Toledo Irish: Getting to Know The Finns

Toledo Irish:
Getting to Know The Finns
By Molly McHugh

The Blarney Event Center in downtown Toledo was filled with sing-song Friday night, as The Finns streamed a live concert all the way from Dublin (Ireland, not Ohio). Hosted by the Toledo Irish American Club, the event brought in an audience from near and far.

Who are The Finns?
The Finns are brothers Hugh and Ciaran Finn, from Co Laois, Ireland. While their roots lie in traditional Irish music, their spin on original songs has been described as alt-folk and indie folk, with hints of blues and rock.

Hugh and Ciaran say, “We have incredibly catchy, lovable, and seriously impressive original songs that are easy to fall for.” To get these eclectic sounds in harmony, the brothers play a variety of instruments, including banjos, guitars, percussion, bouzouki, tenor guitars and harmonicas. For those like myself who have not heard of the bouzouki, Google informed me that the bouzouki is a long-neck plucked lute of Greece, somewhat resembling the mandolin.

So, how did The Finns come to make their Toledo debut? I spoke with the president of the Toledo Irish American Club, Kelly Zawierucha. She said she first heard The Finns play with Derek Warfield & the Young Wolf Tones. During Covid on Friday afternoons, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolf Tones hosted Facebook live sessiúns (or sessions); and on one occasion, The Finns were their special guests.

Special is right! As soon as Kelly heard them play, she reached out and asked if they could bring their magic to Toledo, well, remotely anyway!

Not only did The Finns light up the room with their traditional Irish songs; but games, raffles, singing and even some dancing took place too. While The Finns were playing Finnigan’s Wake, a mini-Sheleighleigh stick was passed around the room; the person who held onto the stick last when the song ended won a prize.

Unfortunately, that was not me! But, fun was had by all.

The Galway Shawl
One of the songs The Finns played was The Galway Shawl, one of my favorite Irish ballads. It immediately takes me mentally to standing on the Prom of the Galway Bay, looking out towards the vast ocean. I have always been told that it was my Granny Sarah’s favorite song, so it also holds a special meaning to me.

The Finns have been gaining popularity throughout the U.S., promoting singles off their debut album, “Creations.” To learn more about this dynamic brotherly duo, head over to



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