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Friday, December 31, 2010

Patrick S. Gilmore Started New York City's Tradition of Ringing in the New Year


Patrick S. Gilmore, the famous 19th century musician and bandleader, started the annual tradition of the New Year's Eve countdown in New York City on December 31, 1888.  

In those days, what is now Times Square was simply known as the Long Acre, and was changed to Times Square in 1904 when the New York Times opened its offices there.

In the late 19th century, the Gilmore Band - part of New York's 22nd Regiment -- was one of the nation's  most popular bands, performing indoor and outdoor concerts throughout the year.  Gilmore conducted many of the concerts nearby at Gilmore's Garden, which later became Madison Square Garden.

On this particular New Year's eve, the  Gilmore Band performed for the large audience that gathered up and down Broadway, and then Gilmore led the crowd in a countdown, firing two pistols at the stroke of midnight. 

According to Gilmore scholar Michael Cummings, Gilmore was born in Ballygar, County Galway in 1829, and emigrated to Boston in 1849, where he lived for over twenty years. During that time he established himself as a great cornet player and bandleader.  He was active during the Civil War and wrote the popular tune, When Johnny Comes Marching Home.  He also created two massive peace jubilees in Boston's Back Bay in 1869 and 1872, before moving to New York, where he lived until his death in 1892.

For more information on Irish-American history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Celtic Sojourn - win free tickets to Boston and Providence Shows


The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a pair of tickets to see A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence on Thursday, December 16, and at the Emerson Majestic Theatre in Boston on Friday, December 17, 2010.

To enter the contest click here.  The contest ends on Tuesday, December 14, 2010, and winners will be announced that day.

Now in its 8th year, A Christmas Celtic Sojourn is a journey back to how Christmas was celebrated in rural Ireland, complete with Irish traditional singing, music, dancing and storytelling.

The popular show is hosted by Brian O'Donovan, whose radio program show, A Celtic Sojourn, is on WGBH-FM every Saturday.

 For a full list of performers and show times for A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, click here.

For a complete list of Irish cultural events year round, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Boston Irish Group issues Travel & Culture Guide for the Holidays


The Boston Irish Tourism Association has released its winter issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a selection of cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region.

The issue has details on upcoming Christmas concerts, including Boston Holiday Pops, Christmas Celtic Sojourn, It's Christmas Time by the Reagle Players and holiday shows at the Blackstone River Theater.

There's also a preview of St. Patrick's Day parades and cultural activities in March 2011. And local Irish-Americans Helen Brady of Boston Symphony Hall and Tom Butler of Massport are profiled.

The Guide is distributed free at local visitor centers and Irish venues throughout the state.  For more information on where to pick up the Guide, contact irishmassachusetts@comcast.net.

BITA is a cultural tourism organization that promotes the state's Irish-American culture, history and heritage year round to the convention and visitors industry.  It has nearly 100 members, and works closely with tourism agencies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Quebec City, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Ireland to promote travel and cultural exchange between these destinations. 

For year round information on cultural events in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For visitor information, visit MassVacation.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Irish Accordion Player James Keane Performing at Boston College on November 18

James Keane, master of the button accordion, is giving a lecture and concert at Boston College on Thursday, November 18, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.  

The event, free to the public,  is sponsored by the Gaelic Roots program, led by fiddle champion Seamus Connolly

Born and raised in Dublin, Keane is considered a true innovator of the button accordion and has greatly influenced traditional Irish music in his generation.  He has lived in New York for the past 40 years and has performed around the world.

For year round Irish music in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Irish Singer Mary Black Performing in Boston on November 13


Mary Black, considered one of the finest singers of her generation, is giving a concert at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off a pair of free tickets to the concert.  To enter the contest, click here.

The Mary Black concert is presented by World Music/CRASHArts, New England's premier presenter of global culture, featuring music and dance from around the world.  Tickets can be purchased online.

Black was born in Dublin and comes from a richly  musical family  Over the past 25 years she has been one of Ireland's most influential singers, selecting contemporary songs in her repertoire while giving a fresh interpretation on classic Irish songs. 

For directions to the Berklee Performance Center, located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston's Back Bay, click here.

For a full schedule of upcoming concerts presented by World Music/CRASHArts, click here.

For year round Irish cultural events in Massachusetts and throughout New England, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Irish Groups Honoring Dave Burke at Memorial Ceremony on November 7 in Lawrence Massachusetts


Local Irish-American leaders are honoring the late David R. Burke (1940-2009) at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians will dedicate a plaque to Mr. Burke at the An Gorta Mor Memorial in the cemetery, which Burke was instrumental in building in 2006. 

Raymond L. Flynn, former US Ambassador to the Vatican and former Mayor of Boston, is the keynote speaker.  He is being joined by Irish officials and by leaders of the AOH and other Irish organizations in the New England region.

