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A special wearing-of-the-green edition of Why For

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Jim Hill talks about the protracted production history of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.” A “Little People” -related project that spent more than a decade in development for finally reaching the big screen



Gaelic Gary G. writes in to say:

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, could you please share a few stories about my favorite Disney fantasy film, “Darby O’Gill and the Little People?”

Well … What I always found intriguing about this Robert Stevenson movie is how long Walt Disney Productions had this project in development.

Back in the early summer of 1946, the studio’s PR staff began inviting prominent entertainment reporters of the day like Thomas F. Brady of the New York Times and Hedda Hopper of the Los Angeles Times to come tour the lot. So that Brady & Parsons could then get the story out about how Disney was bouncing back. That as tough as the War years may have been on the studio, the Mouse Factory now had a full slate of projects in production and/or development.

Copyright 1959 Walt Disney Productions

While Brady’s version of his studio visit has the best factual info (EX: It’s kind of intriguing to see — if the studio’s staff had actually been able to meet Walt & Roy’s admittedly overly-optimistic production schedule — “Peter Pan” would have been released in 1948, “Cinderella” in 1949 and “Alice in Wonderland” in 1950), Hedda’s account is the most colorful, the most fun to read. Here’s a few excerpts:

About once a year, when life begins to close in upon me, I grab my feathered bonnet and take off for the never-never land — known locally as Walt Disney’s studio — just to see what cooks in that world of fantasy that we all dream of as children.

With most of the staff home from the war and Walt himself freed from his government work, the studio is at an all time production high. Disney has enough work in progress to keep him on the hop for five years.

The old maestro himself was not in a gilt office surrounded by call-buttons and secretaries. I found him perched upon a box in a soundstage, wearing an old sweater and slacks of last year’s vintage. If I hadn’t known Walt, I’d have sworn he was one of the prop men.

Hedda goes on to describes how she watched one of the live-action scenes for “Fun & Fancy Free” being shot. With Edgar Bergen reading a bedtime story to his ventriloquist dummies Charlie McCarthy & Mortimer Snerd as well as to Disney contract player Luana Patten.

When the scenes in the can, Charlie throws up his hands and says “Whoopee! We got a take.” And the technicians begin to shift the props around for another scene.

That’s what I mean about visiting Disney. You never realize where reality leaves off and fantasy sets in. That’s exactly how Walt wants it. More and more, he’s combining real people with the creatures of his imagination for his films.

This is actually one of the main reasons that Walt had invited Hedda on the lot. He wanted to talk up how Disney Studios would soon begin making more pictures like the then-titled “How Dear to My Heart.” Which — while it did feature some animation — this Hamilton Luske & Harold D. Schuster movie was 90% live action.

That said, Walt obviously knew that the movie-going public mostly associated his studio with animation. Which is why he then made sure to feed Hedda some juicy tidbits about all the animated features that Disney then had in production. Juicy quotes like:

Walt considered the original Peter Pan a bit too sugary for this modern day; so he’s toughening him up, making a real boy of him.

The most ambitious project Disney has ahead is “Alice in Wonderland.” He told me that he was having story troubles with that one. I expressed surprise, because it’s one of the best known and most beloved children’s stories in the English language.

“That’s just it,” said Walt. “It has too much. And when you deal with such a popular classic, you’re laying yourself wide open to the critics.”

He turned down two versions of the story, and even went so far as to steep himself in the period during which “Alice” was written and to analyze its author. He assured me, however, that the film would follow the Carroll story closely.

Luana Patten will be Alice. I couldn’t think of a happier choice.

Which — as all you Disney history buffs already know — is wrong. For it was Kathryn Beaumont who eventually wound up voicing the title role of that July 1951 release. As for Ms. Patten … She joined the long list of big name performers that Walt Disney almost cast as Alice. Among them screen legends Mary Pickford & Ginger Rogers.

Anywho … Getting back to Ms. Hopper’s June 1946 visit to Walt Disney Studios … As Hedda is wrapping the interview, she asks if he has anything else in development. And Disney off-handedly mentions that he’s …

” … sending a team of artists this summer to Ireland to gather material for yet another feature. It’s called tentatively “The Little People” and will deal with all the leprechauns, banshees, and other supernaturals that Irish fantasy has created.”

So that’s how far “Darby O’Gill” dates back. At least ’til 1946. Mind you, it would take another 11 years (and two additional research trips to the old sod) before Walt finally felt that his leprechaun project was in good enough shape to finally proceed with production.

