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Ceid Mi Failte'  - Welcome

We are here to celebrate the iconic

Harp & Thistle Pub. We all have many memories of this grand little place.

Please enjoy the stroll down memory lane!

Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 5th, 2021


What seems like a lifetime ago, there was a very special place where friends gathered, drank, sang, laughed, cried, and lived.

That was the beloved Harp and Thistle.

Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage is sending out this special tribute the one and only Harp & Thistle Pub.

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   Launching March 9th on the Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage facebook page, will  

   be some music and links of some of the wonderful musicians that were  

   performers there.

   This will continue each day through St. Patrick's Day on March 17th.


   We will have a few words from some folks that called the Harp & Thistle HOME.

   Visitors from around the world came and enjoyed pints among friends and family.

   The Packer family opened their doors to us all and let us in. This is just a humble  

    homage to those wonderful years.


   This program is lovingly dedicated to the memory of our dear friend,

   Jennifer Packer.


  Goody / Lou



Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 9th, 2021


Well, here we are.

The week before St. Patrick’s Day.

For nearly 15 years now, local Pub chatter will eventually get around to

someone asking… “Who remembers the Harp & Thistle”?

I’m proud to say that I am among those numbers of Tampa Bay and beyond

folks that found “the Harp” to be a home away from home. From this small pub

on St. Pete Beach, I’ve made lifelong friends.


This week we are celebrating the wonderful music and camaraderie

that we all shared there.

I shall declare this week our “Harp & Thistle TRIBUTE Week.

There will be a special video shared, on this Facebook page, each day from

now until St. Patrick's Day on March 17th.

Tune in each day to see the videos and to learn who you’ll be seeing next.

There will be a few Harp & Thistle memories and stories shared as well.

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This week, you can expect to see some of the musicians we loved going back to hear night after night.

Starting today, we kick it off with a video that we put together with the help of webmaster Dennis Devine.

This Tribute week program is being dedicated to the loving memory of our dear friend, Jennifer Packer. Sadly we lost her on this day in 2008. She loved everything Irish & Celtic, and was the best friend we all had.

The motto “Love, Loyalty & Friendship” was how she lived. I still think of her and yes, I do cry, but I imagine she is looking down on all of

us and smiling that big beautiful smile!


Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage, Inc. sends its most sincere welcome to everyone as we share this long-time-in-coming Tribute.


Enjoy this video and check back tomorrow for a bit of "Guinness".

Much Love to all, Slainte’

Goody / aka: Louise


Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 10th, 2021


I'm sure many of our Harp & Thistle friends may have seen this video, but we would like to share this with so many others that missed this great time and place.

This video includes an interview with Miss Pat Packer and a few words from

Jim & Laura Farrell- also known as "Guinness".

Jim & Laura traveled down each year from Prince Edward Island.

Many nights we have listened to Jim's laughter and the most amazing

tin whistle playing, while nearly swooning over the lovely voiced Laura.

Such a treat to have learned many good ol' pub songs from them

for so many years.

As an added bonus, I'm sharing a sweet video by Laura that she made this past

summer.  It was the pick me up that I needed.

( https://www.facebook.com/laura.farrell.146/videos/10158167645695050 )

As we continue the rest of the week to St. Patrick's Day, stay tuned for a tad more from Guinness.

Tomorrow will be a special video with a few songs by the tremendously grand Irish Folksinger... Brendan Nolan!!!

Thank you for stopping by for today's offerings for the Harp & Thistle Tribute Week brought to you by Tampa Bay's ONLY IRISH club... Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage.


Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 11th, 2021


Welcome back to our Harp & Thistle Tribute Week - Thursday edition!