A national leader in Irish-American issues for over forty years, Burke dedicated much of his adult life to peace and justice issues in Northern Ireland.  He also advocated for the preservation and study of Irish-American history.  He helped organize the Irish Collection at the Lawrence Public Library, and received numerous awards for his work.  He was a member of the AOH, Division Eight in Lawrence, and founder of the Irish Foundation of Lawrence.

Following the ceremony, there is a reception for family and friends at the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant in Lawrence.

For more information on Irish activities in Massachusetts and New England, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Boston Celtics : The Story Behind Their Irish Green Theme



Many people wonder why the Boston Celtics wear shamrocks on their green uniforms and have a giant leprechaun smoking a cigar as their team logo. And why the team mascot is a guy named Lucky who looks like he stepped out of a box of Lucky Charms?

According to the Boston Celtic’s official web site, the name came about in 1946 when owner Walter Brown started the team. He and his public relations guy, Howie McHugh, were throwing out potential nicknames, including the Whirlwinds, Unicorns and Olympics.

It was Brown who had the epiphany, saying, “Wait, I’ve got it – the Celtics. The name has a great basketball tradition from the old Original Celtics in New York (1920s). And Boston is full of Irishman. We’ll put them in green uniforms and call them the Boston Celtics.”

Red Auerbach, the now legendary coach of the early Celtics, then commissioned his brother Zang, a graphic designer in the newspaper business, to come up with the famous Celtics logo in the early 1950s. The logo manages to include all of the iconic depictions of the Irish in America that were standard in the 1950s: a leprechaun covered in shamrock clothing and a bowler hat, smoking a pipe, holding a shillelagh and sporting a mischievous grin!

The logo is said to have brought the Celtics good luck, since they won their first championship in 1957, so it has remained.  

For more information on Irish-American history and heritage, visit IrishMassachusetts.com

Find details on The Shamrock Foundation, a charitable organization run by the Boston Celtics. 

For more about the Boston Celtics, visit NBA.com/celtics/

Friday, October 22, 2010

Date in History: Annie Sullivan, Teacher Extraordinaire (1866-1936)

Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan & Alexander Graham Bell

Annie Sullivan, known in her life as the Miracle Worker for her work with the blind, especially Helen Keller, died on October 20, 1936.

The daughter of impoverished Irish immigrants, Annie was born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts in 1866.  Partially blind herself, she attended the Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston where she learned to read, write and spell. 

After graduation, she was sent to Tuscumbia Alabama to teach a six year old blind child named Helen Keller.  An epiphany came for Helen one summer day when Annie splashed water on Helen's hand, then spelled out the word 'water' over and over until Helen realized that everything had a name that could be spelled out.

Keller, who later attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became a nationally renowned leader for women's rights and a founder of the American Foundation for the Blind.  Annie remained Helen's teacher until Annie's death in 1936. 

Their lives together were made into a film called The Miracle Worker, staring Ann Bancroft as Annie and Patty Duke as Helen.

In 1960, Keller placed a plague in Braille and English at Radcliffe, next to a small fountain, that reads, "In Memory of Annie Sullivan, teacher extraordinary."

For more about women in Boston, visit the Women's Heritage Trail here.

For more information on Irish heritage in Massachusetts, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Irish Music Gathering in Braintree on October 23 features accordionist Colm Gannon and Comhaltas Musicians



Irish traditional musicians from the Boston area are gathering together this Saturday, October 23, 2010 for a night of music and dancing at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Braintree Massachusetts. 

Special guests of the evening: Colm Gannon, button accordion champion; fiddle player Jessie Smith; and John Blake, flutist and guitarist.  The trio from Ireland is launching its new CD, The Ewe with the Crooked Horn. 

They'll be joined by members of the local Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Musicians Association), led by fiddler Larry Reynolds.  

The hall is located at 875 Washington Street in Braintree. See directions here.  The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $15.  For more information call 781 534-3919.

Colm, an all-Ireland champion on the button accordion, is the son of Irish parents from Connemara.  He grew up in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, and learned to play the accordion from his dad, John Gannon, and his brother Sean. 

For year round Irish activities in Massachusetts and throughout New England, visit IrishBoston.org.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Irish Music Duo Begley and O Raghallaigh Performing at Boston College on October 21

Coaimhin O Raghallaigh and Brendan Begley

The Gaelic Roots music series at Boston College is featuring a concert by fiddler Coaimhin O Raghallaigh and accordion player Brendan Begley at the Connolly House at Boston College on Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Admission is free.

The Irish Times recently referred to the duo's new album - A Moment of Madness - as  "freewheeling and head-spinningly audacious."   Begley is from West Kerry and O Raghallaigh from Dublin.

BC's Gaelic Roots music series is directed by All-Ireland fiddle player Seamus Connolly, originally from County Clare.  The series brings to Boston some of the world's best traditional musicians operating in Irish as well as Scottish, Cape Breton, Appalachian and other folk genres. 

