The Irish Cultural Center invites you to an evening of music with Searson, from Ontario, Canada. Searson are known for their own original Ottawa Valley style music mixed with Celtic, East Coast, and Scottish, which includes high energy fiddling, passionate vocals and step dancing. This is a special album release show! Local Irish dance students will join in the fun, as Searson premieres songs from their latest album.

The sisters perform on a variety of instruments, including Colleen Searson on fiddle and vocals, and Erin Searson on piano, tenor guitar and vocals. Rounding out the group are seasoned musicians Danno O’Shea on drums and percussion, and Fraser Gauthier on bass and acoustic guitar.

Searson will perform on Saturday, July 11 at 8:00 pm at the Delaney House, 3 Country Club Road (Route 5) in Holyoke, MA. Doors open at 7:00. The Delaney House opens at 5:00 for those who wish to have dinner; reservations are recommended.

Tickets are general admission, table seating. Cost is $20 for ICC members, and $23 for non-members. Limited tickets are available at the door for $28. Tickets are available online until 8:00 am on July 11 or by calling the Irish Cultural Center at 413-265-2537 (phone orders end on July 9).

Searson has just released their eighth studio album. This Celtic Roots album contains a mix of original vocal and instrumentals as well as traditional instrumental tunes. “Stars Above the Farm” is named after the sisters’ parents’ farm in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario where the girls grew up. The concept for this album has been rooted around stories and tunes about the Ottawa Valley and the history of the Searson family. Along with the band’s original fiddle sets on this album, listeners will hear a wide variety of Canadian and Irish style of fiddling on “Stars Above the Farm.” Searson has been touring for over a decade throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Composing all their own songs and fiddle tunes have made them the accomplished performers that they are today. Learn more about these dynamic performers.

Special thanks to our Summer Concert Series Sponsors:
Mary Ellen O’Brien  |  DPM Associates, Inc.  |  Kathleen Doe Creative Design


All sales are final. Refunds are given ONLY in the event of cancellation by performers.

Pass on the Heritage | July 27 –31, 2015 | Download a registration form.

Celtic Adventures for Kids is a week-long program designed to give children in Grades 1 through 9 an introduction to the richness of Irish culture, through the auspices of the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College in Chicopee, MA. Space is limited. Sign up early!

Daily Activities Include:
– Irish language
– Irish dance
– Irish music
– Arts & crafts
– Storytelling/literature
– Games

What to bring: Sneakers with non-marking soles; soft dance shoes if your child has them; swimsuit and towel; lunch (optional: money to purchase snacks.) The Maguire Center swimming pool will be available for the children to use daily during the week; lifeguard is on duty.

The program is in session from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Participants should be dropped off between 8:45 and 9:00 am at the Maguire Center. Pick up is promptly at 3:00 pm at the Maguire Center.

WHEN: Monday, July 27 to Friday, July 31, 2015
WHERE: The Maguire Center at Elms College, Chicopee, MA
COST: $200 per child; $20 discount for Irish Cultural Center members; $20 discount for each additional child from the same family
NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT: $50 with registration due by June 11, 2015
Please make check payable to Irish Cultural Center at Elms College.
Download a registration form.

Celtic Adventures for Kids

Sunday, April 12 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Elms College Alumnae Library. Free and open to the public. 

Dr. Catherine Shannon

The Irish Cultural Center will present a lecture on the USS Jamestown’s voyage to Cork, Ireland in 1847, “It is Not an Everyday Matter to See a Nation Starving: Captain Robert Bennet Forbes and the 1847 Voyage of the USS Jamestown to Cork, Ireland.” The lecture will be given by Catherine B. Shannon, Ph.D., professor emerita, of Westfield State University on Sunday April 12, 2015 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in the Elms College Alumnae Library Theater.