Originally from Dublin Ireland, Brendan Nolan has such a pure rich voice that you hang on each word and note for it’s lasting richness...and he likes to have fun with his songs!  https://youtu.be/shPIyM1OyqY


Just a bit to share: Brendan's song-writing skills denote a deep sensitivity. He has a gift for story telling. One of his songs, "North of the Rio Grande" was published in a school textbook in Norway. Another, "Far from their Home", is in the National Archives of Ireland and Ntl. Library of Canada. It tells a harrowing story about Grosse Isle, an island burial ground in the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City for victims of the Irish Famine. The song was published in Sing Out! magazine.  


In addition to this sweet video he put together for our Harp & Thistle Tribute and the memory of Jenny Packer, we are posting the links to 3 “Quarantine Mini-Concerts” that Brendan did in April 2020.





Brendan and his lovely wife, Maureen, arrange guided tours in Ireland every other year.

If you are interested in their next trip, you can contact them through Brendan’s website.



I want to give a shout-out to a Harp patron & friend, Peter Edwards. He created a few of

the pub interview videos that we are sharing this week. They were done at the

Harp & Thistle years ago. Peter was able to capture a time and place that we all hold dear.

You will find more videos of various Tampa Bay musicians on his You Tube channel

“thirdshore”.    Thank you Peter.


Tomorrow will be a special video with a few words & songs by the kind gentleman &

Irish Folksinger from South Carolina, Carroll Brown.


There will also be a couple surprise videos that will warm the cockles of yer’ heart! You are welcome to share any pub pictures, that you might have, on this event page.


Thank you for stopping by for today's offerings for the Harp & Thistle Tribute Week brought to you by Tampa Bay's ONLY IRISH club... Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage.  www.suncoastirish.com



Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 12th, 2021


Welcome back to our Harp & Thistle Tribute Week - Friday – kicking off the St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!


Carroll Brown was another of the wonderful musicians that graced the

Harp & Thistle stage!

Born and raised on a farm in rural South Carolina, Carroll’s first music influences

were church music and what scatterings he could pick up from the night time

radio. His mother was the church pianist and taught him his first chords on the

guitar. This gift of music would be his constant companion.

The last album he produced before he sold his business, “Charleston Recording”,

was his own “Roots and Wings” project. It’s the story of a farm boy who is driven

from home by a dream only to eventually return to his roots.

Those roots include Irish blood and his intense interest in the Irish music led to

visits to his ancestral homeland & release of his “Songs of Ireland project” in 1998.


He has performed with a number of other great musicians, including

Harry O’Donoghue and Frank Emerson… both of whom have also performed at

the Harp.

He is still performing full time in venues and festivals around the Southeastern

U.S. and he is still writing songs and working to realize the dream that captivated

him so long ago.


We thank Carroll for his shout out and this video to share on this edition of the Harp & Thistle Tribute week.

SEE HIS VIDEO HERE: https://youtu.be/tSDKP5nz0Iw


Today we also have a video of (the above mentioned) Frank Emerson performing “Ramblin’ Rover”. (This video is not from the Harp… sigh) click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rd0smRt1Hw


Now this will warm the cockles of yer’ heart: The one and only Paddleball Billy. He was known all over the U.S. for his unique skill. With his infectious smile, a paddle ball in one hand and a pint in the other, you couldn’t help but be smitten with this sweet guy!

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks2NClMCNyc


Visit us tomorrow as we will have a few words and a most special video with a few songs by the Savannah Irish Gentleman himself,

Harry O’Donoghue.


Thank you for stopping by for today's offerings for the Harp & Thistle Tribute Week brought to you by Tampa Bay's ONLY IRISH club... Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage. www.suncoastirish.com



Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 13th, 2021


Welcome back to our Harp & Thistle Tribute Week – Saturday – as we continue our St. Patrick’s weekend celebration!


Today we have a lovely video from one of the regular musicians that we so enjoyed

hearing at the Harp & Thistle… Harry O’Donoghue, with a few words of the Harp

and days gone by.



Born and raised in Drogheda on the banks of the River Boyne, just three miles inland

from the Irish Sea, Harry began his musical career when he was twenty.

