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Irish Session & Learning Hour

Event info
Date: Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Time: 5:00 pm

Irish Session – Tuesday, July 16, 5-8pm

FREE; Donations Encouraged.  Please register to let us know you plan to attend.


Do you love traditional Irish music? Have you ever experienced an Irish Session?

Well, Fogartyville will be hosting an Irish session once a month from May – September on the third Tuesday of the month.  A core group of experienced musicians will be hosting the session.

A session is a gathering of Irish traditional musicians for the purpose of celebrating their common interest in the music by playing it together in a relaxed, informal setting.  It is not a performance, but a sharing of traditional music.


  • 5:00 – 6:00pm: Learning Hour. Learn one or at most two tunes on either solo instruments (fiddle, whistle, mandolin, tenor banjo etc) or guitar accompaniment. Note: 2 or 3 musicians will lead this section, perhaps separating out to cover melody and accompaniment separately.
  • 6:00 – 6:15pm: Musicians gather
  • 6:15 – 8:00pm: Informal traditional Irish music session on stage

Some players you may meet at the Session:

Matt Cosgrove (tin whistle) is originally from western MA. He took up the tin whistle in the mid-80s and soon after moved to Ireland where he became a student of the legendary Mary Bergin. He spent the following couple of years wandering the hills & valleys of West Clare & Connemara by day and playing in pubs at night. A veteran of sessions in Ireland, France, Québec & New England, Matt has been an integral part of the Sarasota Irish Session since its beginnings in 2013.

In addition to his love for Irish music, Matt is passionate about the music & dance of Brittany. He lived there for several years in the early 90s; in addition to refining his skills at countless festoù-noz and workshops, he performed on stages throughout Europe with the Cercle Celtique de Rennes, a troupe of several dozen Breton musicians & dancers. Matt has taught Breton dance at festivals and workshops in Québec, California & New England.

Michael Durning (mandolin) is an Episcopal priest with a broad and lifelong interest in music, having played in various pickup bands, and while in seminary, as a tenor with the Schola Cantorum (seminary choir) in New York City.

Danny Flynn (button accordion), originally from Philadelphia and now a resident of Sarasota, Florida is an accomplished accordion player born to 1st generation American-Irish parents who tirelessly promoted Irish Music and Dance.  Studying accordion at the Neupauer Conservatory of Music in Philadelphia, Danny learned his Irish music from Sligo fiddler John Kelly, Leitrim Flute/Whistler Charlie Gaffney, and Accordionists Jimmy Keane and Billy McComiskey. Danny benefited considerably from playing weekly dances with John, Charlie and their friends from 1976 to 1990 as a member of The Philadelphia Ceili Band.

Danny is also co-founder of the bands Claddagh Folk, Castle Garden, and The Pride of Patuxent Ceili Band and also was a member of the Washington D.C. area-based Bog Wanderers Ceili Band. Dan has also had the honor of performing often with and having a tune written for him by the late great piano player Bob McQuillen. In the past, Dan won the national competition and represented North America on Piano Accordion at the 1995 All Ireland World Championship in Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland.

Jerry Gallagher (fiddle)  came from a folk music background in guitar in the ‘60s, bluegrass banjo in the ‘70s, and finally Irish fiddle in the ‘80s. He regularly played in a group for Irish dances in the Washington, D.C., area before retiring to Florida.

Dermot Somerville (flute, guitar, vocals) was born to a musical family in Dublin and emigrated to the US in the 1970s. Having traveled the length and breadth of the country, he settled in Cleveland, Ohio. There he became very acquainted with the Irish traditional musicians in the area – notably Tom McCaffrey, Tom Byrne, Jimmy Giblin, Al O’Leary and Tom Scott – most of whom immigrated from the Mayo-Sligo area in the west of Ireland. At Cleveland State University in the 1980s, he completed An Historical Survey of Irish Traditional Dance Music in Cleveland, which documented the history and musicians from the early 19thcentury up to the time of writing. Also in that decade, he wrote a thesis at University College Cork on Group Performance in Irish Traditional Music (1960-1980), for which he interviewed many of the prominent traditional musicians in Ireland at the time. In the 1990s, he established The Irish Music Academy of Cleveland, a community-based non-profit school which offered lessons in fiddle, flute, uilleann pipes, tin whistle, button accordion, guitar, bodhrán and music theory. This gave rise to a new crop of young musicians there, many of whom are established players now.

Dermot has been a performer since his teenage years, with an emphasis on songs and guitar accompaniment. He began playing the flute in the 1980s and spent time in Cleveland with Tom Byrne, a Sligo-born flute player, from whom he picked up the Sligo style of playing. In addition to Shanua – the band formed with his wife, Ülle Laido and violinist Julie Andrijeski – Dermot has paired with Cleveland-based storyteller Mike Mazur, and played with well-known traditional musicians such as Liz Carroll, Seamus Connolly, Mick Moloney and others.

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