All posts by Tony B

Ukulele Hooley 2015 Logo

Ukulele Hooley 2015 – Just two weeks to go!

Ukulele Hooley 2015 Logo


Well, Ukulele Hooley 2015 is almost upon us and it’s shaping up to be one of the best festivals yet!

In just two weeks time ukulele players from all over Ireland  will be be meeting up with fellow ukers from abroad in Dun Laoghaire for a weekend of ukulele fun, music, singing and jamming.
All the hotel & guesthouse accommodation in Dun Laoghaire have been fully booked up since early in the year.

This year’s festival has all the usual events and elements that have made the Ukulele Hooley one of the most friendly and  popular ukulele festivals in Europe and we hope you’ll be able to come along and join in the Aloha spirit of the weekend.

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The Ukulele Workshops
The weekend kicks off on Saturday morning 22nd of August with some fantastic ukulele workshops by some of the most highly regarded ukulele Maestros but all of the workshops are accessible to anyone who has been playing in a club or group or just playing at home by yourself so grab this opportunity to hone your ukulele playing skills. The workshops are all listed on the festival website so check them out.

Ukulele Hooley Bus Busk
The Ukulele Hooley Bus Busk is a load of fun and makes for one of the highlights of the weekend. It always sells out quickly – and there are only a few seats left (it had actually sold out but we “found” 6 more) so don’t miss out book now!

Ukulele Hooley Open Mic
The Open Mic happens on the seafront in Dun Laoghaire and its your opportunity to perform that song you’ve been working on in front of a highly receptive and encouraging audience of fellow ukers. Its an experience you’ll always remember!

Ukulele Hooley Festival Club
The festival club will start at 9pm in the Oak Room Bar at the Kingston Hotel and runs until late. There will be ukulele playing, singing, performing and jamming until the early hours and plenty of time for nattering and catching up with old friends (not to mention making new uke ones!).


The Big Ukulele Concert in the People’s Park

Its the highlight of the whole weekend, 7 hours of fantastic ukulele bands, groups, soloists from all over the World will be performing in lovely setting of the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire. The show starts at twelve noon and runs until 7pm in the evening. There’s a wonderful lineup this year and you can see them all here on the Artists Page of the Ukulele Hooley website. We’ve really pleased to be able to feature more Irish ukulele performers this year.
The concert in the park has become a big day out for families and last year over 15,000 people came through the People’s Park gates during the day. Its a great opportunity to see some of the world’s most entertaining and accomplished ukulele musicians and performers and its a lot of fun.

Children’s & Beginners Lessons in the Park
There will be children’s and beginners ukulele lessons in the People’s Park on Sunday afternoon and they will happen in a special area at 3pm . The lessons will be given bySheilagh Fox (founder Rugs).  Sheilagh is a very experienced and entertaining teacher who runs her own ukulele training school, Sheilagh’s Ukulele School

Uke Raffle in the Park
Every year some of our kind sponsors donate some beautiful ukuleles as prizes for the Festival raffle. This year we have some stunning instruments so make sure to get your tickets on the day to give yourself the opportunity of going home with the instrument of your dreams.

Sunday Night At The Festival Club
Finally don’t forget the Sunday Night Festival Club at the Oak Room at Oliveto at the Kingston hotel. Its the night we say goodbye to all our new ukulele friends and get together for the final night of Ukulele Hooley 2015.

We hope to see you at the festival over the weekend and if you could also go on to our Facebook page and “like” and “share” our posts for the festival, you will be helping to spread the word.

The Ukulele Hooley is a completely voluntary non profit festival for the ukulele community in Ireland and is funded by a grant from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

So see you all at the Hooley Folks!

Ukulele Train

All Aboard! Ukulele Train to Castlebar!

Ukulele Train

Next Saturday a special train leaves Dublin for Castlebar. but this is no ordinary train, it will be filled with happy & enthusiastic ukulele players who have been invited to Castlebar to play at the annual “Dancing At The Crossroads”. There is a great buzz in Castlebar about the Ukulele Train and the visiting ukers.


The ukulele train has been organised by Sheilagh Fox of RUGS ukulele group in Rathfarnham and founder member of the Flukey Ukes who will also be playing at “Dancing At The Crossroads”.

There is a special Ukulele Train Songbook so there will be lots of strumming and singing aboard the train.

