Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival 2017

on site.

The All-Ireland Cultural Society thanks the following businesses and members for their financial and in-kind support of the 76th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Mr. Tom Kelly and the Neil Kelly Company

Owen Roe Winery

Ceilí of the Valley in Salem

Carrie Dixon and O’Hara’s Irish Beers

Bob’s Red Mill

Gemma Whalen and the Corrib Theatre

American Automobile Association

Columbia Chapter of the Belleek Society

Carlow Brewing and O’Hara’s beer

Dulin’s in Vancouver

Fiorano Ristorante in Tualatin

T.C. O’Leary’s Irish Pub

Oregon Garden Resort

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Paddy’s Bar and Grill

Pittock Mansion

Raven and Rose Restaurant

Red Star Tavern, downtown Portland

Ringside Grill

Spaghetti Factory

Sayler’s Steak House

Mr. Joe Schiwek

Rick Bolme and Sue Jordan

Jack Crowley

Sylvester DeBray

Margaret Doherty

Peggy Doherty

Shannon Doherty

Wanda Huff

Kathleen Hudert

Brendan Kerg

Helen and Paul Lyons

Louise Martell

Mary Rose Mulligan

Rose Ann and Tony Ranft

Sheila Redman

Mary Sacksteder and Larry McKinley

Christine and Kevin Seed

Colleen Spiering

Debbie Timmins

The All-Ireland Cultural Society is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This is the only fundraiser of the year which supports the Society’s mission of promoting Irish culture, music, education and social activities.

Weekly traditional Irish Ceili class – Tir Eoghain

Irish Ceili (Kay – Lee) Community Dance Class – Folk

Portland, OR – Weekly drop-in classes
Every Tuesday evening, 7:30-9:30pm
St. Therese Multi-Purpose Center, 1260 NE 132nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230
$3 – $5 sliding per person per evening

Don’t be bashful, there are new folks almost every week! You do not need to be Irish to learn something new! Only $3-$5 (what you can afford). Class is from 7:30-9:30pm every Tuesday night. Come have fun and get active while reducing stress and having fun! Don’t stress that you don’t know how to dance because every week there are beginners like you attending. And don’t worry if you are experienced, plenty of challenging dances for you too!
The Tir Eoghain (Tyrone) Irish Dance & Ceili (kay-lee) class is where it happens! We are celebrating 38 years teaching this great cultural event that is not only good for your spirit but also your health to the community! It is a self supporting cultural event. Try it and dance a jig, leap to reels, have more fun on St. Patrick’s Day and meet new friends!
Come drop-in every Tuesday night for this class that has been ongoing since 1978! 13 & older. Bring your water bottle, wear comfortable clothing and a pair of dance shoes or sneakers.

The Tír Eoghain group started in 1978 with Brother Eugene from Co. Tyrone, Ireland (hence the name Tír Eoghain, the Gaelic spelling of Tyrone) and Mary Rose Kerg of the All-Ireland Social Club which is now the All-Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon.

Brother Eugene had the drive and expertise to teach traditional Irish dance here in the Portland area and Mary Rose assisted in the organization of such.

The dances we do are primarily Céilí (KAY-LEE). They are group, social dances that are from Ireland. Kind of a cross between contra and a square dance.


The Harp, Ireland, and Irish Harp Music by Felicity Dyall

The Harp, Ireland, and Irish Harp Music

Felicity Dyall


The harp or lyre is one of the earliest instruments in human history, following the voice, percussion, flutes or panpipes, and drums. It was developed from the hunting bow through the realization that a string under tension produces a particular pitch. This type of stringed instrument is depicted as early as 3000 BC in Egyptian paintings.

Around 1500 BC, ancient art depicts an instrument built of two pieces: a sound box, and an angled arm with gut or leather strings wrapped around it. This instrument traveled from Asia to the Middle East, where it became a common instrument in the Holy Land. The harp is mentioned over 66 times in Biblical text. The words ‘arpa’ and ‘lyra’ were first used interchangeably, but harp came to mean the triangular instrument, while a lyre was more squarely shaped. Similarly, the gaelic word ‘cruit’ came to mean lyre, while ‘cláirseach’ meant harp.

The earliest distinctly Celtic people emerged from the Indo-European side of the Mediterranean Sea around 1000 BC, and migrated west and north across Europe. They brought the triangular harp with them to Ireland, adding a pillar (first depicted on an 8th century stone cross), which allowed for more tension and greater numbers of strings. Likely due to the influence of Viking skills in metallurgy, the strings on Irish harps were made out of metal, resulting in greater volume, longer sustained tone, and a magical bell-like sound. The strings were wrapped around pegs, which were twisted by a special wrench called a harp key to tune them into the chromatic scales needed for different tunes. The oldest Irish harp, dating back to the 14th century, sports a curved pillar with 34-36 metal strings. It is known as the Brian Boru Harp, as it was attributed to the famous historical figure Brian Boru, who leveraged control of Viking port towns to wrest the High Kingship of Ireland from the O’Neill clan in 1002, until the harp’s actual age was measured through modern dating methods.

