Kilmacduagh

Burren sunset

(photos to be seen here soon – to see now scroll down to Jim’s website – Awesome art for your home or office!)

Jim Murphy has been interested in photography since the early 1970s. A native of Limerick, Jim regularly traveled the Irish countryside taking photographs of favorite places in Co. Clare, Galway and Kerry. He especially loves the Burren in West Clare and regularly spent his weekends, come rain or shine, hiking in and around Black Head.
Jim lived in Galway for over 20 years. In 1995, he met his American wife-to-be, Carol, who worked in Galway for Digital Equipment Corporation. They met at a ceili dancing to Matt Cunningham, and spent their first date hiking in the Burren. In 1997, Jim and Carol married and moved to America, settling in San Diego. Together they explored Southern California, Arizona, Utah and the Badlands in South Dakota. In 2000, their son Ronan was born. Jim took a hiatus from photography to concentrate on raising Ronan.
A few years later Jim’s interest was rekindled with his first digital SLR camera. In 2005 he and Carol took a holiday in the Rocky Mountains. They fell in love with Colorado and relocated to Parker a year later. “One of the smartest things I’ve ever done was to move from California to Colorado – I haven’t had one minute of regret.” Initially, California’s sunny skies were a welcome change compared to the often gray skies of Ireland, but then he tired of the sameness. “It’s the same every day over there (California), We have just as much sun here but we change the seasons – I mean I love to photograph in the winter – you can go out in your own backyard and it’s magic – it can take your breath away!”
Now, Jim travels widely throughout the West. Inspired by so many beautiful places, he has taken thousands of photographs and continues to sharpen his skills. Hiking trips in the Burren have been replaced with visits to Castlewood Canyon, Garden of the Gods, Estes Park, the Maroon Bells, Steamboat Springs and Monument Valley. “It’s really special here in the mountains and on the high plains. I love the wide open spaces and big skies in the Western U.S. with so many beautiful places to hike and to photograph.”
Photographing landscapes in Ireland have special challenges that can work a photographer’s patients. “The thing is when you go home to Ireland you have to be out a long time because the clouds can break at any time and you can have a really interesting sky but it doesn’t necessarily last,” said Jim, adding some words of wisdom, “It use to bother me that I wasn’t getting the sky to do what I wanted -now I do what I can do and don’t go around frustrated.”
Jim says he sells far more photographs of Ireland and it is worth the effort to return home periodically, “When you have a good picture of Ireland you really have something special – We’re a small island but it’s really a nice looking country!” Another reason that Ireland is a top seller he surmised is because a lot of Americans have a connection to Ireland. “Everyone you see have been there or wants to go there – or their people came from there,” said Jim who loves to visit with folks at festivals, “I love to talk to people about Ireland’s history and culture, and about the stories behind my photographs.”
So what catches Jim’s eye when he is out looking at landscapes? “A lot of it is intuitive – there will be something about the image. I’ll look at different angles – so I guess there is a bit of thinking as well.” Sometime he will photograph an intimate landscape instead of the grand landscape depending on what he sees through his lens. And he admitted, “Sometimes you can get the most fantastic photo by accident.”
Folks can order photographs in various sizes including 5”x7”, 8”x12”, 16”x20”, or 24”x36”. Special orders larger than 24”x36” or unusual shapes can also be accommodated. Photographs can be purchased as prints only, matte only or mounted on canvas or Duraplaq wooden hanging systems. Greeting cards are also available.
The DuraPlaq mounting is what you typically see at Jim shows. “They have a satin finish that give colors a lovely pop.” Jim added that the photographs are displayed without glass and have a 3D look that sometimes cause folks to mistake them as paintings. And there is one more reason Jim likes the DuraPlaq mounting, “There’s no work in them -just dust them off!”
For the past few years Jim has exhibited his work at fine art shows in Frisco, Estes Park, Loveland, Steamboat Springs, Boulder, and Aspen. Jim travels back home at least once each year to visit family and friends. He is also a regular exhibitor at the Colorado Irish Festival (July 13-15 Clement Park, Littleton, CO) and looks forward to returning this year.
You can see some of Jim’s images and this year’s show calendar on his website. Take your time browsing through the photo galleries to visit some of his favorite places in the Western United States and Ireland. www.jimmurphyphotography.com. “If you don’t see what you’re looking for please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be happy to work with you to help you choose the options that work best for you. You can contact me at omurchu7@gmail.com or 303.552.7016”
(CIF logo)

Clare Glens

Titanic Belfast photo April 12 CC

Have you heard the Buzz about Belfast? There is a renewed swagger in the walk and talk emanating from Northern Ireland’s capital city. Travel experts pick Belfast as one of the “Top” vacation destinations in the world and boast of Belfast’s offerings. On the tip of everyone’s tongue is the grand opening of Titanic Belfast, a ‘must do’ interactive visitor experience that has opened its’ door just in time for the 100th anniversary of the birth of the world’s most famous ship. Travel journalist Paul Clements extolled, “The New York editor of Fodor’s Ireland 2012 believes the Belfast commemorations of the centenary of the Titanic will be the biggest tourism story in the world in 2012..,” National Geographic Traveler Magazine agreed and added that Belfast is “a capital city of Titanic ambition that is redefining itself in the eyes of the world.”

