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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Massachusetts Irish Group Commemorates Irish Famine Ship - Brig St. John - that Sank off Cohasset Coast in 1849




Local Irish-Americans are commemorating the 161st anniversary of the Brig St. John tragedy this Sunday, October 3, in Cohasset, Massachusetts.

The annual ceremony is organized by Division 9 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  It begins with a Catholic mass at 1:00 p.m. at St. Anthony's Church, 129 Main Street, in Cohasset, followed by a laying of a wreath at Cohasset Central Cemetery and a reception at the parish hall.

The Brig St. John was travelling with 104 passengers and 16 sailors from Galway to Boston Harbor on October 6, 1849, when it encountered a nor'easter that was wrecking havoc along the coast.  The storm pushed the boat south as the Brig tried unsuccessfully to anchor near Minot Light. 

As hundreds of people watched horrified from the shoreline, the ship was swamped by a 50-foot wave and it crashed against the rocks of Grampus Ledge.  Of the 120 people on board, only eleven survived.  Forty-five bodies were recovered from the ocean, and were buried at Central Cemetery.

In 1914 the AOH erected a 19 foot Celtic Cross at the gravesite, where the wreath-laying ceremony takes place.

Local author Paul A. Fiori has written a book on the tragedy entitled On Grampus Ledge: The Wreck of the Brig St. John on October 7, 1849.

For more information on this event, please call Dr. Bill O'Connell at 781 585-8181.

For year round information on Irish activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.  For details on other Irish landmarks, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

US-Ireland Alliance Celebrates 10th anniversary of George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program


The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program, an innovative education initiative that sends top American students to Ireland and Northern Ireland for a year of intensive study, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The program was created by Trina Vargo, founder of the US-Ireland Alliance and a former staffer to the late Senator Ted Kennedy.  It is named in honor of former US Senator George Mitchell, who spearheaded the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland during the Clinton Administration. 

Modeled on the Rhodes Scholarship program that has selected generations of bright American students to study in the UK, the Mitchell program has already sent 120 students to Ireland.  "An average of 300 Americans apply each year for up to twelve scholarships, making it extremely competitive," Vargo said in a recent article in Global Post by Conor O'Clery.

For more details on the Mitchell Scholarship, including an assessment of the first ten years, click here.

The deadline for applying for the 2012 class of Mitchel Scholars is October 5, 2010.  For more information, including an online application, click here.

For a full look at the US-Ireland Alliance and its work in business, public service and the arts, visit its web site.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Northern Ireland is Showcased at Grand Central Station in New York City, September 27-30


Tourism Ireland, the tourism agency representing Ireland's thirty-two counties here in North America,  is showcasing Northern Ireland this week at Grand Central Station in New York City.

The week-long promotion - entitled Northern Ireland - Ready to Discover - is designed to alert Americans to "the natural beauty, rich culture, complex history and lively cities" of Northern Ireland.

There's a daily schedule of activities at Grand Central Station, including Irish music and dance performances, theatre, culinary demonstrations, films, and presentations on the famous cruise ship Titanic, which was built in Belfast.

And travel agents are on hand to answer questions about planning a trip to Northern Ireland this year. 

If you can't make it to New York City for the show, here are two American-based travel companies we highly recommend: Inroads Ireland has Go North itineraries that are off the beaten track, and Isle Inn Tours has independent vacation plans for intrepid travelers.

For complete information on visiting Ireland, visit DiscoverIreland.us.  

For year round information on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill Performing at Berklee College of Music in Boston on October 9


County Clare fiddle player Martin Hayes and Chicago guitarist Dennis Cahill are performing two concerts at the Berklee College of Music on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a free pair of tickets to the 9:30 show.  To enter the contest click here.

Tickets to the show are $30 and you can order them online from Ticketmaster.

The concert takes place at David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, in Boston's Back Bay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Historian David McCullough is Recipient of 2011 John Fitzgerald Kennedy Award in Holyoke


American historian David McCullough has been awarded the 2011 John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Award which is given out annually each March by the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade committee in western Massachusetts.

The prestigious award was first bestowed on John F. Kennedy in 1958, and later named in his honor.  Other recipients over the years include Cardinal Richard Cushing, House Speaker Congressman John McCormack, actress Maureen O'Hara, philantrophist Thomas J. Flatley, Congressman Richard E. Neal , Senator Ted Kennedy, and Raymond L. Flynn, former Mayor of Boston and US Ambassador to the Vatican. 

