick’s in the city

Everybody’s Irish this week, as evidenced by all the green, and the grins, worn by one and all. ~Photo by Elizabeth Sheeran

Everybody’s Irish this week, as evidenced by all the green, and the grins, worn by one and all. – Photos by Elizabeth Sheeran

By Elizabeth Sheeran

It’s a great time for the Irish and the Irish-at-heart. Saint Patrick’s Day isn’t officially here until this Sunday, March 17, but Somerville has already started celebrating.

“Saint Patrick’s Day started on March 1st. It’s Saint Patrick’s month now,” said Desmond Rushe, manager of The Burren in Davis Square, one of many local pubs taking traditional Irish hospitality up a notch this week.

Saint Paddy’s Day festivities got off to a running start in Somerville on Sunday morning, March 10, with the annual Rás na hÉireann U.S.A., or “The Race of Ireland and the U.S.A.” Around five thousand runners descended on Davis Square for the colorful five-kilometer run, many decked out for the occasion with kilts, caps, and all shades of green. In fact, the “wearing of the green” took on a whole new meaning for one runner painted head-to-toe as the Incredible Hulk.

Alderman Jack Connolly said he was running the road race for the 12th time. “I don’t care how fast I run,” said Connolly. “As a second generation Irish-American in Somerville, I’m delighted to be a small part of this. This is not only a symbol of all things Irish in Somerville today, but we have a huge debt to all the Irish that settled here years ago and helped make Somerville what it is.”

Connolly said the event was also a great economic boon for businesses in the area, especially coffee shops, restaurants and pubs. “Every pub in the city is fully staffed today, and the business they’ll do will be off the charts,” he said.

Indeed, Irish celebration has always meant good drink, good food, good music and good storytelling, and you can find all of those things in Somerville this week.

Need some hearty sustenance to get you through this weekend’s festivities? You can start off your Saint Patrick’s Day with a traditional Irish breakfast of rashers (Irish bacon), baked beans, grilled tomatoes, fried potatoes, eggs, soda bread, and black and white pudding, which is not a dessert dish but a sausage made with meat, oatmeal and barley, with pig’s blood being the extra special ingredient in the black pudding.

For early risers, The Burren in Davis Square, Bull McCabe’s in Union Square and P.J. Ryan’s in Teele Square are all opening earlier than usual this Sunday morning, with breakfast as early as 8 a.m. at The Burren. But you can find Irish breakfast all over town by late morning, including at The Precinct and The Independent in Union Square, Olde Magoun’s Saloon in Magoun Square, The Thirsty Scholar on Beacon Street, or The Druid in Inman Square.

For lunch and dinner, corned beef and cabbage is the Saint Patrick’s Day standard at local pubs, but most are also rounding out their Saint Paddy’s-inspired menus with other Irish pub favorites like Guinness beef stew, shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. The Saint Patrick’s Day dessert menu at The Precinct includes the tempting Bailey’s Cheesecake. And Olde Magoun’s owner Greg Coughlin said he’s serving up what he calls an “authentic” Irish boiled bacon dinner, with potato colcannon, carrots and parsnips in a parsley cream sauce.

Of course, all that food comes with plenty of good beer and Irish whiskey to wash it all down, and a generous helping of entertainment on the side.

For a mix of Irish humor, drama and music, Somerville currently boasts at least two Irish-themed stories onstage. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening, The Burren will present The Fiddlers of Inishbofin, an original tale of love and musical rivalry, co-written by Burren owner Tommy McCarthy and Boston playwright Peter Holm.

Just a few steps away, the Davis Square Theatre continues its run of The Irish … and How They Got That Way, by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Frank McCourt, with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Somerville’s live music venues will be hopping all weekend, offering plenty of options for soaking up the sounds of the Emerald Isle firsthand. Ronan Quinn and his band will be playing jigs, reels and familiar Irish classics this weekend at both Olde Magoun’s and Bull McCabe’s, who are among a number of pubs promising Irish music throughout the day on Sunday.

At Sally O’Briens, Celtic band The Johnny Come Latelies kicks off the weekend on Friday evening, and the Tom Haggerty Irish Band headlines on Sunday. At The Druid, you can drop in on the weekly Saturday afternoon traditional Irish music session, or sing along with the McGowan Rovers on Sunday.

