St. Patrick's Day Week in New York City

The run-up to St. Patrick's Day is always chaotic (but fun!) for Irish musicians. You end up running around from gig to gig, playing with musicians you wouldn't usually get to hang out with, and performing in places that you have never been in before. With St. Patrick's Day landing on a Saturday this year, it seemed like there were tons of businesses, institutions, and drinking establishments looking for Irish musicians all week to help them get into the Paddy's Day spirit. This is what my week looked like:

SUNDAY: Open Day at the Irish Arts Center. The Irish Arts Center has their annual opening day just before St. Patrick's Day. This year, I did a short demo performance with two of the other teachers, then brought my students on stage for an end-of-term tin whistle performance, before finishing off the afternoon with a sample beginner tin whistle class! The Open Day had such a huge variety of events this year- everything from sample classes to film screenings to an Irish soda bread-making demo. Definitely a not-to-be-missed fun, free event showcasing all things Irish.

TUESDAY: Performance at the Irish Consulate for a lunchtime networking event with the lovely harp player and singer from Limerick, Niamh O'Brien. 

THURSDAY: Performance at St. Patrick's Cathedral with Mick Moloney, Athena Turgis, Brendan Dolan, Don Meade, Dan Gurney, and Niamh O'Brien.

FRIDAY:  Performances in the Empire State Building for LinkedIn, and  at the Irish Consulate for the arrival of the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar.

SATURDAY: Tunes at The Wren Irish bar on the Bowery, with Matt Stapleton and Johnny Cuomo.

SUNDAY: Tunes at The Brass Monkey with Dan Gurney and Breiffni O'Donnell.

What a fun week! Now, back upstate to the calm for a few days before my next stint in the city.

 

 

Thailand and Vietnam Trip

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I'm just back from an amazing trip to Thailand and Vietnam organized by the great legend Mick Moloney! The full line-up of musicians, singers and dancers was Mick Moloney, Dylan Foley, Dan Gurney, Brenda Castles, Donie Carroll, Niall O'Leary and myself. We had a blast playing at a brand new Irish bar in Bangkok called Scruffy Murphy's! We felt right at home there- they do an amazing Sunday roast if you're in Bangkok and craving some Irish pub grub. 

 

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While we were in Bangkok, we visited the Mercy Center, a great charity that helps the children in the slums of the city. We played music for the children there, and also watched their beautiful performances of traditional Thai music and dance. 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our main performances of the trip was at an event organized by the Irish and Portuguese Embassies to honor the work of Sister Louise Horgan, the amazing woman who is the powerhouse behind the Fatima Center in Bangkok. Sister Horgan has been working in Thailand with the Good Shepherd Sisters since 1965, helping poor, vulnerable women and children of all backgrounds to learn skills that will enable them to be self-sufficient. We visited the Fatima Center, and got to see first-hand all the great work being done there.

Our trip to Vietnam was short but sweet! We visited the Vietnamese Institute for Musicology in Hanoi, where the students performed some traditional Vietnamese music for us (you can watch some of the highlights here). After the formal performance, we swapped instruments with the Vietnamese musicians. 

 

We took a little break in the afternoon to wander around, try some vietnamese coffee, and check out a water puppet show. That evening, we played a concert at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi. You can watch the whole concert online here, posted on Ireland Vietnam's Facebook page!

Dan and I finished off our trip with a few days of chilling out on Koh Chang island, where we bumped into none other than Caroline Keane and Tom Delaney- two Irish musicians living in Dingle, Ireland! What are the chances? We explored the island with them on scooters, soaked up the sun, and enjoyed the beautiful beaches. Now, we're back in upstate New York where a new layer of snow has just fallen. What a trip! 

 

 

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New Paltz Irish Music Lessons

I've just about settled into life up here in the Hudson Valley- it's been a real change of pace from living in Dublin and NYC! After all the apartment-hunting, moving furniture, hiking, and biking, we've  finally started to get involved in the Irish traditional music community here in the Hudson Valley. 

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Catskills Irish Arts Week 2017!

I was lucky to get back to NY just in time for the Catskills Irish Arts Week 2017! This is one of my favorite festivals. The week is always jam-packed with concerts, sessions, lectures, singing, dancing, and general craic. It was the perfect way for me to catch up with many of the talented musicians and friends I had the pleasure of meeting when I lived in NYC last year.

Some of the most memorable moments for me were playing next to the great Joanie Madden in a session at The Blackthorne on Monday; joining Dan Gurney, Dylan Foley, Josh Dukes, Sean Gavin, Mike Fee, Sean Earnest and KT Boyle for a very lively and flutey ceili on Tuesday; playing tunes with the legendary Mike McHale and friends at a BBQ on Wednesday evening followed by tunes on Aaron Olwell's school bus later that night; and hearing all about Monsignor Charlie Coen's life during Mick Moloney's lecture series which ran Monday to Friday in the Shamrock House.

As always, I left the week feeling exhausted but inspired by all the amazing music I heard during the week!