Located beside the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912, the Titanic Belfast is an iconic six-floor building covered brilliantly in 3,000 individual aluminum panels. The RMS Titanic, the biggest and most luxurious ship of it’s time, must have been viewed with the same magnificence as it stood there one hundred years ago.

Just as the Titanic was an amazing achievement in its’ day, Titanic Belfast was designed and built with innovation and breath-taking technology to bring Titanic’s story alive. Nine interactive galleries focus on a unique part of the Titanic story, offering factual information brought to life through scale replicas, multimedia displays, computer interactives, moving images, soundscapes, artifacts and records. Visitors will explore by foot and by rides the interactive galleries, exhibits and amenities, all the while engaged in the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic and the people who made her in 20th Century, Belfast.

One of the highlights of the visitor experience is the Shipyard Ride that uses special effects, animations and full-scale reconstructions to recreate the reality of shipbuilding in the early 1900s. The ride allows you to gain an insight into the scale of the construction, the amount of men, materials and hours required. As you exit the Shipyard Ride, you’ll be faced with an impressive sight: a large window looking straight down the actual slipways on which the Titanic once rested. The window is fitted with state-of-the-art glass containing electrodes that switch from the normal view to a superimposed image of the Titanic on the slipways. This extraordinary recreation offers a unique vision of how the ship would have appeared sitting on the slipway and gives you an intense and authentic perspective that is unique to Titanic Belfast.

As your interactive journey continues through the galleries you will learn about the skill and craftsmanship that went into the completion of Titanic, from the fitting of the enormous boilers and engines to the fine joinery and upholstery work. You can experience the reality of the ship’s interiors through the magic of a 3D cave that allows visitors to ‘walk’ the corridors of the ship. Onward through time, the galleries allow you to experience life on board and learn about Titanic’s maiden voyage, her tragic sinking, the many stories of human endeavor and myths and legends surrounding that fateful night in 1912.

In 1985, a team led by American oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard and French diving engineer Jean-Louis Michel made the incredible discovery of Titanic’s final resting place, nearly two and a half miles below sea level. A multi-level gallery, ‘Titanic Beneath’ will give you special access to Dr. Ballard’s high-definition footage from the wreckage. Additionally, interactive learning pods are available to explore the details of his discovery. In the “Ocean Exploration Centre” section of the gallery you will find footage and live links from Ballard’s ongoing exploration of our seas and oceans shown alongside more local endeavors, as Irish universities explore the marine environment around Ireland. Dr Robert Ballard, offered his enthusiasm and support for Titanic Belfast:
“Titanic belongs to Belfast. I’m very pleased that the city which gave Titanic to the world will now be able to welcome the world to Titanic Belfast. Titanic’s story is infused with romance, pathos and glory, and there’s no better place to tell it than Belfast. It’s a real thrill to be standing in the very spot where she was designed, built and fitted out. It’s also a great thrill to see the amazing new Titanic Belfast visitor attraction…”

Titanic Belfast is just one of a smorgasbord of activities planed for you by Northern Ireland 2012. Go to discoverireland.com/ni2012 for concerts, special events and happenings from Belfast to Londonderry. Northern Ireland 2012 is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation you won’t want to miss!

Apr 222012
May 12 CC Helen T

by Rodger Hara

(photo by Andrew Clark www.andrewclarkphotography.com)

Serendipity brought Helen Thorpe to Veronica Guerin’s story and the result was an Irish sort of symmetry.

Veronica Guerin was an Irish journalist who was murdered in 1996 while writing about the drug business in the Republic. Daughter of an accountant, she studied accounting at Trinity College in Dublin, worked for her father’s business for three years, then ran her own public relations firm for seven years before becoming a reporter for the Sunday Business Post and Sunday Tribune. Armed with her native intelligence, natural curiosity, business education and political experience, she developed a journalistic style that pursued information to its roots without regard for her personal safety. Her approach and interpersonal skills led to creation of trusting relationships with members of the Garda Síochána and the criminal community.

In 1994 she began writing for the Sunday Independent covering the crime beat using her knowledge of accounting to trace the flow of funds from criminal activities. She established a relationship with John Traynor, a convicted drug dealer who provided her with information that she included in stories, the publication of which led to shots being fired at her home and a confrontation at her front door with an armed man. Fearless in a foolhardy sort of way, in September 1995, she confronted John Gilligan, Traynor’s boss, about how he could maintain his extravagant lifestyle without any apparent source of income. Gilligan took exception to her question, attacked her and later threatened her family if she wrote about him.

Gilligan and several members of his organization met on June 25, 1996 and allegedly planned her murder which took place on June 26 as she was stopped at a red light on the outskirts of Dublin when two men on a motorcycle stopped next to her and the passenger fired six shots into the car killing her instantly. Had she lived, she would have spoken two days later at a Freedom Forum conference in London on the topic “Dying to Tell the Story: Journalists at Risk.”