For more information on Irish Studies at Boston College, click here.

For year round Irish music, dance, theater, culture and other activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishBoston.org

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PEI Fiddler Roy Johnstone Performing at Worcester Hibernian Hall on October 17


Fiddle master Roy Johnston and guitarist Steve Sharrett are performing an afternoon concert at the Hibernian Cultural Center in Worcester this Sunday, October 17, at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $15 and children under 12 are admitted free.
 
Considered one of Prince Edward Island's great fiddlers, Johnstone has traveled around the world playing his distinct style of fiddling that is rooted in PEI and the Canadian Maritimes.  Sharratt is considered one of PEI's finest guitarists.  Originally from Ontario, he has lived on PEI since 1980.

After the performance, a music session is taking place, so local musicians are invited to bring their instruments.

The Hibernian Cultural Center is run by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 36, and is a year-round center for Irish music, dance, lectures and related cultural activities.

For other Irish and Celtic cultural activities in Massachusetts and throughout New England, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Riverdance on Ice Coming to Lowell on Saturday, October 16


The artistry and musicality of Riverdance and the grace and athleticism of Olympic figure skating have been melded together in a unique new show called Riverdance on Ice, which is coming to the Tsongas Center at UMASS in Lowell for one night only, Saturday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off a pair of tickets to this show.  To enter the contest, click here.

Tickets to the show range from $20 to $125 and you can order them online or by calling 1 866 722-8780.

Some of the skating stars in this show include Olympic Silver Medalists Sasha Cohen and  Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, as well as Todd Eldredge, Shae-Lynn Bourne and more.

For a full schedule of events at the Tsongas Center, click here.  For details on Riverdance, click here.

For year round Irish cultural events in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.  

For tourism information on Massachusetts, visit MassVacation.com.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Boston's Irish Film Festival Now Accepting Entries for Its March 2011 Festival




The 12th annual  Irish Film Festival Boston is currently accepting entries in the following categories: Best Feature, Best Short/Animation and Best Documentary.  The festival takes place March 24-27, 2011.  

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, November 30, 2010, and entries can be submitted online

Winners in each category receive air transportation and hotel accommocations, and prizes at their film's public screening. 

Co-founded in 1999 by Irish film scholar Peter Flynn, Irish Film Festival Boston has welcomed some of Ireland's top actors and filmmakers to the annual event, including John Boorman, Aidan Quinn, Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Gabriel Byrne and Jim Sheridan.

For more information, contact festival co-director Dawn Morrissey at info@irishfilmfestival.com.

You can also follow Irish Film Festival Boston on Facebook.

For year round Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rory Kennedy's Documentary, The Fence, Premiers at JFK Library in Boston on October 15


Filmmaker Rory Kennedy is coming to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum on Friday, October 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to screen her new documentary, The Fence.  Following the screening is a discussion with Kennedy, moderated by Jason Beaubien, NRP's Mexico City correspondent.

The Fence, which aired on HBO in September, looks at the plan by the US Government to construct a 700 mile fence along the US-Mexico border as a way of preventing illegal immigration to America.  The filme interviews border patrol officials, smugglers and Mexicans trying to cross the border.  American historian Douglas Brinkley is also featured.

The film concludes that a comprehensive immigration reform bill is needed in Washington DC to correct the many issues of immigration afflicting the United States. 

The John F. Kennedy Library is a year round facility with exhibits, lectures and educational programs.

For more stories on the Kennedy family, click here.

For year round cultural events in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org

For tourism information on visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill - Performing at Berklee in Boston on Saturday, October 9



County Clare fiddler Martin Hayes and Chicago guitarist Dennis Cahill are performing two concerts at the Berklee College of Music in Boston on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. 

The concerts take place at the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street in Boston's Back Bay.  Tickets are $30 and can be ordered online via Ticketmaster or by calling 1-800-745-3000

Well-regarded in music circles for their inventive interpretation of traditional Irish dance music, the duo have forged one of the most remarkable partnerships in acoustic music today. Their performances distill the essence of Irish music while exploring and expanding the tradition in both intimate and electrifying ways.

They have collaborated with filmmakers, modern dance choreographers, theatre directors, and classical and jazz musicians, yet their identity remains uniquely their own, rooted solidly in the tradition of East County Clare where Martin was raised.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a pair of tickets to the second show.  To enter the contest click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bryn Terfel, Welsh Opera Star, Performs on Opening Night with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, October 2



Bryn Terfel, one of the world's leading bass baritone singers, is featured guest artist at the opening night of the 2010-11 season of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  BSO music director James Levine is conducting.

The all-Wagner program includes selections from the Flying Dutchman, Die Walkure, and Die Meistresinger von Nurnberg.

Born in Pant Glas, North Wales, Terfel is a Grammy, Classical Brit and Gramophone award-winner with a wide repertoire that encompasses Lieder, American musical theatre, Welsh songs and sacred repertory.

