December 14 CC AOH Logo

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), Fr. Joseph Carrigan Division and The Celtic Tavern have joined forces for their 3rd Annual Family Irish New Year’s Celebration. The event takes place from 2 PM to 7 PM on Wednesday, Dec. 31st at The Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake St., Denver. Observing the Dublin, Ireland time zone, the 2015 New Year will be celebrated at 5 PM MDT with a special toast and bagpipe salute. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Catholic Samaritan House and Homes for Heroes.

A family celebration, the event is open to the public, with a $10 cover charge for entry and party favors.

Offerings will include:

• Traditional Irish music from Juice O’the Barley and the Celtic Friends
• Live music from session players with a medley of Irish music
• Specially priced menu from The Celtic Tavern kitchen
• Party favors and entertainment for kids of all ages
• Raffle and silent auction, benefiting the Catholic Samaritan House and Homes for Heroes
• Countdown to New Year’s with a Jameson Irish Whiskey toast at 5 PM
• Bagpipe New Year’s salute and singing of Auld Lang Syne

The AOH is an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization that supports numerous charities in Denver. There are nearly 100 members in the Denver area – not all ancient – who range from their early twenties to the mid-80s and from all walks of life. It is the oldest and largest Irish cultural organization in the U.S., with roots going back 300 years to groups of the same name in Ireland. The Order provides a continuing bridge to Ireland for those who are generations removed from there and sponsors many programs that promote Irish Heritage.

December 14 CC Winter Solabration

By Chris Kermiet – - -

The Winter Solabration is a celebration of the Winter Solstice in music and dance. The dance consists of traditional American community dances Ð contras, squares, and a few circle and couple dances Ð all carefully taught and walked through so that all can participate. Guests also participate by bringing a potluck snack or dessert to share. At the beginning of the evening there is wassail and community singing for everyone, followed by the Bryan Connolly Extreme Juggling, Planina Ñ Songs of Eastern Europe, Breathless in Berthoud, and our wonderful storyteller, Susan Marie Frontczak. Following the Grand March there is dancing for all, with other special performances throughout the evening, including the sword dancers, a mummer’s play, the Maroon Bells Morris Dancers, and a special surprise event, as well.
Yes, it’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for 29 years. It all started with Karl Dise. Twenty-nine years ago, he said: “Let’s have a big Christmas feast and party and dance.” That was in 1986. And we did. It was so much fun, we decided that we should do it again next year. Then we just kept on doing it. This will be our 29th annual Winter Solabration.
Things have evolved and changed some since those early years. We loved the feast, and felt that it was an important part of the event, but it soon evolved into a dessert or snack potluck. (Way easier!) We added a storyteller and a juggler when we realized that we didn’t have much for kids, and people wanted their kids to be a part of the event, too.
Come and join the revelry on December 20th, from 6 to 11:30 pm, at the Sons of Italy Hall, 5925 West 32nd Avenue in Denver. Tickets are $27 through December 13th and $33 thereafter. Children (6 – 12), $9 and Teens, $19. Tickets and more information at


Irish music sensation CELTIC WOMAN celebrates the holiday season with “Home for Christmas, The Symphony Tour” with a stop in Colorado Wednesday, December 17, 7:30PM at Boettcher Concert Hall, at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. This “one night only” special event in Denver offers an unparalleled musical experience, with the multi-platinum female ensemble performing favorite holiday songs accompanied by the big glorious sound of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Expertly guided by internationally renowned Music Director, Andrew Litton, the world-class Colorado Symphony take on an impressive schedule over the holiday season.
From Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Eve they offer traditional favorites and festive collaborations including Handel’s Messiah with the Colorado Symphony Chorus, the annual holiday spectacular A Colorado Christmas, and Too Hot To Handel, a thrilling jazz/funk/R&B/gospel remix of Handel’s Messiah – All the while in the midst of recording a new Aaron Copland tribute CD.
But even with an already busy work load, the Symphony jumped at the chance to collaborate with Celtic Woman. “It’s a busy time for us. But when we heard that they were possibly routing through Denver I pounced on it” said Anthony “Tony” Pierce, Senior Vice President of programming.
Pierce, who is responsible for booking much of the innovative line-up that performs with the Symphony throughout the year, added, “We are thrilled to have them back – They were with us for one concert a few years ago and we sold out entirely. Encourage people to reserve their seats early as I expect the same for this show.”

Celtic Woman consistently draw sellout crowds during their visually stunning concert tours and that’s no surprise to Pierce. “Obviously they are all beautiful ladies, but they’re all remarkably talented ladies too. Take their fiddle player Máiréad Nesbitt, she is not only a fiddle player, she is classically trained violinist who credits Itzhak Perlman as one of her biggest influences.”

Prior to the big show December 17th there will be much work to be done. Sheet music for the Symphony along with technical and hospitality riders need to be advanced by Pierce and appropriate Symphony personnel and Celtic Woman’s production team. “They come to town and we just have one day with them – we’ll rehearse through everything,” said Pierce, “There is a lot of technical work that have to be done before they show up -getting their lights focused, making sure that we understand entrances and exits and making sure that sound reinforcement is right. Make sure everything is properly mic’d and executed on our end. We do have a brand new sound system since they were here last, which will only help us put on a better show.”

