February 13 CC cover

In Celtic mythology, Danu is considered the mother of the gods. In Irish music, Danu is considered one of the top traditional bands in these modern times.
Band founders Benny McCarthy, Donal Clancy and Donnchadh Gough from Co.Waterford with Dubliner Daire Bracken first met at the Oireachtas Festival in Dungarvan,Co.Waterford in November 1994 . Within a year they were performing concerts around the world to rave reviews.
The band went through some changes over the years, including the departure and return of Donal Clancy, and the addition of its first female member, vocalist Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh from County Kerry.
Now, having performed in over 1,000 venues all over the world, Danu has grown to become one of the leading traditional Irish ensembles of the 21st century. For over a decade, Danu’s virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki, and vocals (Irish and English) have recorded seven critically acclaimed albums and won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for best Traditional Group. Their second album Think Before You Think was voted Best Overall Traditional Act by Irish Music Magazine
Danu will bring their high-energy celebration of the Emerald Isle to the Rialto Theater on Saturday, March 2, kicking off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Loveland CO. A limited number of V.I.P. tickets are available and include a private pre-show acoustic performance from members of Danu.
The concert begins at 7:30 pm and a private VIP pre-show begins at 6:30 pm. VIP tickets include a free drink, canapés, a cash bar, and an acoustic performance by members of Danu. VIP tickets are available for $45 and standard tickets for $25; all tickets may be purchased online at www.rialtotheatercenter.org, by phone at 970-962-2120, or at the Rialto Theater Center box office. The Rialto Theater Center is located at 228 E 4th Street in Loveland.. For more call or visit www.rialtotheatercenter.org.
On Sunday March 3 the band travels to Lakewood Cultural Center 470 S Allison Pkwy, Lakewood, CO for one matinee concert at 3:00pm , and a second concert in the evening at 7:00 pm. Tickets at 303-987-7845 or online at www.Lakewood.org/Tickets
Tuesday March 5, Danu travels up the turnpike to perform at Mackey Auditorium,285 University Ave, Boulder, CO 80309 at CU campus in Boulder, CO, at 7:30pm. Call us at 303-492-8008 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or buy online at www.cupresents.org.

Patrick Olwell 1

By Rodger Hara

As Stradivarius violins are to violinists, so are Patrick Olwell flutes to Irish flute players. A native of Cincinnati, Olwell makes the world’s most sought-after Irish flutes in a shop in Nellysford, VA. A flute player himself, Olwell began making flutes in the 1970s and a job repairing and restoring antique flutes led to an examination and exploration of centuries of flute history from around the world. That Doctoral-level dissertation research led Patrick to an autodidactic experimentation and refinement of the instrument, which he combined with modern tools and technology to create the world’s finest Irish flutes. Made of bamboo, African blackwood, rosewood, cocus or boxwood, his flutes are works of art even unplayed. When played by musicians including Colm O’Donnell, Seamus Egan, June McCormack, Mike Rafferty, Harry McGowan, Brian Finnegan, & Matt Molloy, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and local musicians David Migoya and Blayne Chastain, they become, in Blayne’s words, “… an instrument that enhances an artist’s ability and capacity for expression without limits. Other flutes are limiting. With Patrick’s flutes you are limited only by yourself.” Olwell is egalitarian in his approach to the sale of his flutes and while he could sell them for much more, the most expensive keyed flute is $3,250; for custom flutes tailored to a musician’s specifications, the cost is $4,250. When the rare one is sold on ebay, it generally brings at least twice that. Patrick and his son Aaron make only 60 flutes a year and there is a one year lag between order and delivery for a keyless flute and seven years for a keyed flute although David Migoya reports that he waited 9 years for his boxwood flute, 10 years for his cocus flute and is still waiting for his flute in C.