For a calendar of the 2010-11 BSO season, click here.

For other concerts and cultural activities in greater Boston throughout the year, visit IrishBoston.org.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Irish Massachusetts: Northern Ireland is Showcased at Grand Central Station

Film on Irish Balladeer Liam Clancy at the Irish Cultural Center this Wednesday, September 29


A documentary film on Irish ballad singer Liam Clancy is being shown at the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

"The Yellow Bittern: The Life and Times of LIam Clancy" is a loving portrait of Liam Clancy, his brothers and musical colleagues over the past 50 years.  It has personal footage, including commentary from Clancy before he died.

The free showing, which is open to the public,  is part of Elms College's Irish Film Series. 

The Irish Cultural Center at Elms College opened in 1999 to celebrate Irish culture, history, and travel in the Springfield area of western Massachusetts.

For a full schedule of upcoming events at the Irish Cultural Center at Chicopee College, click here.

For year round information on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Day in History: 28th Irish Regiment of Massachusetts Officially Authorized by Governor John Andrew on September 24, 1861



The famous brigades of Irish immigrants - the 28th and 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiments - that fought valiantly in the American Civil War, were officially authorized by the state's governor, John A. Andrew, on September 24, 1861.

The bravery of the regiment is still celebrated today by a band of reenactors who formed the 28th Massachusetts 4th regiment Irish Brigade in 1984.




As the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War approaches in 2011, the 28th will be participaticing in regional and national reenactment events to commemorate this important part of American history.

You can find more information on the 28th and how to get involved by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Experts at JFK Library Discuss Historic Kennedy-Nixon TV Debate on Wednesday, September 22

On the 50th anniversary of the historic television debate between candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is convening a panel of experts to reflect on the event and on how presidential debates have changed since then.

The panelists include: Ted Sorensen and William Wilson, both Kennedy advisors; and journalists Russell Baker, Marty Nolan and Sandy Vanocur, who each covered the 1960 debate.  Tom Oliphant, the Pulitizer Prize winner and former Boston Globe reporter, is the moderator.

This event, which runs from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., is part of the Kennedy Library Forums, a series public affairs programs throughout the year. 


John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Columbia Point, Boston
9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
1 866 JFK-1960
jfklibrary.org

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When Johnny Comes Marching Home - first performed in Boston on September 26, 1863


The classic war anthem, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, was first performed at Tremont Temple in Boston on Saturday, September 26, 1863 by Patrick S. Gilmore and his Orchestra.

Gilmore originally published the song - also known as the Soldiers Return March - under the pseudonym Louis Lambert for reasons unknown, but later acknowledged that he authored the piece.  The song appeared during the height of the American Civil War, and was meant as an optimistic tribute "dedicated to the Army and Navy of the Union." 

Henry Tolman & Company of Boston was the publisher.

Gilmore expert Michael Cummings surmises that Gilmore took the song for an earlier Irish marching song called Johnie I Hardly Knew Ye, which was apparently sung by Irish regiments fighting for the British in Ceylon in the early 19th century.

Cummings, who founded the Patrick S. Gilmore Society  to preserve Gilmore's memory, notes that the song wasn't a hit during the Civil War, but emerged decades later during the Spanish American War of 1898.

It has remained popular ever since and has been recorded by hundreds of musicians, ranging from jazz organist Jimmy Smith to Boston's own Dropkick Murphys.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lunasa - Great Irish Music at the Hibernian Center in Worcester, September 19



Lunasa, one of Ireland's best traditional music ensembles, is performing at the Hibernian Cultural Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on Sunday, September 19, at 4:00 p.m.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  You can order tickets by calling 508 792-3700.  For more details on the event, click here.

Lunasa features some of Ireland's most accomplished musicians, including piper Cillian Vallely, flutist Kevin Crawford, fiddler Sean Smyth, bassist Trevor Hutchinson, and guitarist Paul Meehan.

The Center, which is home to the Worcester chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, is located at 19 Temple Street in Worchester.  For directions click here.

For a full list of Irish concerts in Massachusetts and the New England region throughout the year, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For information on visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

JFK Library Hosts Piano Iconoclast Elew on Thursday, September 16 in Boston




Honoring the commitment to the arts of President and Mrs. Kennedy during the Kennedy Administration, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum is featuring piano wunderkind Elew to showcase a unique style of solo performance he calls Rockjazz.

The free concert takes place on Thursday, September 16, 2010,  from 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the JFK Library, located at Columbia Point in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood.  Reservations are suggested.

Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition in 1999, Elew, whose full name is Eric Lewis, has toured the world with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama.

Elew's performance is part of the Kennedy Library Forums, a series of public affairs and cultural programs taking place year round at the facility.  For a schedule of upcoming events, click here.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
617 514-1600 | http://www.jfklibrary.org/
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
$10 Adults, Seniors 62 yrs. & Students $8, Youths 13-17 $7, Kids Free.