There will be a lot of moving parts to Celtic Woman’s “Home for Christmas” show with the Colorado Symphony December 17th, but with all of the talent working on and off stage it promises an enchanting and festive evening filled with mesmerizing music, song, dance, and holiday cheer. Pierce concurs, “It’s a unique way to see Celtic Woman, they have been in the market a number of times, but this just makes it a much more special appearance when you get all of the colors and textures that can only come with a full orchestra.”
For Tickets for Celtic Woman Home for Christmas – The Symphony Tour call 303-623-7876 or go online to

December 14 CC Montana meet our student pic

(photo: Irish Studies student Ariana Walsh)
Aithne ar ár Mic Léinn – Introducing our Students
Ariana Walsh [Elementary Irish I]
I joined the Friends of Irish Studies and am taking Irish language classes because I have always been fascinated with Ireland. This program has taught me more about the language, community, and Ireland in such an intriguing way that is fun and full of surprises. My favorite thing about learning Irish is when people ask me what language I am taking or hear me speak it, they are caught off guard because I’m not Irish and I don’t look Irish. Taking Irish as a language and becoming a Friends of Irish Studies, I have fallen in love with the program and have made it my minor as well as teaching Irish to my children.
Turas go hÉirinn – Trip to Ireland
Our trip to Ireland has been finalized. A detailed itinerary is now available on our website, The tour will bring you to some of the more well-known places, but also into the Hidden Ireland, to those places of indescribable beauty that lay off the beaten track. If you have any further questions, please contact
Bronntanais na Nollag – Christmas Gifts
Lón Stócaí – Stocking Stuffers
How many of you dread the thought of Christmas shopping, pausing and looking and going from store to store to find those little gifts for friends and work colleagues. Well, here is a helpful suggestion: Why not enter them in a drawing for a trip for two to Ireland? Believe it or not, those raffle tickets make great stocking stuffers and tokens of appreciation for friends and work colleagues. If you’re interested, you may purchase them at Rockin’ Rudy’s in Missoula, The Granite Mountain Bank in Butte, and at Bert and Ernie’s in Helena. You can also contact the Friends at and they’ll post them on to you. Nollaig Shona – Happy Christmas
Ballraíocht de na Cairde – Membership of the Friends
Here’s one other thought to ponder: Have you considered buying a membership to the Friends of Irish Studies as a Christmas gift? Not only do you get a beautiful bumper sticker and pin, but you also get reductions on all activities this great group organize and a monthly newsletter. Added to that is the fact that you help to promote your Irish heritage and culture. So, it is a gift well worth considering; and it’s only $20 for an individual membership and $40 for a family!
Matters of Culture – Cúrsaí Cultúrtha
Cé hiad na Gaeil Mheiriceánaigh? – Who are The Irish Americans?
Have any of you ever paused to ask the question: Who are the Irish Americans, what does this term mean? It seems that those early Irish immigrants who first used the term to describe themselves had no doubt what it meant. It was a double-barreled name proclaiming that they were Irish in their culture and American in their politics. In other words, they would preserve their Irish heritage and identity while remaining faithful to the American ideal of Liberty and in doing so would create a cultural and nationalist movement that would change the course of Irish history. You may not know this but the great cultural revival that swept through Ireland from the 1890s onwards had its origins in America. The first organizations to preserve the Irish language, music, dance and games were started on this side of the Atlantic; it was the Irish Americans who rejected Home Rule and demanded liberty; and it was the growing political power of Irish America that internationalized the Irish Question and forced the British Government to change its policies towards Ireland. It was the Irish American vision of a new Ireland that Padraig Pearse embraced and sought to implement through the 1916 Rebellion. It was a vision he referred to as the Fenian Programme, a clear acknowledgement of its Irish American origins.
But what does Irish American mean to the descendants of those early immigrants; what does it mean to you, if anything? This is a question that concerns the Irish Studies Program at the University of Montana through its oral history research project, The Gathering. This is a question we cannot answer, but you can, so we invite you to send in your thoughts on this question to
Traidisiúin na nGael – Irish Traditions
Bill Shea from Anaconda informs us that as kids they would go from house to house at Halloween saying “Mum, Mum…” instead of the typical “Trick or Treat.” Bill believes that this custom has its origins in the Mumming tradition of Ireland. We also received another account telling us that St. Stephens Day in Butte was celebrated in a manner very similar to the Wren Day in Ireland. The kids would dress up and go from house to house singing, “The wren, the wren, the King of All Birds, On St. Stephens’s Day got caught in the furze. Although he is small, his family is great. Come out, good lady, and give us a treat.” The Gathering is recording these traditions and the manner in which they were celebrated in America. If you know of any customs or traditions you believe may have come over with your people from Ireland, please contact
Síntiúis – Donations
It’s approaching the end of the year and many of you are considering some end-of-year donations to your favourite charities and organizations. We respectfully ask that you consider the Friends when making your decision. The Friends of Irish Studies is a 501c3 non-profit corporation, so your donation is tax deductible. It will be a great help in building our program and helping the less-well-off of our students. Our thanks to you in advance for taking the time to consider us. Go gcúití Dia bhur saothar libh
Club Iománaíochta – Hurling Club
The Montana Grizzlies’ Hurling Club travelled to San Francisco on November 8 to compete in a local tournament comprising collegiate and club teams. It was again a very successful trip. The national champions easily disposed of the collegiate teams and seem to be progressing in a way that makes them favourites to retain their title in May. The club team presented a more formidable opposition, made up as it was of players from Ireland, each of whom had been born with a hurley in the hand. “Although the Grizzlies were well beaten, the game will do them a lot of good,” according to player/coach, Naoise Waldron, “there is now another standard to reach and we feel confident that our young hurlers will reach it.” If anybody is interested in playing or learning about the game, please contact
Ceol agus Rince – Music and Dance
Nollaig na nGael i Montana – An Irish Christmas in Montana
The Christmas Concert is coming up, so be sure to tell all our family, friends, in-laws and outlaws. This is a very historic and special event as it brings together performers from Ireland and America. As the record shows, when the Irish of both countries come together great things happen. The setting is an Irish cottage and the program features all the songs, hymns, ballads and dances one associates with an Irish Christmas. Rehearsals have been ongoing for the past three months, and reliable sources tell me that it is so good they may be taking the show to Broadway after Missoula! So, tell everybody you know, e-mail your contacts, and post on social media. The concert takes place at the University of Montana Music Recital Hall, with an evening show on Saturday, December 6 from 7:30 – 9:00, and a matinee on Sunday, December 7:00 from 3 pm to 4:30. Tickets are $20 for a family [whether you have 2 kids or 20]; $15 general admission; $10 for seniors and Friends of Irish Studies; and $5 for students. All proceeds go to support the Irish Studies Program. For more information or tickets online, go to You can also buy tickets at the door. Our thanks to our sponsors: The Ancient Order of Hibernians [AOH]; Lmgsecurity; and Ireland Tile and Marble.
Rinceoirí na Sléibhte – Missoula Irish Dancers
Missoula Irish Dancers will hold their 5th annual Christmas Recital and silent auction on December 20 at Hellgate Highschool. The performance begins at 2:30 and will be another great event. The Missoula Irish Dance School has grown dramatically over the past number of years and needs your support to meet the growing demands on resources. So, put it on our calendar and spread the word. More information may be obtained at

