Irish American News Column December 2013

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan If you hang around long enough, sooner or later somebody will give you an award. I seem to remember some showbiz hotshot saying this as he accepted his “Irving Thalberg” Award at the Oscars. This month I will turn 65 and it’s finally happened to me. And just like that guy […]

Danahey On the Loose with “The Seafarer”

  You think the holidays are hellish? Well, in acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s “The Seafarer” – currently in a production by the Seanachai Theatre Company at the The Den Theatre from Nov. 30 through Jan. 5 –  they sort of are. Set on Christmas Eve in a grubby part of Dublin, the play centers […]

Danahey on the Loose at A Christmas Carol

Until last Sunday, I had never seen the Goodman Theatre production of “A Christmas Carol” – which in these parts is like saying you’ve never seen the seasonal windows at Marshall Field’s/Macy’s or headed into the Walnut Room with your grandma to have lunch there while you gawked at the tree as you ate your […]

November 2013 Column in The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan We’ve returned from Ireland just as we hit the deadline for The Irish American News, so this is going to be short but sweet. The Skinny & Houli Show brought 25 hearty folks to Ireland from October 17-24 for the trip of a lifetime. We hit Dublin, Galway, Ennis, Killarney, and […]

October Irish American News Column

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan  I can’t keep a secret. I can’t help it!  I’m intrigued by human nature and I revel in mankind’s folly and delight in the absurdity of others. Often times I’m happy to join them. And then when the information is nice and juicy, I spill the beans. Gossip, rumor, tittle-tattle, scandal, […]

Danahey on the Loose at Ringling Bros/Barnum & Baily Circus

I am using my extra hour this weekend to come up with ideas for my friend Shay Clarke to use at McNally’s in St. Charles. Sure, the pub is doing fine without my input. But you never know when you’ll have to spice things up, in this day and age of very short attention spans, […]

Danahey on the Loose while Houli was drinking in Ireland

Houli wouldn’t give me the password to this website while he was in Ireland. He was afraid I might post way too many pictures of Kathy Ireland, but there’s a restraining order that prevents me from doing that. While he’s been drinking overseas, though, I’ve been busy hitting things Irish and otherwise, and braving the […]

Danahey On the Loose at IBAM

  iBAM! I thought it might be a tribute to Emeril Lagasse as construed by Apple. Aside from Fred Flintstone’s son-in-law, who the hell bams? Turns out, though, that my Saturday at the Irish Books Authors and Musicians event at the Irish American Heritage Center actually was tied to food – specifically potatoes. If you’re […]

Danahey on the Loose at “Once”

Once is the word that starts many a fairy tale, and that’s what the 2006 movie “Once” and the 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical based on it are. This isn’t one of those Grimm stories, though, where witches eat kids and wind up being oven-baked themselves. That’s something you would see at the Lyric Opera. While […]

Kathleen Keane joins The Skinny & Houli Tour to Ireland

 Join international Irish recording star Kathleen Keane in Ireland with Skinny & Houli for a week of music and laughter across the west coast of Ireland, Oct. 17-24th. We’re hitting Galway, Ennis, Killarney, and Dublin. Spend six nights and seven days with a group of Chicago Troubadors as they meet up with old pals in […]

Danahey on the Loose in the Dundees

Summer officially ends next Sunday, when the days thereafter are shorter than the nights until late March  – which is a good a reason as any to have a drink. In fact, I think that’s why there are Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this time of year – to remind all that there is […]

September 2013 Irish American News Column

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan Cartographers in ancient times, having no knowledge or research into the frontiers on the other side of the ocean, would label those sections of their maps as “terra incognita”, i.e., unknown territory. Debate raged about what was out there in the “terra incognita”? Monsters?  There might be dragons out there on […]

Danahey on the Loose at the Chicago Beer Society Picnic

I’ve had oysters in Galway – where I couldn’t find the bay (but that’s a story for another time). I’ve had them in New Orleans and ones from Texas eaten here in Chicago. Saturday, I tried my first Morro Bay oyster ( which is my new gold standard – or more accurately Pacific Gold, as […]

Danahey on the Loose at the Midwest Brewers Fest in Plainfield

Plainfield. Has there ever been a town so honest with its name? I headed there on Saturday to attend the third Midwest Brewers Fest (, tagging along with the crew from Algonquin’s Village Vintner Winery & Brewery ( to check out the beers, ciders and meads and to celebrate history being made. For this was […]

Danahey on the Loose at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Ronan Tynan makes me cry. Beautiful as his voice may be, one note out of the big tenor, and I am suddenly blubbery, like a sad Beluga. It didn’t help Sunday at the Milwaukee Irish Fest that I get melancholy and wistful this time of the year anyway. I don’t know why my biological clock […]

