This site includes the postings from the Irish Aires email list. This includes a listing of Irish/Celtic events in the Houston area and other information that the Irish Aires radio program posts.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Flynn Center for Irish Studies 2012-2013 Cultural Outreach Series

Center for Irish Studies Event Details

University of St. Thomas

William J. Flynn

Center for Irish Studies


Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Cultural Outreach Series


The University of St. Thomas William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies in Houston, Texas, is pleased to announce its Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Cultural Outreach Series. These events are first-come, first-served.  Please advise us in advance of any mobility issues.  All lectures are free and there is a minimal charge for some concerts.


Parking is available for $2 in the Moran Center at West Alabama St. at Graustark St.  A campus map is available online under About UST at  Alternatively, access, then Quick Links on top right hand corner of the Web site, look under On Campus and click the link for Maps.  


Concert and Lecture Sponsors: The Center for Irish Studies Cultural Outreach Forum sponsors our Cultural Outreach Series, along with other sponsors.  Members of the Cultural Outreach Forum are listed below.  Become a member of the Cultural Outreach Forum or a Friend of the Center for Irish Studies!


For more information, contact the Center Director, Lori Meghan Gallagher, JD, at 713-525-3592 or



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Music from West Cork, Ireland: Classical and Irish Favorites

David Syme, Classical Pianist

When: 7:30 pm

Where: University of St. Thomas, Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon, Houston TX 77006

Free and open to the public

Seating is first-come, first-served; seats reserved for those with mobility restrictions

Co-sponsored by the University of St. Thomas Music Department


International pianist David Syme, with a large Irish following, presents a program of virtuoso piano music that he plays throughout the Emerald Isle and on his extensive European tours. The program will include works by Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Ravel, Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, and some Irish selections. David is very audience-friendly and de-mystifies the classics in a program that is entertaining, uplifting and light-hearted, punctuated with humorous anecdotes from his long and colorful career.


Based in West Cork, Ireland, David has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, and in major venues in 17 European countries, Canada and Mexico.  An alumnus of Juilliard College in New York and Indiana University, he was a protégé of the legendary Jorge Bolet, and has studied with some of the most renowned teachers in the world.


He has recorded 25 CDs with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony and the Czech National Symphony.  His live recording of the Gershwin Concerto In F from Mexico City is considered to be one of the definitive versions of this work, as described by James North in Fanfare Magazine:  "Oscar Levant, Earl Wild, Phillipe Entremont, Andre Previn and Helene Grimaud have made notable recordings of the Gershwin Concerto In F, but if I had to choose one today, it would be a live performance by David Syme with Herrera de la Fuente leading Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria."


Exuding enthusiasm for his love of music, David delights intimate and large audiences around the world. Among his regular Irish concert attendees is actress Maureen O'Hara. "It's not often that fans are given a chance to see their favourite musicians up close and personal. But every summer in Ahabeg, near Castletownbere in West Cork, world renowned pianist David Syme invites people into his own home for recitals that are performed for five consecutive Sunday afternoons right in his very own living room." Emma Power, Evening Echo, Cork, Ireland. Although David is American-born and owns a home in Houston, this concert is David's first public piano performance in Houston.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

What Does it Mean to be Irish American?  Exploring through Time

Dr. Timothy Meagher, Associate Professor of History, The Catholic University of America

When: 7:30 pm

Where: University of St. Thomas, Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon, Houston TX 77006

Free and open to the public


What does it mean to be Irish American?  The answer to this question seems obvious: An immigrant from Ireland or someone descended from such an immigrant is an Irish American.   In recent censuses, that group has included 40 million people or more.  But the meaning of Irish American for those descendants or even those immigrants has changed radically over the course of American history.  In colonial times, the bulk of the Irish immigrants were Protestants from Ulster. They rarely called themselves Irish, though their neighbors in America often did.  In the early Republic of Washington and Jefferson, for many Irish immigrants and their descendants Irish meant supporting an independent Irish Republic.  It did not matter whether you were Protestant or Catholic.  


But by the Famine era and after in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Irish meant Irish Catholic, both to Irish Catholic immigrants and their progeny, and to others, even to descendants of Irish Protestants, some of whom now began to call themselves Scotch Irish instead of Irish.  In our own times, the meaning for both Catholics and Protestants has changed.  Until the 1960s, Irish was still identified with Catholicism even more than Ireland.  Yet today, being Irish Americans for most has less to do with religion than with Irish culture, music, dance, stories, or family, "roots", genealogy or, ultimately, with Ireland itself.  This talk will explore how the meaning of Irish American changed over the course of Irish life in America, and, as important, why it changed.


