OS_CelticThe Pipes are Calling and the Steps are Dancing

Celtic music has long been a major part of American music. You can hear the roots of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales in much of our Country-Western music. Even Appalachian Mountain music owes much of their sound to the fiddle and the bow.
The big influx of our Irish influence came with the potato failures in the mid-1800s. The Irish came to America to survive starvation and helped save the Union during the Civil War. Since that time, their music and instruments have become part of our collective histories.

American music is a combination of classical, opera, folk, rock and roll, jazz, blues, and country. No matter where our people came from, we can all appreciate the pathways and the people and the music. We adore Irish music. Irish music has produced a Celtic fusion by combining traditional Celtic music with contemporary influences.

Irish Music and Celtic Fusion

People can identify with Irish music: leaving home behind, love lost, love found, and love pondered over, but most people are unable to identify the variety of instruments used to make it. Traditional Irish performers sing and play the bodhran (Irish drum), the fiddle, the flute, the tin whistle and the uilleann pipes. Some single performers simply sing and play guitar. But overall, must Irish and Celtic music sound blend amazing instruments with creative talents to create sounds familiar to some, but new and exciting to many!

The Ocean Shores Irish Tradition

In Ocean Shores, we have a chance to celebrate the Irish twice a year.

We have St. Patrick’s Day in March, but in October, we have a chance to celebrate for almost a full week at the Ocean Shores Convention Center and the Galway Bay Irish Pub.

In 2019, we will celebrate the 16th Annual CELTIC MUSIC FEIS! A “feis” is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival. This is a celebration of Irish songs, ballads, players and bands. The festival begins on Monday, the 14th, at the 8th Street Ale House in Hoquiam (Sold Out!) and then kicks off at the pub in Galway Bay on the evening of Tuesday, October 15th. This will be the biggest and longest festival to date and promises to be one of the best yet!

Businessman Chris Doyle and his business partner Bill Gibbons, are the driving force of this event. Gibbons is the founder of Galway Bay and Doyle for the last eight years is co-owner of Galway Bay Irish Pub and the Celtic Music Feis.

Their vision of the Celtic Music Feis is to create a cultural experience for their patrons, and to share their love of Celtic music and their Irish identity. And when asked about the importance of the festival, Chris says, “There would be a hole in our lives if we didn’t do the feis to be sure. It’s ingrained into the fabric of our pub and community.”

The planning is year long and begins the minute the last feis ends. The event is much more than a two person operation. Chris explains, “We could not put on this event without willing participants and those being in part, the city of Ocean Shores, our vendors, neighboring businesses, the local hotel owners who provide us rooms for our musicians, and of course our families, employees and volunteers.”

Four Acts from the Feis

The Celtic Feis event features an eclectic mix of Irish bands, choirs and dancers hailing from throughout the United States, Canada and, of course, Ireland. Here’s a small sampling of the thirty plus acts signed for the event.

OS_Celtic Feis_2DOOLIN’

1 column templateDoolin’ is France’s premiere Celtic band whose name derives from Doolin, the traditional music capital of Ireland, gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and Aran Islands and County Clare. Born in 2005 from an encounter between six accomplished musicians, from its inception Doolin’ perfected a mixture of novel musical genres. While some of the band were immersed in the world of traditional Irish music,  others were active in the jazz scene or in the pop rock wave of the 80s and 90s, they found a common love in traditional Irish music. From ballads to furiously fast jigs, from their own compositions to traditional tunes, Doolin’ offers a rich palette of sound. Natives of Toulouse, Doolin’ worked with legendary Irish guitarist John Doyle in the producer’s chair, on their debut CD, to achieve a sound uniquely their own deeply rooted in traditional Celtic music but wonderfully flavored with French chanson, American roots music and even hip hop straight from the streets of Paris. That’s Doolin’ – Irish music with a French touch!


Oliver Mulholland is from County Derry and has been singing his traditional Irish ballads for over thirty years. He’s based in the Seattle area. Oliver has quite a bit of self-talk when he performs. He’s kind of funny, though. It doesn’t look like too many things phase him. If you ask about his music CDs, he’ll give you one. “We’ve had a lot of returns,” he says. It’s kind of disarming. He just gives them away. We think most people pay, however. He’s a favorite at Galway Bay.


Taking their name from the Gaelic word for kinship, “The Gaelic Super Group” Dàimh (pronounced dive) are based entirely in the West Highlands of Scotland. From pyrotechnic jigs and reels to achingly poignant ballads, they run the full expressive gamut of folk music at its best, and are justly renowned for their thrilling live shows.


The Seattle Irish Dance Company is made up of championship Irish Step Dancers who are on a mission to bring the art of Irish Dancing to the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Seattle Irish Dance Company was created out of the realization that there were few professional performance options for elite Irish Dancers in the West. It was founded in order to bring the art form of Irish dance to a wider and more contemporary audience, and to create choreography that is technically demanding for the dancers as well as relevant, exciting and accessible to a wide variety of audiences.

“Ireland is rich in literature that understands a soul’s yearnings, and dancing that understands a happy heart.” – Margaret Jackson

This year’s event with Irish music and dancing from around the world will be hard to top, but come October 21st, the planning for the next feis begins. If you come to this year’s event, buy enough CDs to last for twelve months, and don’t wait to make your reservations for the 2020 feis. Book your lodging now for the entire week in Ocean Shores. You’ll have twelve months to plan, dream, and dance.