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Welcome - Failte Romhat!

When the translation is provided submissions to the blog will be published in both English and Irish. Please send submissions to the webmaster address shown at the very top of the blog. Please visit us often. This blog is the companion of the Ottawa Comhaltas website: http://www.ottawacomhaltas.com/

Beidh poist a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge nuair is féidir. Tabhair cuairt orainn go minic. Is é seo an blag an compánach an láithreán gréasáin Comhaltas Ottawa: http://www.ottawacomhaltas.com/

Monday, 9 October 2017

Chair's Report - Annual General Meeting 5 Oct 2017



Chair’s Report on Branch Activities for the period

Sept 2016 – Sept 2017


Administrative Summary

  1. The Branch-year for activities commenced in September 2016. 
  2. The Branch AGM was held 6 October 2016. C. Hamm was elected to Chair, changing from Acting Chair. All previous members of the executive were returned with the addition of Danny Doyle (Irish officer) and Beckie Ewald (Youth officer). 
  3. Carol Ann Bowers and Oscar Mou attended the Eastern Canada CCE Regional AGM in Sudbury in October. We agreed to host the 2017 Regional AGM in Ottawa. 
  4. The Executive met every month, save for Dec, June, July and August. 
  5. On March 29 the branch changed its public-facing name to Ottawa Irish Arts. This was done to improve outreach to non-Irish in the community. The branch’s legal name did not change. All feedback has been very positive. 
  6. A member survey was undertaken, asking members to indicate their opinion as to whether the Ottawa Branch should remain in CCE. The response rate was about 50%, and the poll was split about 50/50, and the matter was dropped. 
  7. Oscar Mou (Public Relations officer) published a monthly newsletter each month, including summer months. Dedication and diligence! 
  8. Patricia continues to maintain our large website which requires frequent updating throughout the year, and continues to provide content to the Branch blog, and manage the Twitter account (@ottawacce) which is growing in followers. Our thanks to G. McFee who continues to donate funds, covering the cost of the domain hosting.


Summary of Branch Events

  1. Monthly ceilis (Except December and May). The January to March ceilis were enthusiastically attended by many young people, making up for a slow autumn ceili season. We are indebted to the band (lead by Elizabeth Scarlett) and all callers (Carol Ann Bowers, Caitlin Crockard, Danny Doyle, in no particular order). Lisa Wright, and Oscar Mou, often work the bar and Oscar typically does the 50/50 draw. Carol Ann Bowers also arranged entertainment portions of the ceilis on several occasions. The table arrangement was altered to a U-shape, opening up the dance floor along the hall’s length, dispensing with the two-section model. 
  2. Monday night instruction in language (4 levels) and dance (set and step) were reasonably well attended. We are very appreciative of our teachers for sharing their time, skills, and for their dedication. 
  3. The March dinner-dance (12 March) was enthusiastically attended by 130 paid entrants, which we believe is a record over the past 3 or 4 years. We are indebted to long time, dedicated, member, Toni Forsythe who arranges for the main dish to be prepared. The Ambassador’s wife and children attended the ceili and had a grand time. (While the Ambassador was invited in December, it is understood his calendar is fully booked in March with state duties.) 
  4. Patricia attended, for the Branch, the Rose of Tralee Selection the day after the ceili. There was no Ottawa Rose this year.
  5. On March 14, master fiddler Matt Cranitch and legendary accordion player Jackie Daly wowed the audience at a Branch sponsored concert (Culture Ireland sponsor travel and accommodations). 
  6. As is the custom members of the Branch executive attended the Irish Ambassador's St Patrick’s Day reception, held at the official residence. It was the inaugural occasion for the new ambassador, His Excellency Jim Kelly. 
  7. In late March, PA and CH attended the entire Irish Film Festival Ottawa, and co-sponsored, with the Irish Society, and Caint as Comhrá  a film in the Irish language (DANCE EMERGENCY/Damhsa na hEigeandala, Dir. Deirdre Mulrooney). 
  8. Oscar Mou organized two Irish Trivia nights, held at Paddy Bolands Pub, and also produced a Branch wall calendar, sold at minimal profit, as an outreach mechanism. A limited supply of 50 were made and sold out quickly. No small amount of effort by Oscar to pull all this off. 
  9. Over the summer we were slightly more busy than usual. On June 16 (Bloomsday), myself, P.Avendano, Danny Doyle, Oscar Mou, and guests Mary Muckle (harp), Pat Marshall (harp), Tim Robinson (pipes) spent the day (and lead up days, preparing) at the Ottawa Irish Arts booth at the "Ireland Welcomes the World" day at the Landsdowne park Horticulture building. The estimate was about 4000-5000 people came through over about 12 hours. It was clearly the best public outreach the Irish community has had in many years, that was not St. Patrick’s. 
  10. On August 2nd there was a spectacular concert at St Brigid’s Centre, Kildare Room, with Pierre Schryer, Dermot Byrne, and Adom Dobres. Special guests included several locals and the Schryer brothers. It was billed as a joint Old Sod and Comhaltas effort, and we got recognition for that (I helped arrangements with St. Brigid’s Centre for the hall, Patricia staffed the cd sales, which were vigorous). 
  11. Patricia and C.Hamm attended the exhibit opening, in the Byward market hosted by the NCC and the Irish embassy, "The Irish Diaspora in Canada: A History." We met the incoming 2nd Secretary at this event, Laura Finlay. 
  12. Patricia and C.Hamm attended the Welcome Reception at the ambassador’s Residence for the 2017 Eastern Regional GAA Championship participants. We met the incoming ICUF Scholar, Sheila Concannon (we had said farewell to the previous scholar Kate Jordan earlier in the summer at a reception held by Margaret Moriarty). 

