O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

I’m considering registering for the first time for the O‘Flaherty’s retreat in Texas this year. I really enjoy Tony O’Connell’s playing and he’s teaching concertina. Any advice about the retreat, or if anyone has any thoughts or experience as a student of Tony’s would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Re: O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

Been to the O’Flaherty retreat four or five times. A great venue for concentrated instruction; you get three full days, morning and afternoon, with other shorter “enrichment” classes between and after the instrument-specific classes, plus instructor concerts, sessions and ceili at night. One of my only complaints about the retreat is that there is so much going on, that you never have time to practice what you’ve learned until you get home (thank goodness for modern easy-to-use recording devices).

The campus it’s held on is a large but pleasant rural setting. There is a fair amount of walking to get around, depending on the location of your classes and where you stay at night. Car parking by most of the buildings is limited, though there is one large parking lot at the combined registration/merchandise/concert venue.

The food on campus is a cafeteria; not gourmet by any means but usually edible. The campus is 7 or 8 miles from the nearest town; there is not really time to eat meals off-campus except maybe dinner, and the nearby towns are small.

There is lodging at the retreat campus, but a lot of it is dormitories. If you want a private room, register early, as they usually go fast. The official retreat motel can fill up too. All of the instructors stay at the official motel by the way. There is shuttle van service between the official motel and the retreat campus.

The weather here in north Texas in October can be unpredictable, it can be quite warm and sunny, and it can be cool and rainy, so watch the forecast closely and be prepared.

Hope this helps!

Re: O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

An Draighean covered most of what I was going to say . . . I’ve been twice, and both times have been incredibly enriching. I’m planning to go again for as many years as I am able to. Both times I’ve left with a head full of tunes and inspired to learn more

The first year I stayed off-site, the second I stayed in one of the camp’s hotel style rooms, and I much prefer staying on campus than off (though I heard the hotel is a lot of fun too).

Re: O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

I agree with the comments here. This weekend is an absolute blast! The food is much much better than ‘edible’, though. Maybe it was different in the past, but I went the last two years and I really enjoyed the spread.

Re: O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

Everyone has said all the important points. Only thing to add is the festival is one of the best organized festivals I’ve ever attended. Every one is incredibly friendly. This year will be my seventh time attending. I find it well worth the effort and expense to travel from Washington, DC area to attend. Hope to see you in Tony’s concertina class.

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Re: O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

Many thanks for all the comments. Hope to attend!

Re: O‘Flaherty’s 2017 and Tony O’Connell concertina class

I’ve traveled down from Canada five times in the last six years to attend O’Flaherty’s retreat, a long trip but well worth it (unfortunately, I can’t go this year). I heartily endorse the retreat for all the reasons given above -- world-class instructors, fabulous evening concerts, lots of nightly jam sessions at all levels, great volunteer staff, and extremely well organized. I second the earlier comment about on-site lodging -- the private/semiprivate rooms go quickly, like within the first day or two. So I advise signing up on day 1, but wait-lists often get accommodated later through cancellations. As far as getting there, they do offer a shuttle service to and from Dallas/Fort Worth airport for those coming from afar.

I think one of the reasons it is so successful is that it really is a retreat, not a “festival” per se -- you are cloistered in the same location with many others with similar interests away from other distractions, so there is a lot of sharing and interaction that takes place, including with the instructors without any of the “we-they” issues that go on at large events. I guarantee you will make new and lasting friendships by the end of the weekend! I have. Enjoy!!