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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Broadway's hit musical Once, the story of a Dublin street musician, is on stage at Boston Opera House, January 7-19

Broadway in Boston is presenting Once, the Tony award-winning musical based on the Academy Award winning film, at the Boston Opera House, from January 7-19, 2014.  

You can purchase tickets online, and also get group discount rates for ten tickets or more. 

Winner of eight Tony Awards in 2012 including Best Musical, Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights, but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance.

Music and lyrics are by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, with book by Enda Walsh.  Tony Award winner John Tiffany is director.  Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal play the two main characters in the play

Once is a truly original Broadway experience, featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage.

Check out Broadway in Boston's upcoming shows.  

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dropkick Murphys are performing at January 6 Inauguration Party for new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Boston's popular band, the Dropkick Murphys, are set to perform at the inauguration ceremonies of Martin J. Walsh when he becomes Mayor of Boston on January 6, 2014. The inauguration party takes place at 7:00 p.m. at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay.  Tickets to the show are $35 and can be purchased online through Ticketmaster.

Other top performers include the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra, led by maestro Keith Lockhart,  Blue Man Group, Ellis Hall, The Floor Lords, Zumix, Calypso Hurricane, Strictly Sinatra, Mark Morris and the Cat Tunes, Steve Sweeney, Lenny Clarke, and DJ Master Millions.

Earlier that day, at the inauguration swearing in ceremonies at Boston College, Irish tenor Ronan Tynan is set to sing the national anthem. 

Walsh is the city's 48th mayor, and a resident of Dorchester.

Find out more about Boston's Irish history by visiting

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gaelic Roots program at Boston College issues its 2014 winter program of traditional music and dance

Paddy Keenan

The Gaelic Roots Music and Dance program at Boston College has issued its winter schedule of music and dance concerts taking place from January through March 2014.

Among the artists performing this semester are uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, Irish dancer Kieran Jordan, fiddler Sheila Falls and flutist Mark Roberts, and the band Mist Covered Mountains.  

Created and directed by master fiddler Seamus Connolly, Gaelic Roots is a program of music and dance instruction at Boston College, as well as lectures, concerts and special events that focus on traditional music from Ireland as well as Scotland, Canada's Maritimes, and the American Appalichia. 

You follow Gaelic Roots on Facebook.

Find year round information on Irish cultural events in Massachusetts by visiting

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Burren Pub Welcomes the County Clare All Ireland Hurling Champions on January 1st

The Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville, is welcoming the County Clare Hurling team that won the 2013 All Ireland Hurling Championships, on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.   The team with arrive with the McCarthy Cup.

The Clare team won the All Ireland, beating County Cork in an exciting match held at Croke Park in Dublin last September.  It was Clare's first victory since 1997, according to RTE.

The Burren event is a fundraiser to benefit the Clare Supporters Club of Boston.

Named after the natural rock formations in County Clare, the Burren Pub is owned by Tommy McCarthy, whose family roots are in Clare, and his wife Louise Costello from Galway.

Find more about Boston's Irish community at

JFK Library presents Mr. Punch's Christmas Carol by the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre on December 27

The John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester is presenting the Crabtree Puppet Theatre's rendition of Mr. Punch's Christmas Carol on Friday, December 27, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.   Beautifully crafted puppets tell the story of a man who hated Christmas, until he saw the light.

Here is a full schedule of upcoming Celebrate! events for children and families at the JFK Library.

The Kennedy Library is the official presidential library of John F. Kennedy, the nation's 35th president.  Here is more information about the JFK Library & Museum.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Final Christmas Celtic Sojourn Concert at 5pm Today at Cutler Majestic Theatre

The final concert of this year's Christmas Celtic Sojourn is taking place on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in downtown Boston.  Tickets are still available at the venue.

Now in its 11th year, Christmas Celtic Sojourn is hosted by WGBH radio personality Brian O'Donovan, and features some of the world's leading Celtic artists from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Canada and the United States.

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

BITA's Book Review of Rose Kennedy's Family Album

Here is a book review of Rose Kennedy's Family Album in the current issue of Travel & Culture Guide issued by the Boston Irish Tourism Association:

From the Fitzgerald Kennedy Private Collection, 1878-1946
Foreword by Caroline Kennedy
Arranged and Edited by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Hachette Books 368 pages / $45.00 / October 2013

Think of this exquisite coffee-table book literally as a family album, with photos, snippets from letters, humorous asides and personal reflections. But it’s a family album that chronicles one of America’s most famous families.