For year round cultural events in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org.

For year round jazz in Massachusetts, visit MassJazz.com.

For tourist information on Massachusetts, visit MassVacation.com.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Win Free Tickets to the Irish Music Festival, September 17-19, in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts


A halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebration featuring top Irish entertainers gets underway the weekend of September 17-19, 2010 at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury Beach.

Fiddle champ Eileen Ivers and her band Immigrant Soul opens the festival on Friday, September 17, followed by Irish punk rockers Black 47 on Saturday, September 18, and Irish tenor John McDermott on Sunday, September 19.  You can purchase tickets to the shows online.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off a pair of free tickets to each show.  To enter the contest click here.

Loated in the seaside town of Salisbury Beach on Boston's North Shore, the Blue Ocean Music Hall opened in November 2009 and already is one of the coolest concert venues in Massachusetts.

For year-round information on Irish cultural events in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For tourist information in Massachusetts, visit MassVacation.com.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Charlie Daniels Receives a Life Sized Statue in Massachusetts



Fiddle champion Charlie Daniels was presented with a life-sized statue of himself at the Indian Ranch concert venue in Webster Massachusetts over Labor Day weekend. 

Hand-carved by local artist Glenn Sherman, the six foot statue  depicts Daniels' signature Western belt buckle, his white cowboy hat and even his famous fiddling technique.

Daniels and his band were playing at Indian Ranch for a record twenty-one times when the statue was presented to him by the Robert family, owners of the venue.  Concert organizers wanted to thank Charlie for "two decades of great shows," according to Suzette Raun, president of Indian Ranch.

For full details on the Indian Ranch summer concert series, click here.

For year round music and cultural events in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Boston Globe Reports Surge in Breakfast Power Meetings at Hotels and Restaurants



The Stanhope Grille at Back Bay Hotel and Eastern Standard Restaruant at Hotel Commonwealth are cited as two of the city's most popular breakfast places for business executives, according to a story in today's Boston Globe by reporter Jenn Abelson.

Over the past year, breakfast business is up by 20% at Stanhope, according to Jay Gilman, director of sales and marketing, while breakfast is up 10% at Eastern Standard. 

Boston restaurants are adapting to the new trend by expanding their menus and operating hours to accommodate busy businessman and women, writes Abelson.

For a fuller list of Boston area hotels serving breakfast, click here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Irish Music Classes at Harvard University, Fall Term


Shannon Heaton

A ten week course offering Irish music lessons on the fiddle, flute, whistle, concertina and other traditional instruments runs from September 18 through November 20, 2010 at Harvard University.

The classes are organized by the Boston chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, an association of traditional Irish music with branches throughout the world.

The CCE Boston Music School classes are taught on Saturdays at Vanserg Hall at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The instructors include some of the area's finest traditional musicians, including accordion player Mike Reynolds, fiddlers Tina Lech and George Keith, flutist Shannon Heaton and her husband guitarist Matt Heaton, bodhran player Steve Brown and more.   For a full list of faculty click here.

The program was founded to preserve and cultivate traditional Irish music for students of all ages.  The Boston Music School is directed by John Kearney and Larry Reynolds. 

To register, click here.

For a full list of Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts year round, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rest in Peace: Harold Connolly, Boston Olympian



Harold Connolly, winner of the gold medal in the hammer throw at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, died on August 19 in Maryland.  He was 79 years old.

Born in Somerville in 1931, Connolly suffered from severe nerve paralysis as a child and spent most of his youth in physical therapy.  He compensated by training diligently with strength conditioning, weight lifting and athletics at Brighton High School and later at Boston College.

Connolly set numerous American, world and Olympic records in the hammer throw, and was a four-time Olympian.

Following his athletic career, Connolly was a successful high school and college coach, teaching the hammer throw at Georgetown University and Boston University.  He served as executive director of US programs for the Special Olympics from 1988 to 1999.

In 2005 a statue of Connolly was unveiled in Brighton, created by sculptor Pablo Eduardo.  Connolly and his family attended the ceremony, along with his friends and the many athletes he knew in his illustrious career. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Burren Pub Receives Coveted "Best of Boston 2010" Award from Boston Magazine


The Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville, has received one of Boston Magazine's annual "Best of Boston" Awards, released in the magazine's August 2010 issue.

Congratulations to Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costelloe, owners of the Burren Pub, and to manager Dessy Rushe and staff. 

The Burren features live traditional Irish music seven days a week in the front room, and a range of great rock, blues, bluegrass and world music in the back room.  For a list of upcoming music at the Burren, click here.

For Irish cultural events in greater Boston year round, visit IrishBoston.org.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nova Scotia - Where Gaelic Traditions Flourish

Nova Scotia (New Scotland) is a wonderland of Gaelic language, music and culture, and attracts people from around the world each summer and fall.

