Irish-American Mythology

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan  We had a sleep-over with our 5 year old grand daughter Charlotte over the holidays. I stopped by the Berwyn library to pick out some films I thought she might enjoy. Keeping her busy was my main goal, although I’d heard so much about “Frozen”, I’ll admit to being a bit […]

Deadline extended to become 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen

Deadline Extended for 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day Queen Contest Looking for the New Parade Queen James F. Coyne, General Chairman of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, announced plans for a city wide search for Chicago’s fairest Colleen. She will represent the Chicago Irish community as the Queen of the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. […]

Danahey on the Loose Eulogizing his Mom

At one point in her life, my Mom’s favorite cocktail was the Fuzzy Navel, a diabetic coma in a glass made with peach schnapps, vodka, and lemonade. Her signature dishes when I was a kid included not only baked chicken, but chipped beef on toast, liver and onions, smoked butt, and a lot of Hamburger […]

Danahey on the Loose with the stars of Shining City

Actor Brad Armacost is dealing with a lot of ghosts this holiday season – not to mention a lot of traffic. For the second consecutive year, Armacost is starring as Ebenezer Scrooge in Drury Lane’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” (He played Scrooge three times prior, early last decade with Provision Theater.) At the same […]


Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan   Having just recovered from our second annual Skinny & Houli Return to Ireland tour, I bring sad news from Northern Ireland. Sectarian violence once again broke out last week in the Irish border city of Derry, when Skinny Sheahan left a “dirty bomb” in the toilet of the Tower Hotel. […]

Danahey on the Loose talking about “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”

If you like your theater to have qualities in common with the movies of Quentin Tarantino, are nostalgic for the 90s, and want to spend some time amongst Irish monsters, well, The Aston Rep has a play for you. If you like cats – or are allergic to the mice killers – not so much. […]

Danahey on the Loose with Erin Mackey of Amazing Grace

A good many of us with Celtic roots best know Amazing Grace as a song every pipe and drum band must know and one that such bands play at funerals, particularly for firefighters and police officers. The story behind Amazing Grace is the subject of a musical of the same name now running at the […]

October 2014 Column from the Irish American News

 Hooliganism by Mike Houihan   Deep in slumber I thought I heard the voice of Henry McGlade, the guy who does the entertainment report on Sean Ginnelly’s Good Morning Ireland show, reporting on the shock and awe of people in Ireland when they discovered that the new Rose of Tralee had come out as a […]

Danahey on the Loose at the 2014 Chicago Indie Spirits Expo

  The Indie Spirits Expo, Sept. 30 at the Chicago Hilton & Tower was as fine a place as any to learn a bit about the world of distilled drink. Further expos are held in Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and New York, and co-producer and buddy-o-mine Marty Duffy said the event has grown in […]

Danahey on the Loose in St. Louis with the Irish and the Scots

Best fest buddy Tom and I couldn’t have picked a better weekend for a road trip: the weather was early fall, teasing everybody in the Midwest of what summer was supposed to be; Enterprise had a $26-a-day deal, and we wound up with an SUV; and the airports were screwed up because an unbalanced person […]

September 2014 Hooliganism Column from The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan   I’ll be in heaven next month. Just for a preview. It’s the annual Skinny & Houli pilgrimage to the holy ground, Ireland! Somebody said, “Ireland is where the hand of God touches earth.” And I will give witness to that. Last year on the Skinny & Houli trip as I […]

Danahey on the Loose at Naperville Wine Festival

Best fest buddy Tom and I got our passports and documents in order, hit Route 59, and headed to the Naperville Wine Festival last Friday night. Hey, that’s the impression we northwest suburbanites have of Naperville, that it’s a snooty town that all the other snooty towns aspire to be and where we’d be outsiders. […]

Danahey on the Loose About the KC Irish Fest Held Labor Day Weekend

I’ve never been to Kansas City. Driven past a couple times on my way to Denver. Those sound like song lyrics from the 1970s. Wait, that was Please Come To Boston, voted by me to be the 14th wimpiest song ever on the John Belushi guitar-smashing scale. But over Labor Day weekend the town will […]

Memories of Maureen

I first met Maureen O’Looney in 1984. I was living in New York then and producing and directing a show that I originally put up at the Village Gate. The show featured a couple of Irish brothers from Limerick who would go on to worldwide fame as A COUPLE OF BLAGUARDS. The title fit them […]

Danahey on the Loose at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Best fest buddy Tom and I made our annual pilgrimage to the mecca of all Irish summertime gatherings on this continent, the Rose Bowl of American Hibernia, the Macy’s parade of stateside Paddies, the Milwaukee Irish Fest. Or, as Shane Hayes of the County Clare trio Socks in the Frying Pan ( called it, the […]

Katie Grennan joins Return to Ireland Tour

  The Skinny & Houli Show Return to Ireland Tour will feature special musical guest Katie Grennan on the tour with Chicago’s favorite Irish-American radio personalities. Katie Grennan is a champion Irish dancer and fiddler featured in the August issue of Irish Dancing Magazine and tours regularly all over the world as an Irish dancer […]