Her death caused a national outrage and her funeral was attended by Ireland’s Taoiseach (elected head of state) John Bruton and hundreds of other mourners and was covered live by Raidió Telifís Éireann. Her death also led to the passage of legislation by the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) creating the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 and the Criminal Assets Bureau 1996 that allowed the government to seize assets purchased with cash from criminal activities.

Charles Bowden, one of those at the June 25 meeting, was arrested and agreed to turn state’s witness. His testimony and subsequent investigations led to the arrests and convictions of Gilligan and over 150 other criminals. Brian Meehan, another of those at that meeting was convicted of her murder and received a life sentence.

In August 1996, Helen Thorpe was a writer for Texas Monthly Magazine and speaking by phone with Amanda Urban, an agent with whom she had worked. Ms. Urban had been contacted by Susan Lyne, a representative for the Walt Disney Studios, who was looking for journalists to do background research on different ideas that could be developed into screenplays. One of the subjects Lyne was interested in was Veronica Guerin and Urban, recalling Helen’s Irish roots, asked if she would be interested in the assignment. The daughter of Marie and Laurence “Larry” Thorpe, natives of Cavan and Dublin, respectively, she said yes, took a leave of absence from the magazine and opened the door to an interesting new chapter of her most interesting life.

Larry Thorpe was born in Dublin, attended school where he was taught by Christian Brothers with the Chieftain’s Paddy Moloney and left Dublin after graduating from the University of Dublin to take an engineering job in London at the BBC. Marie Brady of Virginia, County Cavan, left there to attend nursing school in London when she was 18. They met, married and gave birth to Helen. When she was a year old, Larry learned of a job opportunity with RCA in New Jersey, applied for and won it and moved the family to New Jersey. Helen was on her mother’s Irish passport with a dual Irish and British citizenship – and a green card until she was 21 when she became a U.S. citizen as she wanted to vote.

Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Princeton, she had early unpaid journalistic stints in Boston then went to graduate school at Columbia University where she earned a Master’s degree in English literature in 1989. From there, she worked briefly at the New York Observer and New Yorker Magazine before landing a job at Texas Monthly and moving to Austin, Texas in 1994.

She worked for the magazine until 1999, met then-brewpub owner and future Denver Mayor and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper when he crashed her 37th birthday party in 2000 and married him in a Quaker ceremony in Austin in January 2002. They have a son, Teddy, who will be ten years old this July.

Having gone to Ireland every other summer growing up, she was very comfortable being with her mother’s large extended family in Cavan and her father’s smaller family in Dublin so was intrigued by the prospect of going there as a journalist for the first time. It was a trip in which she learned more about Irish culture in the month she spent there than she had in all her other trips.

Her family there became like cultural anthropologists, providing her with a sense of who Veronica Guerin was and helping her understand how things work; her interactions with the Garda, Guerin’s colleagues and members of the criminal community taught her that the pace of life and business is slower and more casual in Ireland than in America. She tried to speak with members of Guerin’s family but they were still grieving and declined her request. One of her uncles who owns property in Dublin became her guide to the city, providing her with a narrative background of neighborhoods and their inhabitants, the differences between them and an understanding of the cultural and political landscape.

She looked into the criminal element, leaving her phone number with various members (who she described as “…very scary people”) and even visited the home of John Gilligan once. Shortly after that visit, the car she drove there that she’d borrowed from an aunt was broken into – she thinks it was coincidence, but doesn’t know for sure. When asked if she was frightened or felt she was in any danger, she said that “It was a calculated risk and they would probably not harm a second journalist.”

Eventually, she was able to make contact with John Traynor, who by then had fled Ireland and was living in Malaga in the south of Spain. He agreed to meet with her so she flew to Spain where she spent six hours talking with him – while he drank at least 20 pints of beer. She didn’t tell her family about her trip but did leave word with a Garda she’d met – who had been a close friend to Guerin. (Traynor has since been arrested in Amsterdam and is awaiting extradition to the United Kingdom.)

Her final treatment of the Veronica Guerin story was submitted to Disney where Jerry Bruckheimer, Producer, and Joel Schumacher, Director, picked up the option and produced the movie that was released in 2003. Helen was paid for her research and spoke with Carol Doyle as she was writing the screenplay. She says that “The movie is fantastic! I was afraid that it would depart from the reality of who Veronica was but they nailed it! It’s fast-paced, dramatic and faithful to reality of the story and person as I understood it.”

A statue honoring Guerin stands in the Dubh Linn Gardens on the grounds of Dublin Castle. In May 1997, her name was added to the Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial in Arlington, Virginia where the names of journalists who died in the line of duty are listed. At the ceremony, her husband, Graham Turley, said: “Veronica stood for freedom to write. She stood as light, and wrote of life in Ireland today and told the truth. Veronica was not a judge, nor was she a juror, but she paid the ultimate price with the sacrifice of her life.”

Since doing the research for the film, Helen has taken on new roles as First Lady of the City and County of Denver and First Lady of the State of Colorado and has continued to write. Essays about those roles appeared in Glamour and 5280 magazines and she did an article for Westword about the experiences of an illegal immigrant in the Denver Public Schools.

