McDonnell's Traditional Irish Music Slow Session

August 2016

Sad emoji with Irish HatThere will be no more McDonnell’s Irish Slow Sessions for the foreseeable future

The Corkman Irish Pub will be closing sometime in September 2016 and the management is moving all of their activities, including their highly regarded Traditional Irish music sessions lead by Paddy Fitzgerald to the nearby pub The Last Jar (  Check out their  website for more information about their future sessions. 

Lisa and I will be running our slow sessions again at the 2017 Lake School held in Koroit, Victoria from 2-7 January.  Click on the Lake School for additional information.

Future of website

After some 15 years of running our slow sessions in Melbourne, the closing of the Corkman was a sign and we decided to retire from running our slow sessions beginning September 2016.  Although we are no longer running our sessions, we plan to maintain all the music resources on the existing website. 

Memories of 15 Years of McDonnell’s Slow Sessions 


Photographs of our early Father Flanagan Pub sessions


Photographs from Normandy Hotel following fire damage to Father Flanagan Pub


Photographs from Clifton Hill Hotel


Photographs of slow sessions at the Corkman Irish Pub.
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Tablet accordion app

Practice and play a musical instrument on your tablet and smart phone.

Just when you thought that the new smart phones and tablets had reached their pinnacle of usefulness along comes some pretty impressive applications that allow you to play many Celtic musical instruments including bagpipes, accordions, guitars, drums, flutes, whistles and even concertinas on our portable electronic devices.  I suggest that you look at Michael Eskin’s website on Traditional Music Instrument Apps which demonstrates the current state of the art in smart phone and tablet musical instruments.  They are only going to get better in the future. The current apps are very limited and are typically a far cry from the real instruments we love playing, but in a strange way they feel familiar in the hand and to the ear.  Because they are really inexpensive (the app not the tablet or phone) compared to the real thing, they allow players to try different instruments or carry a practice one to the park, school or work in order to play tunes any time you feel the urge, especially when you wear headphones.  I suspect we will see more smart phone and tablet bands as well as more events using these instruments at folk festivals in the future.  Maybe it will stimulate our kids to play musical instruments and not just games. If you want to impress your family, friends or fellow commuters, I highly recommend mastering a few tunes on your smart phone or tablet instrument and share the fun.

My Ireland Vol 1 book cover

Tony O’Rourke has published a book entitled ‘My Ireland Vol.1’ that includes a collection of 101 Irish tunes with sheet music and guitar chords.  Tony sent me this note which I would like to share with you: ‘The title of the book is “My Ireland Vol.1”. It contains 101 Irish tunes and comes with a CD in MP3 format of each tune played through twice at a moderate tempo. I recorded each tune on my new Clareen Banjo and there is overdubbed guitar accompaniment. The playing of the tunes adheres strictly to the sheet music as I wanted this to be a reference book rather than a concert, and the sheet music contains guitar chords.  The books are for sale for $20 + $5 postage. To get more information or purchase the book send an email by clicking on Tony O’Rourke   Click here to download example of sheet music Christmas Eve & Coalminer’s Reel MP3 of Coalminer’s Reel

TONY O’Rourke created his own YOUTUBE CHANNEL – Check it out (

He has put up around 18 really good videos of him playing some lovely irish tunes on the banjo and guitar. Great for musicians interested in learning new tunes.


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