Traditional Irish Singing Session

Saturday 17th Jul 2021
  • Music
  • Community

Our special guest for our July 2021 online Traditional Irish Singing Session is Cathal McConnell.

Flute player, tin whistler and singer Cathal McConnell of The Boys of the Lough is one of the best-loved performers in the world of Irish music. A true character in every sense of the word, McConnell’s free spirit and mercurial stage presence have helped make The Boys of the Lough one of the most popular and longest-running acts on the folk circuit.

Born in Bellinaleck, County Fermanagh, N. Ireland in 1944, McConnell traces flute playing back through four generations in his family. Encouraged by his father, he was playing tin whistle at age eleven and at age fifteen took up the flute. McConnell’s early mentors were the great roots musicians of his home county – men such as Peter Flanagan, John Joe Maguire, Big John McManus, Tommy Maguire, Tommy Gunn, Eddie Duffy and Mick Hoy. He was exposed to other playing styles by listening to 78s and by traveling the length and breadth of Ireland, collecting rare tunes from old musicians in out-of-the way places.

Through the years, McConnell has developed his own style of flute playing – at once earthy and robust, yet with a hint of plaintiveness. This plaintiveness owes much to his ethereal singing style. Indeed the line between vocalist and instrumentalist often blurs with McConnell. The two modes of music making co-exist in a rich, synergistic cross-fertilization.

In 1962, McConnell won the All-Ireland championship on both the flute and tin whistle. Five years later he founded The Boys of the Lough with Robin Morton and Tommy Gunn and never looked back. He has been a professional musician ever since.

Our host is Macdara Yeates, a traditional singer, composer and producer from Dublin. Macdara has toured internationally both as a solo artist and with folk ensemble Skipper’s Alley, collaborated with award-winning theatre companies THEATREclub and Mouth on Fire, and produced work in association with Aiken Promotions, The St. Patrick’s Festival, The Dublin Port Company and more. Macdara is a founding member of The Night Before Larry Got Stretched, a collective of traditional singers running regular events, with a particular emphasis on the dissemination of traditional song among young people.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and necessary social distancing measures, we invite traditional singers to join a Zoom conference call, to share songs from the comfort of ones own home anywhere in the world. The sessions will take place in monthly instalments, usually on the 3rd Saturday of the month and will feature songs ‘from the floor’ and from an invited guest singer.

For those wishing to simply view the session, the live stream will be streamed on our YouTube Channel and our Facebook Page. You don’t need to book a ticket.

For those wishing to sing and take part, please book your free ticket at the Book Tickets link  and we will forward you the Zoom link you’ll need to participate in the session.  Please do not delete this email and do not share the link with others. You will need either a mobile phone with a camera or a computer with a webcam and a Zoom account. Please visit to set up and download the relevant software.
*As time flies during these sessions, it may not be possible to get to everyone on the night for a song, our host will explain the process at the start of the event.

If you have any queries, please contact us at
In the meantime, stock up on your beverage of choice, dust off your songbook and we will see you then!

*English is the spoken language for these sessions, with some Irish from time to time.
Songs can be sung in Irish or English.
Báin súp as!