She had hoped to write a book about the discrimination being faced by immigrants from South Africa and Brazil in the meat packing plants of Ballyjamesduff at the height of the Celtic Tiger’s roar but could find no takers at the time and now the roar is a whimper.

She has since had better luck with a book published by Simon and Shuster in 2009 called Just Like Us in which she follows the lives of four girls who are high school seniors in Denver; all are children of illegal immigrants, two of them have papers, and all face similar issues in dealing with life. The Washington Post named it one of the books of the year for 2009. Now in its 10th printing, the book has sold nearly 20,000 copies and Helen spends much of her time doing book talks around the country.

Teddy has already been to Ireland twice and Helen hopes that there are many more trips in his future so that he can acquire that part of his heritage and gain exposure to a second culture. As the grandchild of Irish-born grandparents, he is eligible for Irish citizenship, should he choose to pursue it – and with the head-start he has, odds are good that he will.

To learn more about Helen Thorpe’s life, read the biography on her website www.helenthorpe.com

April 12 CC cover

Celtic Events and Kolacny Music Presents
From Ireland, Scotland, and Canada
‘Best Instrumental/Vocal Group of 2012’
THE OUTSIDE TRACK
with Comedian DR Kevin Fitzgerald
Friday April 27, 2012 8PM Show 7PM Doors
The Soiled Dove 7401 E. 1st Ave Denver, CO 80230
$20 Advance $24 DOS All Ages Show All Seats GA
Tickets online at:
http://www.tavernhg.com/soiled_dove/show/19335
In person at Kolacny Music, Denver, 303-722-6081
Information at 303-777-0502 CelticEvents@rmi.net www.facebook.com/celtic.rockies

“Wow and wow again! This is the best new group we have heard in quite a while. stunning. Wow! (Did we already say that?)”
Tradition in Review

“Simply a consummate blend of skill, talent, flair and intensity” Folkwords

Celebrate an evening of music, song , and dance with The Outside Track in Denver, Friday April 27 at the Soiled Dove!
This multi-national contingent started 2012 in style by winning the Live Ireland Award for Best Instrumental/Vocal Group of 2012 where they were described as: “Among the top groups in the world…traditional, creative, and brilliant on every cut”. Lead singer Norah Rendell also won the prestigious accolade of Vocalist of the Year.

Hailing from Ireland, Scotland and Canada, The Outside Track’s five members are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on its foundation. Using fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, Ottawa Valley step-dance and vocals these virtuosos blend boundless energy with unmistakable joie de vivre.
Having met at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, each player within The Outside Track is a master of their chosen instrument with the band stacking up an impressive amount of international awards and accolades. In addition to Norah on vocals, the line up comprises: Ivonne Hernandez (Five time Grand Fiddle Champion), Ailie Robertson (Live Ireland Winner, BBC Young Trad Finalist), Fiona Black (BBC Fame Academy Winner), and Cillian O’Dalaigh (Trazz).

The evening will begin with laughs provided by comedian DR Kevin Fitzgerald who will bring his unique style of humor that draws from his unusual background as a veterinarian, television star, and bouncer for rock stars.

DR Kevin Fitzgeral 300DPI Yoda

When Outside Track takes to the stage at Soiled Dove in Denver
April 27 they should find everyone smiling.
Always proud of his Irish heritage, comedian DR Kevin Fitzgerald will bring his unique style of humor that draws from his unusual background as a veterinarian, television star, and bouncer for rock stars.

Recently DR Kev will gave the “The Colorado Music Hall of Fame” induction speech for his former boss and legendary promoter Barry Fey. Fey put Kevin on tour as a bouncer on numerous tours as a bouncer with The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Police, to name a few.
Perhaps best known for his Animal Planet TV show Emergency Vets or his weekly segment on Denver’s CW2’s morning news show called Animal House, Kevin loves animals as much as he likes to make people to laugh.

As a comedian Kevin has appeared on The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, The Today Show with Matt Lauer, Fox News Channel’s Geraldo-At-Large with Geraldo Rivera, The Maury Povich Show, TNN’s Crooke and Chase, Discovery Channel’s Home Matters, and most recently CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and has opened for such diverse and legendary performers as Bob Hope, Diana Ross, The Temptations, and The Neville Brothers.

March 12 CC Queen Colleen_2012queen33RTD

For the second year in a row, the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee are excited to be sending Denver’s Queen Colleen, to compete in the Rose of Tralee International Festival for the Regional Finals.
There will be a fundraiser beginning at noon Saturday, May 12 at Scruffy Murphy’s in downtown Denver to help offset the cost to send this years Queen Colleen, Tiffany Antikainen to Ireland to represent Colorado. It will be a fun afternoon of pipers, dances, prizes, and socializing with Denver’s Irish community.
If you have any items you’d like to donate for the door prizes (this can be an actual item or a service) contact Beth Wiseman-Kline (ppfbunny@yahoo.com)
or Clairisa Smith (DSPDPCmember@aol.com) www.denverstpatricksdayparade.com

Angus Mohr smiles

by Rodger Hara

Supergroups – like Crosby, Stills and Nash – began as a rock and roll phenomenon in the late 1960’s and continue in that genre today along with country, jazz and rap. Rarely is a supergroup found on the Celtic music scene – with the exception of the Masters of Tradition – and even more rarely is there one formed in Colorado – especially one with an Actors Equity/Screen Actors Guild card-carrying member.

