Friday, 29 July 2011

Poitín And Moonshine

Small batches of legal Moonshine whiskey are being made in South Carolina.  Moonshine, called Poitín in Ulster, was made by the Scots, Irish, Welsh, and Scots-Irish settlers in the Southern Uplands and forest country.  Moonshine continues to be made and enjoyed to this day.

Link to article on South Carolina Moonshine:

South Carolina micro distillery

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Cú Chulainn

 the young Cú Chulainn

Cú Chulainn , which means ‘Culann's Hound,’ is an Ulster mythological hero who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle.  There are several versions of his origin.  The most popular, though not the oldest, record that Cú Chulainn was the son of the god Lugh and Deichtine, who was the sister of Conchúr mac Nessa.  Cú Chulainn’s birth name was Sétanta.

He gained the name Cú Chulainn as a child after he killed Culann's fierce guard dog in self-defence.  He offered to take the guard dog’s place until a replacement could be reared.  In modern English Cú Chulainn is sometimes called ‘the Hound of Ulster.’

At the age of seventeen he defended Ulster single-handedly against the armies of queen Medb of Connacht.  His exploits are including in the epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, which means ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley.’ He fought from his chariot, driven by his loyal charioteer Láeg, and drawn by his horses, Liath Macha and Dubh Sainglenn. 

 Cú Chulainn in battle 

It was prophesied that his great deeds would give him everlasting fame, but that his life would be a short one.  Both prophesies turned out to be true.  There are many wonderful and mysterious stories about Cú Chulainn.  They are tales that have been told in Ireland for two thousand years.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Archaeological Exhibition Showcases Dunluce

A new exhibition at Co Antrim's Dunluce Castle is showcasing its history - as well as many of the archaeological finds discovered there in recent years.

Link to more details:   Archaeological Exhibition Showcases Dunluce

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lexington Virginia Music Festival

Upriver brings a show for the whole family that is an educational and a step back in time to the the Appalachian Mountains with Bluegrass, Folk, and Celtic Music to the Lime Kiln stage on on Sunday, July 24, 2011.

Upriver includes Dan Moorefield, with musical roots that stem back to Ireland, is featured on vocals, fiddle, guitar, and piano. Dan has a Masters degree in Education and provides not only entertaining music but also local history during his shows. Teresa Morrison adds a large amount of variety to the group as a talented artist on a multitude of instruments including the Irish tin whistle, alto recorder, tenor banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, and guitars. Both Teresa and Dan are committed to music education and Scots Irish heritage.

The band is occasionally joined by Myra Morrison. Myra is featured on fiddle, piano, and vocals. She is an award winning fiddle player and, like Teresa, teaches music at the Wayne Center of the arts. Their larger band adds an upright bass. The four piece band is used for large venues, festivals, large concerts, and dances.

Upriver is committed to education through music. They are active with music based enrichment and educational youth programs with activities to expose children to a variety of instruments, history, and culture. The group specializes in playing entertaining music while weaving in stories to tell how it came to be an integral part of our local culture. The performing artists and education specialists pride themselves on their goal to provide the audience with an experience that will thrill and entertain musically, and educate and enrich through oral tradition.

Upriver’s fifteen track album ‘Together This Time,’ features original music and old time favorites. The album contains a haunting rendition of the Appalachian classic ‘Shenandoah.’ This is music that is rarely heard on radio or television. It is tradition and legacy of rural American music that has been passed down through generations. The music is reminiscent of a time before technology when musicians were counted upon to provide entertainment were held in high esteem in the community.

This show is a wonderful event for families because of the focus and the artists' background in education. The concert on will be sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank and the gates and concessions will open at 6:00 pm and the show will begin at 7:30 pm. Advanced ticket prices are as follows; Adult - $20, Senior 60+ - $18, Child 12 & under - $10. Don’t miss out on this educational concert showcasing great Appalachian, Folk, Bluegrass, and Celtic Music. Call (540)463-7088 for tickets.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Portrush Flyer Video

This is a real treat. The link below is to Nevin Taggart's blog North Antrim Local Interest List.  Just posted is a short video of the Porthrush Flyer making its run.  Highly recommended.  What could be better an old train in beautiful Ulster country side. 

Portrush Flyer Video Link

Congratulations Darren Clarke!

Congratulations To Darren Clarke on his great victory! Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke won the British Open by 3 shots, capturing golf’s oldest major championship for the first time in his 20th try. He is from Dungannon, County Tyrone.  Well Done.

Fleadh Uladh 17-24 July in Dungiven

 There is great community spirit in Dungiven for Fleadh Uladh this year, the first time the event will be held in the Co. Derry town.  The Fleadh will last from Sunday 17th July to Sunday 24th July, and will be jam packed with a variety of events to engage all sections of the community in Irish cultural heritage.

