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Why Do Comhaltas Branches Have Different Names?

By Mary Harris

Comhaltas (COAL-tas) Ceoltóiti (KYOHL-TOE-ree) Éireann (Air-in), Comhaltas for short, has approximately 35 branches in the United States.

While many branches are simply named for the city or geographical area in which they are located, such as Delaware Valley Branch or Pittsburgh Branch, many are named for famous Irish musicians or those that have helped to promote traditional Irish culture.

For example:

  • The Martin-Mulvihill branch in Pearl River, New York is named for the famous Irish fiddler Martin Mulvihill (1923-1987).
  • The Coleman-O’Grady branch in the Bronx/Yonkers, New York was named for Michael Coleman (1891 – 1945) the father of the Sligo fiddle style.

  • The Seán Ó Riada branch in Washington, DC is named for Irish composer and arranger of Irish traditional music (who else?) – Seán Ó Riada (1931 – 1971).

  • Here in the west the Cooley-Keegan branch in San Francisco was named for Irish (button) accordion players Joe Cooley (of Cooley’s Reel fame) and Kevin Keegan.

  • The Portland, Oregon branch of Comhaltas was named for Irish guitarist Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill (1951 – 2006) who was a onetime Portland resident.

  • Our own Comhaltas San Diego Barry Cogan branch is named for Corkman and father of our own Máirtín de Cógáin. Mr. Cogan was influential in the establishment of the San Diego Comhaltas branch. (More to follow in a separate blog about him!)

Comhaltas San Diego Irish Music Lessons Barry Cogan

Written by Mary Harris

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