Keeping Folk Traditions Alive in Door County


Keeping Folk Traditions Alive in Door County by Donna Johnson


When I lived in Chicago, I fell in love with Irish music and was especially enthralled with the bodhran (the Irish flat drum). I took a mini lesson at Irish Fest in Milwaukee, bought a bodhran there, and brought it home to take lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Chicago’s north side. After a couple of years of lessons, I received a job offer in Door County and moved to Baileys Harbor.

Pictured here is the basket weave dance step.


Eager to continue to play, I stopped in at O’Meara’s Irish House in Fish Creek and asked the owner, Megan O’Meara, if she knew if there were any Irish musicians in Door County. She said she thought there were Irish seisiuns (traditional Irish music jam sessions) at Kitty O’Reilly’s, and sure and begorrah, there were! I asked if I could join in (proper bodhran etiquette!), was welcomed in the bi-weekly seisiuns (now at the Starboard Brewery) and eventually was invited to also play at their monthly (September through May) contra (barn) dances.


I was also asked to be on the board of the Door County Folk Alliance, the purpose of which is to build community through music and dance. To learn more about the Door County Folk Alliance, the seisiuns or dances, please go to www.dcfolk.com or on Facebook @dcfolkalliance

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