What began as a vision in the mind of Angus Mohr front man, lead singer and bass guitarist Paul McDaniel – the creation of an acoustic album of Celtic music done in traditional style by professional, full-time musicians – has become a reality with the release of Tradition, Tartan and Tears, presented by Nice Niche Music, another of Paul’s visions. As he describes it, “The very short story is Nice Niche is an attempt to get quality musicians to participate in each other’s projects on an exchange of time, both their own and studio time to help make recording projects more affordable for both the musicians and the record label, and make good music.”

Recorded at the Mohr Fire studios in Lafayette with engineering by Angus Mohr’s master soundman Scott “Gusty” Christensen, the album is a mix of traditional and contemporary Irish, Scottish and English songs rendered in a classic style that honors the music, delivers it in a fresh package that respects the roots and brings a surprising new and revealing emotional depth to each song.

This Colorado supergroup is comprised of acoustic guitarist Gregg Hansen, mountain and hammered dulcimer builder/player Bonnie Carol, Fiddler for Peace Kailin Yong and cellist James Hoskins with vocals by Tamra Hayden and contributions on tin whistle and bagpipes from rising star Matthew McDaniel, who also did the color for Eddie Mize’ album cover artwork.

Tamra Hayden, of Scotch-Irish descent and a graduate of Littleton High School and the University of Northern Colorado, went from performing at the old Country Dinner Playhouse to the stage of the Denver Center Theatre Company to the bright lights of Broadway where she has performed for the past 17 years. There (and on tour), she has sung the role of Cosette in Les Miserables over 1,800 times in addition to playing the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera among many others. Her approach is organic and grows out of the acting that requires her to inhabit a role. When she sings, she makes the lyrics come alive and invests them with the feelings of the story the words are telling. The warmth and richness of her voice combined with the remarkable playing of the others adds a depth and clarity to each song that helps the listener appreciate why they have endured so long – and with interpretations like this, will continue to live.

It is that combination of acting and singing talent that led Paul to approach her two years ago with a request to record an album of Celtic songs. Between then and now, Paul recruited the other talent from the Boulder area where each is entrenched in the music scene as a teacher, musician and performer and outstanding in their own right: Gregg is a member of County Boulder (formerly Peace, Love, Jigs and Reels), Bonnie was a member of the Mother Folkers and plays bodhran; Kailin, originally from Singapore has his own group, the Peace Project Trio and James plays with several bands including Sherefe, a Boulder band that plays the music of the Balkans and Middle East.

The playlist ranges from traditional songs like Scarborough Faire, Greensleeves, Black is the Colour and Wild Mountain Thyme to Foggy Dew – the rebel lament that came out of the 1916 Rising – to modern classics like Rare Ould Times, the 1970 Pete St. John paean to the changes in Dublin in the 60’s and Eric Bogle’s 1976 anti-war air, The Green Fields of France.

Tribute and honor are paid to Robert Burns in an unusual rendition of Auld Lang Syne that includes all the rarely-sung lyrics in an arrangement that should become the new standard for singing the song but probably won’t. Further honor is rendered to the Scots with the singing and playing of Loch Lomond in a largo arrangement that adds more emotional weight and depth to the song than is usually heard.

Bonus tracks include Shenandoah, because there is an echo of Irish sensibility in the music and an alternate take of Wild Mountain Thyme.

At the risk of being cliché, this album could easily become an instant classic.

In the liner notes, Paul says that “This collection is aptly named. We didn’t realize, when we started, how invested we would become in these songs. An amazing number of tears were shed during this project’s development. You will hear the emotion generated in the studio and feel it as you listen.”

You can hear it yourself – and should hear it for yourself and buy the CD – at the concert that will present the group and the magical music they have made along with the Highland Rock and Roll of Angus Mohr at the Rialto Theatre in Loveland at 7:30 PM on May 12th. Tickets are general admission and available online at http://rialtoloveland.ticketforce.com/ and are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Apr 092012
May 12 CC DI DerryLondonderry Clipper

May 2012 Celtic Connection – Travel There
2012 Ireland Festivals Round-Up
Follow Enda Walsh as he changes horses and directions to showcase some of Ireland’s many Festivals and Events

Trying to round-up all of the festivals and special events of Ireland would be like trying to lasso a herd of wild horses. They’re scattered in every direction with their own uniqueness, pace, excitement and style. We’re going to saddle-up and head east, west, north and south and gather a few of the happenings that are waiting to be the centerpiece of your vacation to Ireland.

