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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:

Sunday 30 March 2014

Irish Language

The Irish Language is one of the six Celtic languages, the others being Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Cornish, Welsh, and Breton. In pronunciation, Irish most closely resembles its nearest relatives, Scottish Gaelic and Manx.

Gaeilge, also known as Irish Gaelic or Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family (Indo-European → Celtic → Insular Celtic → Goidelic → Irish), historically spoken by the Irish people. 

Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of the population. Around the turn of the 21st century, estimates of native speakers ranged from 20,000 to 80,000 people. In the 2011 census for the Republic, 94,000 people reported using Irish as a daily language outside of the education system, and 1.3 million reported using it at least occasionally in or out of school. Currently the UNESCO has classified the Irish language as “Definitely Endangered.”

There are also thousands of Irish speakers in Northern Ireland, and a comparable number of fluent speakers in the United States and Canada. Historically the island of Newfoundland had a dialect of Irish Gaelic, called Newfoundland Irish.

Listen to a documentary that explains all disappearing languages in the world. The Irish part starts about 05:40 of the 12+ minutes. Here is the link to the France24 program:

If you are interested in learning the Irish language, here in Ottawa, join us for our weekly classes. For more information, check:

Monday 24 March 2014

Two Irish poets at Ottawa poetry festival VERSeFest 2014

When: Saturday 29 March at 9:00PM

Where: Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street, Ottawa.

Two Irish poets, Stephen James Smith and Sarah Clancy, will perform at the Ottawa poetry festival VERSeFest 2014 with support from the Irish Embassy. 

Stephen and Sarah will take part in “Capital Slam” at 9pm on Saturday 29 March. The VERSeFest 2014 runs from the 25 to 30 March 2014. More details, including tickets which can be purchased online or at the door, are available here:

Harp Concert - Ottawa

When: Sunday 30 March at 19:30

Where: St. Luke's Anglican Church, 760 Somerset St. West, Ottawa 

Admission by donation

For further information call 613-235-3416 

Thursday 20 March 2014

Sad Tidings – Don Davidson

Donald Davidson (18 July 1926 – 10 March 2014) was a long time attendee at our monthly ceilis. Don always contributed to our traditional ‘cupán tae’ break by providing a jar of his favorite jam. 

He also loved to dance, the Kerry Set being one of his favorites. Even after a hip replacement, he continued to dance with much gusto and enthusiasm, though the Kerry Set was no longer in his repertoire. He knew many of the traditional ceili and set dances. He often danced with the university students who appreciated the fact that he knew the steps yet were patient and kind with him as he moved a bit more slowly than other dancers. 

All the members of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch were saddened to hear last Saturday of Don’s passing. Here we lift a cupán tae in your honour, Don, and we hope that you continue to tap your feet and dance jigs and reels wherever you are!

Peace be with you.

Here you can read Don’s obituary and leave notices of condolence.

We have some pictures, of Don enjoying the dances; photos are courtesy of P. Cassidy and P. Avendano.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Uachtarán for Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada - Patrick Conroy

Few of our members in North America have such a long and distinguished history in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as Patrick Conroy in Montréal, originally from Conamara (Ceathrú Rua, Tír an Fhia).  Patrick is being honoured this year in the office Uachtarán for Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada. There will be a investiture event in Montréal at the end of the month.

When: Saturday 22 March 2014, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Where: McKibbin’s Pub (downstairs in “the Sheebeen”), 1426 Bishop Street, Montréal. Be aware that there are a number of different “McKibbin’s Pubs” in town, this one is on Bishop’s St. 

There will be music, songs and entertainment. The primary organizer is Yolanta Kruk.

Special Guest: Máirín Uí Chéide, from Boston, originally from Leitir Móir, Conamara, a previous winner of Corn Uí Riada, the highest honour in traditional Irish singing.
Please come and help us celebrate Patrick’s contributions to the Irish Language, Irish Culture and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, at his investiture.

Press release: 
President (Uachtaráin) of Oireachtas Gaeilge Canada for the Irish language open-air festival June 27 – 29, 2014 in Tamworth/Erinsville/ Kingston, Ontario.

Pádraic Ó Conaire (Pat Conroy, as he is known to his Canadian friends), who is a native Irish speaker, was born in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht in Carraroe in 1927. His parents were farmers who like many at the time emmigrated to North America in 1929 in search of a better life.