Dr. Timothy Meagher is an Associate Professor of History and Curator of American Catholic History Collections at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  He was the Director of the Center for Irish Studies at the University between 1997 and 2001.  He worked as a Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, where he directed the National Conversation on American Pluralism and Identity, and he has taught history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  His foci of teaching and research are American immigrant history, the Irish in America and Catholic history.  He is a Fellow of CUA's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. He received his B.A. from Georgetown University, M.A. from the University of Chicago, and Ph.D. from Brown University. 


Dr. Meagher edited the collection of essays From Paddy to Studs: Irish-American

Communities in the Turn of the Century Era, 1880 to 1920 (New York: Greenwood

Press, 1986).  Other publications include The New York Irish, edited with Ronald H. Bayor (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996);Inventing Irish America: Generation, Class and Ethnic Identity in a New England City, 1880 to 1928 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 2001); and A Guide to Irish American History (Columbia University Press, 2005).  Both The New York Irish and Inventing Irish America won the James Donnelly Prize for the Best Book in Irish or Irish American history offered by the American Conference for Irish Studies.  He has also written several essays and articles on Irish American and American Catholic history. 


Dr. Meagher currently is working on a publication entitled Writing the History of the Irish in America.

Center for Irish Studies Center for Irish Studies

Friday, November 9, 2012

Annual Irish Gala benefiting the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies

Houstonian Hotel, 111 North Post Oak Lane, Houston, TX 77024

6:30 pm reception; dinner following reception




Members of the Houston Irish community who were instrumental in building the Center for Irish Studies from the very beginning:


Mary Elizabeth Donovan

Jeani and Tom Horan

Sr. Mary Brendan O'Donnell, CVI


Chairs:  Sue and Jim Power/Mills and Steve Toomey


Tables of 10:  $2,500, $3,500, $5,000, $7,500, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and up!

Individual Tickets: $250 per person


Program Print Deadline: September 30, 2012

(Send in your underwriter forms and payments to reserve your tables now!)


Join us for an enjoyable evening with delicious food, lively entertainment and great company!  We are delighted to honor three people who have made significant contributions to the Center for Irish Studies and our academic, study abroad and cultural outreach programs.  Help us raise scholarships to take our students to Ireland and Northern Ireland on study abroad and to bring Irish and Northern Irish students to study at UST.


For more details, contact Lori Gallagher at 713-525-3592 or


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Tale of Two Hemispheres:

Charles Gavan Duffy and the Nineteenth-Century Irish Experience

Dr. Sean Farrell, Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois University

When: 7:30 pm

Where: University of St. Thomas, Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon, Houston TX 77006

Free and open to the public


Charles Gavan Duffy had a rich life. A founder and editor of the Irish nationalist newspaper, the Nation, a leader of the Young Ireland movement, and a tenant rights advocate, he became Prime Minister of Australia and then returned to Ireland to become involved in Irish cultural national politics in the last years of his life. As a wealthy moderate Irish Catholic nationalist, Duffy's life is not representative of the nineteenth-century Irish experience, but it does epitomize both the global dimensions of that experience and the complexity of the Irish nationalist relationship to the British empire (Duffy was ennobled for his service in Australia). By charting Duffy's global journey from Ireland to Australia and back, this talk is designed to provide a rich sense of both the complexity and significance of the nineteenth century Irish experience.


Dr. Sean Farrell is Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and he serves as President of the American Conference for Irish Studies.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Modern Irish and British History.  His primary research and teaching interests focus on the history of imperialism, nationalism, sectarianism, violence, power and popular culture in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the history and influence of the Irish Diaspora.  


Dr. Farrell serves as the editor of the New Hibernia Review, an Irish Studies journal. He is the author and editor of several books on nineteenth-century Irish history, including Rituals and Riots: Sectarian Violence and Political Culture in Modern Ulster, 1784-1886, which won the Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book in Irish Studies.  He currently is completing a book on the Working Class and the Church of Ireland in Early Victorian Belfast and he is preparing to work on a biography of the nineteenth-century Irish nationalist intellectual and politician, Charles Gavan Duffy.