Dr. Shannon will discuss the voyage of the USS Jamestown which left Boston on March 28, 1847, loaded with more than 800 tons of provisions and supplies for the starving people of Ireland in the darkest months of “Black 1847,” the year the Irish Famine peaked. The New England Relief Committee, which was comprised of Boston Catholics and Protestants cooperating in an effort to collect money, and bring food to Ireland, organized the voyage. The committee collected approximately $150,000 in food and cash, which accounted for half of the $300,000 that was sent from Boston to Ireland in 1847.

Dr. Shannon describes that “she will discuss Captain Forbes’s effort to insure that the supplies reached the Irish people in the most efficient and fastest way possible, and his reactions to what he witnessed in Ireland upon arrival there in mid-April.” Shannon relates: “This episode was a unique instance when the historic suspicions and hostility that divided the Boston’s Irish and Yankee Communities were cast aside and were replaced by cooperation for a great humanitarian purpose.”

Dr. Shannon will be honored for her works by the Eire Society of Boston on Saturday April 25, 2015 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel at the 78th Gold Medal Dinner and Award Ceremony at 6:00 pm. Each year the Eire Society honors a person who exemplifies the best of Irish Culture and ideals.

Leo & Anto

The Irish Cultural Center invites you to a special evening with Saw Doctors guitarist Leo Moran and sax player Anthony “Anto” Thistlethwaite. With The Saw Doctors taking a break from touring the world after twenty five years, Leo and Anto have put together an acoustic show that includes fresh takes on Saw Doctors’ fan favorites and lesser-known songs, and some brand new tunes. The evening promises to be full of great laughs and stories as well.

WHEN: Saturday, April 11, 2015
WHERE: Munich Haus (second floor), 13 Center Street in Chicopee, MA. Get directions.
TIME: Leo and Anto take the stage at 7:00 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
TICKETS: This show has SOLD OUT. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Please note: Tickets are general admission, table seating. Tables are long, banquet-style. Food is not available during the concert; the bar will be open. Those who wish to eat at the Munich Haus before or after the show will receive 10% off their food order by showing their ticket or purchase confirmation. Parking is available in two Munich Haus lots and on street.

About the Tour

Ireland’s ever popular band The Saw Doctors are renowned for creating party-like atmospheres with their raucous blend of Irish roots rock. Hailing from Tuam, County Galway, the quintet’s principle players notched a string of singles in their native land with “I Useta Lover,” “Bless Me Father” and “N-17” in the late 80’s, and have been bringing their energetic live shows stateside for the better part of twenty five years. In the summer of 2013 they decided to take some well-deserved time off.

Leo & Anto Pushin' ItLeo and Anto launched their first acoustic tour here in the US in the fall of 2013. Now the two musicians and friends will be back this spring with their acoustic tour once again. Says Leo, “Touring with just the two of us is all new and fresh and challenging and scary and exciting at the same time.” This is the third time they visit the US and, due to popular demand, they will be hitting more cities, many of which will be for the first time. They have released two new CDs for their acoustic tour, “Pushin’ It” and “Flyin’ It,” which have received great reviews from the music press.

Since their first shows together, Leo and Anto have toured parts of Europe, the UK, and the US, and most recently played in of some of the most remote parts of Russia. On New Year’s Eve 2014 the BBC recorded a live version of Leo Moran’s song and popular Saw Doctors hit, “Clare Island,” backed by the Scottish group Skipinnish with Anto playing the sax solo.

Learn more about Leo & Anto, read reviews and see their latest videos at

All sales are final. Refunds are given ONLY in the event of cancellation by performers.

The Irish Cultural Center invites you to an afternoon of traditional Irish music with Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, a celebrated sean-nós singer from Co. Donegal. This intimate, relaxed performance will also include piano, accordion and uilleann pipes.

Doimnic, from the northwest Gaeltacht of Donegal, has been immersed in the culture of the area from a young age. This last Gaelic speaking area in Ulster preserves not only the Donegal sean-nós songs, but also songs from all over Ulster. He has released four highly commended CDs, and in 2009, he won the prestigious Corn Uí Riada, the highest accolade in Ireland for sean-nós singers.