August 2014 Column from The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan   I played Captain Brennan in Sean O’Casey’s epic play THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS back in 1977 when I was a green actor with The Syracuse Stage Theatre company. It was an epiphany for this young Irish-American lad who knew little of the history of Ireland. My knowledge at the […]

“A Terrible Beauty” to Premiere at Gene Siskel Film Center

“A Terrible Beauty”, Irish Film on 1916 Easter Uprising, to Premiere in Chicago at The Gene Siskel Film Center September 26 & 28, 2014   The Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street, Chicago, will host the Chicago premiere of a significant historical docu-drama chronicling events during the 1916 Easter rebellion by Irish Volunteers […]

July 2014 Column from The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan In your quiet moments, your interior life, when you speak to… or pray to God, what do you say? Prayers are not always a desperate plea for help, sometimes you’re just goin’ along and thanking God while asking for all the help He is prepared to give. One doesn’t have to […]

Danahey on the Loose at Brigadoon

Let me preface this by saying that the Goodman Theatre does a nice job with what’s being billed as the first major revival of the Lerner and Loewe musical “Brigadoon” in 34 years. But this ain’t a review. It’s a plot recap, through 21st Century suburban eyes. Here’s what happens: Proto-yuppies and WWII veterans Jeff […]

Danahey on the Loose at the 2014 Bristol Renaissance Faire

Next time I hit the Bristol Renaissance Faire I want to dress like Don Johnson as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice: baggy linen or cotton pants with a matching, billowy jacket in either mint green or white; a sleeveless t-shirt; espadrilles; Ray-Ban sunglasses. That might be the only look I didn’t see at the opening […]

Mike Houlihan to tell Stories at McNally’s in St. Charles Mon. July 7th

Irish American News columnist Mike Houlihan is scheduled to appear in St. Charles on Monday night July 7th at McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub at 109 West Main Street, in St. Charles, IL at 6:30PM at the personal invitation of Shay Clarke. Houlihan is scheduled to appear at the pub to promote his latest book, “More […]

Danahey on the Loose at The Morton Arboretum with The CSO

So, Saturday evening typified the WTF nature of Chicago weather. We leave the far northwest suburbs, it’s muggy and close to 90 degrees. We approach Woodfield – it’s raining hard for about 5 miles, down to 75, then nothing near the mall, and up goes the temperature. We get toward Butterfield and 88, more buckets […]

Danahey on the Loose at THE LAST SHIP

Despite its pedigree – with director Joe Mantello, writers John Logan and Brian Yorkey and choreographer Steven Hoggett all award-winners – I was prepared not to like “This Last Ship”, the musical heading for Broadway making its debut in the fall and running through July 13 at the Bank of America Theatre downtown. The reason: […]

Danahey on the Loose with cast from THE LAST SHIP & BRIGADOON

This summer, downtown Chicago stages will be lit for tales of Geordies building ships and Scots appearing from the mist. Hey, I had to at least try for lyrical rhymes as both plays are musicals. The former, “The Last Ship”, is the Broadway-bound show conceived by Gordon Sumner – otherwise known as Sting – which […]

Irish-American joins the Chicago Mayoral Race

Longtime right-wing political activist and thorn in the side to liberals across America, William J. Kelly, has thrown his hat into the ring in the upcoming Mayoral race scheduled for February 2015. Dating back to his arrest by federal agents for daring to question then President Bill Clinton at a press conference in Chicago in […]

June 2014 Hooliganism Column from The Irish American News

  Hooliganism by Mike Houlihan Snobs have given culture a bad name. But culture is all around us in the simplest things. The roman orator Cicero first used the term, and it meant literally, “cultivation of the soul”. I got a good look at our culture last month. Kudos to Consul General Aidan Cronin on […]

May 2014 Hooliganism Column from The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan I was hangin’ out on the north side a few weeks ago and had a few pints with the Clancy Brothers. It started out innocently enough at Kevin Clancy’s joint, The Claddagh Ring Pub, but quickly escalated into a helluva hooley before midnight. A fella known as “Johnny Vegas”, a retired […]

Danahey on the Loose with Seanachi Theatre

Director Kevin Christopher Fox says the the cool thing about working with the Seanachai Theatre Company is building, then showing different worlds to audiences. In the case of the upcoming US premiere of Billy Roche’s “Lay Me Down Softly” at The Den Theatre that means transporting patrons back to the early 1960s as Delaney’s Traveling […]

Danahey on the Loose at Glunz Beer Expo

I’ve been watching way too many “Game of Thrones” episodes lately, thanks to the the free weekend HBO recently had, which allowed saving them to DVR. So at least a fifth of the people at the Glunz Beer Expo at the Donald Stephens Convention Center reminded me of cast members or extras from the dungeons […]