The 300 plus photographs, overwhelmingly black & white, were lovingly saved and preserved by Rose, who in many ways kept the family narrative intact over so many decades. The book is chronological, starting with photos of her parents, John “Honey Fitz,” and Mary Hannon, and her husband Joe Kennedy’s parents, Patrick “PJ” Joseph and Mary Hickey. Then the nine Kennedy children take center stage, up to the 1946, when a young-looking JFK wins his first political seat as US Congressman from Massachusetts.

The photos in the book are anchored by introductory essays in each of the six chapters that provide historical context for the family’s ascension. The excerpts from family letters – several of them from President Kennedy when he was at boarding school – give a real insight into the tight knit family as well as its privileged status. Caroline Kennedy’s foreword is gracious, as she describes her grandmother Rose as “the heart and soul of our family, the most fun, most curious, most understanding, most open-minded, most self-disciplined, most practical and most political adult we knew.”

The talented staff at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, led by executive director Tom McNaught, did a terrific job organizing the project and presenting such a complete chronicle of this American family.

See more book reviews by BITA on topics of interest to the region's Irish-American community.  These are abridged versions of the original reviews.

For year round details on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit

Irish Harpist Aine Minogue Performing at Passim's in Harvard Square on Monday, December 23

Irish harpist Aine Minogue is performing a concert entitled "To Warm a Winter's Night" on Monday, December 23, 2013 at Passim's in Harvard Square.  The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $20-$20 and can be purchased online or at the door. 

Among the songs performed are Greensleeves, Noel Nouvelle, and a Gaelic version of Silent Night.

Find year round details on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England states at

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Irish Cultural Centre raffle to win $30,000 is today in Canton

The annual raffle to win $30,000 in cash prizes takes place on Saturday, December 21, 2014 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Irish Cultural Centre, located on Route 138 in Canton.  The raffle was postponed last Saturday, December 14 due to the weather.

Tickets to the raffle are $100, and proceeds helps to provide year round programming at the Centre, New England's largest Irish facility.

You can follow the ICC on Facebook.  Here is a profile of Mary McTigue, executive director of the Centre.

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan Performing at Inauguration of Marty Walsh, Boston's New Mayor, on January 6

Irish tenor Ronan Tynan is performing at the inauguration of Marty Walsh, Boston's new mayor,  at the Conte Forum Arena on the Boston College campus on Monday, January 6, 2014.

Tynan is one of Ireland's best known singers, and has performed at many national occasions, including the 9/11 ceremonies in New York, the funeral of Ronald Reagan, and the Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral.

Mayor-elect Walsh's inauguration ceremony at BC will be the culmination of neighborhood and city-wide events taking place from Friday, January 3 through Monday, January 5, 2014.  Here is information on the pre-inaugural activities.

On Monday evening, following his inauguration, Mayor Walsh is hosting an inaugural celebration at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay, starting at 7:00 p.m.   The Center is named for Mayor John B. Hynes, who held office briefly in 1947 and from 1950-1959.  Mayor Hynes was the last Dorchester resident elected mayor prior to Walsh.

Martin J. Walsh becomes Boston's 48th mayor,  part of a tradition that dates back to 1822, when the City of Boston was established as a city.  The first mayor of Boston was John Phillips.

Walsh, whose parents are Irish immigrants, is also part of  an Irish-American lineage of mayors dating back to Hugh O'Brien, who served four one-year terms as mayor from 1885-1888.  Here is a list of Boston's Irish-American mayors. 

Find more about Boston's Irish history by visiting

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Remembering Larry Meehan, Boston's Tourism Guru

Today we pause to remember our good friend Larry Meehan, the energetic, personable and accomplished spokesman for greater Boston's travel and tourism industry.  He died a year ago this past weekend, on December 15, 2012.

Our thoughts go to Larry's wife Melissa and sons David and Will, to his extended family, and to all his colleagues, friends and supporters in the tourism industry in Massachusetts and around the world.

Larry worked for the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau for more than two decades and helped to brand Boston as one of America's favorite cities. 

In his memory, the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism now presents annually the Larry D. Meehan Award to those who have made major contributions to the expansion and vitality of the state's tourism industry.

All of us who knew Larry were inspired by his love of life and devotion to his family, as well as his gentle humor, talent and professionalism in all aspects of his job promoting Boston.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Books about the Kennedys, Irish Boston and Irish Cooking availble for delivery by Christmas

Looking for last minute Christmas gifts?  The Boston Irish Tourism Association has four terrific books for sale online.  PayPal accepted.

