Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fiddler Seamus Connolly Wins Arts Council's Faculty Award at Boston College

Congratulations to Irish fiddler Seamus Connolly, winner of this year's Boston College Arts Council Faculty Award.  The prestigious award was presented to Connolly on Friday, April 25 at the annual Arts Festival that took place on campus.

"Each year, the Boston College Arts Council recognizes an alumnus, a faculty member, and several students for their accomplishments and contributions to the arts in various disciplines," according to the Arts Council press release.  "Alumni and faculty award recipients serve as role models, inspiring and guiding developing young artists in the BC community."

Connolly is the "Sullivan Artist in Residence" at Boston College, and one of the most accomplished Irish musicians of his generation, as performer, composer, publisher and educator.  The County Clare native formed BC's Gaelic Roots program in 1991, and since then the program has brought to campus the world's finest performers in Irish, Scottish, Canadian and American folk traditions.

Gaelic Roots is part of the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College.

In September 2013 Connolly was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in May 2103 he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his distinguished work in music.   Here is a profile of Seamus and his work as a scholar, researcher and compiler of rare melodies.

Find more about the Irish cultural community in Massachusetts and New England by visiting

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gannon's Traditional Irish Music Shop in Spiddal, County Galway

If you’re looking to discover one of Ireland’s most authentic stops along the Wild Atlantic Way, then take the Spiddal Road out of Galway City and drive about a dozen miles until you reach Spiddal, a beautiful seaside village where students from around the world travel to learn the Irish language and to immerse themselves in pure Irish culture.

It is here you’ll find Gannon’s Traditional Irish Music Shop, run by two outstanding traditional musicians, Colm Gannon and his wife Kelly Gannon. The shop opened last year, and already has become a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike who cherish traditional Irish music. With a fine selection of CDs, tapes and records, a variety of tune books, and some exquisite instruments, like the Bosca Ceoil button accordion made by Italian instrument master Manfrini, the Gannons specialize in instrument accessories and advice on where to find the best nightly music.

A main feature of the shop is the music school on the premises. Kelly (Geraghty) Gannon is a classically trained pianist and brilliant concertina player, and teaches classes, along with Colm on the accordion and other accomplished musicians like Ronan O’Flaherty on fiddle, Padraig O’Dubhghail on guitar, Pádraic Keane on pipes, Tommy Walsh on Flute and Brian McGrath on banjo.

Born and raised in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Colm comes from a distinguished family of accordion players, including his dad John Gannon, who is originally from Droim, Leitir Mor in Connemara, and Colm’s older brother, Sean, also an excellent accordionist. Colm and Sean’s mom, Gerry Gannon, comes from nearby Tuirin. In 1994, Colm was one of the few American players to ever win the prestigious All Ireland button accordion championship, and he toured with Riverdance for several years before getting his master’s degree in music performance at the University of Limerick.

Colm grew up down the street from Boston’s new Mayor, Marty Walsh, in a Connemara community in the heart of Dorchester that was a home away from home for his parents. He recently talked about the “spirited and passionate” people of Connemara who helped shape him and his music.

“It’s the pride of culture and community that the Connemara people hold so strong and instill in the next generation that have kept them together,” he said. “The love and respect of their people, history, language, music, song and dance was passed on from generation to generation. This was integral in keeping the community strong and bringing them together.”

Colm said he was so influenced by his Connemara upbringing in Boston that he and his wife Kelly decided to settle down here and open the shop. He wants Gannon’s Traditional Music Shop to be a place for the people of Ireland and tourists alike to come and share the Connemara spirit, the love of music and the sense of camaraderie that drew him back to his second home away from home.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Irish Music Duo Tommy Keane & Jacqueline McCarthy Perform at Burren Pub in Davis Square on April 23

Irish uilleann piper Tommy Keane and his wife, concertina player Jackqueline McCarthy, are performing at the Burren Pub  in Davis Square, Somerville, on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $23 and can be reserved online, or purchased at the door. 

The duo, based in Ireland, will be joined by friends and family on stage.  Jacqueline is part of a legendary musical family from County Clare, which includes her brother, fiddler Tommy McCarthy, who runs the Burren with his wife, musician Louise Costello.

The concert is part of the Burren Back Room Series, a year round slate of intimate concerts featuring some of the world's finest traditional musicians. 

