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Showing posts from June, 2014

Sligo Town = Cheoil + Craic

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Right now, thousands of Irish musicians from around the world are practicing their arpeggios and fine tuning their instruments.   Dancers are checking their costumes and polishing their footwork.  From Boston to Sydney, musicians, dancers and music-lovers alike are booking their rooms and making plans to meet in County Sligo, from August 10-17, when the 2014 FleadhCheoil takes place.   If you haven’t been to Ireland ’s annual Fleadh Cheoil, this is the summer to go.  The week-long musical competition pits the very best traditional Irish musicians, singers and dancers from around the world in a week long competition that crowns the All-Ireland champions, a distinction that lasts a lifetime. This year’s Fleadh is being held in Sligo Town , the first time since 1991.  It’s always appropriate to talk about traditional Irish music and Sligo , since so many great musicians have come from that county. Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran, Lad O’Beirne, Seamus Ta

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Named "Irish American of the Year" in 2014 by Irish America Magazine

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Congratulations to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh , who has been named the 2014 "Irish American of the Year" by the New York-based publication, Irish America Magazine . Mayor Walsh accepted the award at a luncheon held on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at the Seaport Boston Hotel, hosted by the non-profit group, the Irish American Partnership . Patricia Harty , co-founder and editor-in-chief of Irish America Magazine , praised Walsh for his empathy and for overcoming challenges early in his life, saying,  “Who better to embody the tough, tireless, tender trajectory of our Irish story than Mayor Marty Walsh, son of immigrants and champion of the working class. We are thrilled to honor him as our Irish American of the Year.” Mayor Walsh, who  was profiled  in the February/March 2014 issue of  Irish America Magazine, is the son of Irish parents who emigrated from Connemara in County Galway to Boston in the 1950s and settled in the city's Dorchester neighborhood. Upon acc

Irish Step Dancer Kevin Doyle Wins 2014 Fellowship from National Endowment for the Arts

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Congratulations to Irish step dancer Kevin Doyle of Barrington, Rhode Island, winner of a 2014 Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) in Washington DC.  Doyle is one of nine recipients of this year's award.  Here is the NEA press release . Kevin and his sister Maureen started dancing lessons as children, taught initially by their mother Margaret Taylor Doyle, who came from Roscommon.  Their father John's parents emigrated to Providence from County Longford in the early 1900s. Renowned for his technical brilliance, engaging personality and inventive footwork (both Irish  step dancing and tap dancing), Doyle has won various awards throughout his career, and is one of the most popular performers on the Irish/Celtic circuit in New England.  He is a frequent performer at the Blackstone River Theatre and Summer Solstice Festival in Rhode Island, as well as the Christmas Celtic Sojourn concerts held each year throughout the region. Noted Irish music author

PEI Group Vishten Performs at Burren Pub on Wednesday, June 25

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Vishten , a trio of musicians from Prince Edward Island who play a unique fusion of Celtic and Acadian music, performs at the Burren Pub in Davis Square on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.   Tickets are $23.00 and can be purchased online or at the venue.  The concert is part of the Burren Back Room Series hosted by Brian O'Donovan , radio DJ on the show Celtic Sojourn, aired on WGBH. The Burren is run by two fine traditional musicians, Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello .  Opening for Vishten are local performers Matt Heaton, Armand Dale Aromin, and Benedict Gagliardi.  Find year round Irish music in greater Boston by visiting IrishBoston.org . 

Solas Nua Presents Staged Reading of The Buddhist of Castleknock at Burren Pub

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An Irish arts company new to Boston, Solas Nua , is giving a staged reading of Jim O'Hanlon 's play, The Buddhist of Castleknock , at the Burren Pub  in Davis Square, Somerville, on Monday, June 23, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. The play is directed by Jason McCool , a Brockton native who has performed on various theater and musical stages, and who is currently doing doctoral work in musicology at Boston University . The Back Room at the Burren is a perfect place to experience live theater and music in an intimate, close-up setting.  Here's a schedule of live concerts coming up this summer.  Here's a profile on Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello , owners of the Burren. For year round details on Irish cultural activities in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org .

Summer Solstice Festival - Event of the Month - Taking Place June 21

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The 4th annual Summer Solstice Festival , taking place in Cumberland, RI on Saturday, June 21, 2014, has been named "Event of the Month" by the cultural tourism group Boston Irish Tourism Association . The all-day festival features top Irish and Celtic performers continuously throughout the day, as well as an inviting range of food courts, arts and crafts vendors, dance exhibitions and casual music sessions off-stage. Here is an interview with Russell Gusetti , producer of the festival, which is part of the Blackstone River Theatre, a year-round non-profit cultural group in Rhode Island. Here is a schedule of Irish/Celtic festivals in New England + Quebec this summer and fall.

