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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Boston sets up the Walsh Kennedy Memorial Fund for fallen firemen


On March 26, 2014, Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy of Ladder 15 and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh of Engine 33 lost their lives as Engine 33 battled a nine-alarm fire in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

Here is a chance to donate to the Walsh Kennedy Memorial Fund, set up by the Boston Firemen's Union.  All donations go to the Walsh and Kennedy families.

The Boston Firefighter's  Local 718 has details on the funeral arrangements for these brave men.


 

Terri and George Kelley Perform Irish Songs at Lawrence Public Library on Sunday, March 30

Irish Heritage Month in Lawrence comes to a close on Sunday, March 30, 2014, when George and Terri Kelley present their annual concert, Ireland in Song, at the Lawrence Public Library on Lawrence Street.  The concert begins at 2:00 p.m. and is free and open to the  public. 

The Kelleys are long-time entertainers in the Merrimack Valley area who were inspired to take up Irish music after meeting Irish fiddle legend, the late Larry Reynolds.  Here is a story in the Andover Townsman about the married couple. 

The concert is sponsored by the Irish Foundation and the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library.

Irish Heritage Month in Lawrence was created by the men's and women's chapters of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 8.  The month-long celebration of the city's Irish-American heritage includes a series of lectures, exhibits, concerts, film screenings, and social events.  

The AOH along with the Irish Foundation also built and maintains a significant collection of Irish materials - books, pamphlets, ephemera, recordings and photographs - at the Lawrence Public Library South Branch on Parker Street.   Much of the early work was initiated by the late David R. Burke, and today is carried on by his family and friends. 

Find year round details on Irish culture in Massachusetts and New England by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com

 






Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Memoriam: Brendan Tonra (1935-2014), a Fine Irish Musician

Pat O'Brien, Seamus Connolly & Brendan Tonra


Irish fiddle and flute player Brendan Tonra (1935-2014) is remembered as a congenial, somewhat shy, old-style Irish gentleman whose music spoke for him throughout his life.  This past February, he succumbed to cancer at the age of 78.

Tonra came to Boston in 1959, from Gowlan, County Mayo, near the Sligo border, and quickly became part of the Irish music scene in Dudley Square, Roxbury.  A few weeks after landing, he was talking to some musicians at Intercolonial Hall, and they discovered he played.

“They asked me to play a tune on the fiddle, and when I was finished, they asked me if I had a fiddle and a white shirt and black bow tie, and if so, to show up next Saturday night and I could play with the band for $12 a night, not bad for those times, and that's how I started playing in this country,” Tonra recalled in 2000 when he was inducted into the Comhaltas Northeast Regional Hall of Fame. 

Through the 1960s he played in the Tara Ceili Band with Larry Reynolds, Tom Garvey and others, followed by the Connaught Ceili Band with Jimmy and Sally Kelly, Mike McDonagh and others.  In later years, he played regularly at Comhaltas sessions, in concert settings, and finally at informal house gatherings with close friends.

Brendan’s enduring musical companion over the past three decades was pianist Helen Kisiel, who first met him in the 1970s when she came to him for tin whistle lessons.  She eventually become one of his dearest, most caring friends, and his soul mate. 

“We made a nice musical partnership,” Kisiel says. “Eventually, I could accompany him on the piano on everything he played, including his new tunes.” 

The Composer

Indeed, many people will remember Brendan as a composer of lovely Irish tunes, some of them disarmingly simple, capturing the essence of Irish dance music; others, especially in his later years, more intricate and complex. 

He self-published a booklet of 17 original tunes in 1988 called the Music of Brendan Tonra, and then a decade later published A Musical Voyage with Brendan Tonra, with 90 original tunes that were “inspired by his friends and loved ones, memories of his childhood, or special occasions,” says Kisiel, adding the tunes constituted “a musical story of his life.” 

In 2002, Brendan was awarded Ireland’s TG4 Gradam Ceoil Composer of the Year award, and traveled to Ireland to receive the award.