St. Patrick's Day Anthem

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Celtic Christmas Carols with Danny O'Flaherty and Noel Nash

When: 2 pm

Where: University of St. Thomas, Jones Hall, 3910 Yoakum, Houston TX 77006

Benefiting the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies

Open to the public; Adults $15; Seniors $10; children and students free

Seating is first-come, first-served; seats reserved for those with mobility restrictions


Celtic balladeer Danny O'Flaherty and his frequent co-performer Noel Nash will bring the precious ancient gifts of music, song, dance and especially storytelling to the University of St. Thomas for one performance only. Their mesmerizing songs and tantalizing stories will rekindle the true Christmas spirit in every audience member's heart.  Through powerful songs and stories, Danny will paint a vivid picture of his childhood and the customs surrounding Christmas.    


Danny is originally from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.  His father was a lobster fisherman who respected nature and the bounty it provided. He also sings about immigration, the sacrifices made by those who have gone before us, and love and the struggles of the Irish, both in Ireland and in America.


Growing up in a little village in Connemara, Ireland, Danny had little exposure to western pop culture and television. He was influenced instead by evenings of music and stories around a turf fire, listening to the elder family members as they passed on centuries of history and tradition. Like his father, he learned to fish for lobster. At that point in his life, he had no idea what his future would hold:  His love of music would take him around the world.


In the early 1970s, Danny came to America, working as a miner and in construction while learning English. Music remained his first love. In 1971, he joined the Irish Minstrels on tour across the United States. Influenced by their musical style, in 1974 he and his brother Patrick formed their own group, The O'Flaherty Brothers, later known as The Celtic Folk.  Musical influences over the years also include folk entertainers Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers.


Danny came to New Orleans with his brother Patrick and friend Noel Nash to play at the World's Fair. Captivated by the charm and Irish history in Louisiana, they opened O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Pub. Until Hurricane Katrina hit, the pub was a cultural icon in the French Quarter, the hub of all things Celtic in Louisiana. After Hurricane Katrina, Danny moved to East Texas. He now is touring again, giving audiences an opportunity to experience his timeless ballads. He has written children's music and enjoys providing concerts to children and people around the world.


Irish balladeer and songwriter Noel Nash has been enthralling audiences throughout the British Isles, Ireland and the United States with his powerful voice and passion for music for many decades. Born and raised in County Limerick, Ireland, Noel attended Christian Brothers schools. After attending the School of Music in Limerick for two years, he demonstrated his strengths as a musician and songwriter with several folk groups.


In 1971, he began appearing as a soloist in some of Ireland's premier folk clubs.  Thereafter, Noel performed throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.  In the late 1970s, Noel teamed with the renowned songwriter Pete St. John, with whom he performed for five years. Noel also toured with Danny and The Celtic Folk.  Reunited, Danny and Noel continue to delight their followers with their timeless music in concert, on special cruises and at Irish festivals around the world. Noel lives in Ballybunion, County Kerry, Ireland, and performs locally in The Cliff House Hotel.


We welcome you to celebrate the true Christmas spirit of the Celtic Nations of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, as well as such areas as Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia, Astoria and the Isle of Man.

Sr. Madeleine Grace, CVI Photo 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Celtic Spirituality and its Contribution to the Roman Catholic Church

Sister Madeleine Grace, CVI

When: 7:30 pm

Where: University of St. Thomas, Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon, Houston TX 77006

Free and open to the public


The Roman Catholic Church has been endowed with numerous schools of spirituality, normally stemming from the giftedness or charism of an individual in reference to one's approach to God.  Celtic Christian Spirituality cannot trace its origins to one person, even though many Irish would place St. Patrick at the top of the list. Rather, numerous individuals and events have come together to mold a heritage and way of life somewhat distinctive to the Emerald Isle. Few Catholic Americans can claim that they have not been influenced by the embodiment of this spirituality within their own education.


The elusiveness, yet popularity, of the phraseology presents its own challenge in unlocking how Celtic Spirituality emerges as an area of personal growth. Certainly the Carmina Gadelica, the peregrinatio pro christo, the doctrine of the Trinity, the emphasis on penance, and the Breastplate of St. Patrick are integral to our own understanding of this pathway to God.    Come and join us in exploring this heritage more deeply.


