Black, Jewish, from Ohio and three times World Step Dance Champion…

So whilst St Patrick’s Day is proving a severe test for the diversity challenge in Northern Ireland, in rural Ohio Irish culture finds little less difficulty in opening doors to new and diverse populations… Meet Drew Lovejoy, 17 years of age, from Greenville, three times world champion in Irish Dancing…

“I was like, ‘Yeah, right,’ ” his mother said, shaking her head. “You’re biracial and you’re a Jew. We thought you had to be Irish and Catholic.”

He said, “I was like, ‘I want a medal.’ ”

Only in America? Possibly.

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  • wild turkey

    “Only in America? Possibly.”

    ah, yes and no mick.
    just the other day i witnessed my 12 yr old daughter give a very spirited and coherent rebuttal to a ‘wee girl’ in the neighborhood who argued that St Pats Day was only for Irish and Catholics because “it’s like our 12th, like”.

    well done Drew.

    and i now defer to those pristine commentators who may take Micks post to off-load on americans and america.

    have a great day guys

  • Mick Fealty

    Why should they? The Ohio valley is lan de bheal le daoine o Dhun na nGall mar shampla… Id not heard the ‘our Twelfth’ meme before this year I must confess.

  • I think it’s more about territory than about St Patrick; the Cormeen venture altered the status quo; it also tested the sincerity of the ‘reaching out’ agenda promoted by Peter and Martin.

    “Only in America? Possibly.”

    Well here’s a little yarn with a USA and Co Armagh connection. The year was 1993. We had a visit from some relatives from Seattle and north Armagh so I thought it would be nice to have some music, dance and food provided mainly by members of the extended family. I chose the new Orange Hall in Bushmills on the banks of the River Bush as the venue – it was convenient, spacious and cheap. One of my young relations was a prize-winning Irish dancer so I asked her to bring along some of her dancing friends. Two of the girls were relations and most of them were Catholic. The clatter of the heavy dance shoes on the sprung wooden floor would probably have drowned out a set of Lambeg drums! It was a great evening – and the roof didn’t fall in.

    I then spent a couple of days with our visitors in north Armagh. Some of my relations there are descendants of Dan Winter of ‘Battle of the Diamond’ notoriety! There was no more music; just kith and kin crack. We said our goodbyes in high spirits but as I was on my way back north news came through about the bomb explosion on the Shankill Road. Thank goodness that sort of news is a rarity now.

  • Rory Carr

    I had already been alerted to Drew Lovejoy’s undoubted talent by a BBCTV programme a few months back showcasing the Glasgow World Championships but, if his ethnicity drew any attention it was only in the context of young contestants from an amazing variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds other than Irish Catholic.

    For those who missed out on yesterdsy’s celebrations or those who may wish to prolong them, BBC Three TV are running a little Irishfest tonight from 8pm with Songs of Ireland featuring Finbar Furey, Eleanor McAvoy, Cara Dillon et al, followed by a film of comedian writer, Tony Hawks’ Round Ireland with a Fridge and then, at 10.30pm, a short film,The Shore, “…two boyhood pals whose friendship suffers during the Troubles but whose reunion 25 years later does not go as expected.” You may also wish to set our alarm in order to make sure to miss a repeat of an episode of:the woeful, Terry Wogan’s Ireland. On the other hand, you may be a fan and who am I to knock him?

  • Greenflag

    Michael Flatley will need a successor no doubt so perhaps young Drew needs to get an MBA and some decent marketing support and the world is his oyster . Well done the young fella

    ‘The clatter of the heavy dance shoes on the sprung wooden floor would probably have drowned out a set of Lambeg drums! ”

    Saw a DVD recently on the theme of song and culture and change in a remote Appalachian region circa 1890/1910 starring Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn in ‘Songcatcher ‘ includes some step dancing on the boards .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6ArylRGWME

  • “a severe test for the diversity challenge in Northern Ireland”

    Perhaps we need more diversity – like this smorgasbord session!

  • wild turkey

    “news came through about the bomb explosion on the Shankill Road. Thank goodness that sort of news is a rarity now.”

    Yes, Let us give thanks, to whomever or whatever we chose to give thanks to, that that news is a rarity now… well at least here in NI. it sadly continues in many other points on the globe.

    for what is worth, my first encounter with “diversity” in belfast, shit about 30 years ago, was being stopped and questioned by a black squaddie. we ended up talking about hardware, the relative merits of my vietnam weapon of compulsion, the M16 (aka the armalite) and whatever he was carrying.

    we parted amicably and respectfully

  • Greenflag

    ‘we ended up talking about hardware, the relative merits of my vietnam weapon of compulsion, the M16 ‘

    Friday March 16th was the 44th anniversary of the My Lai massacre when approx 500 mostly women , children and elderly Vietnamese were ‘culled ‘ by Charlie company . The slaughter was hushed up and only became public knowledge in 1969. The officer commanding served 3 years before being released by President Nixon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre

    Now it’s Afghanistan and again the same path of disintegration seems to be taking place . A majority of US Democrats and some 50% of Republicans want out a.s.a.p and even the GOP presidential candidates are now biting their tongues and all talk of fighting to the bitter end to save Karzai & Co is melting like snow off a ditch.

    But theres hope for the militarists yet . There’s the prospect of another war in Iran and the mass media are already hyping .

    Some folks don’t want to learn 🙁

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17387029