In fact, many of Brendan’s tunes, like Tonra’s Jig, Boston-Sligo Reel, Gowlan Reel and Christmas in America, have been recorded by various musicians over the decades, like Sean Maguire, the Liverpool Ceili Band, Seamus and Martin Connolly, Brendan Bulger, Kevin McElroy, Seamus Tansey, Andy McGann and others.

“Brendan learned all of his music by ear,” said Kisiel, and though he could read a little music, he preferred to write out his compositions in letter form (A-G) rather than in musical notation.  It was left up to his friends to transpose the music to make it more widely available. 

A few years ago, with the help of their friends, flutist Susan Lindsay and dancer Kieran Jordan, Brendan and Helen made a children’s book of one of his tunes, Three Ducks and a Goose: an Irish Tale andTune.

The Player

His compositions aside, many local musicians remember Brendan as a fine fiddle player and flutist whose playing abilities were sometimes overshadowed by his compositions.

Fiddle champion Brendan Bulger was a lad when he first met Tonra at the Canadian-American Club in Watertown, and came to appreciate Tonra’s understated style.  “His bowing was nice and easy, in a way that allowed you to see the rhythm and phrasing of the music he plays,” Bulger says. “He didn’t look like he had to work at it at all, just kind of easily lifting music out of the fiddle.

“I bet the people who play his tunes, but never met him, probably understand he couldn’t have composed tunes and phrasings that fit the fiddle so without knowing his way around it like the back of his hand,” Bugler says.

“People know of Brendan’s music, but not as much his playing,” said Frank Kennedy, of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.  “I was with Brendan when he gave a concert in Dublin, and many people hadn’t heard of him.  But they all knew his tunes.”

“His fiddling was distinctive, but not forceful,” said BrianO’Donovan, musician and radio host of A Celtic Sojourn on WGBH.  “His tunes are the stuff of tradition, and in my opinion we will hear a lot more of them pass seamlessly into the session repertoire over the next few years.”

“I first met Brendan when I came out to Boston,” said Irish fiddle player SeamusConnolly.  “I was lonesome for Ireland, and I was intrigued to hear him playing, I didn’t think I would have heard Sligo style fiddle playing in Boston.”

Pianist Tom Garvey, who played with him frequently over the years, recalls that Brendan often played the wooden flute in bands where there were already fiddlers, helping to flesh out the full ceili sound.

Brendan was married to the late Bridget (Donohue) Tonra and has three daughters, Barbara, Sheila and Jacqueline.  His funeral was held at the Mission Church in Mission Hill, not far from the old music halls in Dudley Square.  He is buried at the New Calvary Cemetery in Mattapan.  

Versions of this "In Memoriam" by Michael Quinlin appeared in BITA's Travel & Culture Guide, Spring 2014 issue and the Irish Echo Newspaper, March 26, 2014 issue.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Irish Music Duo Sheila Falls and Mark Roberts Perform at BC's Gaelic Roots on Thursday, March 27

Veteran Irish traditional musicians Sheila Falls and Mark Roberts are performing in concert on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Walsh Hall, Boston College.

The concert is presented by BC's Gaelic Roots program, a series of concerts, lectures and presentations about Gaelic music, dance and culture.  The concert is free and open to the public.  Here are directions to Walsh Hall.

Falls is a champion fiddle player and former student of Seamus Connolly, director of Gaelic Roots, while Roberts is a talented musician on the flute, tin whistle, banjo, mandolin and other instruments.

Find year-round details on Irish cultural activities in New England by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Irish Singer Sean Tyrrell Performing in Worcester on April 4 in a Benefit for Michael J.Dunleavy Foundation


One of Ireland's most respected traditional singers, Sean Tyrrell, is performing at the Worcester Hibernian Center on April 4, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.  Suggested donation is $20.