Revels irish-christmas-2014

(Photo Caption: Every Christmas Revels show features the “Lord of the Dance,” written by Sidney Carter to the tune of the familiar Shaker song “Simple Gifts.” The song leader leads the audience in singing the refrain, while morris dancers dance on stage. After the final verse, the chorus leaves the stage and joins hands with the audience, streaming into the lobby in a serpentine dance and repeatedly singing the song’s refrain. (Photo: Rocky Mountain Revels 2012))
This year’s Christmas Revels is set in 1907 as Irish emigrants, leaving family and possessions behind, board the RMS Carpathia in search of a new life in a new land. Join us as we celebrate the Celtic traditions of Christmas and the rituals of the winter solstice—the shortest day—when we welcome the return of the sun’s warmth and mark the cycle of the seasons. With authentic fiddling, storytelling, Irish step dancing, and the singing of soulful carols, this Revels show features a fabulous community cast, a cheery children’s chorus, and a proud piper that’s bound to brighten your holiday heart.

Be sure not to miss this festive and authentic Irish production, written and directed by Karen Romeo, featuring several guest artists, known for their talent and creativity in the Celtic arts: Peyton Davis, the two-time winner of the North American Irish Dancing Championships; Adam Agee and Jon Sousa, two of Colorado’s most sought-after traditional Irish musicians; and Margot Krimmel, the renowned Celtic harp player.

There are only four shows at the historic Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St, Downtown Boulder; December 14 @ 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and again on December 20 @ 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. For information and tickets, visit

Welcome all ages and welcome Yule!

Eric McBride 2013 Food juggle

Chef Eric W. McBride and the recipes of the Celtic Caterer will be featured throughout the month of December, as the Guest Chef at the newly renovated William Oliver’s Public House (2608 South Timberline Rd, Ft. Collins). Now through the 31st you will be able to taste from a select menu some of Chef McBride award winning recipes.
There will be a select Bistro menu with daily changes. Everything from his Port wine gravy Beef Collops, & his Creamy Chicken Tarragon, to his Roast leg of Lamb in a Blue Berry Port wine demi-glace and his 3 time marinated Irish stew. And don’t forget about his mouth watering, made from scratch Celtic Soups; Creamy Potato and leek soup w/ white wine, Smoke Salmon Whisky cheese soup, Cock-a-leeky, Roast Garlic Soup, just to mention a few. And for dessert, Orange Chocolate Whisky Mousse, Apple Oatmeal crumble, Raspberry whisky trifle, and of course his Guinness Chocolate Walnut cake.
Is your mouth watering yet? There will also be Whisky & Wine pairing for the dishes, as well as some extra surprises from behind the bar. And mixed in with all this are some of Chef McBride’s favorite Bacon recipes from his upcoming book, “The Bacon Celtic Cook Book”.
Chef McBride will also be on hand to sign cook books, and highlight his new Celtic Caterer Spices and Herb blends.
Even though William Oliver’s does not have a reservation seating, there is limited numbers of Chef McBride’s Celtic Dishes available each night. So if you look like you are going to make the trip to William Oliver’s Publick house be sure to call ahead and reserve your menu items, 970-680-DRAM (3726). Also, check out the Publick House’s website for more information.

Check out Eric’s monthly recipe in the Celtic Connection newspaper (published out of Denver)

Dec 012014

— By Rodger Hara
(photo: Acoustic Eidolon)

Acoustic Eidolon presents its 14th Annual Holiday Concert at the Rialto Theater, 228 E. 4th St., Loveland, CO on the 5th and 6th and on the 12th at 8 PM in Daniels Hall at the Swallow Hill Music Center in Denver 303-777-1003 . This year’s “Friends Across the Ocean Concert” features German Celtic Harpist Thomas Loefke.