Instruments

Most of CCE Ottawa's instruments continue to be used by members, and the branch over the past year acquired new members interested in learning these instruments. The harps are the most popular, but there is always somebody interested in the uilleann pipes, they are usually on loan. It is worth noting that from past loans, one student has purchased their own uilleann pipes, and one has purchased their own harp for continued study.

While we are due some criticism for lack of a Branch session, it has been difficult to find a leader, and let it not be said that we are not contributing to the furtherance of Irish traditional music through our activities, as highlighted herein.


Votes of Sympathy

Branch member, Laurie Kelly, wife of Pat Kelly, died suddenly while visiting Ireland with Pat on Aug 30. Patricia and I attended the funeral reception, and left a card on behalf of the branch.

Carol Ann Bowers, on the death of her father. 


Bridget Guglich for the death of her husband.

Respectfully submitted,

C. Hamm
Chairperson || Cathaoirleach


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Chair's Corner - Notes from the Ottawa Irish Arts (CCE Ottawa) Chair, September 2017


Over the summer we were slightly more busy than usual. On June 16, myself, the Irish Officer (D. Doyle), the PRO (Oscar), the Social Media Officer (Pat), and guests Mary Muckle (harp), Pat Marshall (harp), Tim Robinson (pipes) spent the day (and lead up days, preparing) at the Ottawa Irish Arts booth at the "Ireland Welcomes the World" day at the Landsdowne park Horticulture building, which was also Bloomsday! The booth was prepared with instruments, Troir samples, Danny’s book on the Irish language in Canada, cds and sheet music for sale, the trifold, and up to date pamphlets. 

There was a lot of interest in the harps, the language, and interest in our events. The estimate was about 4000-5000 people came through over about 12 hours. It was clearly the best public outreach the Irish community has had in many years, that was not on St. Patrick’s, which tends to get more attention for partying. It was very successful and I hope that the outreach is noticed at our events.


On August 2nd there was a spectacular concert at St Brigid’s Centre, Kildare Room, with Pierre Schryer, Dermot Byrne, and Adam Dobres. Special guests included several locals and the Shryer brothers, who had not played on stage together for many years. It was well attended by about 100 people. It was a fundraiser for Pierre’s brother Dan, whose house was destroyed by fire earlier in the summer. The Old Sod Society provided most of the advertising, and got many people to come. It was billed as a joint Old Sod and Ottawa Irish Arts effort, and we got recognition for that. 

OIA was also invited to the exhibit opening in the Byward market hosted by the NCC and the Irish Embassy, "The Irish Diaspora in Canada: A History." It was also Liz Keogh’s last event as the 2nd Secretary of the Embassy. We bid her and Niall a fond farewell. Her new posting is in Limerick. We also met the incoming 2nd Secretary. at this event, Laura Finlay.

I attended the Irish ambassador's residence reception for the 2017 Eastern Regional GAA Championship participants, where I met the incoming ICUF Scholar, Sheila Concannon (we had said farewell to the previous scholar Kate Jordan earlier in the summer at a reception held by Margaret Moriarty).

