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.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Flynn Center for Irish Studies Fall 2012 Schedule




University of St. Thomas

William J. Flynn

Center for Irish Studies


Fall 2012 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 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 a  Alternatively, access, then Quick Links on top right hand corner of the Web site, look under On Campusand 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!


Receptions Before Events:  Join us for a complimentary reception from 6-7 pm at the Flynn Center for Irish Studies before our evening events on the following dates:


Thursday, September 20

Thursday, October 4

Thursday, November 15


4206 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX 77006


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


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 40,000,000 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 includeThe 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.


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 and individual tickets 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.


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.


Lori Meghan Gallagher, JD
William J. Flynn 
Center for Irish Studies
University of St. Thomas
3800 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-3592 (main)
713-525-3866 (fax)


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