Colleen Nolan Selected 2014 Chicago Rose of Tralee

Colleen Marie Nolan, 25, was selected as Chicago’s 2014 Rose of Tralee Saturday night at a raucous and exuberant party to select this year’s Rose. Colleen is a 2010 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame.  She is a CPA and works in Finance for Grosvenor Capital Management, an alternative investment firm.  […]

April 2014 Column from The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan Local police are concerned that three venues in the Chicagoland area will not be able to contain the fans expected to turn out for the book launch of “More Hooliganism Stories” this month. Frenzied female fans of Irish American News columnist Mike Houlihan are expected to mob the entrance to three […]

Danahey on the Loose at Northwest Celtic Fest

You have to like a place where, once a year, the village-owned arena turns into a suburban Brigadoon, and the mayor puts on the family tartan to host a gathering of Celts. That’s to say, Saturday marked the third annual Northwest Celtic Fest at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates – and by far the […]

Danahey on the Loose at Irish Mass at McNally’s in St. Charles

This is the final part of my St. Patrick’s weekend trilogy, where Darth O’Vader reveals he is the father of Luka Bloom – or Luke Skywalker…. A short time ago, in this very galaxy, Fr. Karl Langsdorf said Mass Monday morning inside McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub (an idea I think I will market – church […]

Danahey on the Loose at “Celtic Woman: Emerald”

Sunday of my St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I headed downtown for “Celtic Woman: Emerald”  at the Chicago Theatre for another take on how the PBS Irish mark the holiday. Of all the sets I have seen for shows of this sort, this was one of my favorites. Sure, there was the requisite purple lighting for […]

Danahey on the Loose as Emcee at the East Dundee St. Pat’s Parade

So I was emcee of the East Dundee Thom McNamee Memorial St. Patrick’s parade Saturday. With an accent almost as bad as Tom Cruise’s in “Far and Away.”  In a snowman suit. Hey, I’m pale enough to be one. And the outfit seemed apt for mocking the winter that won’t go away. I was going […]

Danahey On the Loose at Crystal Lake Raue Center Whiskey Tasting

So, I went to a whiskey tasting Friday night at the Raue Center in Crystal Lake – one of those grand old movie houses elagantly converted to a performing arts palace across the suburban landscape in the hopes to drawing patrons and reviving old downtowns while bringing genuine culture beyond O’Hare. This was a small […]

Danahey on the Loose at Heartbeat of Home

I’ve got an idea for the next Irish dance show sensation: Bolly Doyle. The production would meld Riverdance with the Ganges River. There would be Indian pop tunes and moves with fleet of feet Irish. Uillean pipes , bodhrans and sitars. And they could sell curry and chips in the lobby. We live in a […]

Danahey on the Loose with Women of Ireland

There was supposed to be an aerialist, a woman who would dazzle us suspended by silk or hanging from a hoop. She’s there in the YouTube videos and on the website. But, alas, the version of Women of Ireland Sunday night at the Arcada in St. Charles apparently was a stripped down one. The audience […]

Danahey on the Loose at the Dark Side Beer Festival

So late Sunday afternoon, I was stuck on the Kennedy heading back out to the northwest suburbs (because no matter what time you travel the crap highway system we have here you have a good chance to be moving slower than one of those people on a cart at a Walmart). And I was eating […]

Danahey on the Loose at Heartbeat of Home

After a six-year layoff, it’s time away from the computer screen and back to the boards with Heartbeat of Home for dancer Ryan McCaffrey. Heartbeat of Home, of course, is the new extravaganza from the producers of Riverdance. After a world premiere in October in Dublin, a visit to Beijing,  then a North American debut […]

Danahey on the Loose with playwright Will Dunne

Playwright Will Dunne can’t remember exactly when he heard what quite possibly is the quintessential Chicago-Irish screwball crime caper, but the tale stuck with him well enough that he wrote a play about it. “The Roper” has its world premiere in March at The Den Theater Mainstage, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. The action takes […]

February 2014 Column in the Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan I had drinks with my crazy brother Brian one night over the holidays. When we were kids we called him Tommy, but about thirty-five years ago he insisted that everybody start calling him “Brian”.  Maybe he figured he’d done enough damage with one name so he should start using an alias. […]

Danahey On the Loose at Cash for Kids and Norge Ski Club ski jump

When I went to Ireland two years ago, the lounge acts I heard in the hotels seemed particularly fond of a couple things: Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl” (maybe due to Sharon Shannon’s version, or perhaps because it became expected from the tourists after it was in the mushy 2007 rom-com “P.S. I Love You”) and […]

Danahey on the Loose at The Irish House Party

If a band is called The Irish House Party, what better way to see them than in somebody’s house? That’s what I was fortunate enough to do Sunday at the Clarke estate in West Dundee. Sure, I was gonna go see the act at the Irish American Heritage Center Saturday, but it snowed. Again. See, […]

January 2014 Column from The Irish American News

Hooliganism By Mike Houlihan It could be the most significant move in political history, echoing the vision of Winston Churchill in the darkest days of World War II. Historians judge leaders by their intrepid actions in crisis, so let me be the first to recognize true leadership in our Irish American community of Chicago. In […]