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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Boston, Massachusetts Set to Host the "War of 1812" Bicentennial Events Taking Place June 30 to July 5

The City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts are rolling out a royal welcome for the fleet of tall ships coming to Boston Harbor this week to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

A variety of events, free and open to the public, are taking place, including concerts, boarding of tall ships, US Navy Elite parachuting, US Coast Guard and Air Force activities like the Blue Angel flyover, an international tug-of-war, and a 4th of July parade.

You can see a full schedule at OpSail Boston or by visiting

A cornerstone of the celebration is the USS Constitution, which is permanently stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard and run by the National Park Service.  Nearby is the USS Constitution Museum.

In addition to the Charlestown Navy Yard, many of the tall ships are being docked at the Black Falcon Wharf and the Fish Pier in the Seaport District in South Boston, near the World Trade Center and Seaport Hotel.  Other attractions in the area include outdoor concerts at the Bank of America Pavilion, and performances of Cirque du Soleil at the Marine Industrial Park.

For complete visitor details on attending these exciting events, please visit and

Here is a promotional video on Boston activities during the War of 1812 bicentennial.

Or view the Official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website


The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has issued Worldfest 2012, its 4th annual summer schedule showcasing the rich cultural diversity and heritage of Massachusetts.

Ranging from the Italian feast days in Boston's North End and the Wompanoag PowWow on Cape Cod, to the Worcester Latin American Festival and the Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival, these festivities celebrate dozens of different ethnic and racial communities throughout Massachusetts.

Read the WorldFest press release here.

You can also find a schedule of Irish and Scottish festivals taking place in the region this summer at

For information on visiting Massachusetts, go to

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Granary Tavern - Boston's Newest Restaurant - Now Open

Granary Tavern, an exciting new restaurant specializing in local foods, friendly staff, historical ambiance and beautiful views of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, opened this week at 170 Milk Street in downtown Boston. 

The 250 seat restaurant combines the historic elements such as granite blocks and exposed beams with contemporary lighting, design and function.

The Granary Tavern is part of the Glynn Hospitality Group, a family-owned company that includes some of the city's most popular restaurants and pubs.  See the menu here.

Follow Granary Tavern on Facebook, and find directions here.

Find year round details on cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit

For visitor information go to and

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Memoriam: John Curran, A Sound Man of Erin

John Curran (1938-2012), an Irishman with a generous heart and a golden voice, died on Wednesday, June 21, 2012 after battling heart disease for many years.  He was 73.

He is survived by his wife Kitty, their four children, Sean, Tricia, Deirdre and Maura, seven grandchildren, and extended family in Ireland, including siblings, Donal, Maureen and Marion.   

Born in Waterville, Kerry and raised in Crosshaven, Cork, Curran emigrated to Boston in 1955 at age 16.  Shortly after he met his future wife Kitty Ryan, from Ballinagare, Roscommon, on a bus in Cambridge, where John attended Rindge Tech and Kitty was a student at Cambridge Latin.  They married in 1960.   He had a successful career as a food broker, working with larger supermarkets and food suppliers.

John frequently described Kitty as the love of his life, as he testified at the Charitable Irish Society gathering in 2009, where he received the prestigious Silver Key Award.  He also exuded pride in the success of his four children and joy in spending time with his grandchildren. 

His role as a leader of Boston’s Irish community extended half a century.  He was ubiquitous, serving as master of ceremonies for countless events, organizing fundraisers, volunteering at festivals, and helping to create local Irish groups such as the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton and the Boston branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

“John was a great force in the Irish community, always willing to help anyone,” says his good friend Larry Reynolds, who came to Boston in 1953. 

Curran and Reynolds, along with Billy Caples and Pat Berry, formed the Boston chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in 1975.  The branch was innovative, initiating a Comhaltas hour on WNTN that ran for 25 years, hosting regular sessions and set dancing classes, and forming a flourishing Music School.  With over 500 members, Boston has one of the largest Comhaltas branches in the world today.

John was well known as the golden voice of A Sound of Erin radio program, formed by Henry Varian and Bernie McCarthy at WUNR in 1973. John started out reading the news and selling advertising, and later kept the program going on WNTN until 2008, by which time the program was streaming online.

