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Welcome - Failte Romhat!

When the translation is provided submissions to the blog will be published in both English and Irish. Please send submissions to the webmaster address shown at the very top of the blog. Please visit us often. This blog is the companion of the Ottawa Comhaltas website:

Beidh poist a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge nuair is féidir. Tabhair cuairt orainn go minic. Is é seo an blag an compánach an láithreán gréasáin Comhaltas Ottawa:

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Sad tidings for the CCE Branch - Deirdre Scott

Deirdre Elizabeth Scott (née Mulrennan)

February 23rd, 1936 - January 28th, 2013

Loving wife of Pat Scott, Deirdre Scott passed away
peacefully after a long illness, on Monday 28 January 2013. She leaves behind her loving husband of 53 years, Pat Scott. She will be greatly missed by her daughters Sheila (Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh), Maureen (Danny Byrne), Siobhán (Maciej Brodowski), and Róisín (Richard Philippe). She has been a loving Grandma Deedee to Nora, Amy, Paula, Layla, Eddie, Myra, Becky, Geneviève, Renée, and Tristan. Mom left Ireland with two girlfriends in 1957, for an adventure that lasted a lifetime. Both Mom and Dad were very proud of their Irish heritage. Mom supported Dad in the creation of the Irish Society of Ottawa, Irish theatre and the Chair of Celtic Studies at the University of Ottawa. She initiated Irish dancing and Irish language classes here in Ottawa. Such was her passion for her culture that her children and grandchildren are all active in Ottawa's vibrant Irish community. The family would like to express its heartfelt thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Ottawa General for the very gentle and tender way they ensured that mom's last days were as comfortable as possible. The family also wants to thank the staff at Billings Lodge for the exceptional care it has provided to mom over the last 11 months. 

Friends may pay respects at the Kelly Funeral Home, on Thursday (January 31) from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at  Walkley Chapel: 1255 Walkley Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 6P9 613-731-1255,
Funeral service Friday, February 1st to Holy Cross Church, 685 Walkley Rd, for Mass of Christian funeral at 2 p.m. 

A celebration of her life will follow. Donations in memory of mom can be made to the Alzheimer's Society.

There is a virtual Guest Book that you can sign.
Published in The Ottawa Citizen on January 30, 2013 

Deirdre was the mother of the current Chair of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch, Sile Scott. The Executive and all members of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch extend their deepest sympathies to the Scott family and closest friends.


Thursday 24 January 2013

Caint is Comhrá - links

The Caint is Comhrá group is very creative on their Irish language classes, for example this past Monday night’s intermediate class they used this article. It is entitled "10 ways to make your life healthier," and it has some great Irish phrases and some interesting vocabulary.

If you are interested in reading more in Irish, more articles are available on the Gaelscéal , a national irish language newspaper, website:, and we encourage you to read them!  If you want to hear some spoken Irish, the Gaelscéal also produces podcasts.

Here we also have Irish phrases, and an Irish proverb:

Irish phrase of the week: (meán-rang)

Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit/ daoibh!  || Happy New Year to you/ to ye!

Irish phrase of the week (ardrang)

Tháinig an fhadhb seo aniar aduaidh orm || This problem came as an unpleasant surprise!

Irish proverb of the week:

Mol an Óige agus Tiocfaidh Sí  || Praise the youth and it will bloom.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Instrument loans for beginner musicians in Irish traditional music

The Brach website has a new page about instrument loans.

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) is searching for beginner music students that may be interested in borrowing one of the Ottawa Branch owned Irish instruments. The loan of the instrument is for the sole purpose of learning the instrument for playing Irish traditional music, at the beginner level.

The translation of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann to English is ‘Gathering of the Musicians of Ireland.’ CCÉ was founded in 1951 by a group of Irish pipers who were concerned that the traditional music of Ireland was in decline and in danger of being lost. Since then the organization has grown into a global movement involving tens of thousands of people and has come to encompass traditional Irish dance and the Irish language as well as the music. Therefore, at the local level we must continue our best efforts to preserve the tradition.

