Getting to like St. Patrick’s on 46th

Maura Mulligan who was honored yesterday at Borough Hall in Brooklyn.

Salon Diary / By Gordon Gilbert

For the second time, the IAW&A salon convened at our new home for first Tuesdays, St. Patrick’s Bar & Grill, a pub on West 46th Street, in a private room on their 3rd floor (accessible both by elevator and stairs). From behind the bar, Claire, a convivial Irish lass, served us well. Several of those who attended can attest that the food there is also quite good! John Kearns was our host for an evening in which we were regaled with both personal and fictional stories, monologues, poetry, song and excerpts from a play.

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The evening began with a reading by crime fiction writer Gary Cahill of an excerpt from his short story “On a Two-Way Street”, published in print and e- formats with Mystery Weekly Magazine’s February edition.

Gary was followed by Maria Neuda. Although primarily a crime fiction writer, this evening Maria presented us with three short non-crime pieces. The first two were poems: “I Hate to See” (in two parts – “That Evening Sun” and “Go Down”) and “What is Honesty in This Case?” The third, a flash fiction piece: “Strangers on a Train.”

Next were Thom Molyneaux and Annalisa Chamberlin, who performed two excerpts from his play “White Ash Falling 9/11,”a play within a play about that horrific day.

Then County Mayo native Maura Mulligan, author of the memoir, “Call of the Lark” read an excerpt from her fiction writing in progress that features Madge O’Malley. Madge has been chosen by a ghost to solve a murder, the said spirit making contact with her at an artist’s retreat in Donegal. Maura was delighted with the audience’s response. Maura invited everyone to join her at yesterday's ceremony Thursday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, where she was due to honored as Irish Woman of the Year by the Irish American Heritage & Culture Committee of the Dept. of Education, New York City.

Next came a regular attendee of the IAW&A Salons, Philomena Connors, who is currently working on a short story set in India in a dystopian future.

The second half began with John McDonagh, who thanked the IAW&A for making possible his one-man play “Off the Meter Off the Record” at the Irish Repertory Theatre. He then went on to tell us his personal story about how, following the death in London of his cousin, Vinny, who had been born in that city, it came about that he was asked to bring his ashes back to County Donegal to be buried with his mother, John’s aunt.

John also asked if anyone knew of an agent who could promote his one-man show to HBO, Showtime or Netflix. He told us that in the neighborhood where he grew up in Queens, the only agents he ever knew were FBI agents. You may contact John at

Next we were entertained by IAW&A Salon regular and wonderful actor Rosina Fernhoff, who gave us a delightful reading of a monologue by your Salon diarist, in which she portrayed a rather merry widow who still talks quite regularly to her dead husband, and this time is telling him about the unique solution she has found to her need to feel the closeness of others.

Up next, our host John Kearns, reading an excerpt from the title story of his collection, Dreams and Dull Realities, in which the sixth-grader Terrance is returning to school after having cut his Achilles tendon on March 17. As he gets ready for school, he imagines how he will be a different, more extroverted kid with his classmates.

Next Guenevere Donohue sang two songs of the Irish immigrant experience: “Ain’t I Mc Enough For Ya,” an original piece about Guen’s grandparents’ Amerikay arrivals, and “No Irish Need Apply,” a classic folk song which helps people understand one of the reasons why we Irish Americans hold fiercely to our Irish identity.

Not done yet, the indefatigable, incomparable Rosina Fernhoff performed for us once again, this time a hilarious rendition of “And the Winner Is Me,” a monologue by playwright and movie buff Mark William Butler, in which he pays a satirical tribute to the Oscars.

As he traditionally does, Eugene O’Neill Award recipient Malachy McCourt, one of the founders of IAW&A, concluded the salon with a reminder that we should be storytellers, not simply readers, when we perform what we have written, not seeking so much to edify as to entertain! Then Malachy led us in song with the anti-war classic: “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye.”

A longer version of this report can be found at