Music and Story from the Courts, Castles, and Kitchens of Ireland…

Tale of the Gael, Basel, 2010

Back row: Brendan Wade, Paul Dooley, Catherine Rhatigan, Dave Aebli, front row: Prannie Rhatigan  Basel, 2010

‘Cultural Research’ and ‘Ireland’s Music in Context’ are two phrases that have become synonomous with the the work of Tale of the Gael in recent times. We are very proud of that, as we devote a lot of time to sculpting history and music into a performance that rolls off the stage as something that informs as it entertains and in some ways draws diverse strands of the same culture entity together. It can be history laced with song, or dance music edged with poetry, it can be a gentle Carolan piece spiced with anecdote, and it will always tell a tale of the Gael.

The traditional music side of the group is firmly rooted in the uillean pipes and fiddle, while a more classical sound is introduced through the silver flute. Add  harp, bodhran, bass and bouzouki, singing and sometimes an actor and a specially written script. The result is an evening that not just delivers Irish music, but brings echoes of it’s origins, historical scope and context into the mix too. Recent and on-going projects include:

The Flight of the Earls 2008,

The O Donnell Chieftains of Tir Chonaill, 2010, 

Remembering Brian Boru 2014,

The Poet and the Harper: Yeats and Carolan 2011-2015,

Lady Gregory’s Legacy 2015 / Yeats 150: Harp Festival of Moons

Ireland: 100 Years a Nation 2016


Just Music…Tale also plays events that are purely musical…a mix of Ireland’s finest dance music, songs, 18th century harp music and contemporary pieces… for events that don’t require the spoken word, but do require a finely blended, non-intrusive repertoire of Irish music.



Catherine, Margaret, and Emer with piper Alan Roberts, Sligo 1999

Working like this, everything is always new…

Described  as ‘highly entertaining, well crafted and musically outstanding’ most of the recent performances have had audiences on their feet. Individually, Tale of the Gael have played for diplomats and film starts, with orchestras, choirs, and as solo performers, at music festivals from New Zealand to South Africa, all over Europe and the U.S., in Carnegie Hall and the Zurich Opera House, and of course regularly in their own kitchens and local sessions…

Upcoming Events The  site will give you an idea of what the band has done, and will be doing until the end of the year. (Scroll up to find it)

Drumcliffe, August 2012

Left to right: Prannie Rhatigan’s bodhran, Mickey Dunne, Paul Dooley, Catherine Rhatigan, Dave Aebli, Eileen Carr , Back row, Colette Mc Devitt warm up before a concert in   Drumcliffe, August 2012



4 Responses to Welcome

  1. Joan says:

    That all sounds lovely. I searched “YouTube” for a rendition of “Miss Hamilton” and found you there on Martin Byrne’s posting. I am trying to learn that tune on my harp. I love it! Thank you for your version of it.
    JML, Scituate, MA

  2. Joan, I ‘m delighted you like the version. We recorded it with double bass and harp, two lovely sounding big string instruments. I wish you luck and lots of enjoyment learning and playing the tune. Catherine

  3. Mary T. Taylor says:

    I’m SO glad to have found you have a website up now. My family of 6 along with 3 friends went to Ireland in 2000, and on July 4 we stayed at Castle Leslie and ate dinner there. The entertainment for the evening was The Tale of the Gael. We were enthralled. If I correctly recall, there were two women playing the harp and a gentleman reading/reciting. Since then, I have told others of your performance, and periodically searched the Internet for information about you, and hoped to find at least an excerpt from the story you told of the harp and of the people of Ireland. Last evening I was telling a friend about your work, and I afterward tried the search again. And here you are! I,m so glad! Please consider posting a small excerpt of your work in video.

    • That’s going back a while… yes, I remember that evening. We have expanded a bit since then, and do a lot of similar type work. Please let us know if you are ever in the area when we are doing a performance as it would be lovely to meet you after all this time. And thanks for your kind words! Catherine

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