Horse lovers and race goers from near and far travel to the West of Ireland every July to experience the adrenalin-pumping action of the Galway Races at Ballybrit July 30 – August 5. Situated on the outskirts of Galway city, this week long gathering is one of the fastest growing festivals in the world. After each day’s racing, the action moves from the track into Galway for the city’s famous nightlife.
Arrive earlier in the month and take-in the Galway Film Fleadh July10 -15, a six-day international event that will bring together the general cinema-going public, film buff’s, student film makers, industry professionals and special guests or get primal when the “City of the Tribes” hosts Ireland’s leading international Arts Festival in theatre, dance, visual arts and music at the Galway Arts Festival July16 – 29.

If you like your racing on the water, gallop up to Derry~Londonderry and anchor yourself at the Clipper Round the World Race and Maritime Festival July1 -31. The world’s longest yacht race will make its homecoming leg from Nova Scotia to Northern Ireland, arriving in Derry~Londonderry in early July. The city’s own yacht, the Derry-Londonderry, is part of the historic 40,000 mile race. Imagine the home town pride and festive frenzy as the Derry~Londonderry appears skimming across the bay neck and neck with the competition! Now, imagine the welcome the crews will receive and the fun and frolic and tales to be told — Shiver me timbers and count me in!

Meet Ireland’s most famous queen of the sea in Westport, County Mayo and catch The Legend of Grainne Mhaol Summer Show June13 – September26. The popular summer musical is based on the real-life story of the legendary Irish Pirate Queen Grace O’ Malley, or Gráinne Mhaol, who sailed the seas around Ireland in the 16th century. If you can arrange to be in town June 20 -24 you can also partake in the Westport International Sea Angling Festival featuring both boat and shore competition, the fishing takes place in the beautiful waters of Clew Bay in the shadow of Mt. Croagh Patrick. Called “The Reek” by the locals, the mountain is where St. Patrick fasted for 40-days and banished all the snakes from Ireland. If the weather is nice, and you’re up to it, take the path to the top and enjoy the spectacular view.

Put on your running shoes and take to the road for the Clare Burren Marathon Challenge May 26. The Burren, in Co. Clare, is a region of 250 kilometers of stunning limestone rock landscapes. You won’t find 40 shades of green, but many find tranquility and a sense of spiritual peace as they discover rare Irish plants and flowers, gentle streams, and megalithic tombs and monuments older than Egypt’s pyramids.

If it is a relaxed pace that you are looking for, take the ferry to Traditional Basketmaking Culture Week on Inis Mór, Aran Islands, and takes place from the July 29-August 5. Traditional basket weaving workshops takes place for four hours daily. There is plenty of time to enjoy the lovely scenery of Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, and visit the many archaeological sites.

A good sense of humor abounds throughout Ireland, but if you want a real concentrated dose, head over to Kilkenny City May 31 – June 4 for The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival. Founded in 1994 the festival has grown from a small event comprising of a handful of shows to an internationally acclaimed festival which showcases the very best in Irish and international comedy acts.

Over 30,000 ‘foodies’ converge on the Taste of Dublin June 14 -17 that takes place in the gorgeous surrounds of the Iveagh Gardens. Local and international food and drink is in abundance and there are opportunities to pick up hints and tips from world famous chefs. The West Cork Food and Drink Fair 2012 in Ballylickey June 16-17 focuses more on regional fare, one of the main features will be a vast range of Irish farmhouse cheeses. Dunmore East Festival of Food, Fish & Fun June 22 – 24 is a jam-packed weekend of family fun, festivities and of course fish.. Stroll through the village see the thatched cottages or wonder down to the harbor. Foynes Irish Coffee Festival June 1 – 3 takes place in the little village of Foynes, Co Limerick where in 1943 Chef Joe Sheridan invented the world famous Irish Coffee.

Drama, readings, lectures, music and fun will reign over the small town of Bruff, Co Limerick June 13 -17 as Bloomsday in Bruff celebrates the work of one of Ireland’s famous writers, James Joyce. A week later, the Dublin Writers Festival
June 4-10 focuses more on top contemporary writers from around the world
with readings, discussions, debates, and workshops. Children’s fiction writers are well represented as are Irish language writers. Newbridge College, Newbridge, Co Kildare, will host the 25th Gerard Manley Hopkins Festival Silver Jubilee July 21- 27. The Hopkins Literary Festival attracts participants from all over the world to explore the universal appeal of Hopkins’s poetry. Not everyone has a book, but everyone has a story – Bring your’s to Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival in Co Cork August 31 – September 2.

Where else but in Ireland would a wild mountain goat be crowned King and reign over a town for three days? The Puck Fair August 10 – 12 in Killorglin! One of Ireland’s oldest festivals, celebrating almost 400 years, the spectacle comes complete with a coronation ceremony, parade, and free entertainment. Street artists, traders, craftsmen, buskers, face painting, pet show, and puppet theatre, add to the carnival atmosphere of Ireland’s premier funfair.

Just what is Enya singing about? Immerse yourself at Irish Language & Culture Summer Festival in Glencolmcille, Co Donegal July 21- 28 for a week of language & cultural and come away speaking better Irish then some of the locals!