Jem Moore, formerly of Lyons, Colorado and now living in Macau, has played an Olwell flute for twenty years. In 2011 he was leaving a session at Conor O’Neill’s one evening and while loading his baby into the car set his flute on top of the car and drove off. The flute fell off and was damaged and led to Jem reconnecting with Patrick. That reunion led Jem, a self-taught videographer (in addition to playing the hammered dulcimer and being a professional airline pilot) to producing a documentary about Patrick.
In company with Blayne as Director of Photography, whom he met in 2003 playing for a wedding in Boulder and also a self-taught videographer, they initiated a Kickstarter campaign in late 2011 that was filled in early 2012. They spent nearly 500 hours in interviews and editing of the film between February and December. Jem says that “The film captures what is subtle and beautiful about the flutes Patrick makes, and shows that side-by-side with what is subtle and beautiful about Irish traditional music. The filming started with a week spent at Patrick’s workshop and home in Virginia, getting interviews and up-close footage of Patrick and Aaron working on flutes. Then we traveled around the world for interviews with people who play Patrick’s flutes, from Chicago and Boston to Ireland, England and Australia, filming traditional sessions in all of these places, and learning why Patrick’s flutes are so coveted by the traditional music community that right now people are putting deposits on flutes it will take over six years to receive.” I want to “…tell the story and preserve the heritage of a unique individual who, from a modest workshop in rural Virginia, has shaped the direction and sound of traditional Irish flute music for more than twenty years. Patrick’s flutes will be played far into the next century, traveling through time in the hands of real musicians, kept alive by their breath.”

The world premiere of the finished product “The Keymaster: Patrick Olwell’s story” will be held in Boulder’s Boedecker Theatre on Thursday, February 28th at 8pm. The theatre only seats 70, so get your tickets fast! The number for the box office is 303.444.7328. Patrick Olwell and his son Aaron will attend the premiere and there will be a Q&A after each showing with them, Blayne and Jem. There will be a second showing on Friday, March 1st, at the Lyons Farmette in Lyons, CO that will feature an Irish session afterwards. The Farmette number is 303.746.6266. DVDs and Blu-ray discs will be available for purchase at each showing. The trailer for the film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/44967262.


The regional premiere of Conor McPherson’s Tony Award-winning play “The Seafarer” will open February 8, 2013, for a four-week run at the Aurora Fox Theater.

The play, one of the most frequently produced plays at regional theaters around the country, is about four Irish drinking buddies gathered together on Christmas Eve; and one of them has to play poker with the devil for his soul.

“A deep and enthralling fable of despair and redemption,” the play also contains “the liveliest, funniest dialogue yet written by Mr. McPherson,” according to Ben Brantley of the New York Times.

The play has also been called “an unmistakable masterpiece” (Houston Chronicle), “a timeless classic” (Hollywood Reporter), and “far and away the best Irish play since the glory days of Samuel Beckett” (Chicago Tribune).

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from February 8 through March 2, with matinees at 2 p.m. Sundays February 17 and 24, at the Aurora Fox Theatre, 9900 East Colfax Ave. For reservation or more information, call the Fox at 303-739-1970, or go to aurorafoxartscenter.org.

The production is a collaboration between Ashton Entertainment and some of the key creative members of the Paragon Theatre ensemble, including founders Michael Stricker (Executive Director) and Warren Sherrill (Artistic Director), and Managing Director Wendy Franz. Stricker is directing, Sherrill is in the cast, and Franz is the sound designer and dramaturge.

The cast features John Ashton (Dearly Departed, Sylvia – Aurora Fox, Avenue Theater), Brock Benson (Newark Violenta, It’s Just Sex – The Edge), Kevin Hart (Conviction – 59E59 Theater in New York, November – Avenue Theater), Steve Sealy (Dearly Departed, Picasso at the Lapin Agile – Aurora Fox), and Sherrill.

Stricker is the Director of the Northglenn Arts & Humanities Foundation and Cultural Programs Supervisor for the City of Northglenn. Directing credits include A Moon for the Misbegotten, (W)hole, and the multiple Henry Award-winning Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

Set Designer is Stuart Barr, technical director of the Department of Education for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

“We are very proud and excited to be working with these great creative talents from Paragon,” said Ashton. “We’ve got a powerful cast, a skilled design team, and we’re glad to be back at the Aurora Fox.”