Milton Music Festival features Frankie Gavin & De Dannan on June 22

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The Milton Music Festival, organized by  We Are Milton , is staging a two day celebration on June 21-22, 2014 that features fireworks, food, music and dancing, including one of Ireland's foremost traditional bands, Frankie Gavin and De Dannan . The festival takes place at  Governor Hutchinson's Field  on Adams Street in Milton, and is free to the public, according to organizer Mary Swanton. On Saturday, June 21 , the Neville sisters  and the Brady Academy of Irish Dance  along with jazz and choral performers, take the stage starting at 5:00 p.m..  The concerts culminate in a fireworks display at 9:45 p.m. Then on Sunday, June 22,  the festival presents  Celtic Sunday  from 1:00 - 7:00 p.m., an afternoon of Irish traditional music featuring Galway's great fiddler Frankie Gavin his band De Dannan, plus a line-up of great local performers, including singer Pauline Wells  and traditional bands Devri , the Fenian Sons , Cat and the Moon , and Erin's Melody. Reque

Massport Dedicates South Boston Park in Memory of Tom Butler

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Massport is dedicating a new freight corridor and public park in South Boston in honor of the late Tommy Butler , a local legend known for his community activism, volunteerism, and leadership as a government official. The Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor and Memorial Park  on East First Street in South Boston represents a significant improvement to the neighborhood by redirecting trucks along a new haul road and away from neighborhood streets, while also improving shipping operations at the busy Conley Terminal , which handles nearly 1.5 million metric tons of cargo each year. In addition, the project features a public park along East First Street, with amenities that include a walking path, new trees, a bike rack, water fountain and a memorial dedicated to Butler. Butler worked for Massport for 25 years as its community relations director, and worked closely with the communities affected by Logan International Airport .  He was also an early advocate for expanding intern

Boston Harbor Hotel's Summer in the City Features Free Music & Movies, June 12 - August 29

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One of Boston's favorite summer treats - Boston Harbor Hotel 's Summer in the City series - is launching on Thursday, June 12, 2014 with a concert by legendary blues guitarist Jeff Pitchell . Now in its 16th year, the twelve-week, free Summer in the City program brings to Boston's waterfront an assortment of great music and movies, from June 12 through August 29, 2014. Tuesdays are devoted to soul music; Wednesdays feature the "Rat Pack" music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.; Thursdays are blues night, and Fridays are classic movies, ranging from Casablanca to West Side Story. Stephen Johnston , General Manager of the Boston Harbor Hotel, says, "There really is nothing that quite compares to watching bands perform from the hotel’s floating barge stage while enjoying cocktails or dinner – it is what summer in New England is all about." Long recognized as one of Boston's premier hotels, the Boston Harbor Hotel faces th

Win Tix to Willie Nelson & Alison Kraus in Boston, June 17

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The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a pair of tickets to see Willie Nelson & Family, along with Alison Krauss & Union Station , performing at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston's Seaport District, on June 17, 2014, starting at 7:00 p.m. Enter the contest here . The winner will be announced on Friday, June 13. Or, you can purchase your tickets directly online . The Blue Hills Bank Pavilion , formerly called Bank of America Pavilion, sits on Boston's beautiful waterfront, looking out at the harbor and the city skyline.  Here is a schedule of concerts this summer . For other cultural activities in greater Boston throughout the year, visit IrishBoston.org For visitor information, go to BostonUSA.com or MassVacation.com .

Boston Irish Feis taking place at Irish Cultural Centre in Canton on June 14

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Hundreds of Irish step dancers from around New England will compete in the upcoming Boston Irish Festival Feis, taking place at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton on Saturday, June 14, 2014, beginning at 8:00 a.m. The feis is hosted by the Harney Academy of Irish Dance , an award-winning troupe based in Walpole headed by All-Ireland Champion Liam Harney .  Here is a 2012 story on the academy's championship dance program . A full day pass for the feis is $15, and $10 for ICC members.   Order tickets online . For year round details on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com .

BITA's Summer 2014 Travel & Culture Guide Now Available Online

Boston Irish Tourism Association has issued its 2014 Summer Travel & Culture Guide , a compendium of Irish festivals and concerts in New England, as well as travel information to Ireland and Northern Ireland. You can pick  up a free copy of the Guide at visitor kiosks and cultural venues around Massachusetts.  Here is a list of locations where the Guide is available .

Celtic Music Host Brian O'Donovan Wins Eire Society Award

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The  Eire Society of Boston  is presenting its annual Gold Medal Award to Brian O'Donovan, well-known radio host and musician who has spent the past four decades promoting Irish traditional music and other Celtic music in the New England region. The award is being presented at a reception and dinner on Thursday, June 12, at the Neighborhood Club of Quincy.  Find details here .  A native of Clonakilty, County Cork , O'Donovan emigrated to Boston in the early 1980s and became part of the burgeoning traditional music scene at the Village Coach House in Brookline Villlage.  For a time, he was a radio host on WERS-FM as a graduate student at Emerson College , and since 1987 has been host of  A Celtic Sojourn on 89.7 WGBH-FM , a weekly radio program that explores the music of the Celtic nations.   O'Donovan also created A Celtic Sojourn concert series each Christmas and St.Patrick's Day season to bring live performances to the region.  Here is an  interv

Celtic Festivals in New England in Summer/Fall 2014

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Burning Bridget Cleary With 20% of the New England region claiming Irish or Scottish ancestry, Celtic festivals have long been a staple of the region’s summer music season.  Add to that Canadian and American music, and you’ve got a full schedule of music, dance and cultural activities to suit everyone. Kicking off this year’s schedule on June 6-7 is the Irish Cultural Centre’s annual Irish Festival taking place in Canton .  Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Black 47, Devri and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann are some of the headliners, a fitting spectrum of Irish fusion, rock, ballads and traditional music. Larry Kirwan of Black 47 says “ Boston audiences are amongst the most demonstrative in the country, and right from the opening chord,” for the band’s high-energy, politically informed music, though this was not always the case.  “There was a time when I’d have to warn (the band) that Boston audiences typically don’t show their appreciation until the end of the