Located on the east coast in the Canadian Maritimes, Nova Scotia has its own Office of Gaelic Affairs, which promotes the Gaelic language year round through educational and community-based programs.

Director Lewis MacKinnon says, "Nova Scotia is the only place outside of Scotland where (Scottish) Gaelic is spoken, giving us a unique advantage for cultural tourism." 

MacKinnon says islanders are embracing Gaelic as a way or reconnecting to the cultural, social and historical networks that also strengthen ties between generations.  Over 2,000 people speak Gaelic in Nova Scotia, with several hundred children taking lessons in the school system.  And three universities - St Mary's University, St. Francis Xavier University and Gaelic College, Cape Breton  - have Gaelic courses in their curriculums.

In addition, you'll find plenty of great music, dancing, storytelling and songs in Nova Scotia, especially on Cape Breton, the heart of Gaelic culture in the province.  See below for some upcoming festivals.

August 5, 6, 7
Festival of the Tartans
Antigonish
festivalofthetartans.ca

August 21
Festival of Cape Breton Fiddling 2010
Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and

Crafts
St.
Ann’s
capebretonļ¬ddlers.com

October 6-18
Celtic Colours Festival
celtic-colours.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Boston Irish Tourism Association has specials to Ireland this summer and fall




The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) has compiled some great travel packages to Ireland this fall.

BITA is partnering with Tourism Ireland, Ireland's official travel agency, to publicize a whole host of ideas for New Englanders who want to take advantage of the strong dollar this summer in choosing Ireland as a destination.

And BITA is also working American travel companies like Inroads Ireland, based in Madison, Wisconsin and Isle Inn Tours, based in Alexandria, Virginia, two companies offering unique Irish trips that give visitors the freedom to customize their vacations to their own personal style and preferences.

These travel tips are available in the summer 2010 issue of Travel & Culture Guide issued by BITA and available for free at tourist kiosks through Massachusetts and at Irish-American venues and organizations.

For information on year round Irish cultural events in Massachusetts, Ireland and Canada, visit IrishBoston.org.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boston's Irish Heritage Trail one of the Top Tourism Spots in Massachusetts



The Boston Irish Heritage Trail was named one of the Top 1,000 places to visit by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism this week. 

The Trail traces the historical experience of the Boston Irish from the early 18th century to the present, featuring 20 stops in downtown Boston and Back Bay that include colonial Irish, Civil War heroes, and an assortment of Irish-American politicians, athletes, poets, and war heroes.

A neighorhood trail includes another 20 sites in Charlestown, South Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and other outlying areas where the Irish settled. 

According to officials at MOTT, there were over 12,000 submissions to the Top 1,000 Places competition.

For more details on Irish cultural activities year round in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org

For information on visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Red Sox Nation Welcomes Irish Tenor John McDermott to Boston on Friday, June 11


Famous Irish tenor John McDermott is appearing at the Great Fenway Park Writers Series this Friday, June 11, 2010, at Hotel Commonwealth in Boston's Kenmore Square, just steps away from Fenway Park itself.

The literary luncheon begins at noon at the hotel, where McDermott will sing a few songs, tell a few stories, and sign copies of his award-winning CD, Legacy of the Patriot.

Cost of the luncheon program is $75 general admission, or $50 for Red Sox ticket holders and Friends of the Great Fenway Park Writers Series.  The price also includes a free copy of the CD.

Later that evening, McDermott will sing the National Anthem at the Red Sox-Phillies game at Fenway Park, and will throw out the first pitch.

Sponored by the Boston Red Sox, the writers series invites a wide range of authors and artists to speak about their work. 

McDermott rose to fame as one of the three Irish Tenors who toured the world, and he has since had an enormously successful individual career.  He does a lot of charitable work in the Boston area, including Fisher House Boston, which provides housing and support for the families of military men and women who are in Boston for extended medical attention.

Hotel Commonwealth
500 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
617 933-5000

For year round cultural events, visit IrishBoston.org.

Friday, May 28, 2010

JFK Library in Boston Hosts Forum by Newsweek Editors on President Obama: Year One



Newsweek editor and columnist Jonathan Alter discusses his new book, The Promise: President Obama Year One, with his colleague Eleanor Clift, on Tuesday, June 1, 2010.  The event takes place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The event is free and open to the public.

The JFK Library Forums are a series of public affairs programs that foster public discussion on a diverse range of interests.   They are presented as conversations rather than lectures.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Columbia Point
Boston
617 514-1600
http://www.jfklibrary.org/


Related Sites:
IrishAmericansforObamaBiden
IrishMassachusetts.com

Friday, May 21, 2010

Boston Irish gather at the Irish Famine Memorial on Sunday, May 23 to commemorate An Gorta Mor, the Great Hunger



The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is holding a wreath-laying ceremony at the Boston Irish Famine Memorial on Sunday, May 23, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. 