The Ottawa Branch of CCÉ owns a collection of musical instruments common in Irish traditional music. These instruments represent a substantial investment and commitment by CCÉ Ottawa to maintain the musical heritage of Ireland. By loaning these instruments, beginning students are spared the initial cost while they find their way and determine whether learning the instrument is for them or not.

The collection, and current status, of the instruments is:
Two full sized harps (unavailable);
Two Stentor student 3/4-size fiddles (AVAILABLE);
Irish wooden flute (unavailable);
Single-row button Hohner accordion (AVAILABLE); and
Half-set of David Daye uilleann pipes (AVAILABLE).

Beginner students can petition the Branch to borrow an instrument. If the student is eligible and the instrument is available the student will receive the instrument on loan. Each loan is subject to written terms and conditions set by the Branch. It is expected that the student will make an honest effort to gain sufficient proficiency and passion for the instrument and the music, and eventually acquire their own instrument. The loaned instrument is then returned to CCÉ for loan to another beginner.

While some of the instruments are already spoken for, the uptake of instruments to interested beginners has been disappointingly low. Normally the availability of these instruments is announced at the monthly ceilis, and in the CCÉ Ottawa branch newsletter. CCÉ is eager to loan one of the instruments to persons who indicate a serious intention to make that initial effort to learn their chosen instrument. If you are such a person, or know of such a person, please contact the Vice-Chair of the of the CCÉ Ottawa branch for more details.

Sunday 13 January 2013

The 10 "Commandments" of Irish Set (and Ceili) Dance Etiquette

This is the companion piece of two previously posted Irish Dancing  items: What is Irish Set Dancing? and Set Irish Dance terms.

Main Rule: HAVE FUN!


  • Irish Set dancing is vigorous, you can get tired quickly and people often sweat! 
  • As a matter of courtesy it is customary not to accept a request to dance after you have refused someone else. 
  • We recommend that two beginners not dance together the first few dances. Improvement comes more quickly by dancing with experienced partners. 
  • Same gender dance partners are not uncommon, especially if there is an unequal number of each gender. It takes experience, however, to switch roles. 
  • Eye contact is wonderful and helps avoid dizziness especially during swings. If this makes you uncomfortable simply look at your partner’s face. 

The 10 "Commandments" of Irish Set (and Ceili) Dance Etiquette

Etiquette is there to ensure everyone has a good time in social dance setting.

  1. If possible, wear dance shoes, they are safer and restrict injuries, never dance in your socks. Your outfit and accessories should be comfortable, safe and reflect the level of formality of the dance. Large jewellery can be a hazard, catching in a partner’s clothing or causing scratches. Long hair should be tied back to avoid whipping into someone else’s face or eyes. 
  2. Set up houses (squares) promptly when the music starts or at the caller’s request. Join the nearest house or line that is forming. If all nearby squares are filled, hold your hand up high so the caller can either guide you to where you are needed or get some other couple to join you.  
  3. If time permits, introduce yourself to others in the square. You will not only acquire a reputation for being friendly but you will meet many new and interesting friends. 
  4. Listen to the caller and do not talk when the caller is talking or calling. Not only is it rude, but many dancers may need the information offered. If you see a need to direct a fellow dancer, be sure that you are correct, and be gentle in your assistance. 
  5. If you are more experienced than others in your set, do help them know where to go with gestures of by offering the correct hand or shoulder. Do use only the simplest of verbal instructions. Don’t shout and don’t push. If possible, let their partners help them. 
  6. Think of the best interest of the group and take care not to hurt other dancers' feelings. Do not be too critical of others. 
  7. Be considerate of others on the dance floor – exercise good “floor-craft” and leave out fancy moves, high kicks, and spins. Do give extra support to an elderly or weak dancer, even at the expense of your own technique. 
  8. There is no acceptable excuse for rough handling of fellow dancers. Roughness is the mark of disrespect, whether by chance or choice and you will do well not to irritate a more experienced dancer. 
  9. Always dance to the level of your partner; you are there to ensure their enjoyment, not to embarrass them. Sharing the floor is important - obviously the first thing is to stay out of the way of others and avoid collisions. 
  10. Think ahead, be prepared to change directions and patterns and match the speed of others around you. More experienced dancers should give way to novices.