Avourneen plays Friday nights at Katie Mullen’s at 9 PM and then plays for the New Year’s Eve show at the Mercury Café with the Gypsy/Hungarian folk band My Wooden Leg. Tix for that event are $10.

Brian Clancy does his traditional gig at Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse and Pub, Downtown Colorado Springs at 7:30 PM on the 4th, 11th and 18th and The Irish Snug, Capitol Hill in Denver, at 8:30 PM on the 6th, 13th and 20th.

Big Paddy is on stage at The Exchange Tavern in Westminster at 8:30 PM on the 5th and at the Taunaz Tavern in Arvada on the 20th at 8:30 PM.

The Commoners play at Scruffy Murphy’s in LoDo on the 13th at 9:30 PM and at Mulligan’s in Fort Collins on the 30th at 9:00 PM.

Margot Krimmel does her Holiday Harps Concert on the 6th at 11:30 AM in the Canyon Theater of the Boulder Public Library with her harp students and special guest artist Beth Gadbaw. On the 9th, she plays with the Denver Early Music Consort at 7:30 PM at Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder and on the 10th at 7:30 PM at the First Unitarian Society of Denver at 14th Ave. & Lafayette St. On the 14th and 20th, she is part of the Rocky Mountain Revels annual Christmas Revels show in the Boulder Theatre. This year’s theme is “An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice”. Shows are at 2 PM and 7 PM each day. Tix at

On the 7th, The Granias (Jessie Burns, Beth Gadbaw, Margot Krimmel, Annie Sirotniak) perform for a service of worship and Holy Communion in the Celtic tradition at St John’s Episcopal Church, Boulder at 6 PM.

Flogging Molly brings their Mighty Stef show to the Ogden Theatre on the 9th at 8 PM. It’s an 18+ show. Tix at

Gadbaw and Krimmel play songs from their CD “Icy December” on the 8th at 7 PM at the Council Tree Library in Fort Collins, 2733 Council Tree Avenue

Beth Gadbaw with Steve Mullins, Sandra Wong, and more present “A Winter’s World of Song: Christmas Carols From Around the World” on the 13th at 7:30 PM in the Chautauqua Community House. Tickets $20

The Indulgers perform at The Exchange Tavern in Westminster on the 13th at 10 PM and on the 18th at Conor O’Neill’s in Boulder at 10 PM.

The Celtic Friends perform at The Celtic Broker Holiday Party on the 13th at 12 PM and at the Celtic Tavern for the Ancient Order of Hibernians Fr. Joseph P. Carrigan Division’s annual Irish New Year’s Eve party on the 31st from 2-7 PM.

Adam Agee & Jon Sousa are the featured guest performers at the Rocky Mountains Revels show, “The Christmas Revels – An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice” on the 14th and 20th at 2 PM and 7 PM both dates. Tix at They will also have copies of their new CD, “Suantrai” available at that show.

Angus Mohr does their annual pot-luck holiday marathon show and party for friends and family at the DEFY! Crossfit in Broomfield, 6850 W. 116th Ave. on the 6th. Doors will open at 6 PM, music at 7:30 PM.

The Stubby Shillelaghs are on the Scruffy Murphy’s stage in LoDo on the 12th at 9:30 PM and at the Big Beaver Brewery in Loveland on the 27th at 7 PM.

The Juice O’the Barley plays for a private party on the 2nd at Maggie Smith’s Pub in Centennial but the place is small enough that you’ll be able to hear them if you’d like. On the 31st, they play at the Ancient Order of Hibernians Fr. Joseph P. Carrigan Division’s annual Irish New Year’s Eve party on the 31st from 2-7 PM.

Star Edwards plays her harp at the Southglenn Library in Centennial on the 5th at 6:30 PM and on the 6th at 8 PM for the kid’s Santa party. She’s also at the Brown Palace Hotel in the Atrium with its incredible Christmas decorations on the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th from 1:45 PM to 3:45 PM. On the 15th at 7 PM, she plays for the Scottish Rite Consistory Yuletide celebration, at the Schlessman Branch Library, 100 Poplar St. from 10 AM – 12 PM on the 13th and at the Cherry Creek Branch Library on Milwaukee at 1 PM on the 20th.

Ceol Ceili performs at the Jack Quinn Irish Ale House and Pub in Colorado Springs on the 27th at 8 PM and the 31st at 5 PM.

Colcannon presents a Celtic Christmas Show with Orchestra on the 13th at 7:30 PM in the First Presbyterian Church in Casper, WY then returns home for its annual Christmas Show at Nissi’s in Louisville on the 21st at 7:30 PM and again on the 26th at the Mercury Café in Downtown Denver at 7 PM.

Chancer’s Hooley is at Scruffy Murphy’s in LoDo on the 5th at 9 PM and at the Lefthand Brewery in Longmont at 5 PM on the 20th.

Kindred Spirits 5th annual winter concert at Swallow Hill on the 6th at 8 PM features “Winter Joy!” as its theme. Instrumentation will include Celtic harp, viola/violin, flute, piccolo, guitar, cello, accordion, bouzouki, and fiddle with guest artists Michael Stanwood and John Hubert adding didgeridoo, autoharp, percussion, and voice. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the show. $2 discount for Swallow Hill members.

And while it’s not news of a local band, it is news of a local New York band that probably has some followers here: After 25 years, Black 47 is disbanding. There was an interesting story about the band in last week’s New York Times that you can read at the link below.

