In those long-ago days called the late 1970’s, the early 1980’s, when Portland was but a wee bridge-riven and rainbow-clad land as green as The Emerald Isle, the Rose City’s gritty Old Time and Bluegrass musicians scooted aside in awe and wonderment to make room for some new lads in town; lads with their own trad in tow… Those Irish ones. (And it wasn’t yer da’s Irish they were playing, either!) These were the days when Irish Music found a new toe-hold in the Pacific Northwest.
These wayward lads were soon to gather in places the likes of Mike Beglan’s East Avenue Tavern on East Burnside road. Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill was among the first in the door, often beside master fiddlers Kevin Burke and Johnny Cunningham. Eventually Tríona NÍ Domhnaill — Mícheál’s sister — joined their merry ranks.
After a few sonorous years here — and to the anguish of all Irish Trad players in Stumptown — Mícheál eventually wandered back to his native green shores. Yet his influence can still be found in every Irish circle in the city. Listen closely at the local seisiún and céilí and you’ll hear soft echos of that time ringing out in tunes played by local DADGAD guitar players, and rising in the soft lilt of the Irish songs he left in his wake.
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 Ceoltóirí Éireann 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.
PHIL MEEHAN | CHAIRPERSON
DOROTHY FOLEY | VICE-CHAIRPERSON
EMMA BRANIGAN | SECRETARY
MARY CAREY | TREASURER
NANCY JARRELL | MEMBERSHIP & NEWSLETTER
JACINTA KEYES-HANLON | IRISH OFFICER
ARAN ADAMS & EMILY MULDOON | PUBLIC RELATIONS TEAM
NIAMH BRANIGAN | YOUTH OFFICER
TIM SMITH | ROTATING MEMBER
JANET TRYGSTAD | EMERITUS HOSPITALITY