The event will be held at Collegian Court, 89 Park Street in Chicopee, MA at 2:00 pm on Sunday, March 1. Parking is available.

Tickets are limited and must be reserved by February 26. Cost is $12 for ICC members, and $15 for non-members. Please note: Sales for the show have ended. We will be unable to admit anyone not on our attendee list as the show is sold out. Thanks for your interest!

Learn more about Doimnic.

The ChieftainsThe Chieftains and Special Guests will be performing at the UMass Fine Arts Center on Sunday, March 8 at 7:00 pm. Please join the ICC on a bus trip from Elms College to see this six-time Grammy-winning Irish band in its 53rd anniversary year. The show promises to be as exciting and musically diverse as all Chieftains shows, and is being billed as the band’s final USA tour.

Tickets are $65 for ICC members, $70 for non-members, and $30 for those aged 17 and under. The price includes the bus and ticket for the show.

The bus will leave at 5:30 pm from the Sheila Ryan Flynn Parking Lot at the Elms
, on the corner of Springfield Street and Fairview Avenue, Chicopee. Parking is available.

Limited tickets still available.
For information and to order tickets, please call the Irish Cultural Center at 413-265-2537, or call Mary Ellen Lowney at 413-313-6957.

The Irish Cultural Center and Elms College are pleased to offer a range of Irish classes for the 2014/2015 academic year. In addition, this partnership is again successful in bringing to campus our fifth consecutive Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant, Vikki Ní Bhréin, from Dublin. She brings a great deal of talent and enthusiasm, and is helping us showcase the language in our community.

There will be two sections of Introduction to Irish 1. We are pleased to offer a brand new beginner’s class, with no prior study needed, on Monday evenings. Gerald Costello, who has participated in Immersion Programs in Kerry and Connemara and has taught Irish at local schools, will teach this class. Kathleen Gilhooly, a recently retired English teacher at Central High School, and a language instructor at the ICC’s Lá na Gaeilge and the Celtic Adventures Camp, will teach the second semester introductory session on Saturday mornings.

Introduction to Irish 1+ will be offered for students who have had an introduction to the language but are not yet prepared to enroll in the intermediate class. Tom Moriarty, professor emeritus at the Elms College, founding member of the ICC, and participant in Immersion Programs in Kerry and Donegal, will teach this class on Tuesday evenings.

Vikki Ní Bhréin will teach a Novice class for credit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. In addition, she will continue the second semester of the Intermediate Advanced Practice class, which may be taken on a credit or non-credit basis. This meets on Wednesday evenings.

Classes begin the week of January 19. For class times and more information, visit our website. The cost is $175 for novice and intermediate classes, and $150 for Introduction 1 and 1+. Irish Cultural Center members receive a $50 discount. To enroll, please call the Registrar at 413-265-2314, or download a registration form from our website.


Christmas Candle

The Candle in the Window

A lighted candle in the window is an Old Irish custom to show that Joseph and Mary, who found no room at the inn in Bethlehem, would be welcome in the house. The large white Christmas candle, known as Coinneal na Nollag, is decorated with holly and lit by the youngest child in the family at six o’clock on Christmas Eve.

Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh.
Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you, from the Irish Cultural Center.

Irish Christmas in America

Join the Irish Cultural Center for a weekend of Irish Christmas celebrations, with the annual Christmas with an Irish Touch mass at Our Lady’s Chapel at Elms College on Saturday, December 13 at 4:00 pm, with readings and parts of the mass performed in the Irish language; and the Irish Christmas in America show on December 14.

The Irish Cultural Center presents the hugely popular Irish Christmas in America show for the second year in a row. Featuring some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, the joyful performance highlights Irish holiday traditions through music, story, song, and dance. Irish Music Magazine calls it “captivating!”

The show is on Sunday, December 14 at 2:00 pm. in Berchmans Hall at Elms College, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA. Doors open at 1:30 pm. General Admission advance tickets are $26, $22 for ICC members. All tickets are $30 at the door, cash or check.