The skill of the Irish on their harps was highly praised by foreigners, and Irish harpers were of high value in the gaelic-speaking aristocratic society that existed through the 16th century in Ireland. Every chieftain, or Taoiseach, had a poet and a harper, who with music could evoke emotions of joy, grief, or sleep in the audience. Harps at this time rested on the left shoulder and the strings were played with the fingernails. Music was enriched with simple harmony and intricate ornamentation that wove around the melody. A significant number of harpers were blind, as it was the best opportunity for a blind child to contribute in that society.

Over the course of the century from 1600 to 1700, the balance of power shifted to the English-speaking Anglo-Irish. Without their gaelic lords, the harpers became traveling minstrels and teachers. One famous Irish harper, Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), lived during this time of transition, and his musical compositions show both the old style as well as European styles that became popular at the time. Harps in this period gained levers that gave the ability to change the pitch of a string, reducing the need for tuning between each piece.

As the Anglo-Irish gentry became more accomplished harp players, their willingness to support the wandering minstrels waned. By the end of the 18th century, the tradition of the old harpers had all but died out. In an attempt to preserve the old style of harping, Doctor James MacDonnell organized the Belfast Harp Festival in 1792, which invited traditional harpers to compete and have their music recorded. Eleven harpers were in attendance, and their music was published by Edward Bunting as piano arrangements in three books named “The Ancient Music of Ireland.” Ten years later, only two of the harpers remained. This was the end of the age of the harpers.

Harp music in Ireland continued in the 19th century in a new form, played by the sophisticated ladies of upper class society. Women played and sang airs, many of which were old songs with new English lyrics, and accompanied themselves on the harp, which was placed on the right shoulder with both knees to one side. Music was learned from books, rather than being passed down by oral tradition. The harp was considered feminine and a representation of Ireland herself, and thus became a tool of nationalism. Simply by playing the tune of a rebel song, Irish ladies could inspire a political spirit from the safety of the drawing room. A pedal harp maker, John Egan, capitalized on the nationalism of the era and in 1824 advertised a smaller, levered harp with gut strings. The idea caught on, and the neo-Irish or folk harp is still popular today, although many now use nylon string material.

All this while, Irish traditional music had developed among the working class on a totally separate trajectory from harp music, shaped by Irish dance and the commonly available instruments such as fiddle, flute, and later, accordion. In contrast to the slow songs and airs played on the harp, “trad” music was quick, lively, and rhythmic for dancers. The technique necessary to play such tunes on the harp was not developed until the 1970s.

In modern times, Irish harp is used in Celtic ensembles, solo, and as accompaniment to voice. It is still used as a symbol of Ireland, and its magical sound evokes the mythical past. The history of the harp in Scotland followed a similar path, and many Scottish songs and tunes are played in Ireland, and vice versa. All in all, the harp tradition developed by the Celtic peoples continues to flourish alongside classical repertoire in the harp world today.





“History of the Harp.” International Harp Museum, International Harp Museum, 2009,

“History of the Harp.” The World of the Harp,, 2016,

“History of the Harp” and “The Irish Contribution.” The Harp Foundation, The Harp Foundation, 2013,

Harbison, Janet. “A History Lesson.” Traditional Irish Harp Tutor Level 4. Castleconnell, Co. Limerick: Irish Harp Centre, 2011. 4-5. Print.

Ní Fhuartháin, Méabh. “Irish Harping Tradition.” Traditional Irish Music and Dance, National University of Ireland Galway, 5 July 2016, NUIG, Galway.

Annual Christmas Party – RSVP

Christmas Party Will Be on Saturday, December 10.

This year the Christmas party will be a luncheon buffet at the Holiday Inn near the Portland Airport from 1-4:30PM.  We had a truly enjoyable lunch and entertainment last year.  We all went home with a gift, selected by Rose Ann Ranft. Cost will be $27 for members and $30 for non-members.  This is a great deal for a nice meal, gifts, games, entertainment, and a good time.  We will have the drawing for the Molly Malone statue.  Call the club phone, 503 286 4812, and send your payment to AICS of Oregon, PO Box 3411, Portland, OR, 97208 by December 3.

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Felicity Dyall to perform November 19 – General Meeting

Felicity Dyall will play the harp in the program portion of the November event of the All-Ireland Cultural Society on Saturday, November 19th – which is this coming Saturday. The place to be is the Oregon Stamp Society building at 4828 NE 33rd Avenue in Portland. The genealogy group meets at 6 p.m. A lesson in the Gaelig language by Bruce Kenny will follow a short business meeting. After a time to socialize, we will have the pleasure of listening to Felicity play the harp. Cead Mile Failte (a hundred thousand welcomes). For more information call 503-286-4812.