A full roster of Saint Patrick’s Day events at The Burren on Sunday includes  fun and games with WAAF radio deejays to benefit Denis Leary’s Firefighters Foundation, along with the pub’s always-stellar line-up of live Irish music in both the front and back rooms all day, led by musician-owners Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello.

For a change of pace, a Friday evening benefit for the Somerville Museum will feature Irish music at the Old Methodist Church in Union Square. Or you can check out Boston Irish-transplant rocker Christian McNeill with his band the Seamonsters at The Precinct on Sunday nigh

And what to do after all that partying this weekend? The Independent will be open on Monday morning, March 18, for a special post-Saint Paddy’s brunch to benefit the Healey School, said manager Jessica Willis, “so anyone with a Saint Patrick’s Day hangover can come in for a Bloody Mary and the proceeds will benefit a good cause.”


For more information, contact these and other local establishments:

Bull McCabe’s, 366A Somerville Ave., Union Square, 617-440-6045

The Burren, 247 Elm St., Davis Square, 617-776-6896

The Druid, 1357 Cambridge St. (Cambridge), Inman Square, 617-497-0965

The Independent, 75 Union Square, 617-490-6022

Olde Magoun’s Saloon, 518 Medford St., Magoun Square, 617-776-2600

P.J. Ryan’s, 239 Holland Ave., Teele Square, 617-625-8200

The Precinct, 70 Union Square, 617-623-9211

Sally O’Briens, 335 Somerville Ave., Union Square, 617-666-3589

The Thirsty Scholar, 70 Beacon Street, 617-497-2294



22 Responses to “Sláinte Somerville!”

  1. Rosalie says:

    I’m glad this race was so much fun for the runners and the bars who made money on it, but for anyone who lives in the triangle from Cedar St. to Teele Square, Highland Ave. to Broadway, you were unable to leave that triangle for at least 3 hours on Sunday. That left people stranded, unable to get to work, unable to get to the grocery store, unable to visit a sick relative, unable to get to church, etc., etc., so that a bar could have a road race. These races are becoming far too frequent and far to disruptive. Why is the bike path not utilized rather than 2 major thoroughfares? Who is paying for the police overtime? How much do the organizers pay to the city for the privilege of usurping so much of the city for 3 hours? And why, in a city the size of Somerville, do they allow a race with 5,000 registered runners?

  2. j. connelly says:

    “Rosalie” has valid points.
    1) There should be a limit on the number of entrants (registered and *Unregistered, who should be *fined). allowed in each race. How many of these races do they allow in Cambridge or Brookline?

    2) There are way too many races held on the streets of Somerville. BOA needs to set limits on the number held each season.

    3) Any of the really slow racers, more than an hour & a half to finish shall be mandated to stop at that time period…they needlessly delay traffic for longer periods thus creating more pollution. Let them do their “Personal Best” in their own “personal space”.

    4) The suggestion of the Bike Path as the race route is excellent. I believe the end of that path is in Concord (see how long the Concord Elitists put up with it.)

    5) I was told by an elected official that the O.T. for these races comes entirely from the Bars sponsoring the race. Will check with the “transparency” at City Hall to see if this is true. Let’s see the cancelled checks from the sponsors for the city overtime costs.

    Ironic that this was just brought up at the BOA meeting last night. Why???
    Not because the races have delayed emergency vehicles, which has happened a few times. Not because ambulances have delayed responses caused by runners who will not stop to let the ambulance through. …..Because a member of the BOA was delayed an hour and a half going from Davis Square to Union Square due to a race. Now it is an issue!

    Well the BOA better finally do something to properly correct the issue or a lot of these elected officials will be finding themselves involved in lawsuits when someone loses their loved one or property caused by all these races.

    Just as the congestion on narrow streets cause by bikes after all those millions spent on “Bike Paths”

    There is the “Cycletrack = Cyclecrap. Between Curtatone OverDevelopment Group Plans & Epsteins Bike Monopoly Plans this city is getting ruined while Medford, Cambridge, Everett have outdone Somerville and grabbed all the great resident friendly projects. Frit Frat will be surrounded for awhile to come by the dustbowl & the Mystic View Group will be in some other county/state ruining other longtime residents lifestyles there.

  3. A Moore says:

    It’s also a hardship for those servicing the elderly with medical help. One has to lug their equipment to the client’s house costing much time loss as others need their help also. These people get paid per diem and end up working more hours without geting paid for it and not getting medications to those needing it at the right time. It has been a problem. These people attend to the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves.