In winter 2011 he made his debut as a television personality, along with his friend Tommy Sheridan, hosting A Sound of Erin at Belmont Media Center’s community television station. 

“The television show gave John a new lease on life,” says Sheridan.  “He just loved it so much, being on air.  He’d be in the studio, and he’d be telling jokes, telling stories, playing music.”

After watching a recorded episode and noticing they both had bald spots on their heads, Curran turned up the next week with Greek fishing caps, which they wore in good humor for several more episodes.
This week the station is replaying past episodes of the show in John’s honor, according to Jeff Hansell of the Media Center.

Curran’s longtime friend Richard Archer knew John when they were both teenagers in Crosshaven, working at the same butcher shop.

 “John was my friend since we were both about 14 years of age,” Archer says.  “He came to the United States two to three years before I did and was a great help to me when I first arrived.  He helped me learn to drive.”

Archer, who worked with Curran at the Sound of Erin,  said, “John was my partner at Round Tower Travel for nine years… and helped many individuals and clubs out through the Radio Program.”

John helped form the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton in 1989, serving in the early years as the public relations spokesman for the group. And more recently he organized the annual Reagle Players production of A Bit of Ireland, performed every St. Patrick’s Day season in Waltham. 

John was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 14, Watertown, and willingly did a live broadcast when the AOH National Convention came to Boston, says Dick MacDonald, former president of Division 14.

In 2006 Curran was inducted into the Comhaltas Hall of Fame for his contribution to Irish traditional music.  He was National Public Relations Director of the North America Province of Comhaltas, and played an active role in the Boston branch throughout his life.
- by Michael Quinlin

Visiting hours Monday, June 25, from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Brown & Hickey Funeral Home, 36 Trapelo Road, Belmont on Tuesday.  Funeral mass at St Josephs Church, 128 Common Street, Belmont at 9:00 a.m.. Relatives and friends invited. Interment private. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, 101A First Ave, Waltham, MA, 02454 or the American Heart Association, 20 Speen Street, Framingham, MA, 01701.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Liam Clancy Film Being Shown at Irish Cultural Centre on Friday, June 22

The Irish Cultural Centre in Canton is celebrating the Life & Times of Irish balladeer Liam Clancy with a screening of a film documentary about his life entitled The Yellow Bittern.

Clancy was a founding member of the Irish group, the Clancy Brothers and was an influential figure in Irish music circles over the past fifty years.  Bob Dylan described Clancy as "The best ballad singer I ever heard in my life."

The documentary begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for general public and free for ICC members. A traditional Irish music session follows the filming, and musicians are invited to join in.

See schedule of upcoming events at the ICC.

Find year round details on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and New England by visiting

For visitor information go to and

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Worcester Irish Music Festival Taking Place on Saturday, June 23

The Jolly Beggars

The Worcester Irish Festival is taking place on Saturday, June 23, 2012, from noon to 11:00 p.m., at the Hibernian Cultural Center at 19 Temple Street in downtown Worcester.

Headlining this year's festival are the Jolly Beggars, Tom Lanigan Band and Billy Egan & the Rising.  Irish gift shops are displaying their wares, and check out the Irish Soda Bread table.

Admission is $5, and children under 12 go free.

For year round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit

For visitor information go to and

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jump into Ireland Campaign Invites Visitors This Summer

Ireland is jumping with activities throughout the island. 

Jump into Ireland, a new campaign by Tourism Ireland, is offering an array of great packages, travel ideas and a veritable feast of festivals, special events, sightseeing and cultural opportunities that make Ireland such an ideal travel destination in 2012.

Here is just a sampling of what’s going on this summer all across Ireland. You can find full details on everything Ireland has to offer by visiting

June 30: The year of the Titanic continues in Northern Ireland this summer with the Land of Giants festival on June 30 at the Titanic Slipways. It may be the biggest outdoor arts event ever to take place in Northern Ireland. 

June 30 - July 8: The Volvo Ocean Race Grand Finale comes to Galway City, a fitting finish for the world-famous sailboats. A Race Village showcases global cultures from each of the race’s stopovers, and expect plenty of Irish culture and arts, entertainment and cuisine too. 

July 13-21: Right up the road in Glenarm, County Antrim, you’ll enjoy the Dalriada Festival, recently voted the friendliest festival of the year by the National Outdoor Events Association. The festival celebrates the Scots-Irish heritage of the region, and features exciting Highland Games, Followed by Irish and Scottish music and dancing, culinary contests, and plenty of family activities. 