Over the weekend there are a number of ukulele workshops to cater for all levels of playing and of course there will be lots of jamming and performances by the Flukey Ukes. So if you’re looking for something exciting and fun to do this weekend then grab your uke and join the Ukulele Train.

All the details can be found on the Ukulele Train Facebook page:


ukulele ceile


Ukulele player ran the Dublin City Marathon (42kms) while playing the Ukulele!

Ukulele player Brendan Byrne is the force behind the Ballyroan Ukulele Club and last October he set himself the goal of running the Dublin City Marathon whilst playing and singing with his ukulele.

Now the Dublin City Marathon is 42 kms so running it is no mean feat – never mind while playing the uke! But having set himself this challenge Brendan managed to pull it off in fine style, a heroic achievement by anyone’s standard!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

This is Brendan’s own account of his experience.

At 9:00 am, with my ukulele hanging around my neck by a cord, I warmed up, while jogging on the spot, at Fitzwilliam Square with Molly Malone in the key of C. Some of my fellow participants thought I was just going to play a few songs at the start and then go home. I quickly assured them that I intended to go the distance, all 42 kilometres, whilst playing the ukulele.

At 9:20 we got underway and I persuaded the naysayers that I meant business, giving them the “The Wild Colonial Boy”. I repeated “Molly Malone” as my audience was constantly changing.

By now we were coming to The Coombe and sure what more appropriate song for The Coombe than “Biddy Mulligan, the Pride of the  Coombe”. Fellow participants were joining in as best they could between their laughs of incredulity.

“The Dublin Saunter” brought us up the Quays and in nearly no time at all we were into the Phoenix Park. While passing the Dublin Zoo I played the first verse of “The Zoological Gardens”. Half way up Chesterfield Avenue somewhere close to the Áras I came across a participating French couple, d’un certain age, from where else but France. So out of my repertoire I plucked “La Mer”, en francais, from start to finish, which they very much appreciated.

Out of the top of the Park and into Castleknock I came to the best audience of the day.  Hundreds lined the roads and I played “Heartbeat” for them and lots of them joined in.  Back into the Park and around by the Furry Glen I had to play “Take Her Up to Monto”, “They say the Duke of Gloucester, the dirty oul’ imposter, he took a mot and lost her in the Furry Glen”.

Of course I got some requests from people lining the roads. So I played whatever of those that I could. These included Pack Up Your Troubles, Its a Long Way to Tipperary, the Wild Rover and others.
At times people standing at the side of the road would say “Ah go on. Play us an ould tune. As if I hadn’t been playing at all. To which I would say: “If you were running along beside me you would have heard me playing lots and lots of tunes.” Then I would play a song like The Wild Colonial Boy or Jamaica Farewell and because I was moving and they were not, I found myself at times running backwards while finishing out the song. This surely must be a world first.
Other songs I gave an airing to along the way were All I Have To Do Is Dream, Walk Right Back, Can’t You Dance The Polka, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and where would we be without Elvis-Wooden Heart, Return to Sender, Rock-a-Hula Baby, A Fool Such As I. Not forgetting, of course, The Beatles-When I’m Sixty Four (which I will be next time round).
As I passed through Walkinstown I came to one of the many DJs that were set up on pagoda with enormous blaring loudspeakers, which were drowning me out. As I passed each of these I would gesture to the DJ to turn down the volume because I couldn’t hear myself.
The Walkinstown DJ did switch off his volume, fair play to him, and invited me up to play into his microphone, which I did, playing and singing the first verse of The Wild Colonial Boy to tremendous applause from the locals and thereby adding a couple of minutes to my overall time, but hey, who was counting anyway.
On I went and by now I was probably repeating quite a few songs but my audience was still constantly changing, so they were none the wiser. The Sloop John B came into its own in the latter part of the course and as I crossed the finishing line, in what must be a world record, if not a world first, for running the marathon whilst playing the ukulele, in 6 hours 14 minutes and 59 seconds, the following lyrics seemed to be particularly apt-“I feel so broke up I want to go home”, and “This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on”.
Brendan completed the 42 kms marathon and here’s his official time placing.
Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Congratulations Brendan – Uke On!


Kings College London Ukulele Society Visit to UkuHooley.

Kings College London


UkuHooley in Dun Laoghaire is really pleased to welcome a group of 28 members of the King’s College London Ukulele Society to a special “hands across the water” meetup on Saturday next 28th March.  To accommodate our visiting ukers as well as our own members this special meetup is happening at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.

