Blarney Pilgrims Irish Music Podcast

A weekly journey to the heart of Irish music.

About the show

The Blarney Pilgrims Podcast is a weekly journey to the heart of Irish music. We interview players of Irish music about how they first came to the music and the place it occupies in their lives now. We use the word ‘heart’ intentionally, because heart is what this music, and the people who play it, are all about. It’s a funny, warm and often unexpected journey – and the tunes are crackin' too.


Dominic Black has made radio shows for the BBC and NPR stations in the USA. He's also an oral history producer, essayist and editor. Dominic owns five different tin whistles, all in the key of 'D.'

Darren O'Mahony is an advertising creative director. He's currently learning the Irish fiddle, but really he wants to get a set of uilleann pipes.

Blarney Pilgrims Irish Music Podcast on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 91: Angela Usher Interview (Banjo, whistle, tenor guitar)

    March 1st, 2021  |  1 hr 32 mins
    angela usher, banjo, tenor guitar, whistle

    Tin whistle with Marian Egan (Flannery) in Hulme. Touring New Zealand and Australia. First banjos and joining Curragh. Toss the Feathers and choosing work over the road. The social side of learning. Joe and Jack Cooley and the lost tapes from America. The Love of Lucia, Kitty’s Twelve Roses and The Gort Mile.

  • Episode 90: Enda Murray Interview (Songs of the Last Convict Ship)

    February 22nd, 2021  |  2 hrs 9 mins
    enda murray, irish music in australia, songs of the last convict ship

    Irish Fenian rebellion prisoners and the songs of the last convict ship to Australia. Ned Of The Hill, John Boyle O'Reilly and Exile In The Kingdom. The Stardust Hotel and the birth of Drogheda Boxing Club. The London squat scene, Jamaican sound systems and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Secret Family Recipes and looking back at tradition with rose tinted glasses. No Bother.

  • Episode 89: Maċa Interview (Fiddle, guitar, bodhran)

    February 15th, 2021  |  1 hr 32 mins
    bodhran, fiddle, guitar, maċa

    Buying your first guitar with your confirmation money. Playing 182 tunes in two hours. Winning Réalta agus Gaolta. Cutting your teeth in Florida. Finding a mentor in Kíla's Rónán Ó Snodaigh. Translating the craic. Avoiding the abyss of lockdown and a casual Disney Princess flex. Saoirse, Naoise and Ciara Carty.

  • Episode 88: Shane Lestideau Interview (Fiddle, baroque violin, violin d'amore)

    February 7th, 2021  |  2 hrs 4 mins
    baroque violin, fiddle, shane lestideau, violin d'amore

    Finding Michael Jackson in the Blue Mountains after ten years in a Buddhist Bush community. A year of four hour nights. Mozart with a Sligo lilt. Ten hour train trips for one hour lessons. Scottish baroque music, modal tunes, violin d'amore, and combining art music and folk music. Catch Shane Lestideau in Queenscliff during the Boxwood Festival from the 19th to the 21st of Feb 2021.

  • Episode 87: Aidan Crossey Interview (Mandolin)

    February 1st, 2021  |  1 hr 50 mins
    aidan crossey, mandolin

    Stiff Little Fingers, punk rock, rebel songs and finding your tribe. Getting your head shard. Good listening makes good music. An Achill Island session and a musical awakening. Losing good friends and finding solace in music. GameStop, countercultures, DIY creativity, Inflammable Material, and of course, The Irish Mandolin... 1-2-3-4!

  • Episode 86: Rus Bradburd Interview (Fiddle)

    January 22nd, 2021  |  2 hrs 10 mins
    fiddle, irish music podcast, paddy jones, paddy on the hardwood, padraig o'keeffe, rus bradburd, sliabh luachra

    Digging into tunes. Paddy Jones. The Draoicht. Sports and music, and finding your place in both. Coaching basketball in Ireland and the Tralee Tigers. Carl Hardebeck, The Blind Bard of Belfast. The fiddle as an old person's instrument. Sliabh Luachra. Padraig O'Keeffe. Paddy on the Hardwood. Slow airs in sessions and New Mexico polkas.