Sarah Plummer Roll with it pic

Sarah Plummer (aka: Semper Sarah) has released “JUST ROLL WITH IT” a transformative and outrageously inspirational book designed to equip readers with the tools to start living a happier, healthier, and more successful right away! In JUST ROLL WITH IT! Stop Comparing, Competing, and Self-Defeating: The 7 Battle-Tested Traits for Creating a Ridiculously Happy, Healthy, & Successful Life, Sarah inspires, instructs, and empowers readers to get “unstuck” after a traumatic event or difficult time in their life by relaying poignant real-life stories and feasible advice for change and healing.
Kristine Carlson, co-author of the New York Times best-selling Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series, says Sarah’s book is a “must-read” and that it “will inspire you to personal greatness, challenge you to transform absolutely every area of your life, and dare you to love the life you live.”
“Don’t just survive,” Sarah entreats – THRIVE! She equips readers with actionable toolsets to turn their tragedies into triumphs instead of getting stuck in their circumstances as she recounts her own stories of shifting from victim to victor. Through faith, increased self-awareness, acceptance, and perseverance, readers see that although their stories are unique, pain is universal, and we all need inspiration for making it through tough transitions. “The goal of the book is to show readers that once someone regains their sense of intuition about their own health and happiness, they will be empowered to discover their path to true success,” she said.
The idea for the book came to the former Marine Intel Officer after returning from Iraq and battling the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and sexual trauma. Sarah realized she could help others by sharing her road back to health and her experience in transforming tragedy into opportunity. She emphasizes that you must be healthy in order to heal, and so the book is filled not only with inspiration but also with practical instruction about physical, spiritual and emotional health to support readers as they move forward in their lives.
This motivational book reveals some of Sarah’s astonishing stories and the core character traits that armed her with the ability to survive life’s toughest challenges and go on to thrive, creating a significant, successful life of purpose against all odds. Now she reveals her secrets to health, happiness, and success with you.
Since leaving the military, Sarah Plummer has become a certified yoga instructor and integrative nutrition coach, a speaker, trainer, author, and advocate. As your battle-tested, life-challenged, walked-through-the-fires-and-lived-to-tell ‘Just Roll With It’ leader and coach, Sarah “has the goods” when it comes to motivating you to you move forward from any circumstance and live a life beyond your wildest dreams.
So, join Sarah on the journey and get rolling! “JUST ROLL WITH IT” is available on Amazon.com. And for more information on Sarah’s coaching programs and upcoming Just Roll With It Bootcampsgo to www.SemperSarah.com, and follow her on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/SemperSarah) and Twitter @Semper_Sarah

More about Sarah: Sarah Plummer, former Marine Corps Intel Officer, certified Yoga Instructor, five-time U.S. Military Olympian, Holistic Health Coach, and keynote speaker is leading the JRWI bootcamp. Having been struck by lightning, hit by a car, battled PTSD, and survived Military Sexual Trauma, she can empathize with those who feel “stuck.” She lives in Denver, Colorado and has a private practice, coaching clients on how to reach their goals for stress reduction, health, happiness, and successful trauma recovery. Additionally, she presents workshops on healthy and balanced lifestyle, overcoming obstacles, teamwork, success, and leadership. Sarah is also a member of the Denver Gaels ladies camogie and football teams. www.SemperSarah.com [email protected]