Finally, Marc Gunn, the self-titled “CeltFather” has put together a list of Celtic Podcasts where, I suspect, the music of many local bands can be heard. You can find his list at

December 14 CC Irish Play pic

(photo caption: Louis Clark as Captain Boyle, Kathy Reed as Mrs. Boyle, and Robert Mitchell as Joxer
in The Upstart Crow’s production of “Juno and the Paycock’ by Sean O’Casey. Photo by Sutherland Studios)

The Upstart Crow theatre company’s current production of Sean O’Casey’s “Juno and the Paycock” runs Thanksgiving week through December 6 at the Carsen Theatre at the Dairy Center 2590 Walnut, Boulder CO.
Juno and the Paycock is a play by Sean O’Casey, and one of the most highly regarded and often performed plays in Ireland. It was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1924. It is set in the working class tenements of Dublin in the early 1920s, during the Irish Civil War period.
It is the second of his well-known “Dublin Trilogy” – the other two being The Shadow of a Gunman (1923) and The Plough and the Stars (1926).
COME EARLY! Dan McNellan will be performing traditional Irish folk songs and ballads for each performance starting 20 minutes before curtain.

For tickets go to our website:, click on “Buy Tickets” in the bottom of the box in the upper left corner. Or call the Dairy box office at 303-444-7328. If you’d like more information call us at 303-442-1415.

Belfast City Hall Christmas

Photo: Belfast City Hall

Ireland is the fifth best country in the world to visit in 2015, according to the folks at influential travel guide, Lonely Planet. Published last month, Lonely Planet’s Top Ten guide for next year’s vacation destinations describes Ireland as: “stunningly scenic.” “It is the real deal … its traditions—music, dance, whiskey and beer—(are) firmly intact, and the cosmopolitan, contemporary Irish are just as friendly and welcoming as their forebears were known to be.” The guide singles out the famous Irish hospitality as one of Ireland’s “true” qualities.
There’s more: “The Irish themselves are inevitably at the heart of the best the country has to offer. Attend a traditional music session in a small pub in County Clare. Hook up with a walking club and do a little cross-country ambling on a soft Sunday afternoon. Go surfing at Rossnowlagh Beach in County Donegal. Or just strike up a conversation over a pint with the gang sitting next to you in the pub.
“It’s these connections that will make you want to come back … Ireland is small, but it packs a big punch,” says Lonely Planet.
The Irish tourism industry has gone through a fantastic resurgence in recent times. Each year the numbers of visitors just keeps growing and this year the country is on target for yet another record number. The numbers visiting from north America are even more impressive. The re-introduction of the direct Aer Lingus flight between San Francisco and Dublin has helped a lot, as has the continued reduction in the value-added tax rate for tourism-related products and services, the historically favorable exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro and other macro economic factors. But at the heart of this reinvigoration of Ireland as a world class destination is a refocus on the things that traditionally have delighted visitors to the Emerald Isle. The beautiful scenery, the abiding sense of history and culture and—as Lonely Planet and others have highlighted—the spectacular hospitality of the Irish are among the key ingredients for the recent rise in the country’s popularity.
Over the next few month’s we will be gathering and celebrating the holidays, Thanksgiving, then Christmas and then the New Year. The Fall, and the end of year festivities are very special times in Ireland.
Ireland is a bouyant and joyful place this time of year. The arrival of Fall brings with it almost a ‘national mood change.’ The long summer days are over and Christmas is around the corner.
Things slow down a wee bit, especially in the countryside where the turf has been dug, the hay made and most of the crops brought in. In the cities too, the shortening days have an effect on the psyche, and along with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people quietly are going about the business of preparing for the year end celebrations.
It’s a fabulous time to visit Ireland. For one thing, the crowds of holiday makers have thinned out quite a bit, which as any seasoned traveler knows, means easier access to attractions and better value. There are great deals to be had on airfares. Car hire and accommodations are also good value this time of year. Tour operators have put together a wide variety of packages available to help you enjoy a very special fall or mid-winter break. A quick visit to will allow you access to all the information you need to plan a great holiday.
A City break is perfect for the coming months and there are a great many options. Among them are Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Galway, which all provide their own unique experiences, and are gateways to many other attractions you may want to visit. Common to them all however is the famed Irish welcome, spectacular nightlife, rich history and culture and a street scene the envy of Europe, replete with restaurants and cafés to suit any taste or budget.
In recent years Dublin has cemented its position as one of Europe’s most attractive cities. A previous winner of the prestigious ‘European City of Culture’ award, this burgeoning capital is positively alive with energy. Chic urban cool is on display in every quarter. Lush rolling parklands, an eclectic variety of hip boutiques and restaurants, a plethora of cultural and historical sights and attractions and a ‘buzzing’ nightlife all combine to make Dublin a premier destination. A singularly laid back atmosphere, lively and welcoming pubs and streets filled with the best of the modern and the ancient, this metropolis has survived and thrived for more than 1,000 years. It’s all there for you to explore at your leisure.
If you want to see 2014 out with a bang there is no better option than the hugely popular New Year’s Festival Dublin, which runs again this year from December 30 to January 1.
Three action-packed days of music, comedy, arts and even a Food Village, will take place across Dublin city.
NYF Dublin likes its music mixed and its venues spectacular. This year’s Countdown Concert line-up boasts indie chart-toppers Kodaline alongside four other incredible acts. You can also catch live acoustic, and pop-up sessions in cafés and restaurants scattered across the city.
Stages will be raised at some pretty spectacular locations, too, including College Green, Christ Church Cathedral and Meeting House Square in Temple Bar.
The festival has plenty of free fun-filled activities and events planned for everyone. Dublin Castle’s historic grounds open up for a fabulous Food Village and live entertainment, as well as the launch of the Irish Design 2015.
On New Year’s Eve, the People’s Procession of Light will illuminate the city streets with dazzling colors—and spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns to light up the skies. And across all three days, Dublin’s iconic landmarks will come alive with 3D activations during the fantastic Luminosity event.
Spending the holidays in Ireland is truly an experience like no other. The Irish no how to have a good time, and everyone is welcome to join in the merrymaking. And going in the fall or early winter offers a chance to experience all the country has to offer at incredible value.