The concert benefits the Michael J. Dunleavy Foundation, which supports victims and families of childhood brain tumors and associated cancer research.  You can follow the Foundation on Facebook.

Find year round details on Irish events by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Legends of the Celtic Harp Performing at Blackstone River Theatre on March 22


Three of the world's best Celtic harpists are performing in concert at Blackstone River Theatre on Saturday,March 22, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.   Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the theater prior to the concert.

Legends of the Celtic Harp consists of Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter, who are  on a national tour this winter spring.  The concert is described as a blend of music and oratory, spanning a range of human emotions.

Here is a schedule of upcoming events at Blackstone River Theatre,located in Cumberland, RI.  Here are directions.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade Set for Sunday, March 23


The 63rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Holyoke, Massachusetts is taking place on Sunday, March 23, 2014, starting at noon. 

This year's Grand Marshal is Roger Donoghue, an 81 year old Holyoke native who has been volunteering with the parade since 1965.  "He is not st the grand marshal, he is a grand man," said Parade committee President Jane C. Chevalier.

First started in 1952, the parade has become one of America's largest St. Patrick's Day, a family-oriented celebration of the distinct Irish-American community of western Massachusetts.

Here is a full list of parades in Massachusetts in March 2014. 

Find year round information on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.


Film on Irish Traditional Musician Tommy McCarthy Showing at Irish Film Festival on Sunday, March 23


Handing Down the Tunes, a documentary on Clare-born musician Tommy McCarthy, is airing at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.  It's the finale of the three-day Irish Film Festival Boston, which runs from March 20-23, 2014.

Here is a full schedule of films in this year's Irish Film Festival. 

Afterwards the Burren Pub, right up the street from the theater, will host a reception, with tunes by  the late McCarthy's son, fiddler Tommy McCarthy and his wife, banjoist Louise Costello.

Find year round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.




Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Traditional Music Pianist Tom Garvey Hosting Radio Show on WCCM on St. Patrick's Day


Irish traditional pianist Tom Garvey is hosting the 28th annual Irish Revue radio program on Monday, March 17, 2014 on WCCM 1110-AM, from noon to 4:00 p.m.

You can hear the show streaming at 1110wccmam.com.  The toll-free number to call and make requests or speak with Tom is 1-877-687-8005.
www.1110wccmam.com#sthash.mQpsELlQ.dpuf

The Andover resident is a longtime veteran of the region's Irish traditional music scene, dating back to the 1950s, when Garvey used to travel weekly to the robust Dudley Street in Roxbury, where five dance halls offered continuous Irish, Scottish and Canadian music for waves of immigrants and Boston's sprawling Irish and Celtic communities.  Garvey played piano in the famous Tara Ceili Band with fiddlers Larry Reynolds and Brendan Tonra.

Garvey is also a walking encyclopedia of Irish music, with a memory of recordings, musicians and band personnel dating back half a century.  He has donated many of his materials to the Boston College Irish Music Center and has been an adviser for other projects at the Lawrence Public Library Irish Collection and the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

In 2008, Garvey was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Musicians Association) for his lifelong contributions to Irish music.

For more information about Irish music in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com




Sunday, March 16, 2014

Three St. Patrick's Day Parades in Abington, Boston and Scituate, Massachusetts on Sunday, March 16


Parades celebrating Irish-American heritage are taking place around Massachusetts today, in Abington, Boston and Scituate on Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Abington is celebrating its 35th annual parade, thanks to the efforts of townsman Jack Bailey, who has been the driving force behind the celebration for many years.

The Irish parade in Scituate started as a small gathering of friends in neighbors in the 1990s, and it quickly gained steam for people along the South Shore with Irish roots. 

The Boston parade has run continuously out of South Boston since 1901.  At that time, the parade ended up at Faneuil Hall  in downtown Boston. 

In addition to parades, there are many other cultural activities taking place in Massachusetts and New England throughout the month of March.  Here is a calendar of events.