Irish Christmas in America – The Show

Irish Christmas in America – The Show

With – Niamh Farrell vocals
Séamus Begley vocals / accordion
Oisín Mac Diarmada producer / fiddle
Gráinne Hambly Irish harp /concertina
Samantha Harvey – dance / piano
Sean Gavin – flute / uilleann pipes

Produced by Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, the hugely popular Irish Christmas in America show features top Irish music, song and dance in an engaging performance rich in humour and boundless energy. The 2016 tour features special guest singer Niamh Farrell, a Sligo vocalist who has toured with UK singer/songwriting star David Gray. Niamh teams up with legendary West Kerry singer Séamus Begley, famous for his charming wit and stunning voice.

This family-friendly performance features lively instrumental tunes on fiddle, flute, uilleann pipes and harp, along with thrilling Irish dancing from Samantha Harvey. In addition, evocative photographic images provide a backdrop to some of the rich historical traditions of Ireland. Take a memorable glimpse into the enchanting spirit of Christmas, as the finest traditional artists from Ireland, bring you on a fun-filled start to the holiday season of 2016.

The holiday show was first conceived in 2005 with past tours featuring such stellar guest vocalists as Séamus & Méabh Begley, Teresa Horgan, Lumiere (Pauline Scanlon & Eilis Kennedy), Karan Casey, Cara Dillon, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Cathie Ryan and Michael Londra. Mac Diarmada enthuses about the program as a way to bring traditional and often unknown Irish customs to the States. One of the most heartfelt themes of Irish Christmas is emigration, says Mac Diarmada. Music was a way that people stayed close to home.

A sparkling tradition among holiday events, Irish Christmas in America is a special show to see this season. For more information visit


Gothard Sisters in Concert

Gothard Sisters – RETURN to kick off the 2016-2017 Season of the 2nd Saturday Community Concert
Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets (800)838-3006 or on line at

Over the course of nearly 1,000 shows since they formed as a Celtic band in 2006, The Gothard Sisters  who are truly sisters  have become internationally recognized as multi-instrumentalist Celtic-influenced folk musicians, songwriters, and performers from the Pacific Northwest, USA.
Beginning their career by playing for tips at the local farmers market, now the sisters regularly perform more than 120 shows a year nationally and internationally.  Their special brand of Celtic-inspired original music pays respect to the older traditions of folk and classical music, while reintroducing them to a modern audience through beautiful new arrangements.  Although much of the sisters inspiration comes with a distinct Celtic flair, hints of their western American heritage can be heard in what Irish Central calls an earthiness that gives the songs a lively, approachable, down-home sound. In addition to their musical endeavors, each of the sisters are highly trained in competitive Irish dance, bringing the exciting rhythms of Ireland to their live shows through dance, music, song, and storytelling.
Over the last nine years the band has built a loyal following, independent of any music label, by connecting with audiences in a lively, entertaining and touching way and by insisting on a DIY approach in everything they do – self producing their award-winning albums, energetic live shows and imaginative music videos. In 2013, the Irish Music Awards presented the Gothard Sisters with Best New Irish Artist, and they were awarded with Album of the Year for Celtic Radio in 2011 for their album Story Girl.  In March 2015, their music video covering the old English ballad, Scarborough Fair, reached over 1 million views on youtube.
More recently, their music has been featured on NPRs Thistle and Shamrock program and PBSs Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour broadcast from Lexington Kentucky.  In addition to this, the sisters have become regular performers on the Walt Disney Cruise Line, sailing to destinations in Europe and South America.

Annual Summer Gathering and Picnic

The AICS Annual Picnic will be August 21, noon-4PM. St. Birgitta’s Picnic Grove 11820 NW St. Helens Road (Hwy 30) Portland

Call the AICS phone, 503 286 4812, to tell how many people attending and your choices for hamburgers or hot dogs.
Bring a dish (salad, dessert, etc.) to share.
Beer and soft drinks will be available.  $$$ accepted
If you play a musical instrument, please bring it.
If you want to volunteer with set-up, take-down, games, etc. email Bruce Kenny  (
Be prepared for old-fashion picnic fun!

Tommy McCarthy Family in Concert

Come join and meet THE McCARTHY FAMILY live in the Wee Ceili Room in Tualatin! $20 gets you a concert, potluck and party! All seats are reserved. Email to do so. Social starts at 7pm and the concert and party will go until????????
An exciting evening of Irish Music with The McCarthy Family! A multigenerational quartet playing both traditional Irish ballads and original works, The McCarthy Family captivates audiences with their incredible talent and passionate playing. The Boston-based band is well-known at home and has also traveled the world with their music. The band features Tommy McCarthy, Jr. on fiddle, his wife Louise Costello on banjo and button accordion, daughter Rose on fiddle, and nephew Peadear on Uilleann pipes and whistle.