March Sees McGuinness Partnering With Ireland With Michael

March 1, 2023

With the month of March comes all the shades of green, three- and four-leaf clovers, and celebration of Irish/Celtic culture. Adding to this celebration in the Fox Cities, the Center welcomes Ireland With Michael on March 2. Audiences will be whisked away to the Emerald Isle and experience the richness of Ireland through stories, music and dance with Emmy® award-nominated singer and the Voice of Riverdance on Broadway, Michael Londra. As a Community Engagement Partner for Ireland With Michael, McGuinness Irish Pub is pleased to support this performance as an educational opportunity for the community featuring the beauty of Ireland and its culture in a one-of-a-kind experience. Lending their perspective on the partnership and Irish culture, McGuinness’s owner, Matt Miller, and Michael Londra, host of Ireland With Michael share their thoughts.

Originally built in the 1800s, McGuinness Irish Pub has a long, rich history in the community. “Among the many owners, Bob Bleier ran it for years and this was the original childhood home of his son, NFL Hall of Famer Rocky Bleier,” Matt Miller shared. “It then operated as Trim-B’s for many years until John and Anna McGuinness purchased the business to open an authentic Irish Pub and Gift Store in 2008.” As McGuinness’s owner, Matt has been running the popular Appleton Irish pub since 2018. The staff at McGuinness takes great pride in providing an authentic “Irish Pub” experience for the community in downtown Appleton. Creating a cozy atmosphere where people meet, socialize, enjoy comfort food and drink and take part in Craic (Irish word for fun) is very much rooted in Irish culture. “The Pub regularly hosts bands and groups on tour from Ireland. We are welcoming Byrne and Kelly, two of the principal singers from the group Celtic Thunder on March 19 as a fundraiser for the Irish Fest,” Matt commented.

Forming a partnership between McGuinness and Ireland With Michael was a natural and organic step in providing the community with more appreciation and understanding of Irish culture. Matt ecstatically shared how Ireland With Michael will entertain patrons while showcasing and educating audiences on the beauty that Ireland has to offer. “Partnering brings one-of-a-kind performance opportunities for our members. Together we can educate, engage and enjoy our community’s diverse cultures through the celebration of the arts.”

Matt elaborated, “We at McGuinness Irish Pub absolutely love having the Fox Cities P.A.C. in our backyard and we especially treasure the opportunity to help bring in the show Ireland With Michael. This partnership allows us to introduce our Irish Pub as well the upcoming Irish Fest of the Fox Cities, of which we are a primary sponsor, to a much larger audience. Being able to work together and celebrate the wonderful Irish music, traditions and culture is why our pub was founded.”

Also sharing Ireland’s traditions and history, Michael Londra, the host of Ireland With Michael, the PBS TV show and the live performances, serves as an ambassador to entertain and educate the public through Irish culture on and off the stage. Having created the PBS show three years ago, Michael has been delighting audiences on the screen by taking them through the marvels of Ireland. “It began as a one-off TV special filmed in Ireland, but we decided to shoot more footage and present to PBS who loved it,” Michael remembered. “The rest, I guess, is history. We begin our 4th season in May.”

Viewers of the show can now experience Ireland With Michael off screen in the show’s first national tour. Combining clips of the show’s remarkable footage of Ireland with stories, live music and Irish dancers, Michael provides the cultural and historical significance of these artistic components. “Being a part of Ireland With Michael is about giving people that connection to Ireland. There are 40 million Irish Americans and most really want to go there for real. We get to give them a glimpse of what it is like as well as practical help from the TV show and the companion book.” It is his hope that audiences “learn a little, laugh a lot, sing some and maybe shed the occasional tear……in a good way.”

Remarking on the partnership with McGuinness Irish Pub, Michael stated thoughtfully, “It is always great to connect with Irish businesses around the country. They help give Ireland an identity and share a little more of our culture.”

Offering some final thoughts about the upcoming performance from McGuinness’s perspective, Matt said, Our hope here at McGuinness is that Thursday’s audience will not only experience that hospitality, but also witness some of the beauty of Ireland and hear some of their incredible music.”

To learn more about the Center’s 2022-23 Season Community Engagement Partners, click the link and watch for more blogs about each partner through the season.