Friday 11 January 2013

Irish language conversation group

...English follows...

A chairde, tá súil agam go raibh briseadh deas agaibh ar fad. Ós rud é go bhfuil muid ar ais ag obair an tseachtain seo, is dóigh go dteastóidh sos uainn ag deireadh na seachtaine. Mar sin, bígí linn ag an HEART & CROWN BWYWARD MARKET an AOINE (
11 Eanáir) seo ag 5.30 pm le haghaidh "Caint is Comhrá". Beidh grúpa ag teacht le chéile chun ár scíth a ligean agus chun an Ghaeilge a labhairt. Bígí linn agus scaipígí an scéal!!


Hello all! Hope ye all had a lovely holiday. Since we're back to work this week, I think we will deserve a break at the end of the week. Therefore, why not join us at the HEART & CROWN BYWARD MARKET this FRIDAY (11 January) at 5.30 pm for "Caint & Comhrá". A group of us will be coming together to talk some Irish and relax!! Come along and tell your friends.

Monday 7 January 2013

Sad tidings - Eamonn O'Loghlin (1951-2013)

Obituary (Photo by Smitty)

Eamonn O'Loghlin, born in Ennistymon, County Clare, Republic of Ireland on September 7, 1951, passed away on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at the age of 61, surrounded by family and friends. He was the beloved husband of Madeleine, the loving father of Treasa and Rory, and the adored son-in-law of Eleanor Treacy. He is survived by his 4 siblings Cathal, Ursula, Donogh and Roddy.

Eamonn O'Loghlin was larger than life, with a personality to match, which virtually filled any room he walked in to. His generosity to his fellow countrymen and women knew no bounds, as he helped hundreds of young people land their first jobs in Canada on their work visa, or in a more permanent way.

He was never afraid to speak his mind, to say what he thought was right and needed to be said. He made beautiful music with his loving wife Madeleine, especially during their time together with the band Tip Splinter. Oftentimes, when Eamonn played a song by Madeleine on his radio show on a Saturday morning, producer Alex Young would lower the volume on the CD and raise up Eamonn's microphone, so that listeners at home could hear him singing along with his wife.

His family was very important to him – all one had to do was listen to hear the pride in his voice as he spoke about his devoted wife, Madeleine, and his adoring children, Treasa, now a lawyer, and Rory, now excelling in his first year of Biology at McGill University. Eamonn felt he had come full circle as a father to see Treasa embarking into happily married life with Edward Pendergrast, and Rory setting out into the world as an extremely capable young man.

A successful businessman, Eamonn had been the Executive Director of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce since 1993. He graduated from University College Cork with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1975, the same year he came to Canada. He worked in marketing for Hallmark Cards for 18 years before starting up his own marketing and communications consulting business, O'Loghlin Communications.

Eamonn hosted a weekly Irish radio show and published a national magazine, Irish Connections Canada , formerly the Toronto Irish News . A long time supporter of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ireland Fund of Canada, and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, he was Director of Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Sponsorship at the Canadian National Exhibition, and was the interim President of the newly formed Irish Canadian Immigration Centre.

He was honoured as Irish Person of the Year in 2009 for his work on Ceol Agus Craic , the weekly Irish-Canadian radio show he had founded in 1998. He loved traditional Irish music and it was not unusual for a sing-song on the piano to break out whenever he was about. He was also fond of getting back to nature through golfing. He would return for his annual pilgrimage of golfing, travelling and All-Ireland hijinks every September.

Eamonn will be remembered for the good work he did in the community, his generous spirit, his love of family, and for being a great leader amongst Canada's Irish community.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dhilis. Ni fhicimid a leithead aris.