We got to know him well when he’d travel from Savannah to St. Pete Beach to play at

the Harp & Thistle. “Blarney Roses” was one of my favorite songs that Harry would play.


Harry has performed, by invitation, with the Savannah Symphony and has shared the

bill with such international recording artists as Mary Black, Cathie Ryan,

Andy M. Steward, Natalie McMaster, the Furey Brothers, Tommy Makem, Danny Doyle

and others. He performs throughout the U.S. and Ireland in a variety of settings, from

concerts to colleges, cruise ships, festivals, clubs, & more.


Harry co-produces and hosts “The Green Island Radio Show” broadcasting weekly

on Georgia Public Broadcasting and streamed live on the Internet at www.gpb.org

Thank you Harry!!!


We are also sharing a wee bit of Seven Nations today! Originally they called themselves Clan Na Gael, but, they found that the name Seven Nations (7N) fully represented  their innovative Celtic music. This band set the bar for Celtic Rock Bands that followed.


I remember when they first played at the Harp, how they energized the crowd.

Included here are a couple of festival videos with original band mates, Neil Anderson,

Kirk McLeod, ‘Struby’ and Nick Watson.

7N (Clan Na Gael) SCREAM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acR0M2C2qPk

7N (Glasgow KY Irish festival) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyOhblT61Eg


Many Friends of the Harp & Thistle have seen this next video but I wanted to see

it shared more widely. It was shot at the Harp, an interview and a bit of tunes

from Seven Nations.


Once again, a special thank you to Peter Edwards for this video. You can visit his

youtube page at “thirdshore” to see many more reflective interview/music videos.



Join us tomorrow as we share “Grand Old Time”, a tune from Paul Duffy

plus a wee bit more!


Thank you for stopping by for today's offerings for the Harp & Thistle Tribute Week.

I’d like to ask that you visit Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage on Facebook and visit us at www.suncoastirish.com


Yours in Celtic Harmony,

Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 14th, 2021


Welcome back to our Harp & Thistle Tribute Week – Sunday – as we keep rollin’ along with our Harp & Thistle Tribute program.

There are 6 videos in this edition to share with you.

Sunday nights were generally a little less crazy, but just as good as ever.


This edition of the Tribute gives us a message from Miss Pat Packer herself!

The matriarch of the Packer family, she has been the face of the Harp & Thistle.

She has written a book and still gets out to visits the local Irish pubs pubs,

concerts & festivals. Here are a few words she wanted to share with everyone.

Thank you to Dianne Pacuk for filming this for us.



One of the very first musicians at the Harp was Gerry O’Kane. While there isn’t

any early years video, there is a more recent one to share with you today.

Here is Gerry doing Barrett’s Privateers.



I have a few particularly favorite instrumental pieces & Irish multi-instrumentalist

and entertainer, Paul Duffy, has written one of those songs.

A very sweet tune that he is performing on the tin whistle, Glendalough, named

after where he hails from. Don’t let this softer song fool ya’ though… he can get

“wild and crazy with the rest of them”.

Paul has mastered many instruments, guitar, keyboard, saxophone, whistles and

much more. He is also known as an exceptional blues musician in addition to the Irish music.



Vince Griffin was a member of the group “Grand Old Time”. He was joined by Bobby O’Donovan

and Wayne Gladney to create a harmonious trio. (I got my first pair of BONES

from Bobby and he gave me a lesson right there in the pub. I still have them and play -

but I can only seem to do jigs comfortably, not so much the reels.)  Vince resides in Ontario

and is still performing. We have this video of him as he performs

MacPherson's Rant at the Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.



Bobby O’Donovan is living on the east coast of Florida & is originally form Cork.

He has teamed up with musican Bob Noble and are called “Fire In the Kitchen”.


Sadly, we lost Grand Old Time member Wayne Gladney last year.

Originally from Newfoundland, he settled in St. Pete and became a regular

musician at the Harp.