  4. j. connelly says:

    Very important points “A. Moore”. Having had to have these services one time in the not too distant past. There are a lot of good, dedicated, hard working people providing these services. They come at all hours, even when they are off the clock, they also call to check on you.

  5. amen says:

    glad to hear these great points. i’m stunned at the 5,000 number. and I’m one of those people whose caregiver couldn’t leave the driveway to get to my place. that’s just unforgiveable. the caregiver lost income, and I am without help i depend on. as bad as that was, I dont know what emergency vehicles would do,. like development, this is out of control, This benefits restaurants/bars in Davis, and then 5,000 runners hop on the t and go back home.

  6. money? says:

    no mention of where the money raised is going. in the past, it’s funded the SHS Track team & others. I’d hate to think we were all inconvenienced in a major way, as well as risking safety for nothing.

  7. j. connelly says:

    Even the Boston Marathon sets limits on the numbers of runners.
    Somerville should greatly reduce the number of participants allowed to run. The Boston Marathon is 26 miles. Somerville is only 4 square miles.
    Time for a reality check. One of the races had police officers from Billerica doing detail for the race because it was so big.

  8. Harry says:

    100% agree with Rosalie – these races are out of control. You can’t leave or get to your own house for 3 hours and now there seems to be a “race” almost every weekend. This needs to stop and/or just use the bikepaths. Why the heck did we pay for those anyway? Bicyclists don’t use them – they use the sidewalks.

  9. Paul Collyer says:


    the race did not begin till 11am and it ended by Noon. At most it effected one hour but for 95% of the course only fifteen minutes. Davis Square was open for almost the entire time except for portions at interval moments and for one hour closure at most.

    The City sent out numerous robo calls, the event was advertised in the local papers and it has been taking place for 11 years-not an event that has snuck up on the community.

    We work very hard to limit the impact over a long period of time. It is just not true that the roads were closed for three hours and impassable for this long.

    At no time were emergency vehicles stopped but there were on hand over 50 police officers including auxilliary police and 4 emt’s all paid for by the event as has been the case for 11 years-the city is well protected during these events. All of the work performed by the DPW and Parking was paid for by the event also as has been the case for 11 years.

    The Somerville Jingle Bell Run and Ras na hEireann USA 5km benefit the following local organizations and during the past 5 years of difficult economic times and many organizatiions all over losing funding has been there unwavering in it’s financial support:

    Somerville High Schol Track & Field PAC
    Somervile High School Football Program
    Somerville High Schol Soccer Program
    Somerville High School Frisbee Program
    Somerville Recreation Department
    City of Somerville Summer High School Athletic Camp
    Somerville Toys for Local Tots Program
    Somerville Auxilliary Police Department
    Irish Film Festival in 2012 that was hosted in Somerville
    Breast Cancer Fund
    Breast Cancer Research event @ Burren in 2013

    I am sure that if you contact any of the above organizations that they will be more than willing to discuss the importance of these events to their programs financially.

    The Events attract many and most stay in the city supporting not just bars but local cafes, restaurants, gas stations, convenient stores, hotels, cab companies and other service and retail establishments and during slow times in the year for many of them – the Somerville Chamber of Commerce can attest to this.

    I have directed running events in the city for 25 years and have always worked very hard to mitigate inconveniences to others-it is impossible to not have any inconveniences but we work hard to lessen them via the robo calls, street signs, newspaper notices and the history of the events.

    These running events and others in the city have been part of the culture of the city for 40+ years and they have been part of the revitalization and allure of the great city of Somerville. I personally apologize if anyone was inconvenienced-it is not our intention.

    Paul Collyer

  10. amen says:

    nobody is disputing that the race has been around for many years. what has snuck up on people is the size of the race. It is too big for the area. as for the length of the closures, i think you’re information is off. I’ll let others testify to that. People are disturbed at the cumulative effect here. Artbeat is a weekend of road closures. a series of parties the city throws in neigborhoods shuts a huge area for a very small crowd. We are focused on these events and lose sight of what it does to people who just need to get to work or home, or errands. If this event is truly paying for all those services, it’s hard to believe you made a dime.

  11. j. connelly says:

    “Paul Collyer”….. bunk! Use the oval track at the High School, Tufts or at Dilboy and take it off the city streets or divide/downsize the events and use a different city each year. One of the events that was suppose to take place within several blocks of the square. Some of the group came all the way up to North St & back down the Blvd to College Ave. to the square. No police escort as they were illegally beyond the limits of the event.

