The Blarney Pilgrims Podcast

A weekly journey to the heart of Irish music.

About the show

The Blarney Pilgrims Traditional 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.

The Blarney Pilgrims Podcast on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 57: Aifric Boylan (Fiddle)

    July 6th, 2020  |  1 hr 38 mins
    aifric boylan, cellbridge, fiddle, kildare

    Playing at your first Fleadh, hearing the ocean in the music and searching out the rarest old tunes. Learning from older players, driving to sessions with your dad and a road trip to a Belfast terraced house in search of a fiddle.

  • Episode 56: Luke Plumb - Part 2 (Mandolin and singing)

    June 28th, 2020  |  1 hr 52 mins
    andy irvine, luke plumb, mandolin, planxty, shooglenifty, tasmanian

    'The artist is like a blind caterpillar at the end of a leaf reaching out into the darkness.' Staring The Reaper Down. Life in music, Shoogelnifty and Sandy Bell's in Edinburgh. All night sessions in Borneo, Pretty Peggy-O and teaching Andy Irvine bouzouki parts to an audience including...er...Andy Irvine.

  • Episode 55: Luke Plumb - Part 1 (Mandolin, singing)

    June 24th, 2020  |  1 hr 1 min
    luke plumb, luke plumb and the circuit

    The real deal. Part one of two. Incredible playing and great chat: the painters of ancient Egypt and the joy of playing in an orchestra; De Danaan, Planxty and Schubert; Martin Carthy and Nic Jones and the thrum of existential rhythm.

  • Episode 54: Máirtín Staunton (Flute)

    June 17th, 2020  |  1 hr 10 mins
    flute, máirtín staunton

    The northern flute style; working the bar at Matt Molloy's pub; capturing songs for posterity; on sean-nós singing, music as a release; life in Boston, and the regional sound of Melbourne

  • Episode 53: Don Meade (Harmonica)

    June 10th, 2020  |  1 hr 44 mins
    don meade, harmonica, the blarney star, the catskills irish arts week

    Irish tunes on the harmonica - seriously awesome. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Eddie Clark, New York's Irish music scene in the '80s; Bill De Blasio's busted progressive cred and The Catskills Irish Arts Week.

  • Episode 52: Ken Fleming (Banjo, accordion, guitar and singing)

    June 2nd, 2020  |  1 hr 34 mins
    accordion, banjo, guitar, ken fleming, singing, the north texas irish festival, the o'flaherty irish music retreat

    Accordion tunes in the 90 degree heat. On the '80s Cowboys and Irish music in Dallas, Texas. On De Danaan kicking up a dust storm; the Charlie Piggott route to falling in love with the banjo and struggles in learning to play. The O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and the sweetness of playing music with your kids. 

  • Episode 51: Caity Brennan (Fiddle) - The Blarney Pilgrims Traditional Irish Music Podcast

    May 26th, 2020  |  1 hr 29 mins
    austral, caity brennan, fiddle, lake school, woodford folk festival

    On growing up with traditional Irish music, on taking ownership, on finding festivals, on 92.7 Fresh Fm, on Austral and creating a dance party, and losing yourself at Woodford Folk Festival

  • Episode 50: Ciaran Kelly (Accordion and Melodeon) The Blarney Pilgrims Traditional Irish Music Podcast

    May 21st, 2020  |  1 hr 23 mins
    ballycastle, ciaran kelly, coleraine, harbour bar portrush, irish music, melodeon, push draw, ten key melodeon, the house of mcdonnell, traditional music ballycastle

    On accordions, melodeons, the push draw and The Pure Drop; Portrush sessions at the Harbour Bar, Ballycastle sessions at The House of McDonnell. The snug. Athlone. The borderlands of Fermanagh, Coleraine and Ceili House.

  • Episode 49: Ewen Baker (Fiddle)

    May 12th, 2020  |  1 hr 44 mins
    australia, bush music, canberra, classical, ewen baker, fiddle, irish music, irish music podcast, irish traditional music, kerry slides, lisnacrieve, melbourne, st anne’s reel, the bushwhackers

    J. S. Bach and Kerry Slides; St Anne’s Reel and The Bushwhackers; collaboration and individualism; coming to terms with our own imperfections but still getting stuff done. And this: 'When you're playing with other people...and you get that feeling that is above and beyond life, in a sense. Where you just go, this is why I exist. This is as happy as this bunch of cells can be, right now, on this planet.'

  • Episode 48: Merran Moir (Smallpipes, Whistle)

    May 6th, 2020  |  1 hr 21 mins
    irish traditional music, merran moir, scottish cèilidhs, smallpipes, traditional irish music, warrnambool, western victoria, whistle

    On ABC song books, on the south-western coast of Victoria, on Scottish cèilidhs, on the highland pipes, on learning and teaching and on the understanding of air.

  • Episode 47: Mick Doherty (Fiddle)

    April 29th, 2020  |  1 hr 5 mins
    doherty, donegal, fiddle, irish, irish music podcast, irish traditional music, john doherty, johnny doherty, mick doherty, perth, rob zielinski, traditional irish music

    There's a single story or a thousand stories in this week's episode. The story of Mick Doherty, Donegal fiddle player of the famed Doherty family of tinsmiths, travelers and musicians. The story of his father's music, and of his grandfather's music. And woven in and around it all the figure of Johnny Doherty - Mick's uncle - one of the iconic Irish fiddle players, a tinsmith himself, and traveling man. 

  • Episode 46: Hannah Harris (Fiddle)

    April 21st, 2020  |  1 hr 24 mins
    celtic, cork, ethnomusicologist, ethnomusicology, fiddle, hannah harris, irish, michigan, north carolina

    On the Swannanoa Gathering with Finn McGill, on ethnomusicology, on the difference between Irish and Celtic, on her time in Cork and finding lock-down inspiration in Quarantunes.

  • Episode 45: Darragh Ó Héiligh (Uilleann Pipes)

    April 16th, 2020  |  1 hr 20 mins
    blind, ceol fm, community, darragh ó héiligh, drogheda, equal access, music at the gate, uilleann pipes

    On the creation of Ceol FM, on equal access; on finding the pipes, on creating community and space for upcoming players, and on seeing a need and acting on it.

  • Episode 44: Cameron Mather (Banjo)

    April 8th, 2020  |  1 hr 27 mins
    banjo, cameron mather, fleadh, isolation, sydney

    Talks about the strange, difficult moment we're all facing. About isolation and its challenges; his love of Irish music; hardcore training to compete in the Fleadh; the Sydney session scene and the beauty of being a teacher.

  • Episode 43: Jeremy Keith (Mandolin)

    April 1st, 2020  |  1 hr 20 mins

    Founder and keeper of thesession.org, probably the greatest Irish music resource in the world. And this episode hopefully has something of the generous essence of that community. We talk making things and sharing them, music, people and being the janitor for an online community. There's so much in here, a treasure trove of insights (from Jeremy, not us.)

  • Episode 42: Darren, Dominic, Uncle Leo and Sean Mathews

    March 24th, 2020  |  1 hr 31 mins

    An unexpected journey, in the company of Darren, Dom, Dom's Uncle Leo, Sean Matthews and the landlady in Carberry's, Drogheda.