Here is a video when Wayne (vocals, bass) & Bobby (vocals, violin) were in a

band called Sons of Erin, with Ralph O’Brien, performing the song

“Streets of London”. c.1980’s



Friends of the Harp & Thistle are familiar with the following video, but it will be

new to many others. Thank you to Peter Edwards.

Grand Old Time / 1993 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2Nf7rV_RCY&t=196s


Coming up for tomorrow’s edition will be a message and tune from Piper extraordinaire

Neil Anderson. There will be a couple tunes from

“The man with the greatest smile” JJ Smith, and a surprise or two as well.


Thank you for stopping by for today's offerings for the Harp & Thistle Tribute Week brought to you by Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage. www.suncoastirish.com


Yours in Celtic Harmony,

Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 15th, 2021


We are winding down our Harp & Thistle Tribute Week – Monday –

We now have 2 days to go for the long-awaited St. Patrick’s Day.


Neil Anderson was a founding member of Seven Nations. He then became piper

extraordinaire with the Celtic rock band Rathkeltair, which also includes former 7N

-mate, Nick Watson. He is killer with those pipes. Neil said he has wonderful

memories of the Harp and the Packer family. Today we have a message from

Neil to share with you. https://youtu.be/HJUSuTRR3-Q


Stevie Morris has traveled to St. Pete Beach from his home in Alexandria Virginia to be

a Harp musician. Living so close to Washington DC has given Steve the honor of playing

the violin for more than a few sitting Presidents. (applause, applause) In addition to being

a solo act, he has been in a few bands & duos. Currently he is teamed with Dennis Vaughan.

The first video is one of Steve with one of the songs he used to perform at the Harp:


This next video is of Steve and Dennis with a fiddle tune for us.



James “JJ” Smith got his feet wet as a performer at the Harp & Thistle.

He entertained us very well with his music and his humor! Here are a couple of

older videos of songs that he sang for us those many years ago.




Well, here we are with 5 videos for this edition of the Harp & Thistle Tribute Week.

Tomorrow's edition will include a dance video from the past.


Thank you to Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage, Inc. for sponsoring this Tribute program.

Please visit our website and consider becoming a member of this group, it is the only

Irish based club in this part of Tampa Bay.

To learn more about SIGH, please visit: www.suncoastirish.com


Yours in Celtic Harmony,

Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 16th, 2021


Welcome back to our Harp & Thistle Tribute Week – Tuesday – St. Patrick’s Day day is tomorrow, but today we are still celebrating today!


I wanted to share my favorite Carroll Brown song with each of you. It evokes a multitude of emotions for me. It’s called “Roots and Wings”.



Colin & Paddy Farrell are the sons of Jim & Laura (aka: Guinness) Here is a video of them dancing at O’Keefes in Clearwater, Fl when

they were young’uns! Sweet AND talented these young men are!



As we finish today’s edition of the Harp & Thistle Tribute, we will be hearing

Harry O’Donoghue as he sings for us “The Parting Glass”.


Visit us tomorrow for our final edition of the Harp & Thistle Tribute.


Thank you to Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage, Inc. for sponsoring this

Tribute program.


Please visit our website and consider becoming a member of this group.

It is the only Irish based cultural club in this part of Tampa Bay.

To learn more about SIGH, please visit: www.suncoastirish.com


Yours in Celtic Harmony,

Lou / Goody

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Harp & Thistle Tribute Week               March 17th, 2021  


HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY… the celebration day that we all wait anxiously for. Everyone wears green, the drink of choice is Guinness,

and there is Craic’ everywhere!

THIS IS THE FINAL EDITION OF THE HARP & THISTLE TRIBUTE. Within a few days, you will be able to find each day’s edition at the

SIGH website. (www.suncoastirish.com)

“ Connemara Morn” is a sweet Brendan Nolan song. One of his fans, Alicia Collier, created a very nice video that we are sharing today.