Sr. Madeleine Grace, CVI, a member of the Congregation of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament in Houston, holds degrees from the University of Houston in Social Science, St. Mary's University in San Antonio in Theology and St. Louis University in St. Louis in Historical Theology.  Her specific area of specialization is Early Church History coupled with a keen interest in Spirituality.  She currently is an Associate Professor in the UST Department of Theology.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tommy O'Sullivan and Sliabh Notes

When: 7:30 pm

Where: University of St. Thomas, Jones Hall, 3910 Yoakum, Houston TX 77006

Benefiting the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies

Open to the public; Adults $15; Seniors $10; children and students free

Seating is first-come, first-served; seats reserved for those with mobility restrictions


Rarely do Houstonians have a chance to hear one traditional Irish musician from the heartland of the west of Ireland, and even more rare is the experience of hearing several together.  Join us for a special return group appearance of these fantastic musicians.


Sliabh Notes, the traditional group from the southwest of Ireland, featuring Dónal Murphy from Abbeyfeale, Matt Cranitch from Cork, and Tommy O'Sullivan from Dingle, make a welcome return to Texas in 2013.  Since the group was formed in 1995, they have released three albums, and have established an enviable reputation for their high-quality traditional music. They have played at many venues throughout Ireland, and have also performed at major festivals, including North Texas Irish Festival, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Copenhagen Irish Festival in Denmark, Torino Festival in Italy, Camden Festival in London, Castlewellan Celtic Fusion Festival, and Ballyshannon International Folk Festival.  At all these events, Sliabh Notes and their music, which has been described as 'having a distinctive regional flavour but with international appeal', were given a very enthusiastic reception.


Writing in Irish Music Magazine, Betsy Cummings reviewed their performances at Milwaukee Irish Fest: "Sliabh Notes outstandingly represents Ireland's Sliabh Luachra region and they also get my award for one of the best Irish band names.  I can only hope they'll be touring Stateside more often and very soon. I'm a fan but who wouldn't be when the music is this good?"


At the heart of the Sliabh Notes sound is the playing of Dónal Murphy on accordion, and Matt Cranitch on fiddle, who in the words of Paul Dromey, Folk Columnist of the Evening Echo"have proved themselves to be one of the finest and most electrifying Sliabh Luachra-style box and fiddle duos you could wish to hear." Added to this stellar performance is the versatile guitar playing and unique singing of Tommy O'Sullivan. The result is a dynamic mix of exciting traditional music that is vibrant, powerful and compelling.  Nuala O'Connor has said in the Irish Times that "it is difficult not to be carried away by this music."


Sliabh Luachra is well-known for its unique style of Irish traditional music, particularly its distinctive repertoire of slides and polkas. The area has long been an inspiration and source of influence for Dónal, Matt and Tommy, and this is reflected in their concert repertoire and recordings. To date they have made three albums, "Sliabh Notes," "Gleanntan" and "Along Blackwater's Banks."  Each album has received much critical acclaim, including:


"[T]hese reels take on new life and luster in the brilliant playing afforded them here by Sliabh Notes … This is one that should not be missed." – Sally Sommers-Smith, Irish Music Magazine.


"One of the best albums to be released this year so far comes form Sliabh Notes." – Irish Post.


"Magnificent." – Siobhán Long, Irish Times.


"Past, present and future of Irish music, all encapsulated in one single album."


For more information, consult their Web sites: 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration

Mass Celebrated by His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

When: 10:30 am (note later time due to morning Latin Mass)

Where: University of St. Thomas, Chapel of St. Basil, 3802 Yoakum

Brunch: University of St. Thomas, Jerabeck Gymnasium, 4000 Mt. Vernon

Cost of Breakfast: $25 check or cash with advanced ticket sales; $30 at the door

Benefiting the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies

RSVP requested for Breakfast by Thursday, March 7, 2013 to 713-525-3592 or


Celebrate St. Patrick's Day as it is celebrated in Ireland.  His eminence Daniel N. Cardinal DiNardo will celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick with a Mass in the Chapel of St. Basil.  Other priests are welcome to concelebrate.  After Mass, stay for a traditional Irish feast of smoked salmon, Irish soda bread, scrambled eggs and much more!  Be a part of this important annual celebration!


Dr. Joseph McFadden

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Queen Comes to Ireland: The Story of Queen Victoria's Four Visits

Dr. Joseph McFadden, University President Emeritus and History Professor Emeritus

When: 7:30 pm

Where: Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon, Houston TX 77006

Free and open to the public


Queen Victoria visited Ireland four times during her 63-year reign as the Queen of England and the British Empire.   The visits took place in: 1849, 1853, 1861, and 1900. The purpose and results differed for each trip to Ireland.   None of the visits was a "state visit."  All were characterized as "private" visitations.  A characterization for each visit would be as follows:  1849: reassuring; 1851: enabling; 1861: peaceful; 1900:  a missed opportunity.  We will discuss each of these visits and their impact on Irish history.