  • Episode 85: Barry Kerr Interview (Uilleann pipes, flute, singing)

    January 17th, 2021  |  1 hr 19 mins
    flute, singing, uilleann pipes

    The Liam O'Flynn Award. Digging into the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Ulster hunting songs and mummers. Hare coursing. Life in Lurgan County Armagh. The Ceili House and legend of Seamus Tansey. Prehistoric cairns and building on the tradition. The magic of the session and finding inspiration in the music.

  • Episode 84: Aoife Kelly Interview (Concertina)

    January 6th, 2021  |  1 hr 49 mins
    aoife kelly, concertina, fiddle, john kelly

    'We ARE the source.' John Kelly of Capel Street and Scattery Island. Hiding the fiddle under your jacket in Dublin in the rare oul times. Strange hornpipes, slip jigs, slides. Patsy Geary, Jimmy O'Donahue and Kilfenora's three bakeries. The memory palace and preserving a life. Ireland, Australia, Tommy Potts posters and the evocative power of seagulls. Searching out the music in Darwin. Sydney, Melbourne and going back home.

  • Episode 83: SMASH HITS 2020 (PART 3)

    January 4th, 2021  |  1 hr 25 mins
    blarney pilgrims, blarney pilgrims podcast, cameron mather, caoimhín ó raghallaigh, catherine mcevoy, cathy custy, celtic, celtic music, celtic music podcast, celtic podcast, ciaran kelly, daithí gormley, emma lewis, eoghan ó ceannabháin, hajime takahashi, irish, irish music podcast, irish podcast, irish traditional music podcast, james keane, jason rouse, joanie madden, liam thomas bailey, music, podcast, rita farrell, sean lally, sean mathews, tara howley, tola custy, tola custy. ado barker., traditional irish music podcast, una monaghan, áine tyrrell

    The third of our compilations from the year of 2020. Featuring Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Una Monaghan, Jason Rouse, Emma Lewis, Joanie Madden, Rita Farrell, Daithí Gormley, James Keane, Tara Howley, Sean Lally, Cathy Custy, Hajime Takahashi, Catherine McEvoy, Ciaran Kelly, Cameron Mather, Áine Tyrrell, Sean Mathews, Liam Thomas Bailey, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Tola Custy and Tola Custy live with Ado Barker.

  • Episode 82: SMASH HITS 2020 (PART 2)

    December 22nd, 2020  |  1 hr 27 mins
    caitlinn nicgabhann, caoimhin o' raighallaigh, don meade, elaine o'sullivan, ewen baker, geoff mcarthur, hajime takahashi, jody moran, kevin crawford., liam thomas bailey, mairtin staunton, mary mcevilly, michael walsh, rob zielinski, shannon heaton, una monaghan

    The best of 2020 tunes and songs, Part 2 - a rattle bag of treats. Featuring: Don Meade, Shannon Heaton, Elaine O'Sullivan, Caitlinn NicGabhann, Hajime Takahashi, Geoff McArthur, Liam Thomas Bailey, Jody Moran, Mairtin Staunton, Caoimhin O' Raighallaigh, Una Monaghan, Michael Walsh, Rob Zielinski, Ewen Baker, Mary McEvilly and Kevin Crawford.