So welcome to James Chong and all his friends from King’s College and wishing you a happy and enjoyable trip to Dublin this weekend.

(ps: This week’s meetup is fully subscribed as we had to let the hotel know the final numbers attending in advance- sorry!)


Ukulele Beginners Course in Dublin

“Ten week Ukulele Beginner course is starting in Dublin City Centre next Monday 2nd of march.
Ring Nora at 0863649691 or email her at

We constantly get enquiries for ukulele lessons so if you know anyone who wants to learn the ukulele then this is the course for them. Its run by Nora Artola a very experienced ukulele teacher. Nora has been giving lessons for some years now under the title “Ukulele Lessons In Dublin”.

Ukulele Lessons in Dublin Facebook page:

This new course starting on Monday 2nd March is being held at the Carmelite Centre in Aungier St. (just off Grafton Street.


Noras New Course

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It’s Ukuhooley Christmas Party Time!


It’s Ukuhooley Christmas Party Time!
Saturday Dec 6th at Foley’s Bar & Restaurant on Merrion Row

Latest Ukuhooley flyer A5-page-001

Yes folks, it really IS that time of the year again. Time to grab your Santa hat and trusty ukulele, brush down that song you’ve been practising before heading into town for the Ukuhooley & UkeIreland Christmas Party.

If you’ve been to a Ukuhooley Christmas Party before you will already know it’s going to be a rootin’ tootin’ blast of ukulele fun & frolics. There will be finger food, plenty of time for ukulele sing-alongs and a chance to perform that song you’ve been quietly slaving away on!

There will also be a chance to win a ukulele in the raffle along with many other Yuletide party highlights.

It’s a perfect opportunity for us ukulele lovers to get together for an annual reunion of all those who have attended any or all of our Ukuhooley events over the last eight years. Even if we haven’t seen you recently, you would be more than welcome so come on down! We’d love to see you again, have a chat and play uke together.

Especially for the festive occasion that’s in it, Shay (Zefferelli) Bagnall has created one of his classic videos and our beloved Honorary Hawaiian Dan McNulty has designed a brilliant Hawaiian Christmas party poster, thanks guys!

So join us at Foley’s of Merrion Row on Saturday December 6th from 7.30pm ’til late.
You know you want to!

PS. Don’t forget your uke!

Ukulele Hooley By The Sea 2014!

Yes, it’s that time of the year again – Ukulele Hooley time!
Over the weekend of August 23/24, Dun Laoghaire will again play host to Ireland’s 5th international ukulele festival Ukulele Hooley. Over the past five years the Hooley has become one of the biggest ukulele festivals in Europe and last year nearly 20,000 people attended the 9 hour long concert in the People’s Park.

The festival features :

Ukulele Workshops (chance to improve your playing skills)

Big Ukulele Open Mic (an opportunity to perform in front of an appreciative audience of uke lovers)

The Ukulele Bus Busk (what could be more fun than joining an open topped bus of ukulele players as they travel around the Dun Laoghaire playing and busking?)

The Big Ukulele Event: Nine hour concert in the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire featuring some of the world’s best ukulele players. This has turned into a great family day out with people coming and picnicking with friends and family while chillin’ to the strains of the ukulele.

There’s something for everyone at the Ukulele Hooley-so don’t miss it!

Ukulele Hooley 2014 blue poster

You know you'd love to be here!
You know you’d love to be here!
Joe Byrne

64 Wine Ukulele Ensemble at the Bloomsday Celebrations.

On a beautiful sunny Bloomsday (the recently christened) 64 Wine Ukulele Ensemble played an hour of songs that were straight from the original Bloomsday period. The suitably attired audience (it WAS Bloomsday!) seemed to enjoy it so much the ensemble were asked to play again the following day.
The ensemble were Dan McNulty, Nicola Reeves, Nuala Dempsey, Pat Connolly, Tony Boland, Julia Fox, Sheilagh Fox, Jill Siddall and finally thanks to Maestro Tommy Sheridan for his hard work.
A good day was had by all.

Tommy Sheridan is either about to conduct or levitate.
Tommy Sheridan is either about to conduct Dan and Nicola or levitate.


Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne


Nuala Dempsey & Sheilagh Fox
Nuala Dempsey & Sheilagh Fox

Bloomsday 1