Pittsburgh Happenings: Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle Celebrates 30 Years
By Diane Byrnes
The holidays are now behind us and another explosion of Covid has appeared, with several events having been postponed, cancelled, or put on hold for a safer time. And of course that is life! We must not give in or give up!
Saturday, February 5th, is the 30th Anniversary of Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, located in The Strip area of Pittsburgh. This Pub was founded by Anne Mullaney (RIP), her brother Brian Mullaney, and Sean Patrick Murphy back in 1992. The past two years has seen a reduction in ‘events’ due to the pandemic however in times past it has been the venue for many special events and maybe a wedding or funeral or other special celebration. Usually, the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival takes place. The Pub was full of folks looking for their ‘match’, music and games were played. Over the years, many couples met here, married and often came back to celebrate.
Finnegan’s Wake usually takes place in February. The song was written by James Joyce. This is a production and reenactment of the song, and it is acted out throughout the evening, concluding with something Tim does. However, I’ll not spoil the surprise. You will just have to go and participate in this event to learn what happens to Tim.
There are many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in March – depending on when our St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place, our celebrating could encompass a week, or even over two weekends. Most of the talent is local and sometimes an out-of-town group graces the stage.
Come September, the Guinness Oyster Festival presented a bit of Ireland with entertainment from Noon throughout the evening, both indoors and under the tent and a special ‘Oyster Menu’ was available.
Along with these special events, Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle is a very good place to enjoy a delicious and hearty meal, thirst quenching beverages, or whatever your fancy; exciting and toe tapping music is usually on the agenda and it is an overall, excellent place to meet a new friend or meet up with old friends and have a bit of fun.
International groups who have performed over the years include Gerry Timlin, The Furey Brothers, Seamus Kennedy, Tom O’Carroll, Martin O’Malley with O’Malley’s March (former governor of Maryland), Neil Byrne & Ryan Kelly a duo from Celtic Thunder, Colm Keegan & Laura Durrant singer & musician from Celtic Thunder, plus so many more. All of the local groups have performed at The Harp & Fiddle over the past thirty years and have established this venue as the place to be, the place to perform.
David Regan is the manager; David has been with the Pub since its opening and is now an owner. Declan Gilbert, originally from Cork and a bartender, has also been with the Pub since the beginning. And Assistant Manager Ann Burns, originally from Crossmaglen in County Armagh, has also been with the Pub pretty much since the beginning.
February 6th begins the 34th year for Echoes of Erin broadcasting on WEDO 810 AM every Sunday at 12:30pm and simulcast on FM 93.3. The program, a ninety-minute broadcast, airs a variety of Irish music, and a live news segment (The Ireland Report) from four corners of Ireland – Donegal, Galway, Dublin and Belfast. The news correspondents bring a human touch to the news of the day. The four different news correspondents have been with the program from ten and a half to twenty-one years, and bring a unique perspective of the news happening in Ireland.
The program rebroadcasts Sunday evening at 10:30pm on FM 93.3. An online rebroadcast takes place each Wednesday at www.kdwradio.com from 1:30pm. Once you are here, click on Listen Live, which brings you up to the current program.
The program also introduces the audience to a variety of interesting people through telephone interviews or guest appearances. There have been a variety of musicians and singers, political figures, educators, actors, authors, heads of state, and others with interesting stories to share. On February 27, James Gourlay, Artistic Director and Managing Director of the River City Brass Band will be guest.
James Gourlay has been a guest on the program several times and is quite a unique person. Along with his artistic and management skills, he is also a performer with his tuba and an overall excellent entertainer. I am in awe watching how he interacts with the concert audience, such a pleasure!
The River City Brass
is a 28-piece ensemble that typically tours throughout the United States and performs over twenty-five local concerts. Of course throughout the pandemic this has not been possible. One of the special concerts scheduled is “Celtic Connections Concert”.
This year, RCB will be joined once again by world champion piper Andrew Carlisle and Irish dancers for a program that connects the Celtic Isles to Appalachia and beyond. Scots and Irish music share the bill with country western, hip-hop, and hot Balkan sounds. You’ll hear Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Amazing Grace, Scotland the Brave, Country Tuba, and Bluegrass Breakdown.
All concerts begin at 7:30pm and will be performed at the following venues: Linton Middle School, in Penn Hills, March 3, Carson Middle School in McCandless, March 4. The Palace Theatre, in Greensburg, March 5. Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland, March 10, and Bethel Park High School, in South Hills, March 22.