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.

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  • Episode 52: Ken Fleming Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (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 Interview (Mandolin)

    April 1st, 2020  |  1 hr 20 mins

    Founder and keeper of, 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.

  • Episode 41: Emma Lewis Interview (Fiddle)

    March 17th, 2020  |  1 hr 28 mins
    australia, emma lewis, fiddle, melbourne, traditional

    On travels in Ireland and random festival invites; on gender and inequality; on how tunes connect us all; on friendships and on returning home to Australia.

  • Episode 40: Rob Zielinski Interview (Fiddle)

    March 10th, 2020  |  1 hr 16 mins
    andy davey., clare, dermot byrne, donegal, fiddle, hughie doherty, james byrne, junior davey, mick doherty, mickey mor, perth, rob zielinski, sean doherty

    On Mick Doherty, on Hughie Doherty and on Mickey Mor. On growing up in Perth, on Donegal style and on Clare Style. On Sean Doherty, on Dermot Byrne, on James Byrne, Junior Davey and on Andy Davey. On returning to Australia and recording and archive his life-long friend and mentor. An incredible story.

  • Episode 39: Catherine McEvoy Interview (Flute)

    March 3rd, 2020  |  1 hr 15 mins
    birmingham, birmingham ceili band, catherine mcevoy, flute, peig mcgrath, roscommon, sligo, táin ceili band

    On Growing up in Birmingham, on the Sligo-Roscommon style, on slowing down Seamus Tansey records, on the Birmingham Ceili Band and Táin Ceili Band, on Peig McGrath, on women in traditional Irish music, on piano accompaniment and on Michael Grinter and Rudall and Rose flutes.

  • Episode 38: Joe Fitzgerald Interview (Accordion, singing)

    February 26th, 2020  |  1 hr 19 mins
    accordion, east clare, irish, joe fitzgerald, melbourne, singing, traditional

    The great Joe Fitzgerald, of east Clare and Melbourne. On first hearing his mother play the melodeon. On drovers, the bush, and working with his father. On lost players: Mick Minogue, Mrs Brady, Mrs Purcell and Frank MacNamara. Growing old and the curative power of music and song. 

  • Episode 37: Hajime Takahashi and Kaoru Sumitomo Interview (Guitar and Fiddle)

    February 18th, 2020  |  1 hr 7 mins
    fiddle, guitar, hajime takahashi, japan, japanese, kaoru sumitomo, kyoto, session, tokyo

    The Mountains of Pomeroy with Eileen O'Brien at 4 in the morning, the session as a conversation, finding your own style, Junji Shirota, Japanese folk songs and Good Times in O'Hara's