    There are too many “Races and Street” days. and for a city administration preaching “Green” the added pollution created on these days by traffic blockades is a real contradiction to what they tout.

    They all do not have to take place on Somerville streets. It is overkill, a big inconvenience. I have personally witnessed the runners refusing to make way for responding fire apparatus and it was recorded on the fire radio as the officer on one of the pieces of fire apparatus radioed a request for police assistance as the runners would not let them get through. So it has affected public safety and you can be sure that is not the only time.

    The after parties at the bar rooms and disturbances in the square are on record. It is interesting to note that the majority of the problems are by people who come from other cities.

    Your “apology” means little to the handicapped and people who do not receive their visiting nurse or homecare person on numerous occasions during these events.

    Somerville is too small/congested and a “dumping ground” for these too numerous events. The BOA needs to dramatically downsize the number of participants in each event and number of events held.

  12. Marie says:

    “….street closures this weekend on Sunday March tenth beginning at nine am. police and traffic and parking personnel will be detouring vehicles in and around the Davis Teal and Ball Square areas to accommodate the running of the annual race of Ireland…secondary roads in these areas may also be closed to through traffic for brief time…”
    Mr. Collyer, if you were involved in the planning of this race, then you should be more aware of the effects on the community. This is part of the robocall received the day before, telling us that the street closures will begin at 9:00 a.m. They were closed until after 12:00. This alerts us, with less than 24 hours notice, that we will not be able to leave our homes. It does not allow us to rearrange our lives to accommodate it. I can attest to the length of the closures, as my husband sat in his car idling at Highland Ave. as he attempted to get to work. He was over an hour late (great for the environment, by the way). This is simply unacceptable and it happens far too frequently, and they have become too large. Maybe requests for these road races should be decided at a public meeting, where those who will be inconvenienced are invited to voice their concerns. I think the residents of the community should have more of a voice than runners and business owners.

  13. amen says:

    i’m glad people are able to prove that the brief closure argument is a crock. as Marie said, the calls are not received in time to re-arrange your life. So, good to know that Mr. Collyer is either lying to all of the city or is hopelessly oblivious to his own event. The stuff about emergency vehicles is just unbelievable. Any event that did that should be shut down immediately. You’re responsible for your participants.
    so we have robocalls that prove 3 hrs, and police/fire records that prove reckless and outrageous behavior. What does our BOA do about this? I cannot believe a mindset that thinks your personal race time is more important than emergency equipment getting to someone. Mr. Collyer??? Are you out there? i’d like a response.

  14. I would like to see the City reconsider the locations of the SomerStreets events to streets situated near parks, along the Community Path or other open space around Somerville-rather than closing down major thoroughfares. Franey Road by Trum Field is a better location for a SomerStreets event than Highland Avenue, as an example.

  15. mememe says:

    Seems like ridiculously obvious answer, but considering our dear leader… City claiming it needs more revenue, including to fix up/ expand streets. To many people putting claims on street time? Offer bidding to run races each year. Say we only want 5 races a year, bid on the right to manage it. 5 highest bidders get the weekend they want, picked in the order from most to least.

  16. Bostom says:

    “I think the residents of the community should have more of a voice than runners and business owners.”


    So do I, with regard to everything from road races to redevelopment, but you and I both know that hasn’t happened, isn’t happening, and won’t happen anytime soon until the leadership – and priorities – of Somerville’s city government are more closely aligned with those of its citizens.

    I want to live in a clean and safe city run for the benefit of its residents, in particular those of us who’ve spent years here, paid our ever-higher taxes here, worked to improve our neighborhoods here, and who have committed ourselves to Somerville’s future livability. I do not want to live in a city run for the benefit of bars, or 5000 road-runners, or food carts, or festival after festival emblazoned (like everything else our taxes pay for) with the name of the current mayor, or developers from out of town who seek to swoop in, make a quick buck, and leave us with the debt on millions of dollars of bonds, or bicycle racing lanes that will replace neighborhood parking spaces, or back-in spaces that disrupt traffic flow, add to pollution, and discourage local shopping, or the construction of the proposed Taj Mahal over the underground river in Union Square in order to connect with the Green Line extension which we may never see. I could go on, but I’m guessing you get the picture…it’s out of control.

