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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boston Irish Famine Memorial unveiled on this day: June 28, 1998

Boston's Irish Famine Memorial was unveiled before a crowd of 7,000 people on Sunday, June 28, 1998 at the corner of School and Washington Street along Boston's Freedom Trail and Irish Heritage Trail.

The $1 million Memorial commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine which occurred in Ireland between 1845-1849, killing nearly one million people and forcing another two million people to emigrate to  Boston, New York, Halifax and other eastern seaboard cities.

The memorial project was headed by the late Thomas J. Flatley, along with Michael Cummings and others from the Boston community.  For a list of the committee click here.

For year round details on Boston's Irish cultural community, visit

For tourist information, visit or

Friday, June 24, 2011

Catskills Irish Arts Week - July 10-16, 2011 Features World's Best Irish Trad Musicians

Irish Fiddler Willie Kelly

Some of the world's best traditional Irish musicians, singers, dancers and crafts artists are at the 17th annual Catskills Irish Arts Week, taking place in East Durham, NY on July 10-16, 2011.

It's an amazing gathering of over 70 top artists who teach and perform Irish music and dance at the highest level throughout the week, according to artistic director Paul Keating. 

The Irish Arts Week culminates in the Andy McGann Traditional Irish Music Festival on Saturday, July 16 throughout the day, named for the great Sligo-style fiddler from the Bronx.
For a full list of faculty members, click here.

For information about registering to attend, click here.

The Irish Arts Week takes place in the beautiful setting of the Catskills Mountains in eastern New York state, not far from the Massachusetts border.  For details on hotel accommodations, click here.

For year round details on Irish music in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Imelda May, Irish Rockabilly Star, Performs at Brighton Music Hall in Boston on Saturday, July 30

Irish rockabilly star Imelda May is performing in Boston on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at the Brighton Music Hall in the city's Allston neighborhood.

The over-18 show starts at 9:00 p.m.  Tickets are  $17.50 and can be ordered online at Ticketmaster.

The Dublin-born singer has been performing a unique style of American rockability fused with Irish sensibility for years, and performed at the College Green concert for President Barack and Michele Obama in May.

For a full schedule of concerts at Brighton Music Hall this summer, click here.

For concerts throughout greater Boston and Massachusetts, visit

For tourist information, visit or

Win Tickets to see Peter Gabriel on June 24 at Comcast Center near Boston

Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off free pairs of tickets to see Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra in concert on Friday, June 24, 2011 at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA.  The show starts at 8:00 p.m.

To enter to win, go to BITA's Contest Page and fill in the details.

You can also purchase tickets directly by going to Live Nation.

For a full schedule of great concerts at the Comcast Center this summer, click here.

For a schedule of concerts throughout Massachusetts and the New England states, visit

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nunset Boulevard on stage at Reagle Theatre in Waltham on June 18-19

The Little Sisters of Hoboken return to Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston for three performances of Nunset Boulevard on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday, June 19,  at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $35- $57 and can be ordered online or at the door.

The show is written and directed Dan Goggin, and includes a quintet of irerepressible singing and dancing nuns who find themselves performing in a cabaret lounge at the Hollywood Bowl-a-Rama.

For a schedule of other plays this summer at the Reagle Theatre, click here.

For year round details on cultural activities in greater Boston, visit

Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview with Russell Gusetti, Director of Summer Solstice Festival on June 18

Aoife Clancy

Interview with Russell Gusetti, executive director of the Blackstone River Theatre (BRT), and founder of the Summer Solstice Festival taking place on Saturday, June 18, at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland, RI.

You're launching a new Summer Solstice Festival this weekend with some great traditional music.  How did you come up with the name? 

The name was actually suggested by Robbie O'Connell who is on BRT's Board. As we sought to plan a big event to commemorate Blackstone River Theatre's 10th anniversary season, he suggested the Solstice name when he found I was looking to move our festival from July to third week in June. While it is still very much a Celtic music festival with an emphasis on Irish culture (Robbie O'Connell, Aoife Clancy, Burning Bridget Cleary, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Pendragon, Annalivia), it gave me the opportunity to seek out some groups offering an additional world music perspective like The Gnomes, Triple Spiral and of course Genticorum from Quebec. And after this winter, it was great talking about and planning something with the word "summer" in it to look forward to!