Father Peter Nolan, Pastor of Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park, is conducting the prayer service, which pays tribute to the victims of the 19th century Irish Famine.

The event is organized by the James Michael Curley Division One of the AOH.

Attending the event are Kevin Durant, chairman of AOH Division One, as well as Michael Cummings and Phil Haughey of the Boston Irish Famine Memorial committee, the group that built the memorial park. 

Unveiled on June 28, 1998, the Boston Irish Famine Memorial is part of the worldwide commemoration of the Irish Famine of the 1840s, also known as An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger), where one million people died of starvation and disease and another two million refugees fled Ireland, coming to cities like Boston.

The Famine Memorial is part of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail, and is located at the corner of Washington and School Street in Downtown Boston.

For more information on the Irish community in Massachusetts, visit IrishBoston.org.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 16, 1847, USS Jamestown Returns to Boston After Historic Voyage to Cork to Aid Famine Victims


Painting of USS Jamestown in Boston Harbor, by Ted Walker, Marine Artist

On this day in history, the USS Jamestown returned to Boston Harbor after carrying food, medical supplies and clothing to the people of Cork during the height of the Irish Famine. 

The journey was headed by Captain Robert Bennet Forbes, a wealth China trade merchant from Milton, MA, who had left Boston on March 28, 1847 with a crew of 38 men and 800 tons of supplies.

Henry Lee's book, Massachusetts Helps to Ireland During the Great Famine, gives a masterful account of this extraordinary episode in Boston's history.

"Contributions of food continued to arrive from all over New England," Lee wrote.  "The cargo consisted largely of Indian corn and bread but included also hams, prok, oatmeal, potatoes, flour, rye, beans, rice, fish and sixteen barrels of clothing."

The fifteen day voyage faced foul weather and a blend of rain, sleet, wind and fog requisite for that time of year, but finally, they arrived in Queenstown Harbor.

A cruel irony became apparent to Forbes as Ireland's provincial rulers greeted Forbes and his crew with an invitation to a sumptuous feast.  Forbes and his crew found this banquet most embarassing, however, as Irish citizens lay dying in the streets nearby.

Forbes was more interested in seeing firsthand the suffering everyone had heard so much about.  He was escorted around Cork by Father Tehobald Mathew, the famous temperance priest.  Forbes later described the event:

"It was the valley of death and pestigence itself.  I would gladly forget, if I could, the scenes I witnessed."

Forbes was overwhelmed by the plight of the dying, and when he returned home, arriving in the Charlestown Navy Yard on May 16, he immediately set his sights on the USS Macedonian, another ship that he would fill with supplies for the people of Cork.

Reverend R.C. Waterson later wrote, "I consider the mission of the Jamestown as one of the grandest events in the history of our country.  A ship-of-war changed into an angel of mercy, departing on no errand of death, but with the bread of life to an unfortunate and perishing people."

- Excerpts from Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past  by Michael P. Quinlin.  

(Thanks to Ed Walker and Fred Robinson for permission to use the image above.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saw Doctors at House of Blues in Boston on May 15



Ireland's good time rock band, the Saw Doctors, are playing at the House of Blues in Boston on Saturday, May 15, at 7:00 p.m.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

The veteran band from Tuam, County Galway is joined at the House by Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams.

Tickets are $27.50 and available through Ticketmaster.

House of Blues
15 Lansdowne Street
Boston
1 888 693-2583

For year round Irish events in the Boston area, visit IrishBoston.org.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Conan O'Brien Joins the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Board of Directors


Conan O'Brien, TV talk show host and comedian, has been elected to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Board of Directors, along with these other new members: John B. Adams, Adrienne Arsht, Blake Jordan, Clive F. Palmer and Ronald L. Sargent.

O'Brien is originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, where President John F. Kennedy was born and raised, according to Tom McNaught, Deputy Director of the Foundation.  President Kennedy's birthplace is now a National Historic Site managed by the U.S. National Park Service.

The Foundation, which provides financial support, staffing and creative resources to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, presents the annual Profiles in Courage Award and works on numerous other educational and public service activities throughout the year. 

For more information, visit Jfklibrary.org/

Submitted by Boston Irish Tourism Association.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly Performing at Boston's Shubert Theatre on May 7



The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) is raffling off free pairs of tickets to see Scottish comedian Billy Connolly at Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre in Boston on Friday, May 7, at 8:00 p.m.

To enter the contest, click here.

Plus, BITA is offering a $15 discount on purchasing tickets to the show!  All you have to do is enter the word IRISH in the promo code box and you'll receive the discount. 

The outrageously funny Scotsman is also a popular actor, and stars in the cult classic Boston movie, Boondock Saints II.  And Connolly is staring with Jack Black in the new motion picture, Gulliver's Travels, coming out later this year.  

