I'm an Irish American--my ancestors came over during one of the killing potato famines of the 19th century--but that's not why we have so many stories with an Irish theme this week. It just happened that way.

Dave Devine proposed he write about the railroad's arrival in Tucson back in 1880. That happened to occur on what they called the "17th of Ireland" in the newspaper in those days.

Margaret Regan suggested she'd like to review a couple of new books about Irish Americans. The authors debunk the debauchery of St. Patrick's Day and explore what it really means to be Irish and American

Real Irish don't drink green beer, do they? I never did.

Guinness is real Irish beer, if consumed properly. Charles Gallagher and Russell Kahn toured Tucson's bars in search of the perfectly poured Guinness. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

The issue's not all Irish. We review a Japanese restaurant, British movie, American band. We explore the arts and politics of Tucson, diverse as ever.

Jim Nintzel brings you up to date on the real state of the city. Chris Limberis floats his boat on the magically rising water table. RuthAnn Hogue has a cow, literally.

There's plenty to ponder in this issue. We recommend you have a Guinness, double-poured at just the right temperature, and settle in for a good read.