I have some fine memories of being on the Harp & Thistle stage myself. The first song I did on my own was Christy Moore’s “Ride On”. It was ALWAYS an honor to be invited up to sing with a number of the musicians.

Laura Farrell’s dad wrote “An Island Fair”, and I got to join her with the harmonies on many occasions.

Brendan Nolan’s song “Southern Sunset” is also one of my favorites, and I love joining Brendan in that song, as well as a few others

we’ve “vocally collaborated” on along the way.

JJ Smith once decided I needed to show the crowd how to do the “Unicorn” hand gestures… Uhmmm… we had fun with that!

My dear friend Jack North, may he rest in peace… he’d sing “Vincent Black Lightning” and his original song “Sandcastles” for me when he was playing at the Harp.

Jenny Packer treated me like I was her sister. She treated all of us that way... I so miss her!

These are just a few of the things that were memorable. A special place and time,

I felt like I was HOME. This was the warm-fuzzies that we all share in our hearts!


I am offering a video today to express my gratitude to the Packer family for making such a

magnificent thing happen for ALL of us, and, to the lifelong friends I have made.    

(Notice that I’m standing in front of “Jenny’s Harp”.)

You will see this “PUB” at the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair – Irish Village in Oct. 2021.



Mike Daly, singer/accordionist from the Orlando area, has asked me to share

these sentiments with you.

Hello Harp & Thistle Fans.

Just like everyone else, I sure miss those Harp days. Thanks to the Packer family

the venue became an institution and the example for all other similar venues.

I would not know how to start thanking all the family & patrons of this great place

by the support given to me. Hopefully at another time I can write some Harp stories.

In the meantime, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” to all.

Regards, Mike Daly


This last video is a special treat from Jim & Laura Farrell in PEI. (They miss us as much as we

miss them.) They look forward to coming to Florida for next St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t over (for me, anyway) until I heard Guinness finish with

“On the One Road” and “A Nation Once Again”.

So, they humored me and recorded a couple tunes and finished off with that medley.

Please listen and enjoy as we bring this Tribute Program to a close with a final video.



We wish to say THANK YOU to the musicians that shared their videos & sent messages.

Here are their Websites/Facebook links to find them in future travels.

Guinness: Jim, Laura & Paddy Farrell www.guinnesstheduo.com

Brendan Nolan www.brendannolan.com

Carroll Brown www.carrollbrownmusic.com

Harry O’Donoghue www.harryodonoghue.com

Frank Emerson https://www.facebook.com/femerson2

7N/Seven Nations www.sevennations.com

Neil Anderson with Rathkeltair http://www.rathkeltair.com

Bobby O’Donovan https://www.facebook.com/robert.o.donovan.1426

Steve Morris https://www.facebook.com/steve.morris.378199

JJ Smith https://www.facebook.com/TheJJSmith/?ref=page_internal

Mike Daly https://www.facebook.com/mike.daly.96

*Thank you to Peter Edwards, for his Youtube interview videos, that brought back

   to that blast from the past! “thirdshore” YouTube channels found at:


*Thank you to Alicia Collier for sharing her “Connemara Morn” video.


*Thank you to webmaster Dennis Devine for several late nights of technical help.



                  To slightly paraphrase Stan Rogers:

     ...And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow

      With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go

      Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain

      And like the "Good Ol' Harp and Thistle", rise again.

      Rise again, rise again—though your heart it be broken

      Or life about to end.

     No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,

     In our hearts the Harp and Thistle” shall rise again…


Thank you to Suncoast Irish & Gaelic Heritage, Inc. for supporting and sponsoring this Harp & Thistle Tribute program. Please visit our website and consider becoming a member of this group, it is the only Irish based club in this part of Tampa Bay.

We will be presenting the IRISH VILLAGE at the annual St. Petersburg International Folk Fair.

We invite you to learn more about SIGH, please visit: www.suncoastirish.com


Yours in Celtic Harmony,


Lou / Goody

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