February 13 CC NoCO GAA_Erin

Warning – GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) sports can be addictive! Erin Sudsmails will attest, “I discovered Gaelic football and I was hooked – not just the fast pace of the game, but the GAA has such a fun and welcoming community.” Now she wants to help spread GAA sports into Northern Colorado.
Erin Join the Denver Gaels women’s team (the Gaels also have men and youth teams) in 2009. Later that year she travelled to Boston with her teammates where they won 2nd place in football at the Nationals. She continued to play with the Denver Gaels in 2010 but has since moved north of the Denver metro to where she opened a business as a drug and alcohol counselor.
Recently she has set the framework for The Northern Colorado Celtics mens and womens teams. She has a logo design (donated by US Navy veteran Ed May from Fort Collins), set up social media, and has sent out a press release to media which is posted below:
The Northern Colorado Celtics are a new GAA club for all the Northern Colorado Communities. They are currently recruiting both men and women for both women and men specific teams in Hurling and Gaelic Football. Anyone can try out that is over 18 years old. Also you do not have to be Irish or Celtic to play the sport, just a willingness to learn some amazingly fun sports with a great community of people.
Gaelic football combines the suspense of soccer, the skills and scoring of basketball, and the speed of the fastest sports in the world in a free-flowing action-packed sport. It originated in Ireland centuries ago, but it’s taking off in North America. Try it!
Hurling combines the skills of baseball, hockey, and lacrosse in one high speed, high scoring, high octane sport that will blow you away. It’s taking off in North America. Try it!
Ladies Gaelic Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. It combines the skills of basketball, soccer and volleyball in a high-scoring, suspenseful, high skill game.
Players on two teams of 15 kick the ball into their opponents’ goalposts either into the soccer-sized net for 3 points or over the crossbar between the uprights for 1 point. You can kick the ball on the ground, kicked from the hands, pick it up from the ground or catch it in the air. It can be carried for 4 steps (or the time it would have taken to take 4 steps) but after that you have to do something with it, either kicking it back into your hands (the ‘toe-tap’) or bouncing it. The catch? You can’t bounce it twice in a row.

(Photos by Mallory Olenius)
If interested please contact Erin at: [email protected] or call Erin at 970-586-3578 Practices will start in April, but would love for you to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Fort Collins with the team!!

Feb 152013
February 13 CC Travel pic 1

by Richard F. Fleck

I had read about these three islands about ten miles offshore from the Irish West Coast when I was an undergraduate at Rutgers University some fifty years ago and knew somehow that I would get out there even if it took me a lifetime. My reading source was none other than the Irish playwright John Millington Synge (1871-1909). His play “Riders to the Sea” (1903) was inspired by his visits to the islands every summer between 1898 and 1902. It was on these islands that he acquainted himself with Gaelic-speaking natives whose English had a delightful twist. He learned much about the island fishermen who risked their lives each time they set sail into the rough and choppy Atlantic Ocean. If you have not yet read “Riders to the Sea” please do so for a salty taste of Irish island life.

As for me, I did not get out to the Aran Islands until 2005 and again in 2008 some fifty years after my first reading of the works of John Millington Synge (pronounced Sing). He begins his Journal of staying on the islands with these words: I am in Aranmor sitting over a turf fire, listening to a murmur of Gaelic that is rising from a little public-house under my room.” From his residence he took rambles all over the island of Inis Mor with a young boy who taught him Gaelic. He visited with old fishermen and with women who had lost their husbands at sea. Even if it dumped down with rain, he still wandered all around the island getting to know the soul of the place.

Our turn came a hundred years later. My brother-in-law and I hopped the Inis Mor ferry at Rossaveal (twenty miles west of Galway) on the mainland and sailed for forty minutes into Kilronan harbor on Inis Mor. The sea journey across was incredibly calm. I guess we were lucky. There are three Aran Islands: Inis Mor, Inis Meain, and Inis Oirr. On a clear day they can be seen from the famous Cliffs of Moher, but Galway City sits too far in on Galway Bay to see these distant isles. The first thing we did was to rent bicycles at a waterfront shop. We soon sped past village shops, hotels and stone homes out into the countryside.

We stopped to check our maps to locate the ancient fortress of Dun Aonghasa that is over 2,500 years old! Within twenty minutes we came to a shop and teahouse where the hiking path begins up to the fort. We parked our bikes and began to hoof along the trail through stone-lined fields up a steep hill with wildflowers. We entered through a narrow portal into the vast inner courtyard of Dun Aonghasa. The fort had high, stone walls built in a semi-circle with an open front that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean three hundred feet below. The sea winds were as bracing as those in Iceland, 900 miles to the northwest. We could easily hear the crashing surf below. I wondered why the fort had been built in such a manner, but if Viking raiders managed to climb up to the walls of the fort, they would have been quickly surrounded by armed defenders.

