In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Portland’s gritty Old Time and Bluegrass musicians scooted aside in awe and wonderment to make room for some new trad in town, some new lads in town. Those Irish ones. (And it wasn’t yer da’s Irish they were playing, either.)
In those long-ago days, Portland was a bridge-riven rainbow-clad land as green as The Emerald Isle, and in places like Mike Beglan’s East Avenue Tavern on East Burnside, Irish Music found a home. Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill was among the first in the door, often beside master fiddlers Kevin Burke and Johnny Cunningham, eventually to be joined by Mícheál’s sister, Tríona.
Though-to the anguish of his friends- he eventually returned to his native land, his influence can be found in every Irish circle in the city: from the fine DADGAD guitar players you may hear at our sessions and céilís to the lilt of the Irish songs he passed along.
Mícheál also left a more tangible gift, an album he produced in 1983, Wild Geese, Celtic Music of the Northwest, a fabulous offering to the community featuring several Portland musicians he mentored in those early years, including the likes of Randal Bays and Kate Power.
It is with pride and gratitude that we wish to remember, honor, and continue Mícheál’s legacy in the founding of The Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill Branch of Oregon.
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. It is a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world and has been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise!). Their efforts continue with increasing zeal as the movement launches itself into the 21st century.
This is the Mícheál Ó Domhnaill Oregon Branch of Comhaltas, a name we have chosen to honor the late singer, guitar player and Gaelic speaker who contributed so much to the preservation and growth of traditional music and culture here in Portland. Our goal in organizing this branch is to keep those traditions alive, in particular, to marry the music to the dance, both sean-nos, and in particular set dancing, the most popular form of traditional social dance in Ireland.
The Mícheál Ó Domhnaill Oregon Branch is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and one of over 400 branches worldwide. We do not have any religious affiliations and are open to people of all backgrounds.
Brian O’hAirt | CHAIRPERSON
Preston Wilde Howard | VICE-CHAIRPERSON
Dylan Wilde Howard | SECRETARY & MEMBERSHIP
Dawn Juliano| TREASURER
Genevieve Galarneau | AUDITOR
Brian O’hAirt | IRISH OFFICER
Michael Steen-Orr | PUBLIC RELATIONS & WEBSITE
Niamh Branigan| YOUTH OFFICER
Tim Smith & Emma Branigan | MEMBERS AT LARGE