    It’s time to step back, examine some of the cozy deals, see if indeed the groups listed above have been supported by the organizers of this race this year and in what amounts. It’s time, as someone noted, to look for the cancelled checks that paid the police, EMT, and parking overtime costs. It’s way past the time that the streets our taxes pay to build and maintain are not barred to us for hours at a time so that bars can benefit.

    In short, it’s time to stand up to the people whose goals revolve more around the color of the money they take from us than those sound ideas and actions which actually enhance the quality of our lives.

  17. amen says:

    at the risk of repeating myself, any event that has documented instance of obstructing public safety vehicles should be shut down immediately, and never given a permit again. It would happen to any bar, nightclub, or business that did this. Throwing a few bucks toward a charity doesn’t give the right to do this. Historically, society waits till someone actually dies before we change things.

  18. Scooby Doo says:

    I was at the corner of Broadway and Cedar at Trum Field to watch the race and was amazed, as were my fellow spectators, that the vehicle traffic continued to flow in both directions right up until the runners came into view on the railway bridge from Ball Square. Seems like anyone could have driven out of that triangle at Ball Square until the runners went by, and then an hour later when all of then had passed through. Just my observation on one particular location.

    In terms of the bigger picture, while we can work on more advanced notice to residents, and better access for emergency vehicles, it’s generally a good thing that Somerville holds multiple festivals, road races etc throughout the year. If you would prefer to love in a city where your taxes are lower, nothing fun ever happens, and you can drive around all day to your hearts content, there are plenty of options around us.

    Bostom, as Paul Collyer points out, there are many businesses who benefit from the roadraces aside from bars. And in my experience the atmosphere in them post-race is fun and relaxed. We are not talking Southie on Paddy’s Day. You talk about working to improve our neighborhoods, but surely the festivals and races contribute to that?? They bring people to every corner of Somervile and show off the progress we are making.

  19. A Moore says:

    Some of us are not fun people. I use my checkbook for charity and contribute time and so does my wife. We are busy 7 days a week. Don’t need to run through the streets and having festivals. Take some of that new extra land at Assembly and make a running track and festival center. Problem solved. Everyone is happy.

  20. Ron Newman says:

    The main problem I see with this race course, which has been used over and over again, is that it entirely encloses a section of the city, leaving its residents with no way in or out. I’d prefer to keep the races, but have the start and finish lines not be both in the same place as they are now.

  21. amen says:

    so here we have 2 people in support of the race saying it was a very brief closure. and people who have documented proof of a 3 hr. closure. What do we do now?

    and now this guy suggests we either work with them on the race, or we have to move somewhere else? a little arrogance, perhaps? without you, we have to live where nothing fun ever happens? wow, speak up for the right to leave your driveway and you become a real spoilsport.

    glad to hear about all the “progress we’re making” what problem, exactly are we working on? glad you think us stumblebums are doing some real good progress. maybe you come back when you can spell Boston? i’ve never heard such pompous arrogance.

  22. bostom says:


    So far I see 21 comments on this story: 19 of them opposed to the way the race is run and the ways in which it, and other festivals, inconvenience and perhaps endanger Somerville residents, and 2 replies, one of them yours, which support it. Here at least, the tide seems to be running against you.

    In response your comments, let me ask you – do you want to live in a city where the taxes are higher, particularly when those higher taxes fund ways to inconvenience us? I didn’t suggest I’d like to live in a city where nothing fun ever happens – I do and it does – but it’s not fun to sit in your driveway for an hour while runners fill your street, some of them laughing at your inconvenience and more than one offering the single-finger salute for your troubles. Is that your idea of fun? Not mine, I have to tell you. Finally, it’s a bit insulting – actually, it’s very insulting – to suggest that having built a life here, I should abandon Somerville for somewhere else so that the profits of bars – which add so much to the quality of our lives – should outweigh the safety and convenience of the city’s long-time residents, who’ve sweated and paid for years to make Somerville the desireable place it is now. The progress we’ve made wasn’t made by road races, it was made by hardworking taxpayers who’re sick and tired of being overrun, literally, in the name of “fun.”


    Thank you, I agree with everything you’ve said, except that I think he or she was responding to my screen name, which is “Bostom.” BOS is the airlines’ designator for Boston, specifically Logan Airport, with which I am way too familiar, and you can guess the rest. Many thanks, though, for what you wrote. In many ways you say it better than I ever could.

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