The Shubert Theatre is at 270 Tremont Street in Boston's theatre district. 

For a full list of upcoming shows at Citi Performing Arts Center, click here.

Posted by IrishBoston.org

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boston's Eire Society Gold Medal Award Dinner at Omni Parker House on Friday, April 30



Edward W. Forry, publisher of the Boston Irish Reporter and several other community newspapers in Boston, is recepient of the 2010 Gold Medal Award presented annually by the Eire Society of Boston.

Forry, a Dorchester resident who supports a variety of Irish and civic causes, receives the award at the Society's annual dinner on Friday, April 30, 2010, at the Omni Parker House in Boston.  Tickets to the event are $100 per person.

Formed in 1937, the Eire Society of Boston is one of the leading supporters of Irish cultural expression in New England.   The Gold Medal award is granted to recepients who have dedicated themselves to the study and preservation of Irish arts or to the betterment of Ireland itself.  Past recepients have included John F. Kennedy, filmaker John Ford, and architect Charles Maginnis.

For details on more Irish cultural events in Massachusetts year round, visit IrishBoston.org

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chris Klein Lectures on Boston's Die Hard Sports at Boston Public Library on Wednesday, April 14


Travel writer Christopher Klein, author of The Die-Hard Sports Fan’s Guide to Boston, is giving a lecture today at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.    The lecture begins at 6:30 in the Orientation Room and is free to the public.

Klein will speak about Boston’s legendary status as a sports-crazy town and  some of Boston’s great sporting figures.  He’ll answer questions from the audience and sign copies of his book.

In a recent article, Klein wrote, “Being a die-hard sports fan in Boston is about joy, it’s about heartbreak, it’s about honoring the traditions of the past, and it’s about unbreakable bonds with our families and our community. In a sense, it’s an experience of the faithful.”

The Die-Hard Sports Fans Guide to Boston is published by Union Park Press, a local publisher specializing in the arts, history and culture of Boston and New England. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Irish Tenor John McCormack Made His Boston Debut in April 1910

(Photo courtesy of Irish Music Center, Boston College)


"When Irish tenor John McCormack burst onto the music scene in the early 1900s, the Boston Irish rejoiced.  Here at last was a worthy purveyor of the ancient melodies of Ireland, and he could also sing opera! 

"The Republic newspaper - published in Boston by John "Honey Fitz" FitzGerald - noted McCormack's "superb presence, magnetic personality and rare voice," hailing him as "about as potent an influence for the conservation of what is distinctly Irish...as any that has appeared in our time." (March 26, 1910). 

"McCormack made his first Boston appearance on April 2, 1910, performing at the Boston Theatre in the Manhattan Company's production of La Traviata

"The following year he made his debut at Boston Symphony Hall, one of the great concert venues of the world.  Between 1911 and 1936 McCormack performed there sixty-three times, more than any other singer."

For more information on Boston's Irish-American history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Siobhan Magnus - an American Idol from Cape Cod


Cape Cod's singing sensation Siobhan Mangus is one of the final contestants on the hit television show, American Idol, now in its ninth season.

The Marsten Mills native -- who works as an apprentice glassblower and fronts a local rock band - comes from a musical family and honed her craft doing musicials at Barnstable High School. She credits her parents with giving her a love of music.

The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce has been spreading the word throughout the Cape and beyond to vote for Siobhan each week, distributing free posters and sending out messages on Facebook and Twitter.

The Irish-American singer was also profiled in the March issue of Travel and Culture Guide published by the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Win Tix to Elvis Costello in Boston!


The Boston Irish Tourism Association is giving away a pair of tickets to see musicial maestro Elvis Costello, who is coming to Boston's Orpheum Theatre on April 20 with his stellar country-western band, the Sugarcanes.

Since the 1970s, the British-born Costello (aka Declan McManus) has mastered a variety of musical genres, starting with pop, rock, blues and country.  His latest album, Secrets, Profance and Sugarcane, features some of the best musicians in Nashville.

Costello is also the host of the popular musical show, The Spectacle on the Sundance Channel.  

To enter the contest for free tix, just click here.  The winner will be announced on Friday, April 16, 2010.

You can also purchase tickets to the contest through Live Nation.

For a full list of upcoming concerts in Massachusetts, visit IrishMassachusetts.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Burren Pub in Somerville Holds Saturday Local Arist Market (SLAM) on March 27, 2010


The popular Saturday Local Artists Market (SLAM) is taking place at the Burren Pub in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, on Saturday, March 27, 2010, from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The bi-monthly event started in January of this year and features up to 20 local artists and craftspeople showcasing and displaying their works, including painting, photography, jewelry, textiles, glass, ceramics, food and more.

The Burren is regarded as one of the best places in the USA to hear live traditional Irish music, seven days a week.  The pub also serves lunch and dinner.

IrishMassachusetts.