November 14 CC Alan Doyle Where I Belong

Denver’s first big freeze with snow could not keep fans form The Tattered Cover (2526 East Colfax) on November 11th to see Alan Doyle read from and talk about his new book “Where I Belong: Small Town to Great Big Sea.” Fans got a bonus when the ever entertaining and gregarious Doyle took the microphone from the podium and sang a song. After he read from his book, he signed anything fans wanted signed and took pictures with all who wanted one.
Alan Doyle and his band ( will return to Denver Wednesday February 25, 2015, for a show at the Dove. Tickets are available now at For show information call 303-777-0502

“Funny, wise and self-deprecating, this book is hard to put down.
Alan is a truly great storyteller and his life in a small Newfoundland fishing village is a story dying to be told.”

Jim Cuddy

More on Alan and his new book:
As a founding member of Great Big Sea, Alan Doyle is widely recognized as one of contemporary music’s most gifted singer/songwriters. For over twenty years, Great Big Sea has taken its unique blend of rock, folk and Celtic music from the shores of Newfoundland to the far corners of the world. During that time, the band has amassed a string of gold and platinum albums, while its high-energy live shows have earned legions of devoted fans across Canada and around the globe.

“I am from Newfoundland,” says Alan Doyle. “Therefore, I am a bit of a storyteller. The stories of Newfoundlanders are often confused with fairy tales and the stuff of fiction; the people, places and events in them seem exaggerated or outright weird….[but] truth really is stranger than fiction.” This fall, Alan Doyle takes readers behind the music for a nostalgic and revealing look back at the great adventure that was his childhood. On October 20, 2014, Doubleday Canada is proud to publish WHERE I BELONG: From Small Town to Great Big Sea.

“When I was a boy, I had no idea. About many things. I knew a few facts, here and there, but I was absolutely sure about very little. I had more questions than answers. I was more curious than certain.” So begins Alan Doyle’s heartfelt coming-of-age memoir. A Newfoundlander, a Catholic (and an altar boy), a lover of music from an early age, and a lone Montreal Canadiens fan in a household devoted to Gordie Howe and the Detroit Red Wings, Alan was a “Petty Harbour dog, through and through.” Located south of St. John’s, Alan’s hometown of Petty Harbour was once a thriving fishing village of approximately 500 inhabitants. It was the kind of place where a “young fella could go weeks without seeing or meeting a person that he hadn’t known for his whole life.” Against this backdrop, Doyle grows up, buoyed by a larger-than-life assortment of family members, friends and neighbours, all of whom contribute to creating a young songwriter and world-class performer-in-the-making.

As a child, young Alan learned from his parents the importance of hard work and the value of a dollar. The second son of Tom Doyle, local musician by night and orderly at the local psychiatric hospital by day, and Jean Doyle, a gifted piano teacher, Alan was born into a family steeped in love and music. The family home was a two-bedroom house with no running water and a beef-bucket for a toilet. There was no family car, meals were stretched for a family of six, and clothes were hand-me-downs. Yet the family lacked for nothing. “We made something out of nothing. Somehow, on a budget of a few thousand dollars a year, my folks managed to house, clothe and feed themselves and four kids…I’ll never understand how they did it. And I’ll never be able to explain to them how grateful I am that they did.”

In WHERE I BELONG, Alan Doyle chronicles his early years and creates a portrait of small-town Newfoundland that is by turns hilarious and poignant. Along the way, we encounter a tremendous cast of characters, all of whom left an indelible mark on Doyle. We meet Alan’s “Granda” Bernard Doyle, who never forgave Joey Smallwood for surrendering Newfoundland to Canada in 1949; old Frank Brake (with a “face like a catcher’s mitt”), who lived in an abandoned railway car and was prone to mishaps that would kill an ordinary man; “Bottlenose” Bill, a hardened fisherman whose extramarital affairs are the stuff of legend; and tough-as-nails Maureen of the Harbour Grocery, who was always quick with a harsh word and reluctant to lift a finger to help a customer, let alone to assist one of those “bastarding Doyles.”

Doyle’s tremendous gifts as a storyteller recreate a bygone era in Newfoundland’s history. Readers will stalk the wharfs with Alan and his pals as they traffic cod tongues to tourists and to local restaurants, enjoy “out-of-oil parties” where all partygoers congregate in one room to keep it warm when there’s not enough money for heat, and go on death-defying excursions deep into a treacherous gorge in pursuit of abandoned adult magazines.

At its heart, WHERE I BELONG is the story of a young boy of insatiable curiosity who is searching for answers to life’s big questions: What does it mean to be Canadian when you are isolated in the middle of the ocean? Is there a God? And, most importantly, how will I ever get a girl to kiss me?
A generous and touching look at the trials and tribulations of growing up, WHERE I BELONG is a wonderful debut work of non-fiction from a master storyteller and a remarkable Canadian talent.