You must order by Wednesday, December 18, 2013 to receive delivery by Monday, December 23, 2013. All books shipped USPS priority mail.

Rose Kennedy's Family Album
$45 / Hard Cover / 368 pages

In the Kennedy Kitchen
$35 / Hard Cover / 220 pages
Elegant Irish Dining

Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past
$18.95 / Paper Back / 198 pages

Elegant Irish Dining
$35 / Hard Cover / 292 pages

Shipping and handling costs are included in the prices above.

Contact for any questions or inquiries. 

6th annual Christmas Celebration Features Music, Storytelling and Dance at Blackstone River Theatre, Sunday, December 15

 Kevin Doyle

The 6th annual Christmas Celebration at Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI is taking place on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets to the show are $20 and can be ordered by calling 401-725=9272 for reservations.

This year's line-up features a splendid variety show of Celtic and folk bands, with plenty of singing, storytelling and dancing.  Among the artists performing are the Swamp Meadow Carolers, uilleann piper Torrin Ryan, Irish dance master  Kevin Doyle, and members of the Celtic band Pendragon.

Here is a schedule of concerts at Blackstone River Theatre.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Irish Cultural Centre raffle for $30,000 taking place on Saturday, December 14

The annual raffle to win $30,000 in cash prizes takes place this Saturday, December 14, 2014 from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Irish Cultural Centre, located on Route 138 in Canton.  Tickets to the raffle are $100, and proceeds helps to provide year round programming at the Centre, New England's largest Irish facility.

You can follow the ICC on Facebook.  Here is a profile of Mary McTigue, executive director of the Centre.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celebration of Poet Seamus Heaney Taking Place at Boston Public Library on Wednesday, December 11

Northern Ireland’s Noble prize winner poet Seamus Heaney, who died in August, is well remembered in Massachusetts, where he spent considerable time, lecturing at Harvard University and giving poetry readings for students at schools like Boston College, Northeastern University, Bridgewater State and Stonehill College.

On December 11, 2013 the Consulate General of Ireland holds a celebration at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Participants include fiddler SeamusConnolly, journalist Kevin Cullen, and academics Dr. Kelly Matthews and Dr. Catherine Shannon.  The event is free and open to the public.

Then on April 13, 2014, Bridgewater State University holds a celebration on what would have been Heaney’s 75th birthday.  Maureen Connelly, former Irish Echo columnist and English teacher at Bridgewater, has invited Dr. Sean O’Connell from UMass/Boston, journalist Kevin Cullen, writer Bill O’Donnell and others to participate.

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gaelic Roots Series at Boston College presents traditional musicians Mick Moloney and Athena Tergis on December 10

The Gaelic Roots program at Boston College is presenting a Christmas concert featuring banjo player and academic scholar Mick Moloney and fiddler Athena Tergis on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The concert takes place at Walsh Hall on BC's campus, and is free and open to the public.

Moloney is founder of the group, Green Fields of America, and is a respected scholar, composer and producer of Irish music.  He holds a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and is author of the book, Far from the Shamrock Shore. 

A native of San Francisco, Tergis played with the Sharon Shannon Band in Ireland and later was the lead fiddler on the show Riverdance.  She has also toured with the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra and with saxophonist Clarence Clemmons.

Gaelic Roots is headed by fiddle master Seamus Connolly, a native of County Clare who have lived in the New England region since 1976.   Connolly recently received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and earlier this year received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his distinguished contributions to the United States. 

Here is a profile on Connolly discussing his latest work in progress.

Find year round details on Irish cultural activities in greater Boston at

For visitor information go to and

Friday, December 6, 2013

Notre Dame Cathedral in Quebec Holds Christmas Concert on December 8, part of 350th Anniversary Celebration

The Cathedral Basillica Notre-Dame in Quebec City is holding a Christmas concert on Saturday, December 8, 2013, at 8:00 p.m., featuring the famous Voltigeurs du Quebec, one of Canada's oldest and most renowned military bands. Captain Francois Dorion is the conductor.

The concert, which is open to the public, is part of the Cathedral's 350th anniversary celebrations, marking the spiritual and cultural significance of the Cathedral in Quebec City since 1664. Read more about the history here.