July 16-29 The world-renowned Galway Arts Festival features hundreds of writers, artists, performers and musicians, creating an amazing spectacle of theatre, street art, comedy, literature and music. Headliners include Nile Rodgers and Chic, Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott; James Vincent McMorrow and Lisa Hannigan, the Coronas, Kormac’s Big Band, Damien Dempsey and the Brodsky Quartet.  

August 10-20: The All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil takes place in Cavan Town, County Cavan. The Irish Music Festival, run by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, is an amazing gathering of the world’s greatest traditional Irish musicians, many of them entering the championship competitions or simply back to play tunes with old friends. The Fleadh Cheoil is all about the music – concerts, recitals, workshops and sessions – taking over the town. 

August 23-26: In Dublin, the Tall Ships Festival features up to 100 vessels from around the world that will put down anchor at the Dublin Docklands for the four-day extravaganza. The docks will become a festival in its own right, as visitors get to board the ships and meet the sailors, while being entertained by live music, street theatre, parades, funfairs, treasure hunts and water activities.

September 1: Catch the Notre Dame – Navy football game being played at Aviva Stadium. The two American football teams have been dueling since 1927, and this marks their first show-down in Dublin! has some great deals.

September 7-9: The Tulla Trad Fest in County Clare is a terrific weekend of songs, music and dance. Tulla sprouted up around a 7th century monastery, but in recent decades has found acclaim as a bastion of Irish traditional music, exemplified by the famous Tulla Ceili Band. Headlining this year’s fest are notable traditional musicians like the Kane sisters, Liz and Yvonne, the Mulcahy family, Angelina Carberry, Vincent Griffin and the Five Counties Ceili Band.

September: The brand new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Center opens in one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes, formed by molten lava some 60 million years ago. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has newly enhanced walking trails, orientation sites, interpretation points and a brand new gift shop and tea room. For more details visit

For information on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit

Jose McIntyre's 20th Annual Block Party Takes Place in Downtown Boston on Thursday, June 21

Jose McIntyre's famous block party is celebrating its 20th anniversary in downtown Boston this Thursday, June 21, 2012 from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available online

Celebrated as Boston's distinctive Irish-Mexican restaurant and pub, the annual Block Party takes place on Central Street behind Jose McIntyre's.  Proceeds from the event benefit Men With Hearts, a local non-profit that fights against breast cancer. 

Jose McIntyre's is run by the Glynn Hospitality Group, a family-run business with roots in County Galway.

Find year round details on Irish activities in greater Boston by visiting

For visitor information go to and

Carbon Leaf Performs on the Rock & Blues Concert Cruise in Boston Harbor on Friday, June 22

The Rock & Blues Concert Cruises on Boston Harbor continues this week as Carbon Leaf performs on Friday, June 22, 2012.  The boat boards at 7:00 p.m. and departs at 8:00 p.m. from the World Trade Center Pier in Boston's Seaport District on Northern Avenue.

Tickets are $27.50 leading up to the concert, and $33 the day of the show.  You can order tickets online.  This is a 21+ show.

Hailing from Virginia, Carbon Leaf is a unique blend of folk-rock, Americana, Celtic, bluegrass, rock and pop, one of the great independent bands of this age.  Joining Carbon Leaf on the Cruise, and opening the show, is the Jason SpoonerTrio.

Here is a full schedule of Rock & Blues Concerts this summer. 

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

Find visitor information by going to and

Friday, June 15, 2012

Boston Irish Tourism Group issues Summer Travel & Culture Guide

The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) has issued its annual summer Travel & Culture Guide, featuring a round-up of festivals, concerts and cultural activities taking place in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Quebec City, many of them with an Irish and Celtic flair.

The 28-page color magazine, distributed free at visitor kiosks and cultural venues throughout Massachusetts, provides details on traveler amenities like hotels and travel agencies, pubs and restaurants, gift shops and retail shops, museums and cultural associations. 

The Guide includes a section on traveling to Ireland in 2012, plus a round-up of the best festivals taking place in Ireland throughout the season.  Here is a list of distribution outlets to pick up your free copy.

