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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Boston's Pilgrimage to Knock - Prayers for Peace in a Summer of Violence

Our Lady of Knock Basilica 

Two hundred parishioners from the Archdiocese of Boston and other parts of New England are in Ireland this week to visit the Shrine of Knock in County Mayo.

The Boston-Knock pilgrimage is being led by Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and includes former US Ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn and his wife Cathy, as well as Irish American leader Brian O'Dwyer, who is international chairman of Ireland West Airport at Knock.

Cardinal O'Malley officiated at the national re-dedication ceremony of Our Lady at Knock on July 16th, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Basilica.  The mass was attended by Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny and US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O'Malley.

Violent eruptions around the world - most recently in Nice, Turkey and Dallas - were on the minds of the pilgrims as they prayed for peace at the Shrine of Knock.

"Let us pray for peace in our world, an end to violence, terrorism and hatred," Cardinal Sean said during his homily.  He praised Knock as "the place were Ireland's faith is nourished," and evoked the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II, who called Knock, "a special encounter between God and human beings."

Brian O'Dwyer, Cardinal Sean O' Malley and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn.

See video of Cardinal Sean's homily here

Ambassador Flynn, who represented Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on the trip, said the pilgrimage of Bostonians to Knock, "reminds all of us who we really are.  We are not white or black, rich or poor, believer or atheist. We’re all Americans who want to make our nation safe for everyone."

The seven-day trip runs from July 14-21 and was organized by Cara Group Tours in Quincy and Crystal Travel in Boston.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

23rd Annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival in Western Massachusetts

Scottish culture and pride is on display at the 23rd annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival, taking place on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at Look Park in Florence, Massachusetts.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association has named it the Event of the Week in Massachusetts. 

The all-day event features top Scottish and Celtic music and dance, as well as Gaelic sporting contests, bagpipe competitions and parades, spinners and weavers, and vendors selling authentic Scottish foods, crafts, clothing and other items.

In addition, enjoy historic reenactments with the Historic Highlanders

Among this year's headliners are Enter the Haggis, Albannach, Soulsha, Screaming Orphans and Charlie Zahm.  Read details on the bands here. 

In addition, there is a gathering and promenade of Scottish clans and societies. 

Purchase tickets at the gate: $16 general admission; children ages 6-12 pay $5; and children under six go free.  

The festival is located outside of Northampton.  Here are directions

Find year round details on Irish, Scottish and Celtic activities at

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Irish Trio Perform "Mick Ryan's Lament, A Song in Three Acts" at Chatham Fiddle Company on July 10

Singer/songwriter Robert Emmet Dunlap presents his much acclaimed and frequently recorded song, "Mick Ryan's Lament," in a full length concert, taking place at the Chatham Fiddle Company on Cape Cod this Sunday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Dunlap is joined by Kathi Taylor on percussion, and Rose Clancy on fiddle.

The musical journey travels from famine-era Ireland (1840s) to the American Civil War (1861-65) to Custer's Last Stand (1876). Featuring Irish ballads and lively Irish dance tunes, the program uses original songs along with traditional music from the period.

Suggested donation is $20, payable at the door.

Find details on Irish activities year round by visiting

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Irish & Scottish Festivals this summer in Massachusetts

Screaming Orphans

The Boston Irish Tourism Association has a calendar of Irish, Scottish and Celtic-infused music festivals taking place this summer in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

See the Festival calendar here.

Among the top performers Eileen Ivers at the Cape Cod Melody Tent; Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy at the Lowell Folk Festival; Enter the Haggis and Soulsha at the Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival; Aoife O'Donovan at the Newport Folk Festival; Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely and Girsa at the Celtic Sojourn Festival in Lowell; and the Glengarry Bhoys at the Highland Games at Loon Mountain.

The Screaming Orphans from Donegal (pictured above) are performing at the Cape Cod Melody Tent and the Glasgow Lands Festival.