Blackstone River Theatre has a great track record of promoting traditional Irish and Celtic bands year round.  Why is the audience in RI/ southern NE so strong for Irish music? 

I'd like to think Blackstone River Theatre has played a part in having created such a strong audience for Celtic music because of our emphasis on not only presenting the very best of both international and local regional acts but also by offering classes in areas such as Irish step dance, fiddle and whistle, Celtic stone carving and more which allows audience to also become participants in this rich culture. And of course, geographically speaking, both Rhode Island and nearby Mass. including Boston have a very strong Irish makeup. By adding Scottish and Quebecois and world music, I hope to reach out to other ethnic groups as well as music lovers in general.

Are you hoping to make Summer Solstice Festival an annual event? 

Absolutely! We wanted the Celtic Fest we produced in 2007 and 2008 to become annual events, an outdoor extension of BRT's normal programming, but sadly the bad weather  in 2008 followed by the region's recession ruined that possibility. But if we do well June 18, the BRT Summer Solstice Fest will indeed become an annual event and highlight of Blackstone River Theatre's programming


For a year round schedule of concerts at Blackstone River Theatre, click here.

For Irish cultural activities in New England, visit

Thursday, June 16, 2011

International Tourism to United States is Breaking Records, reports US Commerce Department

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that international visitors spent an estimated $12.3 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during April. This represents a 19 percent increase from April 2010. Travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, nearly $1.4 billion a month in 2011.

“Since President Obama challenged us to double U.S. exports during the next five years, the U.S. travel and tourism industry has proven itself up to challenge,” noted Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. “Our nation’s travel and tourism businesses are a driving force in helping us achieve the goals of the National Export Initiative - helping to strengthen our economy and support millions of American jobs.”

International visitors have spent an estimated $48.3 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date (January through April), an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year.

“If these trends continue, international visitors could inject more than $151 billion into the U.S. economy in 2011,” Sánchez said.

International visitors traveling to the United States purchased $9.4 billion in travel and tourism-related goods and services in April, an increase of 17 percent when compared to last year. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel.

Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors increased by nearly 26 percent to $2.9 billion for the month, breaking the all-time record set back in August 2008.

The United States has a $12.9 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through the first four months of 2011. International travelers to the United States support 1.2 million jobs.

For information about the US Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, click here

For visiting Massachusetts, go to

With Boston Bruins Win, Massachusetts is declared the State of Champions in the Sports World


The Mass Office of Travel & Tourism has declared Massachusetts as the "State of Champions" after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup Championship last night.

MOTT, which promotes Massachusetts year round to domestic and international visitors, noted in a statement:
  "There's no better place to be a sports fan. Massachusetts is home to the 3-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the 7-time World Champion Boston Red Sox, the 17-time champion Boston Celtics, and the winners of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion and 6-time Cup champions, the Boston Bruins."

MOTT also cited the Cape Cod Summer League and six minor league baseball teams across the state, The Head of the Charles Regatta, the country's largest regatta, and the thriving collegiate sports programs at schools like Boston University, Boston College and Harvard University.

Other professional teams in Massachusetts include the New England Revolution soccer team, the Boston Blazers lacrosse team, and the Boston Lobsters tennis team.

Add to that the world famous Boston Marathon, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, and the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, and it's easy to see what Massachusetts earns the title of The State of Champions!

Betsy Wall, executive director of MOTT, invited fans from around the world to "pay homage to their favorite teams" by visiting Massachusetts.

For more details about visiting Massachusetts, go to

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Irish Festival this weekend features Aoife Clancy, Robbie O'Connell, The Heatons and Pendragon, at Solstice Summer Fest on June 18

The first annual Summer Solstice Festival is taking place this Saturday, June 18, 2011 at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland, RI .

The all-day festival features Irish performers like Aoife Clancy, Robbie OConnell, Shannon and Matt Heaton, Burning Bridget Cleary, and Pendragon.

The festival is being organized by  the Blackstone River Theatre, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year as one of the premier non-profit organizations in New England.

In addition to five stages with continuous music, the Summer Solstice Festival features a variety of dancing exhibitions,  cultural activities, plus vendors, food courts and play areas for children.

For more information visit Blackstone River Theatre  or call  401 725-9272. 