To find out more about the Irish-American community in the New England region, pick up a free copy of BITA's Travel & Culture Guide at visitor centers and cultural venues, or read a copy online.

For year round information visit IrishMassachusetts.com

Free Guide to St. Patrick's Day Activities in Massachusetts



Looking for information on Irish activities in Massachusetts this weekend?  Pick up a free copy of BITA's Travel & Culture Guide, a compendium of music and dance events, literary readings, parade information, Irish books and CDs, and details on Boston's Irish history and heritage.

The Guide is available at visitor kiosks around the state, museums, hotels and Irish gift shops, pubs and cultural centers around Massachusetts.  Here is a list of locations to pick up your Guide.

Or you can read Travel & Culture Guide online.

The Guide lists activities all through March and into the early summer.  Or you can find year round details on Irish cultural activities by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com


Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade in Lawrence, Massachusetts starts at 1pm Today


Photo Courtesy of David R. Burke 

The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Lawrence, MA is kicking off today at 1:00 p.m. at the corner of Amesbury and Essex Streets, on Saturday,  March 15, 2014. 

The annual parade, first started in 1968,  was cancelled in 2011 when organizers couldn't raise the necessary funds. This year, a 25 member committee headed by Police Detective Tom Cuddy, raised the funds needed to hire bands and organize the event, according to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune

Bill Sullivan, head of the AOH Division 8 in Lawrence, expressed gratitude that the parade was returning to Lawrence and said members of his organization,along with the Ladies AOH Lawrence chapter, were marching.  The AOH and the Irish Foundation of Lawrence organize an Irish Heritage Month each year with cultural activities throughout March.

Lawrence has a proud Irish heritage dating back to the founding of the city in the 1840s, when Irish immigrants fleeing Ireland's famine arrived in the city to work in the mills.  Lawrence is proudly referred to as an Immigrant City because of the successive waves of new immigrant groups that continue to replenish the city.

The late David R. Burke of Lawrence was one of the key organizers when the parade first started, and by 1974 the crowds had grown to over 200,000 people and 10,000 marchers, according to a story in the Boston Globe titled, "It was a Great Day for the Irish in Lawrence." There were 32 bands, 23 floats and 30 marching delegations, the Globe wrote.

This year's grand marshal is Edward Curran, a U.S. Army veteran who earned a Silver Medal and Gallantry Cross in Vietnam.  Curran also led efforts to construct a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Lawrence.

“This whole parade is showcasing Lawrence to people past, present and future. Much like the Italian feast and Hispanic Week, it brings people to Lawrence and is another way to showcase the city in a positive way,” Cuddy told the Eagle Tribune.

Here is a schedule of St. Patrick's Day parades across Massachusetts in March 2014, and other cultural events in March, issued by Boston Irish Tourism Association.

Find year round details about Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and New England by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.

Irish Cultural Centre in Canton Celebrates St. Patrick's Season March 15-17



The Irish Cultural Center in Canton, Massachusetts is celebrating St. Patrick's Day this weekend with continuous music and dance, cultural activities, food and beverage and entertainment. 

On Saturday, March 15, doors open at 1:00 p.m., and starts with the band Yoke Shire, performing Irish pub songs through 4:00 p.m.  Right down the hall,you can watch the televised Ireland vs France rugby match, as part of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament.

The Irish Rovers take the stage from 4:00-6:00 p.m., followed by the Rebel Kelleys, a family ensemble performing the best of Irish music through 11:00 p.m.

And DJ Dan Hallisey is spinning old Irish waltzes and step dances in the ballroom from 7:00-11:00 p.m.

The Irish pub on site is serving hot food and snacks all day long. 

Here is a full schedule of upcoming events at the Irish Cultural Centre in March.   Directions are here.

For year round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For visitor information go to MassVacation.com and BostonUSA.com.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Massachusetts St. Patrick's Day Parades in Lawrence,Abington, Boston and Scituate this Weekend

 Photo Courtesy of Boston Irish Tourism Association

Parades celebrating Irish-American heritage are taking place around Massachusetts this weekend, including Lawrence on Saturday, March 15, and Abington, Boston and Scituate on Sunday, March 16.