Copyright 1959 Walt Disney Productions

So — to spread the news about this ambitious new live-action feature — Disney once again reached out to Ms. Hopper. And in her October 28, 1957 column, Hedda wrote:

Walt Disney’s plan to make the Irish story to end all such has taken shape in “The Wishes of Darby O’Gill.” Walt hopes to star Barry Fitzgerald in the dual role of Darby, a feisty old gent (as well as) Brian, king of the little people, an etheral and treacherous mite. (O’Gill tricks King Brian) into granting him three wishes. What Darby does with them makes fascinating adventure.

Disney’s script is based in part of the stories of Herminie Templeton Kavanagh, but owes much to three months research in the Emerald Isle by Lawrence E. Watkin, one of Walt’s top writers. Watkin studied Dublin library’s vaste collection of Gaelic folklore and spent hours with the Shanachies, the professional storytellers.

Did you catch that mention in there about how Walt wanted Academy Award-winner Barry Fitzgerald to play both the title role of the film as well as King Brian? The way I understand it, Fitzgerald (Probably best known for his scene-stealing performances on “Going My Way” and “The Quiet Man“) was extremely flattered when Disney offered him this dual role. But given that this Dublin-born performer was 69 and in failing health at the time (Barry would actually pass away just a few years later in January 1961), he just didn’t feel like he was up to this acting challenge. So Fitzgerald reluctantly passed on the project.

As a result, Walt then had to go with his back-up choice. Which was Albert Sharpe, a veteran performer who (back in the late 1950s, anyway) was probably best known for playing the title role in the original Broadway production of “Finian’s Rainbow.”

FYI: Remember how Barry Fitzgerald reportedly turned down “Darby O’Gill” because he thought he was just too old & in too poor health to play this part? Fitzgerald was born in March of 1888. Whereas Sharpe was born in April of 1885. Thereby making Albert three years old than Barry!

Copyright 1959 Walt Disney Productions

Though — to be fair here — Sharpe wasn’t sent the same script that Fitzgerald had received. By then, Disney had decided that the roles of Darby O’Gill and King Brian shouldn’t be played by the very same elderly actor. Which is why Walt then split this dual role, casting Sharpe as Darby and Irish comedian Jimmy O’Dea as the wily leprechaun king.

Anyhow … Though the trades in February of 1958 ran several stories stating that Disney would be soon begin shooting the now-titled “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” on location in Ireland … Walt ultimately opted to shoot this entire motion picture in Southern California. With the scenes set in the village of Rathcullen being filmed on the lot, while all of the sequences set in the abandoned abbey were shot out at the Albertson Ranch.

Mind you, Disney tried to make up for not filming any of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” on the old sod by holding the movie’s world premiere in Dublin. And this being the very first time that Walt Disney Productions had ever held the premiere for one of its films outside of the United States … Well, this auspicious occasion called for plenty of pomp & circumstance.

How so? Once their plane landed in Dublin, Walt & Lillian were greeted by six pipe bands. And the very next morning, Disney met with Sean T. O’Kelly, the president of Ireland. Who then joined Walt at a special early morning screening of “Darby O’Gill” which was attended by hundreds of under-privileged children who had been recruited from Dublin-area hospitals & orphanages.

In the end, after spending all those years nuturing his “Little People” project, I’m told that the old Mousetro was somewhat disappointed by the lackluster response moviegoers gave to “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” back on June of 1959. I’ve also heard that Disney (on more than one occasion) expressed his regrets that he hadn’t been able to persuade Barry Fitzgerald to appear in this film. That Walt supposedly felt that Barry’s name recognition would have given more people a good enough reason to give Disney’s leprechaun movie a try. Which would have boosted “Darby” ‘s box office.

Speaking of Barry Fitzgerald … If you’re an old-time movie who longs to see this charming old scene-stealer up on the silver screen again, have I got a film festival for you!

Next month, the 2007 Newport Beach Film Festival will be honoring the 100th anniversary of John Wayne’s birth with “Ten Decades of ‘The Duke’ : The Official John Wayne Centennial Celebration.” Produced in collaboration with the Wayne family as well as the Newport Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau, this seven day long event (Which will be held April 21 – 28) will be highlighted by special screenings of some of John’s most memorable movies. This include Wayne’s Academy-Award winning turn in 1969’s “True Grit,” his inspiring turn in John Ford’s 1956 classic, “The Searchers” and — of course — that St. Paddy’s Day perennial, 1952’s “The Quiet Man.”

In the weeks ahead, I’ll be sharing even more information about this sure-to-be-fun film festival … But all of you “Quiet Man” fans out there who grown tired of seeing that John Ford classic strictly on the small screen … Now’s your chance to see this movie as it was originally meant to be seen. So be sure to circle April 21 – 28 on your calendars, okay?

Beyond that … You folks have a great St. Patrick’s Day weekend, okay?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling



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Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont



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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage



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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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