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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 28 November 2017

The Trial of the Orange Order

The Thomas D'Arcy McGee Foundation with New Point Players (Ireland) and Limelight Group (Ottawa) Presented a new play by Anthony Russell. 

The Trial of the Orange Order

The Trial of The Orange Order in the Court of History is an historical and political fantasy, a drama that seeks to, as objectively as possible, examine the role of the Orange Order in the formation of modern Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Canada. The charge is treason; defined as the crime of betraying one’s country. 


The premise is that Lord Craigavon, James Craig (1871 – 1940), the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland is called from the grave to answer, in the Court of History, the charge that the Orange Order committed treason against Britain and Ireland. The prosecutor is John Mitchel (1815 – 1875), an unrepentant physical force republican from both Young Ireland and the Fenians.  Lord Edward Carson (1854 – 1935) who led the unionist opposition to Irish Home Rule defends the Orange Order against the charge of treason. Both Lawyers have returned from the grave for the occasion, to exchange ideas, 'facts', and prejudice with with and passion.


Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825 – 1868), a former Irish rebel who became a founding father of the Canadian Confederation is called as a witness, for the defence - as is the murdered Mrs. Elizabeth Crozier, from farming stock in Ulster.

All of the ghosts are aware of what has happened in both Ireland and Canada since they entered the grave.


This play offers a superbly engaging dimension to the play, in which it sees the audience debate the issues in the play as jurors in the jury room! This facilitates a participate role for the audience enabling them to deliberate on the issues as presented by prosecution and defence, as well as voting on the final outcome, just like in a real trial. Therefore the ending may be different in each performance!!

This play follows on from the Trial of P. H. Pearse in the Court of History which entertained and engaged audiences on both sides of the Atlantic as it examined the use of the gun in Irish politics.

Cast and Crew

John Mitchell - Donal O'Hanlon
Lord Edward Carson - Sean Treanor
Sir James Craig, Lord Craigavon - Pat Mooney
Thomas D'Arcy McGee - Gerry O'Connor 
Mrs. Crozier - Diane Russell
The Court Clerck - Damien Fannon (Ottawa)
The Judge - Jammes Leal (Ottawa)

Playwright - Anthony Russell
Director Donal O'Hanlon
Musical Director - Gerry O'Connor
Project Coordination - Tommy Fegan

The drama was commissioned for the Thomas D'Arcy McGee Summer School in Carlingford, August 2017.

In Ottawa the play was performed at the St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts.

Sunday 19 November 2017

2017 Canadian East Region Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Music Hall of Fame

Robert (Bob) Francis MacDiarmid 

(Harp of Tara Branch, Kingston)

Last October  14, 2017 in Ottawa was the Canadian East Region AGM. Many members of the CCE branches across the East Region of Canada came to Ottawa for the meeting. As is usual, at the AGM, a person is introduced to the region's Music Hall of Fame. This year the honour was bestowed on Bob MacDiarmid.  The actual text of his induction to the Hall follows.

It is with great pleasure that the region is inducting Robert (Bob) Francis MacDiarmid into our Music Hall of Fame.

Bob was born in Ottawa in 1953. His father was of Irish heritage. Bob left home at an early age to seek his fortune in the world. He worked at various jobs across Canada as a longshoreman, construction worker and IT specialist.

In Edmonton he met Angeles (Angela) Garcia, a medical resident. They would marry and begin their lives together, living in Edmonton and Spain before settling in Toronto and beginning a family, raising two sons, Allan and Victor.

It was in Toronto where Bob's interest in all things Irish took hold. He began attending sessions, learning to play the fiddle and attending set dancing classes with Maureen Mulvey-O'Leary.

In 1995 Bob and Angela moved to Kingston where Angela set up a medical practice and began teaching medicine at Queen's University.

Bob became a stay home dad looking after their large home and grounds and carrying out a lot of renovations to it.
In Kingston Bob became active in the Comhaltas Branch serving as chair at one time and the PRO where he still serves the branch.

Bob Initiated the slow session in Kingston 20 years ago and still runs a very active weekly slow session. Having been hooked on set dancing in Toronto, Bob and Angela also started set dancing in the back porch of their home, were we still dance from fall till summer.

In 2004 Bob hosted our first house concert in their living room with Maeve Donnelly performing to a group of about 50 people.

Since then there have been over 50 house concerts in Kingston, all but one in Bob and Angela's house. He organizes the concerts, usually with workshops, and most times billets the performers, all with no charge.  Kingston has seen the likes of Blackie O'Connell, Draoícht, Diorama, Paddy Keenan, Patrick Ourceau, Jackie Daly, Gerry O'Connor, and many others play in a small intimate venue and it would not have happened without Bob and Angela. Bob has also hosted an annual weekend workshop with Patrick Ourceau and Ivan Gough.

Perhaps his biggest undertaking has been the production of the Kingston Irish Slow Session Tune Book. This is a very carefully researched and well-presented two volume set of tune books including historical notes, background material and the tunes themselves. It is a world class project and Bob completed virtually everything himself and has made it available for download at no cost.

Bob has been instrumental in keeping the Irish Music scene alive in Kingston for over 20 years with the slow sessions, house concerts and the tune books. He is an active and key member of the Harp of Tara branch despite that his wife Angela is  now suffering from a severe, debilitating, incurable illness.

No one is more deserving of induction into the Music Hall of Fame than Bob and it will be nice for Angela to see this take place.

Congratulations Bob on an honour well deserved and welcome to the Music Hall of Fame.

Until next time / Go dtí an chéad uair eile!