After hiking back down to our bikes, we rode over to the leaward side of the island where we heard fisher-folk speaking in Gaelic while mending their nets. We walked up to a curragh for a close look. In the olden days these fishing boats (curraghs) were made of shark leather fitted over a wooden frame with each seam tar-pitched. Nearby this black curragh rose a beautifully thatched-roof cottage lined with rose bushes. By now, we had become hungry and slowly pedaled back to the harbor for a fish sandwich and a pint of Guiness. Afterward, we ambled slowly along the beach to hear for the first time ever a cuckoo bird singing away as though performing a symphony for us for our last hours out on the island. All too soon we boarded the ferry to return to the mainland.

But this trip merely whetted my appetite for a longer visit, and three years later my wife Maura and her two sisters and I headed back out to spend a couple of days on Inis Mor. We repeated the hike up to Dun Aonghasa but in a very sharp wind with pellets of rain stinging our faces. The sea roared below like a saber-tooth tiger. Quickly we descended to have a steaming cup of hot tea and a blueberry scone at the trailside teahouse.

The weather cleared up enough for us to take a walk over to the Seven Churches all in a deep meadow on the leaward side. Their crumbling stone walls were built in the 7th century. We could all sense the presence of the faithful ones of yore as birds chirped and cheeped in each chamber that we entered as if they were human spirits. We walked back to our hotel a couple of miles away and had a delicious dinner flounder along with boiled Irish potatoes, fresh island cabbage and Irish soda bread on the side. The weather outside became quite fierce with howling winds and horizontal rain forcing us to remain indoors the rest of the evening sitting by the warm glow of a turf fire. Most of the next day we stayed indoors reading more plays of Synge, while sipping hot tea.

On the night before we left the island, the sky cleared around eleven o’clock at night and a brilliant glimmer from a setting sun had filled a narrow slit of horizon. Surely someday soon we will return to Ireland and its islands of the sea. I close with a poem I composed that night as I stared out the window at a uniquely Aran sky:

Kilronan Sundown

Far out on the Aran Islands,
Thin bands of racing gray clouds
Replicate high cliffs and ocean
Swells to clear suddenly and
Reveal a yellow Icelandic sky
Over fields of stone and hay,
And a harbor full of fishing boats.

Richard F. Fleck is author of Clearing of the Mist (Domhan Books, 2000) and a forthcoming book Desert Rims to Mountains High (West Winds Press, 2013).

Jessica Lesser

By Tiffany Antikainen

The Denver Rocky Mountain Rose of Tralee is a newly incorporated organization in Denver. It was created in hopes of bringing the whole Denver Irish Community together. It is very exciting to have a representative of our great community in Denver. This is a new organization and they are looking for excited volunteers and people who want to have a good time!
The Denver Rocky Mountain Rose of Tralee is proud to announce that our very own Denver Rose, Jessica Lesser, is the first 2013 Rose in the world. Jessica is a local World Champion Irish Step Dancer. She teaches at the Boulder Celtic Steps studio while she attends CU Boulder. She is going to make a fabulous representative for our lively Irish community here in Denver.
To help get Jessica to Ireland in May for the regional finals we are announcing a “Firkin Friday! Denver Rose of Tralee Fundraiser” hosted at the Celtic Tavern LoDo on Friday, February, 22nd starting at 5:30. The evening will kick off with a firkin full of beer while supplies last as well as other great drink specials. There will be Irish entertainment including, Irish Step Dancing, Bagpipes, door prizes, drawings and live music!
For more information about how you can support the Denver Rose through Newbridge jewelry or an Irish Heritage Certificates, donations or volunteering e-mail [email protected] And LIKE us on Facebook at Denver Rocky Mountain Rose of Tralee


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Feb 152013
January 13 CC cover

Thank you for all the kind words that we received from you in regards to our January issue and entering our 20th anniversary year at Celtic Events/Celtic Connection. We appreciate your interest and support more than you know.
In the new year we plan to introduce our readers to some of the folks behind the scenes for the past 20 years and some fun backstage stories. We would love to include your story.. Do you have a story/ photo that you would like to share? It could be about a special concert, the time you met your favorite performer, maybe you met a lifelong friend, or were inspired in some way. Send us a paragraph or send us an article and share your memory.
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