For information about visiting Quebec City and surrounding area, including hotel accommodations, transportation, and other activities, go to

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Interview with Keith Lockhart, Conductor of the Boston Pops


(This interview with Keith Lockhart appears in the winter issue of Travel & Culture Guide, available for free at visitor centers and cultural venues throughout Massachusetts)

Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart has led the world-famous Boston Pops Orchestra since 1995, the 20th conductor to hold this hallowed position.  The season, the Holiday Pops series includes 46 shows, running from December 4-24, which includes seven matinees for children and also a special appearance by Broadway star Kristen Chenoweth on December 12.

We caught up with the maestro in Phoenix, AZ, as he and the orchestra were starting a seven-city, three-state Southwest Tour that includes concerts in Tuscon, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Palm Desert, San Diego, Northridge and Costa Mesa.

What do audiences outside Boston love most about the show?

Touring with the Boston Pops is unlike touring with other orchestra groups: we have a nationwide constituency of people who bought every recording dating back to the Arthur Fiedler era.  Plus we have a television presence, through the Fourth of July concert, so when we come to these places it’s like a hometown crowd.  I think people everywhere respond to our unique mix of music and musical tastes. 

So many Boston expats come out to the show, especially in Florida; every second person has a story to tell about being from Boston.  Plus we have people who say ‘I’ve never been to Boston but it’s on my bucket list.’

You have a brand new album out, A Boston Pops Christmas - Live from Symphony Hall. Tell us about that.

It’s our first all-live Holiday recording, taken from concerts we did in 2011 and 2012.   We set ourselves the goal of capturing the incredible spirit of the live concert experience of the Holiday Pops tradition that takes place every December at Symphony Hall.  The sequence on the album mirrors the concert format, going from serious to fun.

Speaking of fun, would you say Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson is the Pops’ signature holiday song?

Well, Sleigh Ride is definitely a signature song, but I think our version of Twelve Days of Christmas is also in the running.  It’s impossible for us to get through a holiday concert without playing both songs, so it’s a nice problem to have.

Boston has had an intense year, with the marathon bombing, the Red Sox championship and with a new mayor coming in.  Do you ever reflect on the important role the Boston Pops plays in the life of this city?

We are so involved in the fabric of the city.  We’re like the Red Sox, an intractable Boston landmark institution, and we try to reflect that.  It was on our minds this spring and summer on the tail end of the marathon bombing.  We think of the needs of people and the solace that music can provide on those occasions. 

And that’s true in celebratory moments too, such as World Series and Super Bowl games.  It’s amazing and singular for a classical recording artist to be part of Boston’s fabric.  It’s an honor.

Win a Pair of Tickets to A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at Boston's Cutler Majestic Theatre on December 19

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a free pair of tickets to A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, hosted by Brian O'Donovan of WGBH, on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in downtown Boston.   Enter the contest here.

Alternatively, you can purchase tickets online to one of the performances taking place in Boston, Stockbridge, NH, and Worcester.

Now in its 11th year, A Christmas Celtic Sojourn showcases some of the world's top traditional musicians from the Celtic countries, offering a traditional, reflective and joyous celebration of the Christmas season.

This year's show features Seamus Egan and his band Solas, harpist Maeve Gilchrist, and singers Moira Smiley, Maureen McMullan and Lindsay O'Donovan.  The championship dance troupe from the Liam Harney Academy is also performing this year. 

Here is a complete schedule of this year's A Christmas Celtic Sojourn.

You can find year round details on Irish cultural activities in New England by visiting

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Irish musicians Tommy McCarthy & Louise Costello release new CD at Burren Pub on December 4

Irish tradition music duo extraordinaire Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costelllo are releasing their new CD, Grace Bay, with a performance at their pub, the Burren, on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.  Radio show host Brian O'Donovan is master of ceremonies.

Tickets are $24 and all proceeds benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Grace Bay is the first joint release of this dynamic husband-wife duo, and the album showcases the regional styles of West Clare and North Galway. 

Find more about upcoming music at the Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville.

For year round Irish cultural activities in greater Boston, visit

For visitor information go to or

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Win Tix to Tomaseen Foley's A Celtic Christmas at Larcom Theatre, Beverly on December 7

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a free pair of tickets to see Tomaseen Foley's production of A Celtic Christmas at the Larcom Theatre in Beverly on Saturday, December 7,  2013 at 8:00 p.m.

Enter the contest here.

Or, you can purchase tickets online to the show, on Saturday, December 7, or Sunday, December 8, for just $39 per ticket.

For a calendar of other Christmas shows in Massachusetts and New England in December, visit IrishBoston.

Find year round details on Irish culture, gift shops, pubs and other activities at