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

For visitor information go to and

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tempest - Celtic Rock Band - Performs at Blackstone River Theatre on April 11

Tempest, one of the world's enduring Celtic rock bands, is performing at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance, and $15 the day of the show.  To reserve tickets call (401) 725-9272. 

The band, based in San Francisco and originally from Oslo, Norway,  is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.  Combining Irish and Scottish melodies with Norwegian and world music influences, Tempest has a distinct sound that has helped to popularize the Celtic rock genre. 

Here is a schedule of upcoming concerts at Blackstone River Theatre

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial" exhibit opens at Boston Public Library on April 7

Photo by Colette Quinlin 

Materials and personal notes left by people from around the world at Copley Square park  in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 have been preserved and are being put on display at the Boston Public Library from April 7 through May 11, 2014.

The exhibit, "Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial," was painstakingly preserved and then put into context and form, thanks to a close collaboration of the Boston City Archives, Boston Art Commission, New England Museum Association, Boston Public Library, and Iron Mountain.

"Dear Boston represents our strength and solidarity not only as a city, but also as a community that supports one another through even the most difficult of times," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I encourage people – residents and visitors alike – to visit the exhibition, experience the resilience of the people of Boston, and view the messages of hope and healing."

Last summer, John McColgan, director of the Boston City Archives, described the joint efforts to preserve the materials, which include 150 pairs of running shoes and thousands of other materials including flags, rosary beads and hand-written notes. 

The Dear Boston exhibition is part of a broad effort called #BostonBetter, wherein area museums, libraries, and archives host various programs associated with the one-year anniversary of the 2013 marathon. For more information, visit

Posted by 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Matt & Shannon Heaton Perform at the Chatham Fiddle Company on Cape Cod, Friday, April 4

Irish music duo Matt and Shannon Heaton are performing at the Chatham Fiddle Company, in Chatham, Cape Cod, on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $20.

The husband-wife duo, based in Massachusetts, has been praised by The Boston Globe for "masterful and inventive" playing, while the Boston Herald calls their music "brilliant, American-bred Irish folk."

Located at 875 Main Street in the seaside town of Chatham, the Chatham Fiddle Company offers a variety of hand-crafted musical instruments, lessons, and ongoing concerts throughout the year.  For more information contact 508 348-1885 or

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

For visitor information, go to

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Irish Singer Sean Tyrrell is Performing at the Burren Pub on April 2

Sean Tyrrell, one of Ireland's most renowned traditional singers, is performing at the Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $23 and can be purchased online.

The show is part of the Burren Backroom Series,  which features world-class musicians from the Irish, Scottish, American and Canadian traditions.  The series is hosted by Brian O'Donovan  of WGBH's Celtic Sojourn radio program.

Originally from Galway, Sean has toured the world as a solo performer and with some of Ireland's greatest musicians.  He has produced numerous albums, and issued a double-CD called Message of Peace, on the life of John Boyle O'Reilly, considered to be one of Boston's most influential Irish immigrants in the 19th century.

The Burren Pub is owned and operated by Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello, two fine traditional musicians in their own right. 

For more information about Irish cultural activities in the Boston area, visit

Boston Irish Community Is Raising Funds for Katie O'Halloran of Galway

The Boston Irish community is coming together this month for Katie O'Halloran of Cill Chiarain, Connemara, Galway, a talented young woman who needs prosthetic arms to help her reach her full potential in life. 

The event takes place from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the IBEW Hall on Freeport Street in Dorchester.

Katie was born with Femur Fibula Ulna Syndrome, a condition that left her without arms and with a deformed right leg.  She has overcome great physical challenges in her life and has become an accomplished young woman.  She traveled to New York to participate in a sports tournament for the physically challenged, and came away with nine gold medals.  In 2012 she graduated from the National University of Ireland in Galway, and is now earning a Master's Degree in Public Law.

A group formed in Galway,named "Katie Born to Run," has been organizing road races and other activities to raise funds.  A number of runners from Ireland are participating in this year's Boston Marathon to help raise funds for Katie's prosthetic arms and for the physiotherapy and occupational therapy she'll need in the coming years.  The group has already raised $300,000 of the $400,000 needed.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is honorary chairman of the the event, which features music by DJ Connie, and a raffle. The Katie O'Halloran Benefit is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations and contributions are tax deductible.

For more information call committee member Bill McGowan at 617 376-3252, or email

Find year round details on Boston's Irish community by visiting