Alan Doyle – Reading/Book Signing for Where I Belong (Doubleday)
Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver Colorado 80206
November 11 2014 7:00 pm Admission is free.

The Celtic Connection, November 2014 isue

November 14 CC Montana Síne Nic an Ailí_Cearnóg_MÓR

Ár dTeagascóirí Fulbright – Our Fulbright Teachers
Dia daoibh a chairde Gaeil! Is mise Síne Nic an Ailí, is as Baile Átha Cliath mé, agus is mór agam an deis a bheith anseo in Missoula, Montana ag teagasc Gaeilge don bhliain.

My name is Síne Nic an Ailí and I hail from Dublin, Ireland. Coming from the capital and a non-Irish-speaking family, I’m not what one might consider a traditional Irish speaker. But Irish has always guided me and brought me into contact with wonderful people and the most fantastic opportunities. This includes everything I’ve encountered in my experience of America so far and in return, I hope to bring my love for the language to Montana this year. I was totally immersed and educated through the medium of Irish at primary and secondary level, and graduated with a First Class Honours in Irish Studies with Spanish from the University of Limerick in 2007. I worked for six years as a Development Executive with Conradh na Gaeilge, the Irish-language advocacy organisation, and during that time, I was a founding member, presenter and manager of Raidió Rí-Rá, Ireland’s only Irish-language chart radio station; and was also involved in Na Gaeil Óga CLG, a young GAA football and hurling club run completely through Irish. Last year I undertook a diploma in teaching Irish to adults, renewed my passion for helping others to learn Irish, and started teaching night classes in Dublin. Having also grown up in Galway, Belfast and Mayo before moving to Limerick and Barcelona to study, I love travelling to meet new people and explore new places. Teaching Irish as part of the Fulbright FLTA Program through the University of Montana has given me my next big adventure abroad. I’m very grateful to the University of Montana, the Friends of Irish Studies in the West, and the Fulbright Commission for this opportunity. Go raibh míle maith agaibh!

It is in changing that we find purpose – Ἡράκλειτος (Heraclitus of Ephesus)

Cuirim mo dhóchas ar snámh / i mbáidín teangan / faoi mar a leagfá naíonán / i gcliabhán – Ceist na Teangan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
An Turas go hÉirinn – The Tour to Ireland
The details of the tour to Ireland have been finalized and, I believe, we have put together a remarkable itinerary. We cover the west coast from north Mayo to west Cork. You’ll see the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Galway City, Croagh Patrick, Achill Island, Kylemore Abbey, Dingle, Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, the Beara Peninsula, Blarney, Cobh and Bunratty and many other places on the road less-travelled. This is a nine-day tour and runs from June 14 to June 23, 2015. The main objective is to give you a taste of Ireland, an opportunity to connect with the people, culture and the soul of Ireland. The cost of the trip will be approximately $1699 per person and this does not include the flight. There is a $100 reduction for members of the Friends of Irish Studies. If you’re interested in travelling or know somebody who may be interested, please share this information with them. For further details, please contact Traolach at or the Friends at

An Crannchur – The Raffle
I imagine that some of you are already thinking about Christmas gifts for family, friends, work colleagues and employees. Have you ever considered buying someone the gift of a raffle ticket for a trip to Ireland? These tickets make great stocking stuffers and you get to help promote your Irish culture and heritage at the same time. Your support for this event will help to grow the dance, music, language and literature programs on campus. Please do think about this. I would also encourage you to share this information with family and friends and to invite them to support it. One can support it by buying a ticker, or more importantly, by becoming a ticket seller. If every member of the Friends were to sell two books, we would have a very successful event. So please do think about selling some tickets and if you feel comfortable doing this, contact Traolach at or the Friends at
An Bailiú – The Gathering
We want You
This is another call to all you Irish Scribes out there: It’s time to start writing your story. Each and every one of you has a story to tell about growing up Irish in America. What does Irish mean to you? What is your sense of it? How do you express it? Tell us the songs, the stories, the poems of your people. We want to have this material so that others will come to know, understand and appreciate the Irish of America. You are part of this community and your story is extremely valuable to us. Don’t use the excuse that you can’t write; you are Irish and the Irish are the great writers of the world! So, pick up the pen and start writing because the deadline is drawing near. We want to have all submissions in by December 31 so we can begin to compile our anthology. For more information, go to or call Bob at 406-531-3045.
Ag Cur Slán le Seanchairde – Bidding Farewell to Old Friends
The Irish of Montana lost two dear friends over the past two months. Kevin Shannon and Pat Kearney were true sons of Butte, embodied the spirit of that great town and loved their Irish heritage. Both were custodians of the culture and did heroic work to pass it on to the next generation. It was a privilege to have known these splendid and gallant Gaels. We pray for the repose of their souls and the comfort of their families, and leave them with a traditional Irish farewell – I gcomhluadar na bhFiann go raibh siad.

Guímid gach rath ar ár n-iománaithe – We wish our hurlers the best
The University of Montana’s Grizzlies’ Hurling Club travel to San Francisco on Friday, November 7th to compete in the California College GAA Sevens tournament. The competition will take place in Palo Alto and will comprise college and club teams. The involvement of the club teams will make this a very tough competition. Most of the club players are from Ireland and have being playing all their lives. They are also mostly construction workers who seem to take particular delight in dispensing corporal punishment during a game. So this competition will be very physical and tough. There are going to be a lot of hurleys broken and our young stars will earn their stripes in Palo Alto. Go n-éirí libh.