Pádraic was subsequently raised in Carraoe by his grandmother. In addition to farming Pádraic attended Carraroe Technical School where he studied carpentry. At sixteen, Pádraic became a member of the Local Defense Force (Army Reserve) and was part of the guard of honor when Éamonn de Valera visted the area. In his spare time in Tir an Fia Pádraic enjoyed watching the men on the Galway hookers and the currachs going about their work hauling turf, other goods and fishing in the bay. Pádraic's other great love was music and is self-taught on the melodeon. His music was enjoyed by the community at large during festive occasions and appreciated by the local séan-nós dancers, who would dance on the flat stones by the shore as was the custom in the day.

In 1947 Pádraic emmigrated to Canada to join his parents who had settled in Montreal at that time. Pádraic was thrilled to finally meet his sister, born in Canada when he was 10 years old. Over the years, Pádraic worked at constructing green houses at Cartierville Airport, at Imperial Tobacco and spent 35 years working at Northern Electric until his retirement. After a visit back to Ireland in 1973 with his friend Joe Mell, Pádraic made strong connections with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éirnn (CCE) and the following year brought the travelling CCE "Echos of Erin" show for its first ever performance in Montreal. This achievment would be the followed by many more such occasions. A branch of Comhaltas was established in Montreal by Pádraic and his friend Joe Mell. Pádraic served as president until his retirement a few years ago. Over the years Pádraic has received many accolades and honors for his services in promoting Irish language and culture in Montreal.

As well as serving as president of Comhaltas Montreal, Pádraic would host informal Ciorcal Comhrá (conversation circles) sessions regularly for those who were interested in the language and for those ex-pats who wanted to keep from getting rusty. Pádraic was also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and of Innisfail Montreal. You can still rely on Pádraic to have his "bosca ceol" (button accordian) at the ready at any Innisfail social gathering to entertain. Although many of Pádriac's peers who were ex-pats and Irish speakers from all corners of Ireland have passed on, you can still hear Pádraic speaking our beautiful Irish language whenever the opportunity arises. This is a marvelous thing in itself after leaving Connemara behind 67 years ago.

Today Pádraic resides in Rawdon Quebec, a semi-rural community north of Montreal with his wife Eunice. Pádraic has 3 children; Peggy who resides in Vancouver, Kevin who resides in Toronto
and Patricia Conroy who lives in Nashville and is an award winning Country and Western singer. Although Pádraic has retired from Comhaltas Montreal, he is still very much involved with it. During the summer months he enjoys hosting music sessions at his home, visiting his children and of course visiting the "home" he left behind in Ireland.

The committee is honoured and pleased that Pádraic has accepted the role of being our president for the June 2014 festival held in venues in Tamworth/Erinsville and Kingston, Ontario.

For information and to purchase tickets please visit

Enquires in Irish Gaelic can be made to Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh
Please direct media enquires in English to Allyson Reid 

Twitter: @OGCheanada 

Preas Ráiteas:
Pádraic Ó Conaire ceaptha mar Uachtarán don Cheathrú Fhéile Bhliantúil
“Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada” 27 – 29 Meitheamh 2014 Tamworth/Erinsville/Kingston, Ontario

Rugadh Pádraic Ó Conaire (‘Pat Conroy’ dá chairde i gCeanada), cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge, i gcroí-lár Ghaeltacht Conamara ar an gCeathrú Rua sa bhliain 1927.  B’fheirmeoirí a thuismitheoirí, agus cosúil le go leor eile ag an am, thóg siad an bád bán go Meiriceá Thuaidh sa bhliain 1929 ag iarraidh saol níos fearr a bhaint amach dóibh féin.  D’fhan Pádraic ar an gCeathrú Rua lena sheanmháthair agus tógadh ann é.  Chuaigh sé le feirmeoireacht, agus ina theannta sin, d’fhreastail sé ar Scoil Teicneolaíochta na Ceathrún Rua, áit a d’fhoghlaim sé siúinéireacht.  Nuair a bhí Pádraic sé bliana déag d’aois, rinneadh ball den Fhórsa Cosanta Áitiúil de, agus bhí sé mar chuid den Gharda Onóra nuair a tháinig Éamonn de Valera ar chuairt sa cheantar.

Nuair a bhíodh am saor aige, i dTír an Fhia, bhaineadh sé sult as a bheith ag féachaint ar phúcáin na Gaillimhe, báidmhóra agus ar na curachaí ag tabhairt faoina gcuid saothair ag tarraingt móna agus earraí eile, agus ag iascaireacht sa chuan.  Bhí fíorghrá aige don cheol riamh, agus mhúin sé an bosca ceoil dó féin.  Bhí ardmheas ar a chuid ceoil i measc an phobail i gcoitinne, agus i measc na ndamhsóirí ar an sean-nós, a bhíodh ag damhsa ar na cloche cois cladaigh mar b’iondúil ag an am.