VisitationTurner & Porter - Butler Chapel, 4933 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, ON, CANADA, M9A 1B6
Tue, 8 Jan 2013 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Tue, 8 Jan 2013 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Funeral: Transfiguration of Our Lord Church, 45 Ludstone Drive, Toronto, ON, CANADA, M9R 2J2
Wed, 9 Jan 2013 10:30 AM

Web Address:

Thursday 3 January 2013

Set Irish Dance Terms

In our last post, we explained what Irish Set dancing is, here we mention some of the most common dance terms. They are much easier than it sounds:

'1st Top' couple: The most basic description is that this couple is always closest to the band, with their backs to the band.

'2nd Top' couple: Opposite to the 1st top couple, facing the band.

'1st Side' couple: Couple to the right side of the 1st top couple, and across the 2nd side couple.

'2nd Side' couple: Couple to the left side of the 1st and 2nd top couples.

Advance and Retire: Two couples or two lines of dancers walk towards each other 4 steps, then back 4 steps.

Christmas tree: Where four, six, or eight dancers come together with crossed hands joined behind their backs to swing. Nowadays, for reasons of safety, most dancers adopt a standard hold, with L arms going over and R arms under those of the dancers either side while the L hand grips the wrist of the next-but-one dancer as the R wrist is gripped by another L hand. R hands should be held flat against the back of the adjoining dancer rather than with bunched knuckles to prevent causing hurt to the small of the back.

Dance at Home: Dancing, one, two (or more) full clockwise turns, normally in waltz hold*, while remaining in the 'home' place. It is done in either of two ways; partners can start shoulder to shoulder and facing in opposite directions and simply dance around each other (this is the high revving version) or, facing each other, dance a series of short forward (for the gent) and backward steps with a 1/4 turn on each step to complete one or two turns.

Do-si-do: Pass right shoulders till you are back-to-back then return passing left shoulders. Some dances add optional spins as the partners travel around each other. 

Gypsy: The couple rotates once around each other but without touching hands. Maintain eye contact. Flirt if you wish.

House: The verb 'to house' is now generally accepted as the act of moving in a general anti-clockwise direction while simultaneously turning clockwise one full turn in each 2 bar sequence.

House around: The progress of all four couples around the space occupied by the set, with couples turning clockwise one full turn into each place (2 bars) as they go, thus making four full turns to get back home. Each dancer steps around his/her partner on the step beginning with the L foot and turns in place on that beginning with the R in order to achieve a smooth circular movement. (8 bars)

House around each other: When opposite* or corner* couples dance the 'House around'* movement into each other's place and back home.

Ladies Chain: Ladies take right hands in a handshake fashion and pull past each other to give left hand to the opposite oncoming Gent. Repeat if it’s a full chain over and back.  

Lead around: A movement normally danced by all four couples, using one of a range of hand or partner holds, partners side by side and facing anti-clockwise around the set. All dance 3s around the set and back home. 

Promenade: Partners join right hands and left hands in either skaters position or raised to shoulder height. 

Opposite: Opposite sex person in your circle of four (who is not your partner.)

Star (left or right): Put designated hand on wrist of the dancer in front of you and circle four places.

Swing: Partners, in either waltz* or ceili* hold, spin around each other making four (or more) complete turns in 8 bars. To accomplish the movement safely, partners' R feet should be placed together. The R foot carries the weight on counts 1 and 3 of each bar while the L foot, held behind the R heel, propels the dancer round on counts 2 and 4.The aim should be to keep the R foot turning in as small a space as possible and as flat to the floor as possible to produce a smooth, flat swing. 
  • *Waltz hold: More properly called, I suppose, ballroom hold.
  • *Ceili hold: Partners face each other, take L handshake hold and pass their R hands inside their partner's L elbow to lie flat against the small of the back.

You can see the CCE set dancers this time performing the third figure of the Claddagh Set.

Until next time / Go dtí an chéad uair eile!