The Lawrence parade is a welcome treat to the Merrimack Valley region; the parade had been disbanded three years ago due to lack of funds, but now it is  back, thanks to a reorganized committee and a successful fundraising effort. 

Abington is celebrating its 35th annual parade, thanks to the efforts of townsman Jack Bailey, who has been the driving force behind the celebration for many years.

The Irish parade in Scituate started as a small gathering of friends in neighbors in the 1990s, and it quickly gained steam for people along the South Shore with Irish roots. 

The Boston parade has run continuously out of South Boston since 1901.  At that time, the parade ended up at Faneuil Hall  in downtown Boston.  Today it starts and ends in Southie.

In addition to parades, there are many other cultural activities taking place in Massachusetts and New England throughout the month of March.  Here is a calendar of events.

To find out more about the Irish-American community in the New England region, pick up a free copy of BITA's Travel & Culture Guide at visitor centers and cultural venues, or read a copy online.

For year round information visit IrishMassachusetts.com





Monday, March 10, 2014

Governor Deval Patrick Proclaims March 2014 as Irish Heritage Month in Massachusetts

Governor Deval Patrick declared March 2014 as Irish Heritage Month in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is the most Irish-American state in the U.S., with about 24% of all residents claiming Irish ancestry, according to the U.S. Census.



Find year round details on the state's Irish community by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.

Boston Tourism Group Giving Free Tickets to Irish Music Shows and Film Festival in March

Seamus Connolly 
Photo © Michael G. Stewart

Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off free tickets to see some of the great Irish concerts and cultural events taking place in Massachusetts this March.

These free offers include tickets to some terrific shows:

Celtic Sojourn in Worcester and Boston;

A Little Bit of Ireland starring Seamus Connolly in Waltham;

Ireland Forever with the Heatons in Harvard Square, Cambridge;

Katie McD in Boston's South End;

Sharon Corr in Brighton;

Irish Film Festival Boston in Davis Square, Somerville; and

Irish Rovers in Lexington.

Formed in 2000, Boston Irish Tourism Association promotes the region's Irish cultural scene year-round, while promoting cultural exchange and travel between New England, eastern Canada, and Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Read BITA's free magazine, Travel & Culture Guide online. 

Find other Irish cultural events in March here.

Go here to join Boston Irish Tourism Association.

Chieftains - Irish Traditional Band - Performing at Colonial Theatre in Keene, NH on March 11


The Chieftains - one or Ireland's leading traditional Irish ensembles for the past five decades - is performing at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, NY on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase online.

The band is credited with helping to usher in a revival of Irish traditional music in the early 1970s, and then spreading the music around the world through constant touring.  The band has partnered with a variety of great performers over the years, from Sir Paul McCarthy and Van Morrison to Diana Krall and Carlos Nunez.  Here is a story on The Chieftains in Irish America Magazine.

Find more about Irish music and dance in the New England region by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Worcester St. Patrick's Parade Kicks off at Noon on Sunday, March 9


The 32nd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Worcester, Massachusetts kicks off at noon on Sunday, March 9, 2014. The parade runs along Park Avenue, starting at Mill Street and ending at Highland Street near Elm Park.

Congratulations to this year's grand marshalls, Helen and Paul Foley, who have been volunteers at the parade for the past 28 years.

After the parade, check out the Hibernian Cultural Centre on Temple Street, where the Jolly Beggars are performing in Fiddler's Green Pub at 3:30 p.m.

Here is a list of Irish parades in Massachusetts this month.

For year round Irish cultural activities visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Find visitor information at MassVacation.com.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Irish Play, "Jimmy Titanic" in Final Weekend at Davis Square Theatre, March 8-9


Jimmy Titanic, a dynamic one-man show about the legacy of the Titanic, is on stage at the Davis Square Theatre in Somerville on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9,2014.

