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International Harpists Gather at the Linen Hall for Exclusive Event on 12 September

On Thursday 12 September at 3.30pm – 7.30pm a pre-eminent group of harpists and scholars will gather for one afternoon only in the Linen Hall Library to celebrate Bengal and Belfast coming together to champion the Irish harp on the bicentennial of the Irish Harp Society of Belfast (1819 – 39).

The Linen Hall Library played a significant role in the preservation of traditional Irish harp music. Early members of the Library organised a festival of harp music in July 1792 ‘with the intention of having the music taken down and recorded for the first time’. The Library was also instrumental in supporting the subsequent publishing of this music.

The September colloquium will focus on the Linen Hall’s Beath Collection, which was donated in 1974 by Mrs. Norah Beath – the granddaughter of architect and noted music collector Robert Young. The collection contains a wealth of material from the 18th and 19th centuries tied to music, with many of the manuscripts connected with influential music collectors and musicians – including Edward Bunting, Patrick Lynch, Robert MacAdam, Mary Ann McCracken, and William Ware. Of special interest are papers regarding the Irish Harp Society of Belfast, which marks its bicentenary this year. The Society was funded almost entirely by a group of men and women in India. This group—the “Bengal Subscription”—were Irish, Indian, and of various backgrounds and religions, who came together to support a future for the Irish harp.

The line up on the day features internationally renowned harpist Lily Neill who has performed for presidents, ambassadors, and audiences all over the world. Also performing will be Simon Chadwick who will play on a reconstruction of an 18th century Irish harp. Speakers include Frank Bunting, whose distant relative Edward Bunting was the first person to research and write down traditional Irish harp music; Nicholas Carolan, Director Emeritus of the Irish Traditional Music Archive; Dr. Mary Louise O’Donnell, author and Fulbright Scholar who will discuss the role the Irish Harp Society of Belfast played in the education of Irish harpers; and Philip McDonagh, a former ambassador to India who will examine cultural links between Ireland and India.

Linen Hall Library Director Julie Andrews says: “The celebration of the Beath Collection and the bicentennial of the Irish Harp Society of Belfast on 12 September has been a monumental collaboration of musicians and Irish harp experts from various locations. To bring them all together for one afternoon is a phenomenal achievement and an event not to be missed. Not many people know that the Linen Hall Library played a vital role in the preservation of traditional Irish harp music. The story behind the archive is fascinating.”

Tickets can be obtained from the Linen Hall Library website and cost
£20pp. Proceeds from the event will be used for the long-term preservation and eventual digitisation of the Beath Collection.


Permalink - Posted: September 11, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Frank Harte Singing Festival a Celebration of Irish Song

  • Frank Harte festival to celebrate generations of traditional Irish song
  • Annual gathering to welcome guest singers from Ireland, Scotland & USA
  • 2019 also the 40th anniversary of Góilín Singers - Dublin’s leading singing club

One of the most celebrated gatherings of traditional Irish song takes place this month with the Frank Harte festival taking place over three days: Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September.

A gala concert, a workshop, plenty of singing sessions and a tour of Dublin through its songs makes the weekend a must for anyone interested in the lore and tradition of unaccompanied singing. Dublin’s Góilín Singers Club, which organises the festival, this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, and in that time has seen many great singers attend its weekly sessions, from Christy Moore to Daoirí Farrell to members of groups such as Landless and Lankum, to give their own rendition of traditional or new songs.


Permalink - Posted: September 11, 2019 at 10:16 am

The National Concert Hall’s Tradition Now Series

The National Concert Hall’s Tradition Now Series presented in partnership with The Arts Council to Feature Performances by Lisa O’Neill, Ye Vagabonds, Sam Amidon, Catherine Ennis, Steve Cooney, Paddy Glackin and more in Six-Day Festival

Tradition Now, the National Concert Hall’s traditional music series takes a unique look at the evolution of traditional music and provides a platform for forward-thinking musicians. This year’s series sees performances by Irish and International artists such as singer/songwriter Lisa O’Neill, musicians Catherine EnnisSteve Cooney, Paddy Glackin, Sam Amidon and many more from 1st to 6th October.