Call the ICC at 413-265-2537 or purchase tickets online. **Please note: Phone orders end at 3 pm on Saturday, Dec. 13. Online ticket sales end at 11:00 pm Saturday.**

Now in its 10th season, the enchanting holiday show features top Irish music, song and dance in an engaging performance rich in history, humor and boundless energy. Produced by Oisín Mac Diarmada, the brilliant young fiddler of the award-winning Irish group Téada, the 2014 tour brings back the stunning vocal prowess and charming wit of Séamus Begley, (TG4 Traditional Singer of the Year), along with the angelic voice of his daughter Méabh Begley. Award-winning Irish step dancer Samantha Harvey dazzles with her fancy footwork. The all-star band also includes Sean Gavin on flute and uilleann pipes, and Matt Griffin on guitar.

Mac Diarmada enthuses about the program as a way to bring traditional and often unknown Irish customs to the States. “One of the most heartfelt themes of Irish Christmas is emigration,” says Mac Diarmada. “Music was a way that people stayed close to home.”

This family-friendly performance features evocatively-sung Irish ballads, lively instrumental tunes and thrilling Irish dancing, while evocative photographic images provide a backdrop to some of the rich historical traditions. Take a memorable glimpse into the enchanting spirit of Christmas, as the finest traditional artists from Ireland bring you on a fun-filled start to the holiday season of 2014. Learn more about the show at

Thanks to our major sponsors:

Log Cabin - Delaney House
UMass Fine Arts Center
Ventry Associates

Irish Christmas in America Features Six Outstanding Performers:

Oisín Mac Diarmada is the producer of Irish Christmas in America. A graduate in Music Education from Trinity College Dublin/RIAM, Oisín has been described by The Irish Echo’s Earle Hitchner as “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today.” Founder of noted group Téada, Oisín is also a regular solo performer, having appeared as guest soloist with the Southern Georgia Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. along with an extensive recording history. He has recently been appointed Chief Examiner of the SCT Irish Traditional Music Examination System, administered by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Séamus Begley comes from the Irish-speaking region of West Kerry and is a member of one of Ireland’s most musically-acclaimed families. Famous for his heartfelt singing, Séamus is equally brilliant on the accordion, which he plays with astonishing energy and spontaneity. In 2013, Séamus was honored with the hugely prestigious TG4 Traditional Singer of the Year Award.

Méabh Begley, daughter of West Kerry legend Séamus Begley, commands an audience with her beautiful angelic voice tackling themes of love, emigration and loss in both English and Irish language. Despite her youth, she is fast becoming one of the most respected singers in Ireland, recently performing in the United States during December 2013 and with Téada in Japan and Taiwan during 2014.

Sean Gavin’s playing on the flute, whistle and uilleann pipes reflects his lifelong immersion in traditional Irish music. Sean learned from his father Mick as well has having studied the uilleann pipes with teacher Al Purcell. Currently residing in Chicago, he’s been strongly influenced by flute legend Kevin Henry. He tours regularly with the acclaimed groups Bua and NicGaviskey as well as performing often with his family.

Matt Griffin is a multi instrumentalist based in Dingle. Born in London of Irish parents, Matt grew up playing and learning music within the capital’s vibrant traditional Irish music scene. Matt’s abilities as a guitar accompanist have been in great demand and he has recorded and/or performed with a variety of artists including Alan Kelly, Steph Geremia, Niall Keegan, Garry Shannon, Michael O’Suillleabhain and The Chieftains.

Samantha Harvey is an award-winning step dancer and pianist. Beginning Irish dance at age seven, she reached Open champion level and competed regionally, nationally and internationally. Samantha performs, teaches and choreographs various step dance styles. In addition to Irish Christmas in America, she recently danced with the band Téada during their seven-week tour of Japan and Taiwan.

Irish Christmas in America @ CMU, Mount Pleasant MI from Musical Ireland on Vimeo.