Written by Bernard McMullan, the play tells the story of two proud Belfast ship workers whose ghosts preside over the Titantic story 100 years later.  Described as 'darkly funny' and 'hilarious,' the play looks at history, memory and legacy while paying tribute to one of the world's most noted disasters.

The show stars actor Colin Hamell and is directed by Carmel O'Reilly.

Tickets are $20 general admission and $18 for seniors and students.  You can purchase online or at the theater. 

Find more Irish activities in Massachusetts this March.



Blackstone River Theatre Presents Robbie O'Connell, Caitlín Nic Gabhann & Ciarán Ó Maonaigh on March 8


The Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI presents an Irish music concert featuring Robbie O'Connell, Caitlín Nic Gabhann & Ciarán Ó Maonaigh on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the venue.

Singer O'Connell is based in Rhode Island and has performed in New England for many years.  Nic Gabhann on concertina and O Maonaigh on fiddle are from Ireland and currently touring the United States.

Here is a schedule of upcoming music at Blackstone River Theatre.

Find year round details on Irish activities in New England at IrishMassachusetts.com






Friday, March 7, 2014

Cape Cod St. Patrick's Parade Takes Place on Saturday, March 8



The 9th annual Cape Cod St. Patrick's Parade is taking place on Saturday, March 8, 2014, starting at 11:00 a.m.  The two-mile parade route starts at Long Pond Road and Route 28 in S. Yarmouth and ends on Route 28 in W. Yarmouth,. See map here.

NESE's fishing host Charlie Moore is this year's grand marshall.  Moore is the ninth grand marshall of the parade, joining other notables like boxer Irish Micky Ward, former Boston Mayor and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn, and Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson.

Here is a full schedule of St. Patrick's Day parades in Massachusetts in 2014.

Find year round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts and the New England region at IrishMassachusetts.com.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Author Christopher Klein Discusses Boxer John L. Sullivan, at Boston Public Library on March 6


Author Chris Klein is talking about his new book, Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square on Thursday, March 6, 2014, starting at 6:00 p.m. The lecture takes place at the Rabb Auditorium on the lower level, and is free to the public.

Sullivan was America's first sports hero, the son of Irish immigrants born in Boston's South End.  Klein traces Sullivan's early life and entry into the bare knuckle boxing world, and later his battle with alcohol and his travels around the world as a celebrity.

BITA's Travel & Culture Guide described Strong Boy as "a must read for sports fans who like their heroes in all their flawed glory, and for serious students of Boston's Irish history."

Strong Boy is published by Lyons Press

For more about Boston Irish history and culture, visit IrishBoston.org 




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Now Online: March 2014 issue of BITA's Travel & Culture Guide - Round up of St. Patrick's Day Activities


The Spring 2014 issue of Travel & Culture Guide, published by Boston Irish Tourism Association, is available online.  The 28 page magazine is distributed free at visitor outlets and cultural venues around Massachusetts.

The Guide highlights Irish and Celtic cultural activities taking place in March through June 2014, including a round up of concerts, dances, parades and other activities surrounding the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  Read Press Advisory here.

Here is list of venues where the Guide is available starting next week.

Find year round details on Irish events in Massachusetts and New England at IrishMassachusetts.com.





St. Patrick's Day Parade Returns to Lawrence, MA on Saturday, March 15

(Photo Courtesy of David R. Burke)

The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Lawrence, MA is returning on Saturday, March 15, 2014, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the corner of Amesbury and Essex Streets. 

The annual parade, first started in 1968,  was cancelled in 2011 when organizers couldn't raise the necessary funds. This year, a 25 member committee headed by Police Detective Tom Cuddy, raised the funds needed to hire bands and organize the event, according to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune

Bill Sullivan, head of the AOH Division 8 in Lawrence, expressed gratitude that the parade was returning to Lawrence and said members of his organization,along with the Ladies AOH Lawrence chapter, were marching.  The AOH and the Irish Foundation of Lawrence organize an Irish Heritage Month each year with cultural activities throughout March.