Sadly, Branch member, Laurie Kelly, wife of Pat Kelly, died suddenly while visiting Ireland with Pat on Aug 30 at age 75. Patricia Avendano and I attended the funeral reception, and left a card on behalf of the branch. The branch made a donation to the St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa Foundation.


Respectfully || Le meas,

Craig Hamm 
Chair || Cathaoirleach


Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Irish Diaspora in Canada: A History

August 17 to 27, 2017, The International Pavilion, 7 Clarence Street, Ottawa
Release from the Irish Embassy:








In this landmark year for Canada, the Embassy of Ireland is proud to present an exhibition celebrating the strong and deep bonds of friendship that Ireland and Canada have long enjoyed, as part of the National Capital Commission’s series of Confederation Pavilions.
We are delighted to commemorate the important, positive contribution that the Irish in Canada have made to the fabric of Canadian life as we know it today, through the stories of Irish personalities from the time of early European settlement onward. Visitors will explore the history and vibrancy of the Irish community in Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the southern border to the Arctic.

These stories tell about Irish people who provided labour for the physical infrastructure of Canada’s canals, railways and roads, and who were also central to the creation and development of Canada’s political and civic institutions, through their involvement in law, politics, journalism, literature, religion, trade, the military and exploration.


Quotes


“We welcome this opportunity to partner with the National Capital Commission, as we reflect in this commemorative year on the story of the warm and historic friendship between Ireland and Canada. Irish people have come to Canada since the early days of European settlement, and continue to be welcomed today as skilled workers and students, on business, or as visitors. This exhibition illustrates the Irish contribution to Canada through a selection of their stories.”
—His Excellency Jim Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada


“The National Capital Commission is delighted to welcome the Embassy of Ireland to the International Pavilion at 7 Clarence Street, as part of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Visitors will appreciate this special exhibition celebrating the shared history of Ireland and Canada, highlighting the enduring friendship between our countries.”
—Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission National Capital Commission Confederation Pavilions



To celebrate 150 years of Confederation, the National Capital Commission identified some of the Capital’s most distinctive, but underused buildings, and set out to find inspired partners to breathe life back into them. The International Pavilion at 7 Clarence Street is a contemporary building that is part of a much larger restoration project in and around the Tin House Court in the ByWard Market. Today, it hosts diplomatic missions that exhibit and promote the best of their culture, commerce, ideas, values and traditions.


Photo courtesy Ottawa Irish Arts

Photo courtesy Ottawa Irish Arts

Photo courtesy Ottawa Irish Arts


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A celebration of Ireland in Canada as part of Ottawa 2017: Press Release


                      

  
( Visit the Ottawa Irish Arts Booth at this spectacular event! )

A celebration of Ireland in Canada as part of Ottawa 2017


Ottawa Welcomes the World: Ireland

Friday, 16 June 2017; Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa; 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

In this landmark year for Canada, the Embassy of Ireland, together with Irish community organisations across Canada, is proud to present a celebration of the deep and strong bonds of friendship that Ireland and Canada have long enjoyed as part of the "Ottawa Welcomes the World" series of free events at Lansdowne Park.

Ireland is delighted to showcase a day-long programme of Irish music, dance, and theatre. A warm Irish welcome awaits visitors as they take an exciting journey through Ireland's stunning scenery, and explore the vibrancy of the Irish community in Canada, taking in Gaelic sports, film, and crafts along the way. 

June 16 is Bloomsday, the day on which James Joyce's celebrated novel Ulysses is set and which is observed annually around the world. Visitors are invited to meet some of his characters, find out more about Joyce and his work, and enjoy some Joycean music and excerpts.

The children's programme includes a wide range of interactive activities for all ages. Families will have the opportunity to listen to our resident story‑tellers, learn about some traditional crafts, and try some Gaelic football and hurling, as well as to learn some phrases in Irish and some dance steps, or how to play some Irish music.

OTTAWA WELCOMES THE WORLD Series
Embassies and high commissions will showcase their country's culture in a series of world‑class free events at Lansdowne Park. As part of the Ottawa 2017 signature event series, more than 75 countries and international partners will celebrate their culture through food tasting, musical celebrations, artistic performances and more! This celebration of Canada's diversity and rich multicultural heritage will promote and strengthen ties between nations on the occasion of Canada's 150th anniversary. For more information, visit www.ottawa2017.ca.