The 2019 programme features two main stage events on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October:

Rough Trade supremo Geoff Travis has always been a man ahead of the curve, with the establishment of River Lea records which embraces traditional and contemporary folk he has reflected the rapid growth in interest in all forms of the genre. As part of Tradition Now he and his label colleagues Jeanette Lee and Tim Chipping curate a special evening of River Lea artists on October 5th; BBC Radio Folk Award nominee Lisa O’Neill, brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn aka Ye Vagabonds whose harmony rich folk singing draws on traditional Irish and Appalachian sources and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner, Skye piper Brìghde Chaimbeul. (more…)

Permalink - Posted: September 2, 2019 at 10:26 am


Competitions, concerts, céilithe, sessions + more at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019

It was an exciting and successful week of competitions, concerts, céilithe, sessions and more at the 2019 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Over 500,000 people thronged the streets of Drogheda over the past eight days, while tens of thousands of people attended the special opening by President Michael D Higgins. The town pulsed with Irish rhythm and revelry as age-old traditions were celebrated by new generations and the vibrancy of the Fleadh emanated throughout the streets.

This is the second year in succession that Drogheda hosted the All-Ireland Fleadh. In 2020 it will be moving to Mullingar. Every year, the Fleadh provides a cultural meeting place for those who carry the great traditions of Irish music, song and dance in their hearts.


Permalink - Posted: August 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm


Traditional Irish band Dervish will be honoured with a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at this year’s BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2019 for their incredible contribution to folk music.

Dervish have been bringing Irish traditional music to the world for 30 years, and have played at festivals across the globe – from Rock in Rio to Glastonbury.

Shane Mitchell from Dervish said: “We are thrilled and so delighted to be receiving this very special honour at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, particularly as this is the 30th anniversary of the band.”

What an incredible year it’s been so far for DERVISH.

To celebrate turning 30 this year, Irish Folk Icons Dervish released their New Album The Great Irish Songbook (Rounder).  The album is a fitting tribute to Dervish’s 30 years in the business and features Dervish performing with over a dozen luminaries across an eclectic range of genres including Imelda May, Brendan Gleeson, Steve Earle, Andrea Corr, David Gray, Vince Gill, Rhiannon Giddens, Kate Rusby, Abigail Washburn and others. The Album went STRAIGHT TO NO. 1 ON THE AMAZON FOLK CHARTS AND NO. 16 ON THE US iTUNES ALBUM Charts on its Release.

A quote from U2’s The Edge features on this very special Album: “It’s great to hear these classic Irish Folk songs given a 21st Century treatment. It sounds like they’ll be hits for another century at least!”

The Great Irish Songbook Special Concert with DERVISH featuring Special Guests Imelda May, David Gray, Kate Rusby and actor Brendan Gleeson will take place at The London Palladium on Thursday, 19th September 2019.

It all started 30 years ago in one of Ireland’s oldest pubs in Sligo “Shoot The Crows” (the pub itself is 150 years old)! “Shoot The Crows” runs one of the longest running Trad sessions in Ireland and it’s where Dervish was formed 30 years ago.

DERVISH was given a Special Reception by the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council to mark the band’s 30 years performing.  It was hosted by Cathaoirleach Cllr Martin Baker at Sligo County Hall.

A highlight of the folk music calendar, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrates the thriving folk music scene and serves to raise the profile of this much loved musical genre. The event showcases and celebrates the best folk, roots and acoustic music and features live performances by the very best acts including legendary Irish group Dervish. Now in its 20th year, this year’s ceremony, will take place at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Wednesday 16th October 2019.

The awards are presented by folk fans that in the past have included, Sir David Attenborough, Sean Bean, Jarvis Cocker, Phil Collins, Roger Daltrey, Ray Davies, Peter Gabriel and Sharleen Spiteri.