Lawrence has a proud Irish heritage dating back to the founding of the city in the 1840s, when Irish immigrants fleeing Ireland's famine arrived in the city to work in the mills.  Lawrence is proudly referred to as an Immigrant City because of the successive waves of new immigrant groups that continue to replenish the city.

The late David R. Burke of Lawrence was one of the key organizers when the parade first started, and by 1974 the crowds had grown to over 200,000 people and 10,000 marchers, according to a story in the Boston Globe titled, "It was a Great Day for the Irish in Lawrence." There were 32 bands, 23 floats and 30 marching delegations, the Globe wrote.

This year's grand marshall is Edward Curran, a U.S. Army veteran who earned a Silver Medal and Gallantry Cross in Vietnam.  Curran also led efforts to construct a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Lawrence.

“This whole parade is showcasing Lawrence to people past, present and future. Much like the Italian feast and Hispanic Week, it brings people to Lawrence and is another way to showcase the city in a positive way,” Cuddy told the Eagle Tribune.

Here is a schedule of St. Patrick's Day parades across Massachusetts in March 2014, and other cultural events in March, issued by Boston Irish Tourism Association.

Find year round details about Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and New England by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Irish Singer Karan Casey Performs at Blackstone River Theatre on March 6


Irish singer Karan Casey is performing with her trio at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $24 at the Theatre the day of the concert.

A founding member of traditional group Solas, Karan is touring as a trio behind her new album, "Two More Hours," which was produced by Niall Vallely and features guest appearances by singers Mick Flannery, Abigail Washburn and Aoife O'Donovan.

The Boston Globe says, "Casey's voice is among the loveliest in folk music and she's a wonderful interpreter of both contemporary and traditional material."

Here is a schedule of upcoming concerts at Blackstone River Theatre

Find out more about Irish cultural activities by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tourism Group Issues 2014 Schedule of St. Patrick’s Day Activities in Massachusetts/ New England



 
Niamh Ni Charra

Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) today released its 2014 schedule of St.Patrick's Day activities - including six parades and dozens of cultural events - taking place this March in cities and towns across Massachusetts and the New England states.

Many renowned singers and musicians are in the region in March as  part of national tours, including traditional music legends the Chieftains; Irish ballad band the Irish Rovers; singer Andy Cooney and Dublin’s Irish Cabaret. Soloists include singer Karan Casey, fiddler Niamh Ni Charra, Gaelic singer Seán Keane, and Dublin’s own Sharon Corr from the Corrs. Brian O’Donovan’s A St. Patrick’s Celtic Sojourn, features some of the best traditional music from Ireland and New England.

Local Irish music stars performing in March include Irish fiddle champion Séamus Connolly, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Pendragon, Mark Roberts and Sheila Falls, singer Katie McD, and Boston's champion band, the Dropkick Murphys.

BITA is giving away free concert tickets to many of the concerts. Go to the Contests Page for more details.

Local tourism officials from Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism are encouraging tourists to visit Massachusetts in March to enjoy the parades and cultural festivities while taking advantage of great hotel and restaurant rates this time of year.

Patrick B. Moscaritolo, President of Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, says, "Boston's Irish community offers a wonderful way to explore the city's illustrious history through the Irish Heritage Trail. Once you visit Boston you'll see why it is called the Capital of Irish America."

Here is a schedule of guided tours of the Irish Heritage Trail this month. 

"Visitors and residents alike have a great time celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Massachusetts," says Colette Quinlin of Boston Irish Tourism Association. "There is a wide variety of contemporary culture direct from Ireland as well as rich strains of Irish-American culture and history."

BITA's March 2014 issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a free magazine that details Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, as well as travel to Canada and Ireland, is available at local visitor centers in early March. 


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