The music and dance traditions of Ireland are alive and well throughout Ireland as attested by the number of festival offerings. The nooks and crannies of the Glens of Antrim have fostered traditional music, song, and dance for centuries. Cushendall hosts County Antrim Fleadh May 13- 20. Make sure you take time for a cruise along the nine Glens and enjoy one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Irish music fans, musicians, and dancers from Ireland and abroad will converge at
the Willie Clancy Summer School (Scoil Samhraidh) in Miltown Malbay July 7-15.
Don’t let the word “School” fool you – Yes, there will be classes and workshops for all levels in traditional Irish music and dance – but “Willie Week” is one big party that overflows from its official headquarters in Miltown Malbay to neighboring towns like Quilty and Spanish Point. Willie Clancy is Ireland’s largest traditional music gathering, so make sure you book your room in advance.
Masters of Tradition festival in Bantry August15-19 is one of the more recent traditional music events on the scene that would be worth the effort to enjoy. The idea for the festival evolved from Artistic Director Martin Hayes’ call to create a quiet and intimate space where the heart of traditional music could be exposed. Martin is a master Irish fiddler himself, and brings some of the very best Irish musicians to share their take on traditional music.
“So every Summer I go to Clare – Coz Woodstock, Knock nor the Feast of Cana -
Can’t hold a match to Lisdoonvarna,” sang Irish singer Christy Moore.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival August 30 – September 7 is Europe’s biggest singles event. Out in the wild west coast of Ireland in the county
of Clare the centuries-old tradition of matchmaking lives on. If you come to Ireland single, you just might return with your perfect match! Bring your dance shoes, the music starts each day at noon!

You might find your favorite pop performer at the 50th Belfast Festival at Queens October 19 -November 3, because everyone wants to perform in Ireland! Over the years guests as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Laurence Olivier and Dizzy Gillespie have shared their sounds here. The music fest has grown to encompass dance, theatre, new music, jazz, blues and world music, folk and roots, exhibitions, comedy, film and education.
The Slipway in Belfast is the site where many a big ship first got their rudder wet. The most famous launching was the Titanic before its maiden voyage. On June 30th The Slipway will be the site of Land of Giants, the biggest outdoor arts event Northern Ireland has ever seen. Over 500 entertainers will present astounding acrobatics, aerial dance, carnivals, circus, music, multi-media shows and pyrotechnics.
Titanic Belfast has just opened its doors to world wide acclaim and is a ‘must see’ when in Belfast and Northern Ireland. The iconic six-floor building houses nine galleries that take you through the story of the Titanic with state-of-the-art interactive technology. The story continues beyond the ships tragic end, and includes the discovery of the wreck and live links to contemporary undersea exploration.
Not far from Belfast another impressive tourist attraction is scheduled to have Grand Opening events from September 1- 30. The Giants Causeway Visitor Centre in County Antrim is under construction to the tune of £18.5 million (over 24 million U.S.) and already looking spectacular! The eco-friendly centre’s roof is covered in grass and inside you’ll find charming tearooms where you will savor a steaming cup-a-tea and look at the neatly stacked basalt columns that reach out into the North Sea towards Scotland and ponder the maker – was it Mother Nature or Finn McCool?
Well there you have it buckaroos – I’ve lassoed a few fests to spark your imagination and help you plan your dream vacation to Ireland. But don’t stop here ‘cause more hoedowns and vacation ideas are waiting for you when you saddle-up and pony over to DiscoverIreland.com. NOW JUMP TO IT and get those little doggies rolling to Ireland! YEEHA!

May 12 CC Cover


The Denver Folklore Center turns 50 this spring. A visit to the iconic holy ground at 1893 South Pearl Street is like walking into a living shrine to acoustic music. The walls are covered with stringed instruments and folk music memorabilia. Hand written signs organize bins stuffed with recordings or sheet music, guiding you to various genres of roots music. Magazine racks are where they can be because should be is not an option with limited space. But it doesn’t matter- You know you’re somewhere special, organic and good. Whether you want to play, listen, or educate yourself about folk music you’re in the right place.
Friendly employees are nearby, tuning, teaching or talking music. A cozy corner spot has seating for those who want to pick a few tunes. There is some room in back for music lessons. If you walk in and you don’t play, you feel like you should because you want to be apart of this scene.

The man behind this down home folk vibe is founder and owner of the Denver Folklore Center, Harry Tuft. Often referred to as “Denver’s Godfather of Folk Music,” Harry was just inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in February. A kind and humble man, he would feel awkward if you called him a legend – but call him one anyway because he is!

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Harry was turned-on to roots and folk music in his youth when he first learned to play a ukulele. As the folk scene began to blossom in America a friend pointed Harry towards Colorado and the young man packed up his ‘uke’ and went west. By a twist of fate that continues to benefit folk music lovers today, he opened the Denver Folklore center in 1962 on 17th Avenue in Capital Hill.
Harry said, “When I came to Denver many years ago, I realized that Denver was a city made up of lots of different communities. I found here among those communities, a group of folks who really liked the kind of music that I like. We came together, magically, to build this influential organization. I’m very proud.”