Danahey on the Loose at Brookfield Zoo Brew Fest

Offering its own take on Doctor Dolittle, over the weekend Brookfield Zoo hosted its second Zoo Brew fundraiser, where you could drink among the animals. With 24 vendors pouring small samples under a tent, in theory this could have lead to talking with the zoo dwellers. I am happy to report no one was inspired […]

Irish American News Column August 2013

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan Wanna know what heaven is like? Then come to Ireland with Skinny Sheahan and me this October. Those of you who’ve been there know what I’m talking about. And those of you who’ve never been, well prepare to find the key to your soul. Many of us are lucky enough to […]

Danahey on the Loose at Pierogi Fest in Whiting and Hegewisch

  I am filled with dough – which is a perfectly fine way to finish a weekend. My leavened state comes courtesy of a trip across the border and back, to Whiting, Indiana then to Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood. The reason for all that driving: It was time to make a pilgrimage to the celebration of […]

Danahey on the Loose at Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon

Last Sunday Tom and I drove into the Loop from the northwest suburbs at 3:30 a.m. on a muggy morning for a reason big eaters like us enjoy – we were heading to watch people run in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon ( while we managed stages for the bands who encourage the sweaty […]

Danahey on the Loose-almost everywhere last weekend!

I was the runner-up in a mashed potato eating contest at the Irish American Heritage Center last Friday night. I lost to a Hispanic guy who had a good 40 pounds on me. By a spoonful. This must be how Colin Kaepernick felt after last February’s Super Bowl – or Tom Brady the year before. […]

Danahey on the Loose at Renaissance Faire

A pub crawl at the Renaissance Faire in Bristol, Wisc.:  It’s  hosted by improv actors who are roommates in Chicago and who are pretending to be a pirate named Thoren and an Irish guy calling himself Jameson who is travelling with his singing sister act, the Bawdy Belles . Like Sam Cooke, ( I don’t […]

July 2013 Hooliganism-The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan  The wedding announcement below did not appear in any Sunday editions of The New York Times. Haleigh Cecily Johnson, 26, the daughter of Patti Johnson and Cliff Johnson of River Forest and Lake Geneva, was married on Thursday March 14th to Padraic “Paddy” Michael Houlihan, 33, son of Mary and Mike […]

Danahey On The Loose with CSO at Morton Arboretum

But for Saturday’s weather, while there was nothing overtly Irish about my recent weekend, it felt very Celtic in a Van Morrison way. If you don’t know what that means, read on, John Donne – or look it up online ( See, for my day job, on Friday I covered the Chicago Blackhawks parade and […]

Danahey On The Loose at Scottish Festival & Highland Games

Here’s what happens when I head out for my yearly journey to the Brigadoon at Hamilton Lakes in Itasca that is the Scottish Festival & Highland Games: 1. I kilt up. For the benefit of all,  this involves talcum powder. That’s all you need to know. With the rainy morning weather, Tom, my best buddy […]

27th Annual Highland Games Coming up this weekend

It’s time  again to break out your summer weight kilt, shortbread and haggis recipes, grab a caber and a bottle of Glen Fiddich to head out to Itasca for the 27th Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games. The Celtic fun happens at Hamilton Lakes on Friday, June 14 from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and […]

Milwaukee Irish Fest Announces 2013 Festival Entertainment Lineup

Milwaukee Irish Fest Announces 2013 Festival Entertainment Lineup Celtic Music Highlights include Nova Scotia Showcase and Several Must-See Acts   MILWAUKEE, Wis. (June 3, 2013) – Milwaukee Irish Fest, the world’s largest Irish festival, announces their entertainment lineup for 2013. With several exciting acts and a Nova Scotia Showcase, guests will want to stay and […]

June 2013 Hooliganism–The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan On special assignment for the Irish American News I recently visited the devil. It was hard to nail him down for an interview, the guy is as slippery as an eel, an electric feckin’ eel! I was ushered to his suite by a short German guy with a Hitler moustache. Hey […]

Danahey On The Loose with fest forecasts

I could say that Ronan Tynan’s take on “Ride On” at Gaelic Park Monday afternoon surpassed the version that made Christy Moore famous. That his version of “From a Distance” emasculated Bette Midler. That his “Danny Boy” and “God Bless America” left nary a dry eye on the already misty afternoon in the south suburbs. […]

Danahey on the Loose Mixing Memorial Day Weekend Drinks

The Memorial Day Weekend already is here, which means its time to pay tribute to those who served in the military and to celebrate the freedoms we have by doing fun things like heading to Gaelic Park for its Irish fest, barbecuing, and drinking. I’d say swimming, too, but unless you’re a penguin or walrus […]

Danahey on the loose at the Purple Pig & CYSO

On June 16, it will be Bloomsday, when nerdy literate types play dress-up to celebrate the date in 1904 Dublin on which James Joyce’s Ulysses is set. It’s their version of a Star Trek convention, I guess. Two years ago, some Joyce  fans even attempted to tweet the whole damn book, 140 characters at a […]

