Santa Fe and the Irish?

Read how the Irish influenced Santa Fe

Jenny's View

Dear Friends,

My grandfather on my mother’s side was from a family of Irish immigrants, dairy farmers from a small town called Clones on the border of Northern Ireland. They owned the small hotel in town, so I probably owe them a genetic debt of hospitality!

When immigrants streamed West in the 1800s, many Irish were among them, attracted by the freedom to practice Catholicism in areas controlled by Mexico. Some Irish soldiers even deserted to the other side during the Mexican-American war (known as the Batallón de San Patricio—or St. Patrick). Irish nurses founded St. Vincent’s hospital and St. Elizabeth’s shelter for the homeless here in Santa Fe, both longstanding institutions. And let’s not forget some of the most famous Irish in our state’s history: Billy the Kid and Georgia O’Keeffe.

According to a City of Albuquerque’s web page on the topic, 7.4 percent of New Mexico’s population claims Irish heritage, possibly part of the influx who came to work on the railroad or in the mines around Silver City. Albuquerque still has an Irish-American Society, annual Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival, and popular pubs like Two Fools Tavern and O’Niell’s in Nob Hill.


Here, as elsewhere in America, everyone seems to turn a little green on March 17. La Fonda is no exception: We’re getting ready to reopen La Fiesta Lounge with ten new craft beers on tap, and I’m betting a nice Irish stout will be among them.


Jennifer Lea Kimball

Recipe For Adventure

Any time you braise meat, you are imparting flavor and tenderizing the meat. This technique works especially well with venison. Chef Lane loves venison because it’s lean and it’s natural and he can make a mean Osso Bucco, Santa Fe style. Enjoy with some great wine and good friends. 

Braised Venison Osso Bucco, Santa Fe - Serves 4


8 each – 4 ounce venison, Osso Bucco

2 quarts venison or veal stock

10 ounces spanish onion, chopped

5 ounces carrot, chopped

5 ounces celery, chopped

1 ounce garlic, roasted cloves

4 each chile chipotles, dry or 2 each if canned in adobo

8 ounces tomatillos, roasted

2 each tomatoes, roasted (peeled & seeded)

1 Tablespoon fresh epazote, chopped or 1 teaspoon dry

6 ounces Spanish sherry

2 ounces vegetable oil

To taste - salt, pepper and cumin


In a two gallon sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil until smoking.

Season Osso Bucco with salt, pepper and cumin. Sear, remove and set aside.

Add the onions and carrots and caramelize.

Add the celery, garlic, chipotles, tomatoes, tomatillos and epazote, cook this for a few minutes.

Add the sherry to deglaze;

Put the venison back in the pan, add the stock and bring to a boil.

Turn down to a simmer, cover and place in a 250 degree oven for about 2 ½ hours or until meat is fork tender.

Remove the meat, strain the stock through a chinoise and reduce the stock until it coats the back of a spoon (to nappe).

Plate and serve with your favorite potatoes or polenta and vegetables. 


Live at La Fonda

Curry is known to regulars as frontman for the bands Curry, Springer and Primm (formerly), and CS Rockshow, which specialize in popular oldies from the Four Tops to Beatles to John Mayer. A veteran guitarist and vocalist, Curry has been performing since high school. He moved to Santa Fe from Florida in 1989 and had a regular gig for years at the Ore House on the Plaza.

“I mentioned to the bartender at La Fiesta Lounge that I’d been playing a lot of solo gigs around town,” he says—which got him signed up to entertain diners and bar patrons during the renovation with familiar tunes from Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and the like, as well as his own originals. “I’m looking forward to the solo gig on Sunday, March 6,” Curry said, “after playing there for several years with the band. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun.”


It's a Good Time To...

Each spring, tens of thousands of pilgrims walk to the Santuario de Chimayo during Holy Week, arriving on Good Friday (March 25). You may see walkers on Highways 84/285 (St. Francis Drive) and all along the High Road to Taos, some of them barefoot and even carrying crosses.

Another New Mexican tradition takes place the last weekend of April at the Wise Pies Arena (“the Pit”) in Albuquerque, as thousands of indigenous performers gather from across North America for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow (April 28-30), a weekend of performances, competitions, and trading.

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico launches the first Sedarim of the Southwest (April 22-23), a weekend celebration of Passover at the Buffalo Thunder Resort.


The Lensic continues to host contemporary sounds from around the globe, with Taiko drummers from Japan (March 2);

The Irish acoustic group Lunasa with American country singer Tim O’Brien (March 19); and a celebration of African music known as globalFest’s Creole Carnival Tour (March 24). Rock legend David Crosby plays a solo show at the Lensic (March 27), followed by the international vocalist Zap Mama, backed by a multilingual polyphonic chorus (April 8). Even local music, a.k.a. Hispano folk music, has its showcase at the 16th annual Nuestra Musica (April15).