It was not clear sailing in the folk music business. Harry drove a taxi at night and struggled along with occasional financial help from his parents. He began to offer music lessons because he was asked. Every Sunday there was a hootenanny at the store. The buzz started to grow about the new center for the growing folk music community.
Otis Taylor recalls, “The summer before I went to high school I discovered the Folklore Center – that was in ’63 – and I basically never left the place. It was like I lived there. I’d go there on weekends and every day after school. A lot of kids were hanging out there. You’d listen to music and make friends. My whole life was based around the Denver Folklore Center until ’67, when I moved to Boulder…” Taylor purchased his first instrument – a ukulele – at the store. “I was just a poor black kid hanging around – I’d wait for the teachers between classes and get them to give me a quick lesson.” He describes the store’s influence on him as follows: “From the Folklore Center came the music, from home came the attitude. It was pretty incredible. It had a huge influence on me. We’d have students coming from back east to come check out the center … My mom would put them up in our house. It was like another world.”

Harry was asked by an agent to promote Joan Baez which led to a sold-out show at the Denver Auditorium Theatre. Other shows followed with more big names at more big venues including Red Rocks.
Harry expanded his storefront and exposure along 17th Avenue, adding more space for instruments and accessories, a repair shop, record store, concert hall and a music school that eventually was developed by Folklore employee Julie Davis into the current Swallow Hill Music School. By the early 70’s the Denver Folklore Center became a Rocky Mountain Mecca for the folk scene.
Steven Fromholz (with Dan McCrimmon as Frummox) recalls: “When we hit the streets of Denver we had no place to stay… The first place we went was the Denver Folklore Center. It was a great place. The summer of ’68 in Denver was hippie heaven and the Folklore Center was a big part of it all. I remember the walls were all wood, it was dark and a little dusty with incredible instruments hanging everywhere…but most of all it was a group of friendly folks. We met the owner, Harry Tuft, who took us in like lost children…He was so kind to many musicians. There was a concert hall at the Folklore Center where Harry presented live music on the weekends. It was a small room with a good PA system and lights. It was an incredible place to play because people came to listen. When the popular folkies played somewhere in Denver they would stop by and visit Harry. They bought strings, guitar picks and more often than not did a special show for Harry – Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Jack Elliott, Doc Watson – I saw Reverend Gary Davis play there. It was a listener’s paradise.”

The music was always good, but the economy and financial aspects of the business did not always follow suit. Over the years there were peaks and valleys as the store changed address and management – for a short time the doors were closed for business.
Resilience prevailed and in 1983 Harry opened the Denver Folklore Center at its current location at 1893 S. Pearl. He still hosts weekly song circles (Mon. 7P) and continues to perform both solo and with Grubstake, his folk trio of 40 years that includes Jack Stanesco and Steve Abbott. Last year he released his second solo album, Harry Tuft & Friends: Treasures Untold, accompanied by a who’s who of Colorado musicians.
Many of those musicians and loads more from around the state and country will gather with Harry and Folklore Center family and friends over Memorial Day Weekend and celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the institution that Harry built.
Congratulations to Harry Tuft and Denver Folklore Center staff, alumni, friends and supporters!

Denver Folklore Center, 1893 South Pearl Street, Denver, CO 80210
303-777-4786 www.DenverFolklore.com info@denverfolklore.com

Denver Folklore Center – 50th Anniversary Celebration Concerts:.

Friday, May 25 at the Newman Center – 8pm
Hot Rize, Otis Taylor, and Harry Tuft and former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm

Saturday, May 26 at L2 Arts and Culture – 8pm
Tim O’Brien, Dakota Blonde, Nick & Helen Forster and Dick Weissman

Sunday, May 27 at Four Mile Historic Park – 1-4pm
Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur; Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore; Pete & Joan Wernick; Michael Cooney; Harry Tuft, Jack Stanesco, & Steve Abbot; with Martin Gilmore

Ticket Prices:
VIP Weekend Pass – $175 includes a semi-private party Sunday evening at Swallow Hill Music!
Standard Weekend Pass – $98
Friday Concert at the Newman Center – $28-$103 day of show, reserved seating
Saturday Concert at L2 Arts and Culture Center – $25 advance, $30 day of show
Sunday Concert at Four Mile Historic Park – $25 advance, $30 day of show
INFO & BOX OFFICE: http://swallowhillmusic.org/ 303-777-1003 x2

Dougherty's firefighter & boot

The folks at Dougherty’s Irish Pub will be turning the street in front of their establishment into a party Saturday June 23 to raise money for the Denver Burn Foundation. Denver firefighters will be at the intersections of Broadway and Ellsworth, and Lincoln and Ellsworth with “The Boot” to collect donations.
Because of the nature of their jobs, professional fire fighters are often the first to come into contact with those who have suffered burn injuries. They take a personal interest in survivor treatment, rehabilitation and return to an ordinary life.
The event will be held 11am- 10pm. . There will be live music, a fire truck bouncy castle for the kids, a dunk tank featuring firemen who appeared in the Denver Firefighter calendar, food and drink specials all day and night. All proceeds from food and drink sales at Dougherty’s will be donated to the Denver Burn Foundation.
Admission is free.
If you can’t make it down for all the fun but want to donate, you can stop by Dougherty’s and drop off a check or money order made out to the Denver Burn Foundation. Call 303-775-5210 for hours.

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