BITA was formed in 2000 to promote cultural tourism year round.  It publishes three issues of Travel & Culture Guide in March, June and October.  BITA also created Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail, highlighting Irish landmarks throughout Boston and around the state. 

For further details on the festivals and concerts, as well as year-round Irish and cultural activities, hotel packages, gift shops and Irish pubs, visit
For details on vacationing in Massachusetts, contact and

Friday, June 8, 2012

Boston Irish Heritage Trail - Guided Tours Run from June 16 to August 30, Starting on Boston Common

Guided tours of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail are starting up next Saturday,  June 16, 2012, leaving at 2:00 p.m. from the Visitor Center on Boston Common along Tremont Street, the Boston Irish Tourism Association has announced.

The 75 minute walk takes you to over 300 years of Boston Irish history, from the colonial times, through the 19th century Famine immigration era, to the Civil War, and up to the present time.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children, and can be purchased online or at the Visitor Center the day of the walk.

The summer schedule is as follows:

Every Wednesday and Thursday, from June 20 through August 30
Every third Saturday of the month (June 16, July 21, August 18)

All tours leave at 2:00 p.m. from the Boston Common Visitors Center.

For more information about the Irish Heritage Trail and the tour itself, please call the Boston Irish Tourism Association at 617 696 9880 or email to

For year round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, and about visiting Ireland, go to

For tourist information about visiting Boston and Massachusetts, visit and

Monday, June 4, 2012

Boston Irish Festival, June 8-10: Calling all Irish Fiddlers, Dancers and Redheads!

Gaelic Storm
Have you noticed how many people in Massachusetts have freckles? That’s because we’re the most Irish state in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with nearly 24% of all state residents claiming Irish ancestry.

You’ll find many of us  – with or without freckles – at this year’s Boston Irish Festival, taking place June 8-10, at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, about 10 miles from Boston. And everyone’s welcome, you don’t have to be Irish!

Now in its 22nd year, the festival takes place on the spacious 46-acre grounds of the Centre, tucked away off Route 138, not far from the interstate highways. It boasts state-of-the-art athletic fields, walking trails, a children’s play area, and an authentic Irish cottage built by craftsmen to traditional specifications – thatched roof and all.

The festival’s main draw, of course, is great Irish music, on fiddles, accordions, pipes, flutes and guitars, taking place on various stages throughout the festival grounds.

Opening this year’s performances on Friday, June 8, is Gaelic Storm, a great traditional band whose music can be heard on the soundtrack of the hit movie, Titanic.

Throughout the weekend you’ll hear continuous Irish music, including ballad and pub songs, Gaelic songs, and Irish dance music. Irish step dancers will display their fancy footwork, and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will play traditional Irish games like hurling and camogie.

New to this year’s festival is a 5K Road Race on Saturday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m. Also on schedule through the weekend: a gathering of Irish setters and wolfhounds, a soda bread baking contest, an Irish tea house, author lectures, genealogy workshops and children’s cultural activities.

And let’s not forget the redheads. This year’s festival is aiming to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most redheads gathered in one place. It takes place Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m., so be there to help make history and get your photo taken.

The Irish Cultural Centre was formed in 1989 by a group of dedicated Irish leaders to preserve their cultural traditions in Massachusetts and the region for generations to come. The Centre has plenty of other cool activities, including a day camp for kids, lectures, music lessons, theatre and social gatherings.

You can find year-round details of Irish activities throughout the state, including festivals, parades, concerts, campus events, shops, pubs and cultural groups, by visiting

For more details on visiting Massachusetts, go to and

(Courtesy of MOTT BLOG)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rock and Blues Concert Cruises in Boston Harbor Kicking off on Saturday, June 2

The ever popular Rock and Blues Concert Cruises kick off on Saturday, June 2, 2012 with a double-billing of two great bands - Adam Ezra Group and Max Creek with special guest Jamie Kent.

The cruise, aboard the Provincetown II, departs from the World Trade Center Pier at 7:30 p.m. at 200 Seaport Boulevard in South Boston.  Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the Bay State Cruise box office on the pier.  This is a 21+ show, since alcohol is being served aboard the ship.

The Rock and Blues Concert Cruises run from June 2 through August 26, and include eleven great concerts.  Check out the full schedule here.

You more details on cultural activities in greater Boston this summer, check out

For visitor information, go to and