Sa bhliain 1947, thóg Pádraic an bád bán go Ceanada, chun bualadh suas lena thuismitheoirí i Montréal, áit a raibh siad lonnaithe ag an am sin.  Bhí áthas an domhain air bualadh ar deireadh lena dheirfiúr a rugadh I gCeanada nuair a bhí sé féin deich mbliana d’aois.  Thar na blianta, d’oibrigh sé ag tógáil tithe gloine, in aerfort Cartierville, in Imperial Tobacco, agus chaith sé cúig is tríocha bliain ag obair ag Northern Electric, go dtí gur imigh sé ar scor.

Le linn cuairt a thug sé ar Éirinn lena chara Joe Mell sa bhliain 1973, rinne sé naisc láidre le Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ).  An bhliain dár gcionn thug sé an seó taistil de chuid CCE go Montréal.  Is iomaí ócáid dá leithéid a tharla ó shin i leith.  Bhunaigh Pádraic agus a chara Joe Mell craobh de Chomhaltas i Montréal.  Bhí Padraic ina Uachtarán ar an gcraobh go dtí gur éirigh sé as cúpla bliain ó shin.  Thar na blianta, tá go leor acaláidí agus onóracha bronnta ar Phádraic de bharr a sheirbhísí a chur chultúir agus teanga na hÉireann chun cinn i Montréal.

Chomh maith le bheith ina Uachtarán ar Chomhaltas Montréal, d’eagraíodh Pádraic seisiúin chiorcal comhrá neamhfhoirmiúil dóibh siúd a raibh suim acu sa teanga agus do na hinimircigh a raibh fonn orthu snas a choimeád ar a mblas.  Freisin, bhí Pádraic ina bhall de Ancient Order of Hibernians agus ina bhall de Innisfail Montréal.  Bíonn sé i gcónaí ullamh chun a bhosca ceoil a sheinm ag cruinnithe sóisialta de chuid Innisfail.  Cé go bhfuil go leor de na hinimircigh le Gaeilge, a bhí ar comhaois leis, imithe ar slí an fhírinne, úsáideann Pádraic a theanga dhúchais fós.  Is rud iontach é seo, ós rud é gur fhág sé Conamara seacht is trí scór bliana ó shin.

Sa lá atá inniu ann, tá Pádraic lonnaithe i Rawdon, Quebec, i bpobal leath-thuaithe, ó thuaidh de Montréal lena bhean chéile Eunice.  Tá triúr páistí acu: tá Peggy lonnaithe i Vancouver agus Kevin i dToronto agus tá Patricia Conroy ina cónaí i Nashville, áit a bhfuil clú agus cáil uirthi mar amhránaí cheol tuaithe.

Cé go bhfuil Pádraic éirithe as Comhaltas Montréal, tá sé fós an-tógtha leis.  I rith an tsamhraidh, is aoibhinn leis bheith ag cur seisiúin ceoil ar siúl ina theach féin, ag tabhairt cuairteanna ar a pháistí, agus gan dabht ag tabhairt athchuairteanna ar a bhaile dúchais in Éirinn. 

Is onóir agus pléisiúr don choiste go bhfuil Pádraic toilteanach bheith ina Uachtarán ar Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada 2014, féile a bheidh ar siúl Mí an Mheithimh i láithreacha i dTamworth/Erinsville agus Dún Laoghaire (Kingston), Ontairió.

Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil agus chun ticéid a cheannach, tabhair cuairt ar:
Cuir fiosrúcháin as Gaeilge goAralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh
Cuir fiosrúcháin chumarsáide as Béarla go Allyson Reid

Tuesday 11 March 2014

St. Patrick's Dinner and Céilí - 15 March 2014 - Family-friendly event

Ottawa Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

When: Saturday, March 15th, 2014.
Doors open at 05:30PM
Dinner from 06:00 PM to 08:00PM
Céilí from 08:00PM to 11:30PM 

Where: Blessed Sacrament Church, 194 Fourth Avenue, Ottawa Ontario K1S 2L5.  Additional parking will be available at Corpus Christi Elementary School, 157 Fourth Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1S 2L5

Tickets: $35, purchase them online at https://stpats2014.eventbrite.caPlease note that NO tickets will be sold at the door!

This is an authentic Irish, family-friendly, no green beer event!

