Dancing at the Crossroads (2016), the PBS documentary, explored the phenomenon in Irish-American history known as the Irish Catskills. The podcast of the same name picks up where the film left off, exploring the past, present and future of Irish and Irish-American music, dance, and culture.
Prohibition In The Irish Catskills (Episode 7)
Prohibition, the national ban on booze, came into effect just as the Irish Catskills had come into being. That didn't stop the Irish, including gangster "Legs" Diamond. Episode 7 of the Dancing at the Crossroads podcast is an offshoot of the PBS documentary, The Irish Catskills: Dancing at the Crossroads.
Jimmy Gallagher and Hellcat Maggie (Episode 6)
In this end of the decade episode, Dancing at the Crossroads profiles two very different Irish sounds: Jimmy Gallagher, a Glaswegian showland performer known for his guitar picking, and Kelly Rock, lead singer for Celtic Rock band Hellcat Maggie.
Secrets of the Uilleann Pipes (Episode 5)
In this episode of Dancing at the Crossroads, we explore the uilleann pipes, one of the most challenging instruments in traditional Irish music. Artists include Feachra O'Regan, Kara Doyle, Colleen Shanks, Benedict Koehler, Liam O'Flynn and others.
The Lost Tapes (Episode 4)
Dancing at the Crossroads podcast is an offshoot of the PBS documentary by the same name. In Episode 4, we hear never before heard recordings made in the 1950s and 1960s of some of the top Irish and Irish-American singers and musicians of their time. Joe Ryan, Maura McLoughlin, Charlie Mulvihill, Tommy Mulvihill (age 10), and Joe Cunningham are among the featured artists.
The Irish Rockaways (Episode 3)
Dancing at the Crossroads explores Irish and Irish-American music. In Episode 3, we take a trip to New York's Rockaways, once known as the Irish Riviera. Featured artists include Paddy Noonan, Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies, Michael Coleman, The Flanagan Brothers, Mickey and Mary Carton, the Noel Henry Showband, Hellcat Maggie, Brendan Ward and his Orchestra, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
The Hidden History of Leeds (Episode 2)
Dancing at the Crossroads is an outgrowth of the PBS documentary, Irish Catskills: Dancing at the Crossroads. It explores Irish and Irish-American culture through the words and music of musicians and historians and often features rare tracks heard nowhere else. The podcast is hosted by Kevin Ferguson, director of the PBS documentary.
Important to the Preservation of this Irish American History
For years in the mid to late 90s and early 00s, my family would spend the entire month of August in the Catskills renting bungalows at the Rose Motel. Every night was spent out at the Fern Cliff, Gavin’s, Blackthornes, Furlongs, and McGraths going to the Ceilidh, Amateur Nights, Seisiuns, and any and all concerts involving my grandmother’s dear friend Paddy Noonan. Though I didn’t realize it at the time as a young child, these experiences were instrumental to my own formation as a proud Irish American as they allowed me to make my own connections to my heritage.
Nowadays, with a trip up to East Durham for Memorial Day’s festival and sparse days during the summer, this Podcast (and its predecessor in the form of a documentary) help me learn more about the days long before I was born when my grandparents (immigrants from Co. Donegal and Clare) would bring their children north for the summer to give them the (Americanized) version of their home and form their own cultural identities at a young age.
Keep up the good work, Kevin! This is helping me keep the traditions (and the history) alive ☘️