The March 2010 recipient was Dan Rooney, US Ambassador to Ireland and owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 McCullough, a native of Pittsburgh of Scots-Irish descent who now lives in Massachusetts, is a two-time winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and has been called a "master of the art of narrative history."

His most recent book, 1776, has sold over 3 million copies.  His previous work, John Adams, is one of the most widely-read American biographies of all time, and was made into a seven-part mini-series on HBO in 2008.

In accepting the award, McCullough wrote "what an honor, and how thrilled I am, not to say my whole family," to accept the invitation.

For a list of parades in Massachusetts and New England each March, click here.

For year round Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Hampshire Highland Games - a festival of Celtic Culture - opens in Loon Mountain, NH, September 17-19




The 35th annual New Hampshire Highland Games gets underway this weekend in Loon Mountain, Lincoln, New Hampshire, from Friday, September 17 through Sunday, September 19, 2010.

The festival is a pride-filled gathering of Scottish musicians, dancers, pipers, athletes and artisans, with over 60 Scottish clans and societies in attendance.  There is continuous music, as well as athletic games, bagpipe bands and fiddle competitions. 

Among the performers this year: fiddlers Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, the Brigadoons, harpist Maeve Gilchrist, and the Skara Brae Dancers.  For a full schedule of events, click here.

According to the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, the Highland gathering is New England's largest Celtic Festival. 

For year round information on Irish and Scottish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mass Tourism Agency Launches Fall Foliage Web Site to Track Brilliant Colors

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) has launched a handy new fall foliage web page that lets visitors find peak foliage dates, optimal driving routes and seasonal events across the state from September through early November.

Sample driving routes include the Mohawk Trail in western Mass, Quabbin Reservoir Run in Central Mass, By Land & By Sea tour North of Boston, the Minuteman Trail in greater Boston, the Cranberry Course on the South Shore, the Southern Pass in the New Bedford/Fall River area, and the Cape Codder, covering Cape Cape.

The driving routes are integrated with a series of fall events, including outdoor festivals, harvest activities, Halloween activities, cultural events, heritage tours and more.

MOTT Executive Director Betsy Wall said that " Fall in Massachusetts is spectacular and shouldn't be missed."

Visitors can sign up to the Fall Foliage email alert to receive updated information on the foliage schedule and events happening on any given day.

For more information on year round travel opportunities in Massachusetts, visit MassVacation.com.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bus Stop opens at the Huntington Theatre in Boston on Friday, September 17



The Huntington Theatre Company kicks off its 2010-2011 season with William Inge's great American comedy Bus Stop, which opens on September 17 and runs through October 17, 2010.

A snowstorm strands a bus outside of Kansas City, causing its passengers to seek shelter at a roadside diner.  The evening is filled with bluster, heartache, laughter and the search for love.  The play was adapted into a film starring Marilyn Monroe.

The Wall Street Journal called playwright William Inge "one of this country'shalf-dozen greatest playwrights."

After the performance on Friday, the Huntington Theatre is hosting its popular "35 Below" wrap party, featuring local indie/rock band Mean Creek.

To purchase tickets online to Bus Stop, click here.

For a full schedule of the Huntington Theatre Company, click here.

For year round cultural events in great Boston, visit IrishBoston.org.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tenor John McDermott Headlines Irish Music Festival in Massachusetts



Famous Irish tenor John McDermott is capping off a three-day Irish Music Festival at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts, on Sunday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $40.00 and can be ordered online.  You can also enter to win a free pair of tickets by visiting the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

The legendary singer, who lives in Toronto, first came to prominence as a member of the famed Irish Tenors, and since then has had an equally acclaimed career as a master interpretor of classic Irish melodies as well as American patriotic songs. 

McDermott's show caps an exciting three-day Irish music festival at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury Beach, a colorful seaside resort north of Boston.  

The Blue Ocean Music Hall opened in November 2009 and has quickly become one of the premier concert venues on Boston's North Shore. For directions, click here.

Blue Ocean Music Hall
4 Oceanfront North
Salisbury, MA 01952
978 462-5888
info@blueoceanhall.com

For year-round information on Irish cultural events in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blue Ocean Music Hall Brings Black 47 to Salisbury Beach on Saturday, September 18


Irish punk rockers Black 47 make a special appearance at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts on Saturday, September 18, as part of a three-day Irish Music Festival taking place from September 17-19, 2010.

