Bangers and mash: Couple croons Irish tunes

Mar 15, 2023

The town of Wareham is 2,992 miles from the town of Tipperary, Ireland.

You might say “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”

In fact, you might even sing it. 

And that’s exactly what Tom and Sheila Monaghan did. 

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, the husband-and-wife duo sang a medley of Irish-themed songs at the Council on Aging on Wednesday, March 15.

“It’s a chance to celebrate my heritage,” Tom said. 

With a last name like Monaghan, would you expect anything less?

“All eight of our grandparents came from Sweden,” Tom joked with a slight Irish brogue. “We’re gonna have some shenanigans this afternoon.”

Of course, all eight of the Monaghans’ grandparents were born in Ireland. 

“The Irish, they’re a little mix of humor and melancholy,” Tom said, “but that’s fine. Life is like that.” 

The Council on Aging was a sea of green as revelers, dining on corned beef and cabbage, sang along to classics like “My Wild Irish Rose,” “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “Danny Boy.”

The Monaghan’s “craic,” or Irish banter, included puns that were cornier than the corned beef. 

There was also a “potato bar” where concertgoers could supplement their spuds with various toppings. 

The Monaghans sang the song “Peggy O’Neil” and dedicated it to audience member Peggy Cook.

“I was surprised,” said Cook, who was wearing shamrock sunglasses. “It made me smile and laugh. I loved it. They were wonderful.” 

Cook truly did have the luck of the Irish, winning a birdhouse shaped like a lighthouse in a raffle. 

To Cook, Saint Patrick’s Day is a day to honor her Irish roots, and the contributions of Irish Americans. 

Sheila said that Saint Patrick’s Day is a day for parties and singing.

“It doesn’t mean corned beef and cabbage,” she said. “That’s American.”

The Monaghans said that their Irish heritage has given them the ability to see the best in people, and a desire to put smiles on everyone’s faces. 

“No matter how sad you might be,” Sheila said, “put a smile on someone’s face, and it works for you too.”