Carraig an Aifrinn – Mass Rock
They say that if you ever wish to learn about a people and a community, visit their cemeteries. One cemetery well worth a visit in Montana is St. Patrick’s in Butte. A walk around this holy ground will have you thinking that you were back in the Beara Peninsula or Ballyferriter, there are so many Irish laid to rest here. The Ancient Order of Hibernians in Butte plan to dispel any doubt one may have that this is an Irish cemetery with their latest project. They have taken on board the responsibility of maintaining St. Patrick’s and have placed a Mass Rock on site. As many of you already know, the Mass Rock is synonymous with the fidelity of the Irish to their Catholic faith. In the days when Catholicism was a proscribed religion and priests carried a price on their heads, the catholic faithful would go to secluded areas to gather around the rock that held the altar and celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The Butte Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians believes that the Mass Rock in St. Patrick’s is a fitting tribute to the Irish catholic faithful laid to rest there and a reminder to us of the heroism and fidelity of the people who came before us. The Division is also looking for help in maintaining the cemetery. If you feel you can assist, please contact Jim Sullivan at 406-497-7788. Go gCúití Dia a Saothar leo
Ceolchoirm na Nollag – Christmas Concert
As many of you know, the Friends decided a number of years ago that Christmas in Montana need a touch of Irish spice. With that in mind, they began to promote an Irish Concert of music, song and dance every December, bringing in groups from Ireland. These were very successful events, but also very expensive. The Irish saying, why would I go to the dairy when I have a cow at home, came to mind when the Friends discussed this year’s concert. In the course of that discussion someone pointed out that we had here in Montana a champion Irish Fiddler and a host of first class musicians, top class Irish dancers, and some of the finest singers you will find anywhere. So, it was decided that we should showcase this talent and bring together the Irish of Montana and Ireland to stage a traditional Irish Christmas Celebration. The program for this year’s concert has it all: Music, Song, Dance, Story, and traditional hymns in Irish and English. The concert will take place at the UM Recital Hall on Saturday evening, December 6 at 7pm and on Sunday, December 7, at 3:00pm. The tickets are $20 for a family; $15 general admission; and $10 for senior, students and friends of Irish Studies. For more information, contact
Ballraíocht – Membership
The life blood of our organization is our membership. It is because of you that we can accomplish so much to promote and preserve our Irish culture and heritage. We are currently engaged in a membership drive with the intention of increasing our membership to 1,000 by the end of the year. The response to this drive has surpassed our expectations, but we still have a ways to go. If you are not a member, please consider joining. I would also ask you to invite others you may know to become part of our group. You can do this by printing out and sending in the form at the back of this newsletter. You can also join online by going to Go raibh mile maith agaibh uile.

Lawn chairs2

My aunt Mary Keane was born in Ireland and immigrated to America in her late teens. She met and married my uncle Richard about ten years later and they settled in southern New England. Growing up I had occasional contact with them, mostly at family get–togethers around the holidays. Other than being family I don’t remember that we had much in common then. Mary was quiet and a bit shy. She always seemed slightly out of place although quick to laugh at a good joke or story. In my twenties I took my first trip to Ireland and at the next family gathering I found myself talking at length to Aunt Mary about my trip. She was very interested to hear all the details. Talking about Ireland really opened her up and brought her to life. I remember tears in her eyes as she told me a bit about her growing up in Ireland and having to leave because, at that time, there was little opportunity for women. She missed Ireland and her family tremendously. But we had formed a bond with Ireland as the connection.
Soon after that first trip to Ireland, and enthralled with traditional Irish music, I took up the fiddle. Mary heard about this and called me with enthusiastic words of encouragement. She mentioned that her brother Frank lived in County Mayo and played the fiddle himself and that I should visit Frank and his wife Winnie the next time I was over. So sweet! As my fiddle playing progressed I eventually found myself playing in a traditional Irish band called the Greencastle Band. We played throughout New England and even released a couple of records on the Blarnytone label (that’s right!). We got gigs even when it wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day – very rare at that time. Mary and Richard became our biggest fans. They would show up regularly at performances and Mary would always find some space to dance a jig or reel. She knew what she was doing and the audiences loved it. It was always great fun. Mary was the “real deal”! I remember a performance we had at a park in southern New England opening for a Fourth of July fireworks display- (we had an agent who got us some unusual gigs!). We got there hours early to set up the sound system and have time to get a bite to eat. Placed dead center in front of the stage in this large open field were two vacant lawn chairs. Nobody around, just two vacant chairs. Someone made the comment, not seriously, that it was probably Mary and Richard. We all had a chuckle. But sure enough when we came out for our part of the show there were Mary and Richard seated in the lawn chairs with big smiles on their faces. We opened with a set of jigs (“Tripping up the Stairs” if I remember correctly). Mary got up and danced and many in the audience took her cue. What fun we had! The fireworks were the grand finale for a wonderful evening. It brings tears to my eyes as I think back to those times. Sadly both Mary and Richard have passed but the Irish connection we had brought us all together for a while. What wonderful memories!
I did get to visit Frank and Winnie in Mayo but those words will have to wait for another time.

Jim Remington is a teacher and director at the Lakewood School of Music in Lakewood, CO, and lives with his wife, 2 horses and 2 dogs in the Wet Mountain Valley near Westcliffe, CO. Jim can be reached at:

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