Find other concerts throughout the summer by visiting

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Ray Flynn is this Year's Independence Day Orator at Faneuil Hall in Boston

Raymond L. Flynn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston, is giving the oration at this year's Independence Day celebrations at Faneuil Hall in Boston on Monday, July 4, 2016.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh made the announcement, stating, "Through his lifelong commitment to public service, Ray Flynn embodies the spirit of America. Ray has dedicated his career to his country, and the people of Boston, and I am pleased to welcome him back to Faneuil Hall to celebrate Independence Day."

The Boston tradition of giving an Independence Day oration dates back to 1783, when a town meeting passed this order, which provided that:

"The anniversary of the Fourth of July, 1776, a day ever memorable in the annals of this country for the Declaration of Independence) shall be constantly celebrated by the delivery of a public oration, in such place as the town shall determine to be more convenient for the purpose, in which the orator shall consider the feelings, manners, and principles which led to this great national event, as well as the important and happy effects, whether general or domestic, which already have, and will forever continue, to flow from this auspicious epoch.”

Dr. John Warren gave the oration in 1783, and since then a number of prominent Bostonians have given the annual Independence Day oration, including John Quincy Adams, Massachusetts Governor David I. Walsh, and John F. Kennedy. 

"This 4th of July, I am proud to recognize all the dedicated and loyal Americans who continue to work hard, defend our nation, raise strong families and play by the rules. Our active citizens are what makes America the great country is it," said Ambassador Flynn. "I'm delighted to join Mayor Walsh for the historic Faneuil Hall Oration in celebration of Independence Day."

Here is a schedule of activities on July 4 leading up to the oration.

Find year round details on the Irish community in Massachusetts at

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer Solstice Festival Today at Diamond Hill Park features Irish, Celtic, American Folk Bands

The annual Summer Solstice Festival is underway today at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland, RI, with a full lineup of music, dance, and entertainment

Sponsored by the Blackstone River Theatre, the Festival features five entertainment stages plus food and craft vendors.
Among the top performers this year are Barrule,a Celtic band from the Isle of Man,and Girsa, the dynamic Irish traditional ensemble from New York,  Also, Mari Black Trio, The John Doyle Band, The Gnomes, Low Lily, Pendragon, Torrin Ryan,  Atwater-Donnelly Trio, The Vox Hunters, Will Woodson & Eric McDonald, and Irish step dance featuring Tir Na Nog Irish Dance. 

You'll find food & craft vendors as well as a children’s activities area!

Tickets are available at the gate. 

For year round details on Irish cultural activities in the region, visit

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Issue of Travel & Culture Guide Focuses on Massachusetts and Ireland

(BOSTON) -- The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) has released its 2016 summer issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a compendium of festivals and concerts, culinary, cultural and literary activities taking place in Massachusetts and throughout New England

The 28-page color magazine is distributed free at visitor kiosks and cultural venues throughout Massachusetts.  Here is the digital format online. 

Among the stories in this issue: roundup of Irish festivals; the sounds of summer music in Boston and Tanglewood; Boston's newest outdoor venue, Lawn on D; museum news from the JFK Library and EMK Institute; new renovations at Boston Harbor Hotel; and Cruiseport Boston's 30th anniversary in South Boston.

People profiled in the Guide include Ray Flynn, former US Ambassador and Boston Mayor; Joe Corcoran, developer and philanthropist; Fionnuala Quinlan, Ireland's Consul General in Boston; Dannel Malloy, Governor of Connecticut, and musicians Eileen Ivers and the New York band Girsa. 

The Ireland section focuses on two hit productions - Star Wars and Game of Thrones - being filmed in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and ideas for visiting Ireland in the fall.

BITA is celebrating its 16th year as a year-round, cultural tourism organization that promotes the state’s largest ethnic community.  The US Census reports that nearly 23% of all Massachusetts residents claim Irish ancestry.

BITA publishes the Travel & Culture Guide three times a year in March, June and November, and has developed the Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail, which highlights Irish landmarks throughout Boston and around the state.

For up to date, year round details on festivals and concerts, as well as Irish-American cultural organizations, hotel packages, gift shops and Irish pubs, visit