About Us

About Us

Cascadia Irish Music Week is presented every summer by Ceol Cascadia, a project of the Seattle Irish Heritage Club, a longstanding 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Cascadia Irish Music Week Board of Directors
Randal Bays, Artistic Director
Brendan Boyle
Joe McDonough, Program Manager

Ceol Cascadia Mission Statement
We are based in Seattle, Washington, USA. Our mission is to preserve and nurture the heritage of Irish traditional music and culture in the Pacific Northwest, by organizing classes, concerts and other events; through public outreach; and by presenting the Cascadia Irish Music Week, a yearly gathering of learners and teachers of Irish traditional music and culture.

Cascadia Irish Music Week...a little history

Our part of the world - Cascadia, or the Pacific Northwest - was never a big destination for nineteenth century immigrants from Ireland, like Boston or New York. However, since the beginning of European settlement there has been an Irish presence here, from the early loggers and fishermen, right down into the present, as a new wave of Irish immigration has brought many young Irish men and women to the region to work in high technology, aerospace, etc.

Our program director, Randal Bays, has lived most of his life in Cascadia, and has been involved in Irish music for many years.  He was in Ireland in the early 90s where he experienced the Willie Clancy festival in Co. Clare.  Returning to the Northwest, Randal wanted to create something similar here that would help people learn about Irish traditional music and the people who created and sustain it.  In 2002 he partnered with Dan Paulson of Friday Harbor, Washington, and founded the Friday Harbor Irish Music Camp, which operated every March for ten years and brought many of the finest Irish musicians to Cascadia to teach and play.

The Friday Harbor camp ended in 2011 and Randal began looking around for a way to start a new event that would be similar but would happen in the summer, making it more accessible to young musicians.  John Keane, of the Seattle Irish Heritage Club, expressed interest in having the new event come under the umbrella of the IHC, so Randal brought together a few interested friends to form Ceol Cascadia and present the new event.  The name Cascadia Irish Music Week was chosen and it was decided to put on our first week at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island.  After two years there, we moved to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, our current home.