Irish Film, “OUR IRISH COUSINS, Screening at Beverly Art Center

Our Irish Cousins at The Beverly Art Center on Saturday night, May 25th, 7PM The Beverly Art Center will host a special screening of Mike Houlihan’s comic documentary film, “Our Irish Cousins”, on Saturday night, May 25th at 7PM. Tickets are $12 and Houlihan will be present for a post-screening discussion of the film. OUR […]

Danahey on the Loose at American Beer Classic

  Attending the American Beer Classic Saturday at Soldier Field was like being part of some ultimate drinking game. For $60 (in advance), each entrant was given a booklet holding brief descriptions of the 110 craft brewers from around the country who had booths set up there, with 90 on the actual grass field and […]

Mike Danahey On The Loose at Hoffman Estates Celtic Fest

Saturday afternoon I headed to the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates for what could have been billed as  the world’s smallest Celtic festival. Actually, “world’s smallest Celtic festival” is what many a redheaded lass says when she sees her Irish beau naked for the first time. Or so I have heard. In its second year, […]

May 2013 Column-Irish American News

  Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan I know a miracle when I see one. And I’ve been the lucky recipient of many blessings in my life.  I’ve benefited from lots of little ones, found a quarter on LaSalle street just the other day, as well as major miracles, like meeting and marrying my wife. People still […]

Bridget Conway crowned Chicago Rose of Tralee

  A select group of judges chose 23 year old Bridget Rose Conway as Chicago’s 2013 Rose of Tralee Saturday night at the Irish American Heritage Center. Bridget is the daughter of Tim and Maureen Conway of the Beverly neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago. She attended Mount Assist High School and will be graduating […]

Mike Danahey’s Lament

  The second Mt. Prospect Irish Fest  happened in the village’s downtown yesterday, and I missed it. I had every intention in the world – or at least in the northwest suburbs – of being there to write about it for After all, I had attended the inaugural event last year and had a […]

Marty Madden honored in Irish American Small Business 50

Marty Madden, son of River Forest residents Joe and Char Madden, was recently honored in New York at a gala dinner to celebrate “The Irish American Small Business 50”, selected by The Irish Echo Newspaper in New York City.  Marty’s company, Maine Lobster Exchange, is a Live Lobster wholesale company that delivers exclusively to the […]

April 2013 Column from Irish American News

  Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan   Life can be very cruel and show biz even crueler. Driving down the street the other day with my lovely wife on Oak Park Avenue, we spotted the gentleman by the side of the street, wearing the Statue of Liberty costume. He was dancing back in the forth in […]

Saw Doctors Rock Chicago!

The Saw Doctors returned to The Vic last Friday night in Chicago as they do each year in March and blew the doors off the joint for another glorious night of Irish rock. The multi-generational crowd of Irish and Irish-Americans relished the show as the lads played for over two hours onstage. “They were fantastic!”, […]


“Our Irish Cousins,” a documentary by Chicagoan Mike Houlihan, who visited his own, is rather liked by Sobczynski. — Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) March 17, 2013  

Irish Film Premieres to Raves on

Mike Houlihan’s comic documentary, OUR IRISH COUSINS, set to premiere on Wednesday, March 13th in The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival at The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, has lit up popular website with a rave review for the indie feature. READ IT HERE! The Irish film is a paean to the […]

March 2013 column from Irish American News

  Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan Believe it or not, some people don’t like St. Patrick’s Day. Jewish New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had to apologize a few years back for making some wise cracks about “drunken Irish” on the holy day. And who can forget the late Princess Margaret’s comment back in 1979 when […]

Backstage at Ardal O’Hanlon Irish Comedy Show

Last night at The Irish American Heritage Center a boisterous crowd braved the winter chill to catch Ardal O’Hanlon’s Irish comedy in a free-floating stand-up tour de force act that covered everything from Catholic guilt to some of the more obscure acronyms for certain nations of the European Union. O’Hanlon was hilarious!  For over an […]

Citizenship comes too late for 90 yr old Irish immigrant

Josephine Stout, photo by Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune Josephine Stout, an Irish immigrant who was undocumented, even though she’d lived in Chicago nearly 90 years, died Monday, four weeks short of her dream of becoming an American Citizen. Read her story here.

“Father Ted” star in Chicago Stand-up gig Thursday night

Join award-winning comedian, Ardal O’Hanlon, as he brings the best of Irish comedy to the Irish American Heritage Center this winter.   Best known for his role as Father Dougal Maguire in the Father Ted TV series, O’Hanlon is also a highly acclaimed stand-up comic, selling out to audiences internationally on regular solo tours.   O’Hanlon has […]