For a list of Irish, Scottish and Celtic festivals in New England and the Catskills this summer, visit

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boston Irish tourism group issues free Travel & Culture Guide detailing festivals, concerts, pubs and travel offers

The Boston Irish Tourism Association has published its 8th annual Travel & Culture Guide, a cultural magazine that focuses on the Irish-American community in Massachusetts and the New England region. 

The free magazine, available at tourism centers, hotels and cultural venues throughout Massachusetts, has details on all of the Irish and Celtic festivals in the New England region, as well as Irish pubs, gift shops, cultural groups and hotels in the greater Boston area. 

For details on where to pick up a free copy of the Guide or to order a copy by mail, click here

The summer issue profiles Keith Lockhart, conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, and Tom McNaught, new executive director of the Kennedy Library Foundation, and includes a pictorial essay on President Obama's trip to Ireland in May 2011.

For ongoing details on the Irish-American community in Massachusetts throughout the year, visit

For tourist information on Massachusetts, visit

For tourist information on Ireland, visit

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Annalivia - Celtic Music Ensemble - Performing on June 18 at Summer Solstice Festival

Annalivia, a dynamic and innovative Celtic band specializing in Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, Blue Grass and Appalachian music, is performing at the Summer Solstice Festival in Cumberland, RI on Saturday, June 18, 2011.  The festival is being organized by the Blackstone River Theatre.

See video of the band's rendition of the tune, Murphy's Shadow.

For a full line-up of performers at the Solstice Summer Festival, click here

For Irish, Scottish and Celtic festivals around New England and the Catskills, visit

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Enter the Haggis Performing at Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival on July 16

 Enter the Haggis, the Celtic rock band from Toronto, Canada, is performing at the 18th annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival in Florence, Massachusetts, on July 16, 2011.

Organizers note that this is the tenth year for the popular band to perform at the festival, which celebrates Scottish music and dance, culture, food and genealogy each year in western Massachusetts.  They'll be joined by the Boston Blackthorne, Charle Zahm and other Scottish performers.

For a complete line-up of bands performing this year, click here.

For a full schedule of Irish, Scottish and Celtic festivals in New England and the Catskills this summer, visit the Boston Irish Tourism Association's festival page.

For year round details on Irish culture and heritage in Massachusetts, visit

Burning Bridget Cleary Performing at Irish Festival on June 18

Top traditional Irish-American Burning Bridget Cleary is performing at the Summer Solstice Festival in Cumberland, RI on Saturday, June 18, 2011.

The event, organized by the Blackstone River Theatre, offers a full day of mainly Irish, Scottish and Celtic traditional music.  Also featured: dancing exhibits, workshops, activities for children, food courts, vendors and cultural activities.

For more details visit Blackstone Valley Theatre.

For a full list of Irish festivals in New England and the Catskills this summer click here.

For year round Irish cultural activities in greater Boston, visit

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tourism Group Issues Schedule of Irish and Celtic Summer Festivals in New England This Summer

(Boston) – The Boston Irish Tourism Association has released its annual schedule of outdoor festivals and concerts featuring Irish and Celtic music throughout the New England region and upstate New York.

Kicking off this year’s schedule is the 1st annual Summer Solstice Festival, taking place on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland, RI.  Organized by the Blackstone River Theatre, a non-profit group promoting culture and the arts year round, this year’s festival features Aoife Clancy and Robbie O’Connell, the Heatons, Pendragon, Annalivia, atwater-Donnelly Trio and more.  With five stages, there’s continuous music, set dancing and ceili dancing throughout the day, as well as children’s area, vendors and food and craft vendors.

The 17th annual Catskills Irish Arts Week, in East Durham, NY, takes place July 10-16, 2011, and features some of the world’s best Irish musicians, singers and dancers.  It’s a summer school format, with over 75 teachers, 120 daily classes and workshops, and nightly concerts and sessions.  The week culminates in an all-day music festival on Saturday, July 16 from noon to 7:00 p.m.

The 18th annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival takes place on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at Look Park in Florence, MA, just next to Northampton.  The festival features Canadian group, Enter the Haggis, Boston Blackthorne, the Bell Family, Charlie Zahm, as well as clan gatherings, Scottish games, food courts and vendors, spinning and weaving demonstrations and more traditional folk arts.

On July 26 the 2nd annual Cape Cod Irish SummerFest takes place at the Melody Tent in Hyannis on Cape Cod, MA.  Organized by the Sons of Erin and the Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, it’s a great day and night of Irish music and dancing, food vendors and crafts.