Elsewhere, Southern rocker Charlie Daniels plays Buffalo Thunder (March 5), and Skylight presents the mariachi heavy-metal band Metalachi (March 7) and Niger’s hit band Tal National (March 12).

Veteran performer Claudia Schmidt brings lively folk, jazz, and blues vocals to GiG Performance Space (March 4), followed by the Austin Piazzola Quintet (March 12) and Hawaiian slack-key innovator Makana (March 19).

Classical music concerts at the Lensic include a concerto of favorites from Santa Fe Pro Musica featuring violinist Colin Jacobsen (March 5-6), with a special artist dinner on Sunday evening. Popular soprano Ailyn Perez (who will play Juliette at the Opera this summer) is accompanied by Gary Matthewman on piano in a recital (March 29). The Santa Fe Symphony performs a program of Brahms and Stravinsky with guest conductor Oriol Sans (March 20), followed by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with violinist Alexi Kenney (April 10). Virtuoso pianist Conrad Tao plays selections from Rzewski, Copland, Ravel and Schumann (April 22) and Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto (April 23-24), followed by an artist dinner on Sunday. At the art museum’s St. Francis Auditorium, virtuoso guitarist Ana Vidovic performs in conjunction with the exhibit on the evolution of the guitar (April 15).

Film & Performance

From far-flung stages comes Met Live in HD with Puccini’s Manon Lescaut set in the 1940s, in a single performance (March 5). Showing for both afternoon and evening audiences are Anthony Mingella’s 2006 production of Madama Butterfly (April 2); Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux (April 16); and Strauss’s Elektra (April 30). Meanwhile, National Theatre Live in HD will broadcast Hangmen with Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh (March 10). And a collection of films that captures the excitement of life in the mountains will screen at the Lensic as the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to town (March 7-8).

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will celebrate its upcoming New York City debut with a special gala performance at the Lensic by Juan Siddi Flamenco (March 18). The company then kicks off its 20th anniversary season with two new commissions from Latin America (April 1).

At the Railyard Performance Center, Grammy nominee Cidny Bullens) of Portland performs her Somewhere Between: A One Wo/Man Show, detailing her poignant struggles with gender identity (March 4-5).


The Lannan Foundation’s dialogue-style speaker series often draws a crowd, whether its climate-change expert Gabrielle Walker with activist Chris Williams (March 23), or novelist Nadeem Aslam of Maps for Lost Lovers and The Blind Man’s Garden with author Phil Klay (March 30).

Middle East scholar Juan Cole speaks with activist Phyllis Bennis (April 6), and Karl Ove Knausgaard, Norwegian author of the six-volume autobiographical My Struggle, with novelist Zadie Smith (April 27).

Also at the Lensic, the Santa Fe Institute’s free community lecture series presents author-entrepreneur Gary Marcus on artificial intelligence (March 15) and mathematical biologist Carlos Castillo-Chavez on the complex factors in the spread of global epidemics (April 12).

At the Museums

Santa Fe Faces: Alan Pearlman Photos opens at the New Mexico History Museum, featuring a selection of portraits from 2009 that capture the soul of the city (March 11).

The history museum’s monthly family workshop teaches colcha stitch embroidery (March 20) and the making of indigenous seed balls with a master gardener (April 17). Upcoming noontime talks at the history museum include a reconsideration of Ambassador Frank Ortiz (March 30) and the justice system in the territory and state of New Mexico (April 21).

The New Mexico Museum of Art opens Assumed Identities: Photographs by Anne Noggle (April 1). A free talk at the St. Francis Auditorium explores the Rough Riders, Theodore Roosevelt’s cowboy regiment (March 30).

La Fonda and Santa Fe In the News

US News - Best Hotels in New Mexico – Like many of the elite hotels in Santa Fe, La Fonda has a rich history — this landmark property has been welcoming Santa Fe visitors since the 1920s. And according to guests, the hotel has aged well. READ MORE   

South China Post - Hot Spots - Once the “inn at the end of the Santa Fe Trail”, a lodging has stood on this spot since at least 1833 (before New Mexico was annexed to the United States) and perhaps as far back as 1610. READ MORE

ABQ Journal La Fonda - Remodeling Moves to Public Spaces - La Fonda on the Plaza, after a couple of major upgrades already in recent years, is now re-doing public spaces on the ground floor to complete a “refresh” of the historic Santa Fe hotel by May. READ MORE

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