Dr. McFadden earned his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University in American History with a minor in Modern European History and Russian History.  He has traveled extensively in Ireland and taught at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland. He has been with UST since 1988, teaching as a history professor since 1997, and serving as president between 1988 and 1997 and again as interim president in Spring 2004. Dr. McFadden founded the Center for Irish Studies in 2002.


For more information on any of these events, please contact Lori Gallagher

at 713-525-3592 or


William J. Flynn Center Again Named Among "Top Ten Irish Studies Programs"


We are delighted to once again be named one of the "Top Ten Irish Studies Programs" in the country.  This honor recognizes the continued strength of our academic, cultural outreach and study abroad programs relative to those of much larger institutions on the east coast.  Our Center for Irish Studies is the only program of its kind in the Southwest. The Irish Government recently acknowledged the significance of our program when the Chairman and two members of the Irish Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee visited the Center on June 27.  We look forward to continued collaboration with the Irish Government and the community.  We will celebrate the Center's tenth anniversary in January 2013.

"The Gathering" in Ireland in 2013


Now is your chance to visit or return to Ireland and Northern Ireland!  "The Gathering" is the event of 2013.  Whether you are Irish born or Irish in spirit, celebrate the year of Irish connections.  The Gathering of 2013 is comprised of year-round festivals and events around the island.  Go and be a part of it!


Visit our New Website!


UST recently published a new Website for the Center, which is one of the University's six Centers for Excellence.  We have extensive research links on a wide range of topics and information about our academic program. Find yourself among the photographs from past cultural events and gatherings.  Save the dates for our fall 2012 and spring 2013 cultural events.  Send links to these events to your family and friends!  Join us!








UST Irish Studies Courses for Fall 2012:


Courses begin on Monday, August 20th


Irish Gaelic Literature in Translation (no Irish language needed)

Prof. Eddie Kelleher, Irish Visiting Scholar

Mondays, 5:30 to 8:15 pm

Cross-listed with English and Irish Studies


Irish Diaspora: Irish American Experience

Lori Gallagher JD, Director, William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies

Tuesdays, Thursdays, 11 am to 12:15 pm

Cross-listed with History, International Studies and Irish Studies


Irish Language Courses

All taught by Prof. Eddie Kelleher, Irish Visiting Scholar


Elementary Irish I

Tuesdays, Thursdays:  9:35-10:50 am


Elementary Irish II 

Tuesdays, Thursdays:  3:35-4:50 pm


Intermediate Irish I & II

Tuesdays: 5:30-8:15 pm


Proposed Courses for Spring 2013: (Dates and Times to be Announced)


Elementary Irish I and II

Intermediate Irish I and II

History of Ireland Since 1600


Courses for Summer 2013:


Study Abroad in Ireland and Northern Ireland--

Northern Ireland: The Conflict and the Peace




Each year the Center must raise $30,000 to sponsor the cultural programs it hosts for the University community, the public and you.


We sponsor these programs solely through donations and grants without any financial assistance from the University.


Please become a member of our Cultural Outreach Forum or renew your membership for 2012.  We gratefully acknowledge our donors for Calendar Year 2012 below and wish you a pleasant fall 2012!


2012 Calendar Year Cultural Outreach Forum Members

(as of July 23, 2012)



Sally and William T. Slick, Jr./ExxonMobil Foundation




Debbie and Dr. John R. Kelly/ExxonMobil Foundation

Colleen and George McCullough




Kathy and Joe Ridley




Betty and Mike Long/Shell Oil Company Foundation

Gayle and Bob Longmire/American Endowment Foundation




The Irish Society




Mary and Joe Andrews

Delia and Chris Cowles/Shell Oil Company Foundation

James Deegan

Carol Galeener/ExxonMobil Foundation

Connie Little

Barbara McClintock/ExxonMobil Foundation

Norma and Dr. Joseph McFadden

Sr. Mary Brendan O'Donnell, CVI


Come See Us in Our New Residence! 


Physical address:


William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies                        

University of St. Thomas

4206 Yoakum Blvd.

Houston, TX 77006


Mailing Address:


Lori Meghan Gallagher, JD, Director

William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies                        

University of St. Thomas

3800 Montrose Blvd.

Houston, TX 77006

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