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       GRAND ILLUMINATIONS small red  logo
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH


A Christmas kiss under the mistletoe at Slainte Irish Pub in Blatimore, MD as seen in American Public House Review
CAUTION! SHARING AN ALE AT SLAINTE IRISH PUB IN BALTIMORE MAY ENGENDER THE GRACES OF EROS



I’ve always been willing to go to extraordinary lengths, or to cast aside personal wellbeing for the sake of a good a light show. I recall scaling a wall and a nighttime dash across the Fields of Abraham in order to catch a brief glimpse of fireworks over Quebec City during a Canada Day celebration not so long ago. Then there was that mild case of criminal trespass into the upper offices of a skyscraper in lower Manhattan, so that I and my chum Robbie might secure a better view of a 4th of July display above New York’s Hudson River. But better men than me have gone impetuously into the darkness seeking the light.

Late on the afternoon of August 18th, 1790, a small packet boat was greeted by a round of friendly canon fire from the heights of Federal Hill as it approached the wharf at the head of Narragansett Bay. Among the government officials onboard were George Clinton, the Governor of New York, Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and President George Washington. They had come to the city of Providence to celebrate and recognize Rhode Island’s ratification of the Constitution.

That evening the President, accompanied by a few friends, abandoned the pomp and comfort of Mr. Daggett’s Tavern on Benefit Street and ventured forth onto the rain soaked paths of the city. Contrary to what his record of nighttime military operations might indicate, Washington much preferred to stay indoors after dark. But for the sake of the lads at Rhode Island College (now Brown University) who had prepared a spectacle of candlelight in the windows of the main hall, the President would cast aside his distrust of the night air. 



A snowy Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review
A SNOWY BALTIMORE HARBOR

 

For the past several Decembers, I along with family and friends have braved the unpredictable meteorological conditions along Baltimore’s Northwest Harbor in order to witness the Parade of Lighted Boats. Bone chilling cold, ice storms, snow squalls and near frozen appendages seemed a small price to pay for this annual Christmas extravaganza produced by the Fells Point Yacht Club. Three years ago though I acquiesced to the common sense and wisdom of a local who suggested that we consider a sheltered vantage point overlooking the harbor, a crow’s-nest of sorts, replete with food, drink and a working furnace.



SLAINTE IRISH PUB in Baltimore, MD as ssen in American Public House Review
SLAINTE!



THE SLAINTE PUB would have been a welcome addition to any historic American neighborhood; but the fact that it provided what was  essentially a first row balcony view of  the Fells Point waterfront just added to what was already a near perfect public house experience.



Downstairs bar at Slainte Irish Pub in Baltimore, MD as seen in American Public House Review
THE HANDSOME DOWNSTAIRS BAR



The upstairs bar at Slainte Irish Pub in Baltimore, MD as seen in American Public House Review
AND THE EQUALLY CAPTIVATING UPSTAIRS BAR



This year once more we took up our now familiar positions at the upstairs bar to await the arrival of the seasonally festooned fleet. As is normally the case, I gave in to my wanderlust and curiosity and split my time between the first and second floor bars. There was talk and pints of Clipper City Loose Canon Hop3 Ale with clientele and staff downstairs, and dialogue and drams of whiskey with friends and family upstairs. And as a matter of course there was the usual pleasant banter with customers that were happily tucked into the many cozy nooks of this exceptional Irish Pub.





DParade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #1



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #2



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #3



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #4



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #5



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #6



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #7



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #8



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #9



Parade of Lighted Boats at Christmas in Baltimore Harbor as seen in American Public House Review #10





At some point I decided to head out into the falling snow to attain what I thought might prove to be a much more dramatic view of this nautical pageant. As I became absorbed in the surrounding revelry it was easy to understand why we mark our great moments of political and spiritual enlightenment with such grand illuminations. There is on occasion good reason to stoke the fires, ignite the powder and overload the extension cords.

But as I stood at the end of the wharf my eyes were drawn back to the glow that was coming from the tavern on Thames Street. It was then that I realized that the grandest illumination of all is the light that comes from within-----from within our hearts and from within those places where we gather together in peace, good cheer and goodwill.




The light from within as seen in American Public House Review
WARMEST WISHES AND SLAINTE! FROM ALL OF US
AT AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW







SLAINTE IRISH PUB


1700 THAMES STREET
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 21231

(410) 563-6600

www.slaintepub.com


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