After winning their bid for the largest summer music event in Ulster last October, the local organizing committee began to plan an 8-day long festival celebrating traditional Irish music, song and dance.
This celebration of culture has been held for the past three years in Castlewellan, and in 2010 the event was merged with Celtic Fusion as part of the 50th anniversary of the Ulster Fleadh festivities.
The Dungiven committee also have reason to celebrate this year, with the 60th anniversary of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, the nationwide organisation that co-ordinates the Fleadh and helps promote Irish culture and heritage.

The Fleadh committee are very keen to express their sincere appreciation to all of the support they have received to finance and manage the music festival. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Limavady Borough Council and Comhaltas are Fleadh Uladh’s principle funders, with Purvis Precast Stone and St. Canice’s G.A.C. sharing the title as main sponsors. In particular, the local businesses have donated very generously, and the committee would also like to thank in particular those who are not direct beneficiaries.

‘There has been a fantastic feeling of community spirit surrounding this event,’ said chairman Jeremy Granleese. ‘There have been so many efforts to make this year’s Fleadh something special. A special town clean-up committee was formed to help improve the aesthetic impact of the town’s Main Street for the onslaught of visitors for the Fleadh.’

The unsightly buildings in the town centre have been a talking point in the town for many months, and with several efforts being made to help improve the town’s image, the Fleadh seemed like the perfect excuse to make sure that something would finally be done.

Already there have been improvements to several buildings, and with only six weeks left until Fleadh Uladh kicks off, the town looks set to receive a significant make over.

The programme of events includes all of the usual activities associated with the Ulster Fleadh (seisiúns, competitions, ceilis, etc.) But there are also a number of special events, including the Songs of the People concert in St. Canice’s Hall on Thursday 21st July, bringing together all of the best singers in Ulster to celebrate the traditional singing heritage of the province.

There will also be a night celebrating the Celtic Harp, and an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the most people playing the national anthem on an instrument together in one venue on Saturday 23rd July.

The Ulster Fleadh attracts thousands of people each year to its host town, with 2,000 competitors in the competitions and many more spectators. Dungiven’s first ever year at hosting the event is sure to be one to remember.

More Information:   Fleadh Uladh

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Summer Sale of Ulster Heritage DNA Testing

Dear Project Administrator,

Last summer, we offered special pricing to attract new members to your projects. This was the most successful offering of its type in our company's history. Our project administrators that got behind the recruitment efforts saw their projects grow, and, thus, our database also grew. With this in mind, we'd like to offer a summer special again this year.

   Y-DNA37 for $119 (Regular price would be $149)
   Y-DNA67 for $199 (Regular price would be $239)
   Family Finder for $199 (Regular price would be $289)
   Family Finder + Y-DNA37 for $318 (Regular price would be $438)
   Family Finder + mtDNAPlus for $318 (Regular Price would be $438)
   mtDNA Full Sequence for $219 (Regular Price would be $299)
   SuperDNA for $418 (Regular Price would be $518, includes Y-DNA67 and mtFullSequence)
   Comprehensive Genome for $617 (Regular Price would be $797, includes Y-DNA67, mtFullSequence and Family Finder)

In addition, existing Family Tree DNA customers may order the Family Finder
add-on for $199

Link to project: Ulster Heritage DNA Project

Monday, 11 July 2011

Portrush Flyer - approaching Dhu Varren Halt

Two photos by Nevin Taggart of the Portrush Flyer approaching Dhu Varren Halt

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy Transcends Boundaries

Golf and Religion in Northern Ireland; link to a New York Times article on golfing superstar Rory McIlroy. 

Link to the New York Times article:  Northern Ireland’s McIlroy Transcends Boundaries

Old Time and Bluegrass in the Ozarks

 Conar McCain and Donovan McCain perform
From the State Of the Ozarks E-Zine:

Maybe the best part of the Ozarks is the music.

You know, when your heart is down, there's something about music that just helps. I listen to about every genre of music there is, but I always come back to good bluegrass when I'm down. But, how do you know good bluegrass? Reckon that's all subjective, but for me, it's a song that makes you feel stronger and feel like crying... all at the same time.

It's the heartache of the mountains, the mist of a dark world left behind, the melody of the wind in the pines and the quiet, haunting drip of water in a West Virginia (or Ozarks) cave. It's dark and light, all at once, like the moon through the shadows.

And when it's done right, it'll get into your heart and just never let go. Reckon I got some work to do.

As always, thanks for reading StateoftheOzarks! God bless,

Joshua Heston, editor
(417) 335-1371

Ozark Old Time & Bluegrass Schedule