The 25th Lowell Folk Festival takes place in Lowell, MA on July 29-31 in downtown Lowell’s National Park.  Featuring six stages of traditional ethnic music, authentic crafts, ethnic foods and activities for children, this year’s Festival features Irish traditional band Dervish, along with various performers representing dozens of cultures.

On September 3-5, the 13th annual Newport Waterfront Irish Festival takes place at the Newport Yachting Center in downtown Newport, RI.  This Labor-Day festival features fiddle star Eileen Ivers and her band Immigrant Soul, the Screaming Orphans, Makem & Spain Brothers, and more.  There’s a special snug package available this year that provides VIP amenities and opportunities for guests.

On September 16-18, the 36th annual New Hampshire Highland Games take place at Loon Mountain, NH.  Billed as the largest Scottish gathering in the northeast, the Highland Games includes continuous Scottish music and dancing, athletic games, bagpipe bands, arts and crafts and plenty of Scottish food and beverages, vendors, and family-activities.

 For details on other concerts and dances, theater and literary events, cultural activities and festivities year round, visit

To find out about Irish-American heritage and history in Boston, visit

Play on Tip O'Neill is opening at Boston's Lyric Stage on Thursday, June 9

Veteran writer, humorist and actor Dick Flavin is staring in the new show on Thomas "Tip" O'Neill.   According to Tip  runs at the Lyric Stage in Boston's Back Bay from June 9 through July 3, 2011.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off five pairs of free tickets to see the opening night show on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 7:30 p.m..  To enter the contest, click here and fill in the form.

Tickets to the show are $39 - $47.  There's a special discount for the opening shows on June 9-11, when prices are $32 - $37.  You can purchase tickets to any of the shows online.

For a full schedule of the 2011-12 season at the Lyric Stage, located at 140 Clarendon Street in Boston's Back Bay, click here.  You can also follow Lyric Stage on Facebook and Twitter.

For year round cultural activities in greater Boston visit or

For tourist information visit and

Irish Block Party in Downtown Boston on June 16

The 19th Annual Jose McIntyre’s Block Party is taking take place Thursday June 16, 2011  at Jose McIntyre’s Back Entrance: 83 Central Street in downtown Boston.

Tickets are $10 at the door and can also be ordered online.  All guests must be 21 or older.
The renowned event includes Boston’s famous U2 tribute band Joshua Tree as well as Ryan Palma, Devri Irish, Bearfight and big beats with DJ Littles, plus street performers, great prizes and more.  All proceeds benefit the local breast cancer non-profit organization Men With Heart.

Sue Brady of Mix 104.1 is emcee for the night. 

Jose McIntyre's is operated by the Glynn Hospitality Group, a family run business that includes some of Boston's finest pubs and restaurants, including the famous Black Rose Pub at Faneuil Hall.

For year round details on Irish events in greater Boston, visit

For tourist information, visit or

Cape Cod Irish Group Hosts Bloomsday Celebration of Ireland's novelist James Joyce on June 16

The Sons of Erin Club in West Yarmouth, Cape Cod, is hosting its first ever Bloomsday event on Thursday, June 16 at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

The event features readings and live music.  Cost of admission if $5.

Bloomsday, which is celebrated around the world, pays tribute to the works of James Joyce, Ireland's 20th century novelist whose work, Ulysses, is considered one of the world's best novels.

For yer round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts, visit

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Irish Scholar Phil O'Leary is Speaking at Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre on June 9

Irish language and literature scholar Phillip O'Leary is giving a lecture at the Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre on Thursday, June 9, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Admission is $5.00 and the lecture is open to the public. 

A professor in the English Department and the Irish Studies program at Boston College, Professor O'Leary has published numerous scholarly books on the role that Irish language plays in Irish literature.

Located at 19 Temple Street, the Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre is a gathering spot for the Irish-American community in Central Massachusetts.

For year round Irish cultural events in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tourism Rebounding in Massachusetts: NECN Report

Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, gave a great interview on New England Cable News (NECN) about the state of tourism in Massachusetts and how the indicators are encouraging for state tourism this summer.

For more details on MOTT, go to VisitMA Facebook page or follow on Twitter @VisitMA.

For more about visiting Massachusetts year round, go to