Blarney Pilgrims Irish Music Podcast

A weekly journey to the heart of Irish music.

About the show

The Blarney Pilgrims Irish Music 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 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)

  • Episode 75: Michael Walsh Interview (Flute, whistle, singing)

    November 9th, 2020  |  1 hr 55 mins
    chat, flute, hawk, interview, kepa junkera, manchester, michael walsh, quare, quarehawk, singing, whistle

    " 'England gave me everything I ever wanted.' " The Quarehawk. Big Tom, Margo, the Manchester scene; Irish, English, and in-between. A love of England and making a whole out of two halves. Grieving, and crafting an album. Fathers, sons, boys, men. Asturias, the flute and identifying as one thing or another. Getting Kepa Junkera to play on your album. And so much more. Brilliant stuff.

  • Episode 74: Caitlín Nic Gabhann Interview (Concertina)

    November 2nd, 2020  |  2 hrs 4 mins
    battering, caitlín nic gabhann, concertina, interview, riverdance, set dancing

    Jig songs, syncopation and keeping away from the funky chicken tunes. Playing out til 4 in the morning with your dad on a Fleadh Saturday night. The magic of Donegal, chancing your arm for a Riverdance audition and not talking to Maria Carey at the pyramids. Finding your own musical voice. Battering, sets and the beauty of West Clare dancing. Youth trad Tinder, the elusive high G# and teaching the concertina to learners across the world.

  • Episode 73: Sean Mathews Interview (Sean-nós, twelve string guitar, lap dulcimer)

    October 25th, 2020  |  1 hr 58 mins
    dreaming is allowed, dulcimer guitar, harmonium, irish music podcast, sean mathews interview, sean-nós, sweet dooley gate, the commuter's song, twelve string guitar, welcome to ballsgrove

    From Ballsgrove to Dooley Gate. Drogheda singing group to Marcelo Bielsa. Innovating and finding your voice. Halloween, bonfires, fireworks, hash and Scrumpy Jack. Parochial Kavanagh, Jinx Lennon, Blindboy Boatclub and the rise and fall of regional communities and the commuter belt.

  • Episode 72: Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin Interview (Sean-nós, concertina, flute)

    October 12th, 2020  |  1 hr 38 mins
    concertina, eoghan ó ceannabháin, flute, irish music podcast, meiriceá, sean-nós, singing, the deepest breath, the green bunch of rushes, the merry sisters of fate, the monaghan jig, tá na páipéir dhá saighneáil, voice

    Mitching classes to work on your music. Sean-nós: 'My granny would have just called them songs.' Tradition and change, art and technique and the soul of the thing. Writing in English, writing in Irish. Activism, collectivity and music as barriers against despair.

  • Episode 71: Cli Donnellan Interview (Fiddle)

    October 9th, 2020  |  1 hr 33 mins
    cli donnellan, fiddle, interview

    The elusive nya! Making tunes your own, ornamentation and phrasing and the old East Clare style. Francie Donnellan, Seamus Bugler, Martin Woods and a tune by the stove. Learning, loving, leaving the music, and returning. 'Songs My Father Sang,' the journey, knowing yourself and the truth in music.

  • Episode 70: Mary McEvilly-Butler Interview (Fiddle)

    October 6th, 2020  |  1 hr 55 mins
    fiddle, interview, mary mcevilly-butler

    A Supergroup at the National Celtic Festival. Remembering and forgetting the names of tunes. Ballintubber, County Mayo and musicians in the house. The freedom of the open road, to Boston and Australia. Maintaining a love of kids even when you've been teaching for twenty years or so, and fostering a growth mindset - in children, and yourself.

  • Episode 69: Úna Monaghan Interview (Harp, samples)

    September 28th, 2020  |  2 hrs 5 mins
    harp, samples, úna monaghan

    The hornpipe is the rebel, the wink, the wee pocket of mischief. Electronics, samples, rhythms. The harp, and the influence of Janet Harbison. Performing for others and performing alone. Art and listener responses. The Star Factory, mapping Belfast, engineering in sound. Gender, power, Mise Fosta and equal representation in the music business in Ireland.