Last year's dinner and dance were a sellout and a HUGE success. In fact, last couple of years, we had to turn people away at the door. It will sell out this year, so you should get your tickets as soon as possible.

We will have the same excellent caterer as last year - Franz Gierer - and the menu promises to please, the 3-course dinner will include a vegetarian, and gluten-free options!

After a first-class, three course complete dinner, with wine available for purchase, there will be an Irish dance (Céilí), with the dances called. No experience or partner is required, and it is loads of fun and helps work the dinner off.

The excellent Comhaltas Céilí Band will provide the music and Sheila Scott will call the dances.

There is a cash bar, a raffle, a 50-50 draw, and a multitude of crafts and items for sale.

At around 11 PM, there will be tea and snacks.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

All tickets purchases are $35. By ordering online now, you get your tickets guaranteed. 

Purchase online at:

For paper tickets and information contact the PRO at:

Come and have a good craic! 

Also notice that no classes (dance or Language) will be held on Monday 17 March, all classes resume on 24 March.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

CCÉ Ottawa Candidate for Rose of Tralee - 2014

CCÉ Ottawa is happy to announce that Genevieve Robinson, branch member and also a dancer of the troupe CCÉ Ottawa Solo Dancers, is representing CCÉ as a contestant for the Ottawa Rose of Tralee.  Genevieve is competing against four other young women!

She is quite an involved member in all aspects of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) activities, as the Regional Youth Officer for Eastern Canada for the last three years, and has been nominated for the position of Provincial Youth Officer within CCÉ, for North America. Last but not least, she is also involved with the CCÉ Ottawa solo dance troupe.

Genevieve has found so much support within the Irish community from her CCÉ family, through dance, language, and music, and is proud to be representing CCÉ in the running for the Ottawa Rose of Tralee 2014.

If she wins, she goes to Ireland in May for the qualifying round. If she gets through the qualifying round, she competes in the actual Rose of Tralee event in Trá Lí (Tralee) in August. At all times she will be representing CCÉ Ottawa!

The Selection for the 2014 Ottawa Rose of Tralee will be on Sunday afternoon, March 16th, at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence. To attend to this event, check online at Eventbrite (tickets are $25). The money raised through entrance fees to all the fundraising events, and the Selection is used to offset the cost of sending the winning Ottawa Rose to Ireland.

To see the official mini-bios of all the applicants, check the Rose of Tralee site: 

Sunday 2 March 2014

Traditional Irish Instruments - Irish bagpipes

In Ireland have been two types of bagpipes. The first ones to be documented in the 1500’s was the Great Irish Warpipes (píob mhór; literally "great pipes"), an instrument similar in design to the Scottish bagpipes. It is called Warpipes because they were, like in Scotland, used as an instrument of war. An Irish Gaelic version of “Fierabas” may contain the first reference to warpipes: the quote “sinnter adharca agus piba agaibh do tinol bur sluaigh” translates as “let horns and pipes be played by you to gather your host.” The manuscript may date to the 15th century and the writer may have had bagpipes in mind.  Even Galilleo’s father (musician Vincenzo Gallilei), mentions the Irish pipes in a 1581 work. In “The Image of Ireland,” poem by John Derricke, published in the same year, there is mention of the Irish warpipes as form of communication in battle.

“The Image of Ireland,” by John Derrick 1581

It seems that the Warpipes disappeared from Ireland in the 19th century. By then another type of Irish bagpipes became popular. The “new kids in the block” were the ‘pastoral’ or ‘union pipes’ or píobaí uilleann (literally, "pipes of the elbow").

Uilleann pipes (pronounced ill-in or ill-yun depending upon local dialect), are a hard instrument to master, local lore mentions that a musician requires seven years learning, seven years practicing, and seven years playing before a piper could be said to have mastered this complex instrument. 

Uilleann pipes, full set

Amongst the bagpipes the Uilleann pipes are the most complex, they come as a learning set, the half-set and the full-set.  As an instrument, the Uilleann pipes are composed of the following parts: bag, bellows, chanter, drones and regulators.

The Uilleann pipes  appeared in the 1700’s, played by gentlemen and clergy alike. The most known players in the 20th century are Paddy Moloney, Liam O’Flynn, Paddy Keenan, Davy Spillane and others. Uilleann pipes has been an instrument played mostly by ‘traveller’ families, most notably by the Keenans, Dorans, and Fureys.

Paddy Keenan, Ottawa 2011

For more information on the history, structure and the playing of the Uilleann pipes, check Na Píobairí Uilleann (The Society of Uilleann Pipers).

Until next time / Go dtí an chéad uair eile!