Alison HQ is in Galway, Ireland, so naturally, we are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, or as its also known: St. Paddy’s Day. Not only in our home office, but with all of you around the world. For those of you who aren’t quite sure what all the fuss and green beer are about every year. Today, we want to show you just how much there is to learn about The Emerald Isle and its rich heritage. From history to food and drink and especially music. It’s not all Riverdance and U2, and I can’t talk about the music of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day without mentioning The Cranberries. I digress. Today, we are exploring traditional instruments and how you can master them with Alison. Now, join us as we celebrate with good friends, a whiskey or beer in hand, and lots of good music!


A Quick Historical Interlude 

The origin of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations goes back more than 1,500 years to the 17th century, when the earliest known ones were held on March 17, commemoration the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick,  the patron saint of Ireland,  in the 5th century. Also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, that marked the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. 

The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, attending a céilí, which are traditional Irish gathering , special foods, folk music, dancing, drinking, particularly Irish whiskey and beer,  and a LOT of green. The colour green being part of the Irish flag, the shamrock, the three-leaf clover symbol of Ireland and of course, the country’s nickname: The Emerald Isle.


Have you ever felt that you have a bit of the Luck of the Irish? You like the band Flogging Molly way more that you feel you should? Odds are you may have a little of the Emerald Isle in your family history. Learn how to research your Irish genealogy for free, and you may just be surprised to find out that your love of Guinness is genetic!  With this course you will learn how to trace your Irish family history and what resources you can use to find out more about it, all from an Irish perspective. 

Learn The Music of Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day

The  musician Tomás Ó Canainn once said: “no aspect of Irish music can be fully understood without a deep appreciation of sean-nós singing. It is the key which opens every lock.” 

Traditional Sean-nós singing is performed in Gaelic without the backing of instruments and is known for its melodic and expressive beauty. The term sean-nós, translates to “in the old way” and what better way to get you started with tthe Music of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day. 



When people think about Irish music, one of the first instruments that come to mind is the fiddle.

This is for good reason, Celtic traditional fiddle playing has passed down through the generations over many centuries. With our course on how you can learn the fundamentals of Irish fiddle playing, online for free. Your instructor, Doireann Ní Ghlacáin, is a professional musician and the face of Irish TV station TG4’s live music coverage channel. 



For our final instrument in this post, we are going to bring in the percussion section.

Introducing, the Bodhrán (pronounced bow-ron), a corner stone of traditional Irish folk music. With this course, you will learn the fundamentals of playing the Bodhrán. Put in the practice and you will be well on your way to drumming along to reels and rhythms accompanied by fiddles, accordions, tin-whistles and more.


From all of us here at Alison, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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