From The Hobby Paul Keating
- Dingle doesn’t disappoint with annual Feile na Bealtaine festival of Irish music and arts
- Summer schools keep the tradition of Irish music alive
- Visiting the Dingle Peninsula in all its glory for The Gathering 2013
- Debut for new New Jersey Irish festival GaelFest
- Shining tribute to dance legend Donny Golden held in Mineola
Much like the summer weather mixing hot and cold air masses leading to bright sunny spells and thunderous rain storms, the fate of the Irish Catskills always seems to wobble between optimism and pessimism all in the same timeframe.
Granted it has been decades since the area of Greene County from Leeds to Durham was the go-to place for the Irish-born emigrants and their Irish American offspring throughout the Northeast. But many who loved the Catskill Mountains and its getaway qualities a car ride away stubbornly hung on to keeping an Irish presence there down through the years.
Another one of the outstanding summer schools in North America is the Augusta Heritage Center’s Irish/Celtic week taking place July 22-27 in Elkins, West Virginia, a great mountain retreat.
Known as either Elkins or Augusta, the Irish week is celebrating its 30th year this summer and, as far as I know, was the first of its kind in North America founded and helmed by Dr. Mick Moloney for its first 25 years before he handed it off to protégées Joanie Madden and Dr. Daniel Neely this year.
Taking place at the bucolic Davis and Elkins College, classes are intensive and communal since meals and accommodations are on the one campus which also features a marvelous concert hall where the staff are showcased in concerts Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann has been on a mission to preserve and promote traditional Irish music as a valuable aspect of our Irish heritage.
Two of the major tenets of the cultural movement have been to venerate those older musicians who carried the love of the music in their hearts and generously shared it and kept it alive and then passed it onto the younger generation who accepted it willingly through music classes and Fleadh competitions.
Those dual objectives were very important back in the 1950s when a relatively new Irish republic sought its place in the post-World War II modernity march when music associated with rural society in Ireland was denigrated and in danger of dying out. Thankfully the movement took hold, stopping the slide and making CCE into one of the essential building blocks for seeing trad music advance over the next six decades to a world prominence.