  • Episode 81: SMASH HITS 2020 (PART 1)

    December 20th, 2020  |  1 hr 9 mins

    All the best of the tunes and songs from the last year of Blarney Pilgrims Podcast. Featured in this episode: Karen Dolan - Unnamed tune, Aifric Boylan - The Golden Castle / Mickey Callaghan's Fancy, Daithi Gormley - My Love is Fair and Handsome and The Maid of Mount Cisco, Kevin Crawford - Old John's and The Longford Tinker, Luke Plumb - The Cornerhouse, The Lady's Pantalettes and The Bird in the Bush, Jack Brennan - Garrett Barry's Jig, Cathy Brennan - Roll Out The Barrel / Christmas Eve / Castle Kelly, Catherine McEvoy - East of Glendart / The Green Fields of Woodford, Theresa O'Grady - The Milky Way (Vincent Broderick), Ken Fleming - three polkas, one unnamed and The Blackwater 1 and 2, Eoghan O'Ceannabhain - A song Eoghan learned from his father and grandmother - Meiriceá, Merran Moir - The Longford Collector / Castle Kelly / and a mystery tune, Úna Monaghan - Mammy's, Mick Doherty, Bush Gothic, and Joe Fitzgerald - Andy's Gone With Cattle.

  • Episode 80: Joanie Madden Interview (Whistle)

    December 13th, 2020  |  1 hr 28 mins
    cherish the ladies, cherish the ladies christmas, cherish the ladies christmas in ireland, interview, irish music podcast, joanie madden, mary bergin, the cat's meow, whistle

    Joanie Madden the hardest working woman in folk music. Hearing Mary Bergin and the beginnings of a career in the entertainment business. New York, the drive to succeed and picking up the phone thirty times a day to get a gig. Balls, weddings, county dances, and the circuit. An American in Ireland. Tour(s), interrupted. 'It's a tough old racket.' Keeping going and being present for the opportunity. Cherish The Ladies and more. Traditional Irish music podcast interview with Joanie Madden.

  • Episode 79: Rita Farrell Interview (Uilleann pipes, flute)

    December 7th, 2020  |  1 hr 59 mins
    belfast, drogheda, flute, ganley, graham norton, interview, irish, irish music podcast, leitrim, liam o'flynn, music, pipes, podcast, rita farrell, robbie williams, tommy reck, uilleann

    Piping as meditation and not setting fire to the old Ganley flute. The session spaces of Belfast, open piping closed piping, Tommy Reck and saying 'I Love You' to Liam O'Flynn. Being a girl and running an all female session. A room tuned to G Minor, the Drogheda connection, and 'Lovely Leitrim.' Oh. And Robbie Williams and Graham Norton too.

  • Episode 78: Liam Thomas Bailey Interview (Fiddle, five-string banjo, singing)

    November 30th, 2020  |  2 hrs 21 mins
    depression, fiddle, five-string banjo, irish music podcast, liam bailey, psilocybin mushrooms, psychedelics, singing

    Out of The Wind, Into the Sun: depression, loss, and the therapeutic power of psilocybin mushrooms. All of everything in a single tune. 'Keeping myself in the air as an artist.' The road, the weight, a writer not writing. Bruce Springsteen, Cillian Vallely, Jon Bon Jovi and a little bit o' John Denver.

  • Episode 77: Darren O'Mahony, Dominic Black, Gerry McKeague and a Huge Thank-You (5-string banjo, guitar, singing)

    November 24th, 2020  |  1 hr 54 mins
    5-string banjo, darren o'mahony, dominic black, gerry mckeague, guitar, irish music podcast, irish trad, traditional irish music podcast

    A chat to mark passing the 100K download mark, with Gerry McKeague of Belfast and Geelong. About what we've learned so far and where we're going. Seriously great fun, and a lovely chance for us to think out loud about what this all means to us. And to say thank to all of you who've travelled with us this far.

  • Episode 76: Tara Howley Interview (Whistle, concertina and uilleann pipes)

    November 16th, 2020  |  1 hr 58 mins
    concertina, interview, irish, music, podcast, riverdance, tara howley, uilleann pipes, whistle

    Kilfenora; the nervous you get playing in front of ten people, worse than playing in front of a thousand. Leaving your ego at the door. Being happy with what you're doing, being happy within yourself. First hearing the pipes and the trials of competition. Restless creativity, and finding your way to Riverdance. Managing social media and the inner self. (And a Burmese Mountain Dog called Saoirse)