The show, which will be broadcast live from 7-9pm on BBC Radio 2 and on BBC Sounds, will be produced by 7digital.

For more on Dervish

Permalink - Posted: August 7, 2019 at 1:24 am

Rockport Music and WGBH’s Brian O’Donovan To Present Rockport Celtic Festival: Exploring Celtic Roots and Branches

New Massachusetts Celtic show coming to the Shalin Liu Performance Center August 23-25

(Rockport, Mass., July 23, 2019) Rockport Music and Brian ODonovan are pleased to announce the inaugural year of the Rockport Celtic Festival: Exploring Celtic Roots and

Branches, coming to the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, August 23-25.

Led by Brian ODonovan, host of WGBHs A Celtic Sojourn, A St. Patricks Day Celtic Sojourn, and A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, and Artistic Director Edinburgh-born harpist/composer Maeve Gilchrist, Exploring Celtic Roots & Branches will feature new and familiar musicians, singers, dancers, and storytellers exploring traditional and contemporary music from around the Celtic world. Focusing on the genres broad and vibrant range, with a strong emphasis on crossover and collaborative work between musicians from different genres including classical, jazz, and American traditional, this dynamic and interactive weekend will feature mainstage concerts, workshops, intimate salon-style sessions and much more in Shalin Liu Performance Center’s third-floor space.


Permalink - Posted: July 30, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Céilí for Gav

Gleneagle Hotel Ballroom, Killarney, County Kerry

26th July 2019

Singer and accordionist, Séamus Begley, performs with family and friends at a charity Céilí in aid his nephew and Dublin producer and guitarist; Gavin Ralston.

Gavin has been battling cancer since 2014, Séamus and the Begley family along with some musical friends wanted to come together to raise funds for Gavin’s treatment.

Gavin has worked within the music scene for the past 25 years and during that time has built a reputation as both a professional and talented musician. He has played with The Waterboys, Sharon Shannon and Picture House. Producing recordings for Ronnie Drew and Bagatelle, as well as The Coronas first ever studio session.

The Céilí for Gav is a benefit céilí to raise vital funds for Gavin. Gavin has been receiving chemotherapy for the last six months and has been unable to work, and the Céilí for Gav is to help raise vital funds for his continued treatment

All tickets €10 available at Ticketmaster, we look forward to seeing you all, including Gavin, on the night!

For further information please contact Ceara Scanlon on 064 6671531 or or

Permalink - Posted: July 25, 2019 at 5:12 pm


4-Day Festival Returns Sept. 12-15

The Michigan Irish Music Festival observes its 20th anniversary this year, and what better way to celebrate than by hosting more bands than ever in the history of the event?

The festival returns to Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon Sept. 12-15 and features Irish and Celtic music on seven covered stages. The festival kicks off Thursday, Sept. 12 with its Pub Preview Party featuring food, beverages, and three bands in the pub tent only. The full festival begins Friday. (more…)

Permalink - Posted: June 11, 2019 at 10:16 am


And it looks set to be a unique celebration of local and international talent.

Limerick singer-songwriter and RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Award winner Emma Langford will headline Limerick Summer Music at the Rossbrien Pavilion on the 12th of July, in what will be her biggest hometown concert to date. Langford launched her first album ​Quiet Giant in 2017, and is now working with Grammy-nominated team The Production Suite in Dublin to produce a much anticipated sequel.  Having toured the album extensively across Europe and the UK since its release, her 2019 summer tour is a farewell of sorts to “the Giant”, performing it in full for audiences in Belfast, Mayo and Limerick. (more…)

Permalink - Posted: June 11, 2019 at 10:15 am


July 21st to 26th, 2019

MAD Week 2019 - Music, Arts and Dance Week - is an Irish music and dance summer camp in Bethesda, MD, USA for all ages.

A stellar line-up of music and dance teachers will offer classes, private lessons, workshops and lectures. There will be sessions, ceilis, song circles and daily fun for young and old.


Permalink - Posted: April 30, 2019 at 3:55 pm
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