Let’s Have a Hooley

So, I posted several weeks ago about my mom’s dementia. She’s with us now in Florida and she really misses home in New Jersey. One night after dinner, I was racking my brain to think of something to do because (like everyone else) we are pretty much homebound due to the pandemic. Then, it came to me: Let’s have a hooley.

Image of my mother, Mary.

What is a hooley? By the way, I love this word. Hooley has two definitions: (1. a party – an Irish night of traditional music and dance. 2. a strong wind or a gale as in “it’s blowing a hooley'”). Okay so I had the idea. I knew my mother would love a hooley (the party kind) because we grew up surrounded by relatives in the Bronx who played the accordion and sang all the old Irish songs. My dad was always a featured singer at the gatherings. My mother never sang but she loved to dance. My brother John and I went for Irish step dancing lessons when we were kids.

Image of a dog with hair blowing in the wind. Used as an illustration of "it's blowing a hooley" - strong gale winds.
It’s Blowing a Hooley (Image: PROCarlo Scherer under CC BY 2.0)

So, here we are (Bill, me, and my mom) sitting in the living room and I get the idea. Now all I had to do was find the music. Enter Alexa! my hooley hostess. That’s right. I turned to our Alexa dot that usually sits in the living room (doing nothing – well maybe she’s listens) and I asked her to play one traditional Irish song after another. Bill closed his eyes and tapped his knee. Mom’s feet were moving and I sang along with the music. We asked Alexa to play many of the songs my dad sang. Songs like Black Velvet Band, Wild Colonial Boy, Paddy Reilly, and I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.

Musicians in an Irish pub - an Irish music session.
An Irish Music Seisiún

Overall, our first digital hooley was a success. My mom said it was fun. And, boy we do want her to have fun and be happy here with us in Florida. What are some of the things you are doing to pass the time together? I’d love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Have a Hooley

  1. Sounds like fun – – I think many of the songs we play on the hammered dulcimer would be suitable for a hooley — hands are busy – and feet are tapping – – I must ask – – was there Guiness involved???

    1. Hi Leslie, yeah the ancient Irish music involved harps. According to history books, the Danes brought the harps to Ireland and Ireland brought the harps to Italy. Traditional Irish music includes instruments like the harp, fiddles, flutes, and uilleann pipes. No, no Guiness at my hooley but rest assured if you were in a traditional setting, there would be plenty of Guinness stout.

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