Wednesday, January 25, 2012

February Guide

It is finished and I am only waiting for one more proofread after being away from it for a day or so, and also for any very last minute information that might come in. While it may seem like an out-of-the-ordinary subject for Celtic folks, it will be perhaps the best and only place ever, anywhere, where this kind of information has been brought together concerning the Scots and Irish along the Yukon River in the early days. I had the experts in the wings helping me.

As soon as I release this issue, probably tomorrow or Monday, I will be jumping on the March issue. We received an email from someone from the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade, the oldest and largest. I think this story will be added to a handful of others to celebrate this famous man and the events surrounding him. But for now - it's "Mush on, King . . . mush on!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

February issue going to bed

In my old newspaper days the terminology for putting the final touches on the newspaper pages, before going to press, was called "putting the paper to bed." That's where I am at with the February issue of Celtic Guide, though we don't go to press . . . we go online, instead.

In this season of cold weather and snow, this issue will focus on the tremendous contribution the Celtic race played in exploring and settling the Yukon River Valley. This river is roughly 2,000 miles long, cutting through some of the roughest and most beautiful territory on earth. Many of its early pioneers were trappers and traders – the traditional mountain men – working with the Hudson's Bay Company, a company that hired many Scots and Irish to handle this rugged task, all across Canada.

Once the United States purchased Alaska from Russia, many of these men moved their allegiance over to the Alaska Commercial Company, and then to other competitors. The search for gold had taken a back seat to the fur business for a number of years until these men started doing the hard work of exploration and sluicing for this precious metal. Once it was obvious how much gold there was to be had, the entire valley changed as thousands of men and women poured into it to get rich.

However, for the 25 years or so preceding the big Klondike rush, it was quite often a lone Irishman or lone Scotsman, perhaps with his Native bride by his side, trekking through the wilds, trapping and trading with local tribes, taking grizzly bears and moose with single shot muzzle-loaders, and braving the raging, ice-cold waters of the Yukon.

This is their story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mid-Month Review

Just found out that Alasdair Fraser, the great Scottish fiddler, will be performing in Alaska on January 19th, and then will go on to Oregon for several performances. Coincidental how he showed up in this month's issue, and the February issue will have much on Celts in Alaska and Yukon.

Just returned from Columbus, Ohio, where I found out quite a bit about the Irish settlement, there, and also sat in with some amazing Celtic musicians at a sessions at the Claddagh Irish Pub. Met an Irishman from Dublin who had only been in America for three days and is working at various Claddagh Pubs, I think in a quest to bring an even more traditional atmosphere to this great chain of pubs. I hope to tell a little bit more about this adventure and the Washington trip, where we visited the famous Dubliner Pub.

Information is flowing in almost faster than I can organize it, but whatever it is, I think the February issue will be a great presentation of interesting Celtic stories, which, after all, is the goal. Will be posting it at the very end of this month for your February enjoyment.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I've decided to add a very short and sweet blog to my Celtic Guide online magazine. This area will be set aside for occasional updates as to what's happening and what's coming up in the Celtic world. In this first post, I'd like to remind everyone that January 25th is the traditional Robert Burns Night, celebrated by Scots around the world, with the "Address To The Haggis" and other great presentations.

In the next issue we are excited to have a couple of the best Yukon River historians around. We will focus some of the Guide on the major role Celtic-blooded men and women played in opening up what is still the last great frontier on the face of the earth. One article on the Iditarod promises to be the most accurate story ever written about the Scotsman/Nova Scotian who coined the Iditarod name. Another article will be more of a Who's Who of famous Celts of the Yukon, with many Scottish and Irish names listed.

One story we plan to present will tell the tale of Washington, D.C.'s first Irish Catholic Church. This may appear in the February or March issue, depending on when information is gathered. Also, in the future we may have a serialized story, which has been in the writing for a year and a half, by a couple from Vermont; a Celtic Cookbook recipe section; and we may have a long-time Celtic writer from California join our contributor's list, who will kick off March with some insights on St. Patrick.

April is the month of National Tartan Day and so there will be some serious focus on the reasons behind that event in the April edition. Please feel free to submit ideas and suggestions to

Celtic Guide Email

Also, be sure to check out each monthly issue of the Celtic Guide magazine, to be posted just before that month begins, at -

The Celtic Guide