Follow us @IrlEmbCanada, #Ottawa2017
Contact: Elizabeth.Keogh @ dfa.ie

Monday, 22 May 2017

May Ceili at St. Mark's Parish, Aylmer, Saturday 27 May


Ottawa Irish Arts is not holding the usual May ceili in Ottawa this year.

Instead one of our intrepid dance callers, Carol Ann Bowers, will call a May ceili on this coming Saturday (May 27, 2017) at 7:30pm, at St. Mark's Parish, 160 rue Principale, Aylmer, QC.

The Ottawa Irish Arts award winning céilí band will take to the stage for your dancing pleasure.  A dance performance featuring the Ottawa Irish Arts' solo dancers, capably lead by our branch secretary (and solo dance instructor) Caitlin Crockard, will also be presented.

This is a fundraiser!

Proceeds from tickets ($10 adults, $5 youth aged 12-18, free under 12) will go to the St. Mark's reparations fund and the St. Mark's refugee sponsorship scheme.

This is a family friendly event, suitable for all ages and no dance experience is necessary.

For the adults, bring your own beverages (there will be a liquor licence but no alcohol for sale).

Contact Carol Ann (819-595-1094) or Esperanza (819-695-0391) for more information.

Parish webpage link

Lots of free parking. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann - 2016 Canada East Region Music Hall of Fame Honours

In Sudbury, on 22 October 2016, our past Ottawa Branch Chairperson (Síle Scot) was introduced into the CCÉ Canada East Region Music Hall of Fame Honours.

Sheila (Síle) Anne Scott

Courtesy of Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada

Síle was born in 1960 in Ottawa to Deidre (née Mulrennan) and Pádraig Scott. Her childhood home was a major hub of all aspects of Irish Culture.

She began Irish dancing with Peggy Kendellen when she was in primary school. By the time she had completed high school, she was already teaching. She established a dance in school in Brockville in 198, and began teaching with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ottawa in the same year. Her dance teams have taken first place in Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada four times since 2011, and have given many performances at other events.

As head instructor for the Ottawa Comhaltas Branch, she was also responsible for calling monthly céilís, and acting as "Bean an Tí" (headmistress). In addition to céilí and set dancing, she also reached sean-nós dancing and placed first int he open event at the Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada  in 2012. Other Oireachtas awards include 2nd place in Irish language singing (style other than sean-nós -old style) in 2014, and 2nd place in poetry recitation in 2015.

She was a founding executive member of Cumann na Gaeltachta (2002) along with her husband Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh and others of the North American Gaeltacht (Gaeltacht Thuaisceart on Oileáin Úir, 2007) and Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada (2011).

Síle has been an inspirational Comhaltas figure in Canada, and in the Irish language and cultural community, for more than 20 years. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Her generosity, patience, and genuine interest in people, are immediately in evidence. Her leadership, Intelligence, vision, skills, and talents are legend.

It is with great pride that we induct Síle Scot in the Comhaltas Music Hall of Fame.

Ena O'Brien
Chairperson
Canada East Regional Board






Sunday, 2 April 2017

Name change for Ottawa CCE Branch to "Ottawa Irish Arts"

Why have we changed our public-facing name?


Dear Members, a chairde, 


This is a note to let you know that the public name for CCE Ottawa is changed to “Ottawa Irish Arts.” Our legal name, and our affiliation with Comhaltas, will not change. Why are we doing this? Read on to find out.

Since its inception in 1975 our branch has been named “Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch.” This name served us well for many years, but as time moves on, so have many of our founding and long- time members. Many of those members were first and second generation Irish, and had first-hand knowledge of the Comhaltas organization.

Using the branch's legal name, which is in the Irish language, for public outreach is becoming increasingly difficult as it is difficult to pronounce (for non-Irish), and literally has no meaning to non-Irish. 
It is after all in another language. Changing our public facing name allows us to reach out to the broader Ottawa community in order to maintain, and hopefully grow, our activities of preserving traditional Irish culture.

By changing our name to “Ottawa Irish Arts” we tell people where we are, the culture we represent, and the types of activities we pursue. It is easy to spell, pronounce, and is consistent with many other Comhaltas branches. 

Over time we will migrate the website and other media to the new name.

We are still a Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann branch. From here on, I strongly encourage all members to consciously use the name Ottawa Irish Arts, particularly when reaching out to new people or groups.

Thank you, Le meas,

Craig Hamm
Chair/ Cathaoirleach,
Ottawa Irish Arts (Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch)
On behalf of the Executive


Until next time / Go dtí an chéad uair eile!