Twenty-three comments

4th Thursday of the month…

Sponsored by the Preston Branch of Comhaltas Ceoloiri Eireann…

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann -

excuse previous spelling slip…

"The Moorbrook is still going on the 4th Thursday. We will probably go to the Unicorn from September. "

~ the Chairman of the Board, CCE, Preston Branch

Moorbrook ~ 4th Thursday of the month…

Slow Session

There will be a slow session for learners before the Moorbrook session starting from 24th January. It will be at St Thomas Centre from 7pm to 8.30pm. Here you can learn the tunes played at the main session, and play with others before going over to the pub. Every 4th Thursday except February.

4th Thursday afternoons at The Moorbrook, Preston ~ an appreciation ~ 😎

I’ve stumbled across this session a few times now in my rambling or I’d keep shtrum, which would also be the case if I thought it was shight. I’m happy to say, in my opinion, it’s not. I prefer not to report on the negative. I admit concerns, starting with trepedation about visiting the ‘foreign country’ of any session, but what really worried me was what I saw the first time I walked through the door ~ two tenor banjo pluckers and a crank! By ‘crank’ I mean their resident vielle-a-roue (hurdy gurdy) player (& maker), Neil Brook. Other regulars include a grumpy looking ol’ squeezer scowling behind his 2-row box. I wondered if this was their ‘Don Coroleone’? He seeming to be at the head of the table, facing the entrance… There’s usually a fiddler or two or three, which includes their senior resident fiddler and character, Michael Dunne. There’s a few winds, passable and hopeless, and they’ve a resident uilleann piper and permanent long suffering board member of the local Comhaltas. Also good news, for some that might have concerns, their viel-a-roux player also doubles, no, he triples on a double necked thing-a-ma-jig, with strings for pluckin’ and stummin’. I do realize that for some that wouldn’t be considered ‘good news’. Yes, they have their share of pluckers. I musn’t forget the chatty few there as appreciative support, the family and friends, their ‘audience’, and me and a pint. And never wanting to forget the nod to the proprietor by who’s grace it all happens ~ the pub owner and bartender who it turns out has rhythm and ain’t half bad with his occassional improvised hand percussion, tapping away on the bar.

I had heard tales, and we know how those can grow out or proportion, and that is probably why I first took the frowning box squeezer as proof of grumpiness. I’ve learned to try not to let first impression persist unchallenged. There was nothing grumpy about the music they made collectively. They ain’t half bad, and the two tenor banjo pluckers did a fair job of it without sending me round the twist, which is saying a lot. I enjoyed their music. Tempos were relaxed, not hurried, and the variety of forms, not reel dominated, was impressive, even including the occassional waltz and O’Carolan piece. No, it wasn’t a purist event. They dabbled in traditions other than Irish or the music of Lancashire, but their play list didn’t jar uncomfortably between my ears, in my alternately wired head. I didn’t sense any of the tensions that can occur between some, no hint of competition or a jarring ego. I had no sense of anyone out to prove something. The ‘Don’, the ol’ squeezer, did seem to be the main focus of where sets were coming from, but it didn’t feel tyrannical. No whip was present, no brass knuckle dusters, koshes or shillelaghs. However, I do realize that some people consider any member of the accordion family to be in the same league with such weapons or threats. My guess is that his scowl earned him some added consideration, that and he was ~ ‘the box player’. But, I sensed nothing unreasonable or unpleasant. πŸ˜‰

It’s a lovely session, and I don’t say that lightly, being tight with my complements. It’s small, intimate, and with only a rare situation of someone who hasn’t a clue rhythm, pitch, tune or accompaniment wise, or at least not to the point of it being a huge interference… The session corner of this pub is a tight fit, which probably accounts for the assigned seat feel to it, and a hint of a seating hierarchy, with the ‘Don’ at the head. I never saw a ‘stranger’ join the group, so I don’t know whether there are ‘special’ requirements or expectations or some special opening in the seating ~ or whether or not they’d chew you up and spit you out or greet you with a hearty welcome. Maybe the box player cracks a smile?

All kidding aside, this is a lovely session, at least viewed from the outside, from my vantage point… I’ve only been along for a listen, and I can say honestly that I’ve enjoyed myself for the few short times I’ve had the pleasure…

Go raibh ma’agat / Thanks ~ with appreciation…

4th Thursday evenings at The Moorbrook, Preston ~ beginning at 8:30 p.m.

4th Thursday evenings at The Moorbrook, Preston ~ beginning at 8:30 p.m.

3-row / 12 bass

With respect to the box player mentioned above, and me feeling guilt ~ it’s a 3-row, 12 bass, and he has been known to crack the occassional smile between tunes, and has even been known, so I’ve been told, been known to even descend into a full chuckle. However, I have been warned not to get on his bad side… So, with guilt and fear I’m trying to temper my funny bone a little here… Hopefully he’s one of those curmudgeons that refuses to be connected to the Internet… πŸ˜‰

Appreciation of appreciation

Thanks, Ceolachan, for a very perceptive and positive endorsement of our little session - amid all the leg-pulling.