The band, led by Larry Kirwan, gives a hard-driving, working-class edge to traditional Irish tunes as well as original compositions.

Tickets to the 8:00 p.m. show are $20 and can be ordered online.

You can also enter to win a free pair of tickets by visiting the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

The Blue Ocean Music Hall opened in November 2009 and has quickly become one of the premier concert venues on Boston's North Shore. For directions, click here.

Blue Ocean Music Hall
4 Oceanfront North
Salisbury, MA 01952
978 462-5888
info@blueoceanhall.com

For year-round information on Irish cultural events in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eileen Ivers Kicks off Three-Day Irish Music Festival in Salisbury Beach on September 17



The Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts is hosting a three day celebration of Irish music on September 17, 18, 19, 2010.

The "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day" festivities get off to a great start on Friday, September 17, with international fiddle star Eileen Ivers and her band Immigrant Soul.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Ivers is an All-Ireland fiddle champion and musical star of the hit dance phenomenon Riverdance.  Her band matches her virtuosity and energy by incorporating traditional Irish music with strains of world music, rock, blues, jazz and folk music.

Tickets to the 8:00 p.m.show are $30 and can be ordered online

You can also enter to win a free pair of tickets by vsiting the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

Ivers is followed on Saturday, September 18 by Celtic punk rockers Black 47, and on Sunday, September 19 by Irish tenor John McDermott.

The Blue Ocean Music Hall opened in November 2009 and has quickly become one of the premier concert venues on Boston's North Shore. For directions, click here.

Blue Ocean Music Hall
4 Oceanfront North
Salisbury, MA 01952
978 462-5888
info@blueoceanhall.com

For year-round information on Irish cultural events in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burren Pub Hosts 5K Road Race and Music Fest to Benefit MS, September 12


The Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville is having a road race followed by a music festival this Sunday, September 12, starting at 11:30 a.m.

The 5K race around Somerville  will raise needed funds for research and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.  The fee is $25.00, and you can register for the race online.

Following the race, check out the outdoor music festival at the Burren, featuring face painting, outdoor bar, food and music by the Dave Foley Band,  Red Square, and Scattershot.  The ten dollar fee goes to the National Multiple Schlerosis Society.

One of America's most famous traditional Irish music pubs, the Burren features live traditional music seven nights a week.  The pub was started in 1995 by musicians Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costelloe.

For year round details on Irish events, pubs, gift shops and cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Win Tickets to Great Big Sea's Boston Performance on September 17



The Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off three pairs of tickets to see Great Big Sea perform live at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Boston on Friday, September 17, at 8:00 p.m. 

To enter your name in the contest click here.

Since forming 18 years ago in the pubs of St. John's, Newfoundland, the Celtic folk rock ensemble has played in concert halls around the world.   The band combines original songs and compositions with the folk music of Newfoundland, which is itself rooted in Irish and Scottish traditional music and sea shanties.

You can also purchase tickets to the show, ranging from $24.50 to $33.40,  by visiting Ticketmaster.  The concert is presented by LiveNation

For a complete list of shows at the Orpheum Theatre, click here.

For year round details on music and cultural activities throughout the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bennington Irish Festival Kicks off this Weekend



Seamus Connolly

An international cast of Irish musicians and dancers take the stage this weekend at the 1st annual Bennington Irish Festival in Vermont.  The two-day festival runs Saturday and Sunday, September 4-5, and features over 30 hours of top-shelf Irish traditional music, ballad singing and Celtic rock.

Ten-time All Ireland fiddle player Seamus Connolly, uilleann piping master Jerry O'Sullivan, Nashville singing star Maura O'Connell and the McPeake Family from Belfast are just some of the artists performing.  For a full schedule of performances and activities click here.

Tickets to the show are $30 per day or $50 for a two-day pass.  The festival runs from 11 a.m to 9 p.m. both days.  The festivities take place at Colgate Park, a beautiful outdoor facilites nestled in the beautful hills of Vermont.

The festival also offers an array of cultural displays, children's activities, dance and instrument workshops, as well as vendors, food courts and nearby lodging.

For more information, visit BenningtonIrishmusicfestival.com or call 802 447-3900.

For year round information on Irish cultural events in New England, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.