The intention of the session is indeed to present high-quality Irish trad music in the old-fashioned way, playing a large proportion of well-known tunes of all types so that less experienced members do not feel excluded. Essentially we are anti-clique and anti-ego, but we want to keep the standard of musicality as high as our collective abilities allow.

We all want to keep the traditional Irish music session alive, which in Preston which according to my memory has continued on and off since the sixties, in spite of some very thin times - especially in the last decade. And we all want to represent the music to the best possible standard to regular and casual visitors alike, to preserve the old music, not least for the sake of all the previous generations of quality singers and musicians who passed their knowledge freely on to us. By the way, the unstated rule is Irish music only until 11.00 pm, though odd times an unwitting visitor might sneak something in under the radar.

Agreed, it is only a small pub and it is now and then a tight fit in our playing corner, but we prefer to be out front in the bar area rather than shut away in an equally small room. Places will always be found for visitors who want to join in.

Given the average age of our regulars I suppose we do look a bit daunting. We may not be grinning madly like some sort of boy band, but there is still plenty of the crack between (and during) tunes. It’s just that the humour tends to be the deadest of deadpan, in the local style.

By the way, if I’m frowning it’s usually because I’m trying to remember how the tune goes.

So, much obliged, Ceolachan. You definitely caught he spirit of our session.

Tom (‘the Don’) Walsh

Ditto all the above. I wish I could be a regular, but hope my appreciation for the few visits is made clearly above. I don’t tease about anything I don’t appreciate, including people… 😎

Keep up the good work/music…

Michael Dunne, R.I.P. ~ died Saturday morning, September 12th, 2009

A great character, husband, father, friend ~ good craic ~ one of the lovliest smiles of knowing I have had the pleasure of being on the recieving end of. Your joy and humour has a permanent place in our hearts, dear friend… I was so looking forward to this Autumn and extended time with you, to help straighten our my crooked bow and bend my sense of humour more in line with yours. Circumstances put things on too long a delay, but we who have known you as a friend have been blessed by that time. Thanks for the music and the laughs…

~ ‘c’

Moorbrook now hosts the Second Sunday CCE Session

As from September 2010 the Moorbrook is hosting the CCE Branch meet which takes place on the Second Sunday from 4-7 pm. We have exclusive use of the pub so entry is via the back door. There is no longer any CCE connection to the Unicorn

The Preston Branch of Comhaltas is no more

As of December 2010…

2nd Sunday & Last Thursday of the month - sessions at The Moorbrook, Preston


Sessions at The Moorbrook

I have been told details have not been changed.
First, the sessions are no longer Comhaltas.
Second, They are on the second Sunday of the calendar month, and on the last Thursday of the calendar month, NOT THE FOURTH! I am the original poster of this session. How do you change it without having to post as an outsider? The original poster should be able to edit.

It was me dear friend, you’re just the email address… πŸ˜‰ I’ll try to make those necessary changes if possible…

You can’t change the options for days, in doesn’t allow for once a month, that just has to be added here in the comments, as we’ve both done…

Last Wednesday of the Month - August 27th / September 24th ~ 2014

This is the most recent information I’ve received. The Moorbrook is under new management and has been given a face lift, paint and some work on a little outdoor area, the parking still behind in the B&Q parking lot, or wherever else you can find space. If I can I’ll check it out this next Wednesday. As I understand it’s all the same folk, but where the Friday sessions have moved I haven’t yet heard and any attempt to find out hasn’t yet met an answer. The regulars are a jolly and welcoming group and I suspect that won’t have changed, though maybe with age they’ve become a bit more caught up with aches and pains and other life challenges and have lost a little more patience? I know I have, but I’m working on trying to turn that around… πŸ˜‰

14/04/2018 ~ R.I.P. Peter Savage

Peter passed away peacefully at home Saturday night, April 14th, 2018…

Peter & Marie Savage gave more than 30 years to Comhaltas and its activities in Preston, Lancashire, and they continued that involvement and support for Irish music and dance, and Comhaltas, after moving from England to Ireland, Castlerea, County Roscommon…

Eber Finn ~

Re: The Moorbrook

Are there still sessions in the Moorbrook and if so when?


The Moorbrook session has moved to The Thurlby Club & 2nd Sundays

The Moorbrook session, many of the same lovely folk, Tom Walsh still at the helm, has moved to:

The Thurlby Club
47 Egerton Road
Ashton-On-Ribble, Preston PR2 1AL

& 2nd Sundays - - - next session is Sunday October 13th, starting at 4 p.m.
- - - more later, hopefully…