The Artists

The Artists

We have a talented pool:

Máire Clerkin – Artistic Director from London; dancer and choreographer. Teacher / Adjudicator with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha, Dublin; writer-actor, performer of one woman show, touring internationally; founder of UK theatre companies, The Hairy Marys, Clerkinworks. Directs drama projects for Irish Dance academies nationwide. Choreographs for theatre and TV. Dancer and co-creator of show for Tom Crean International Festival, Ireland,2013 & 16. Teaching Artist with Los Angeles Music Center , LA Arts Group, and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Máire also teaches at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and University of Limerick in Ireland. Solo performance in Telling LA, for PBS TV.

Patrick D’Arcy – musician from Ireland. Uilleann piper, whistle, and bodhrán player. Partick has appeared on numerous recordings over the years in all genres of music and has written music for TV. He recently played whistle on the score for the motion picture “Snow White & The Huntsman” for composer James Newton Howard. Since 2010 he has had the privilege to tour extensively from The Waterfront in Belfast to The Grand ‘Ol Opry in Nashville with modern hymn writers Keith & Kristyn Getty. This summer he released his debut solo album “Wallop The Spot” to critical acclaim. His credit list includes some familiar figures including Bono (U2), The Kennedy/Shriver Family, Quincy Jones, Daniel Lanois, Oprah Winfrey and David Foster.

Kira Ott – Music Director from Southern California, musician, fiddle, vocals and dancer. She has been very active on the LA Irish music scene for many years. As a child she studied classical viola, but left that behind to play Irish music as a teenager. After spending many winters traveling to Donegal Ireland to learn at the Frankie Kennedy Winter School she took a few summers festival hopping around Ireland, learning and playing with many of the greats. She has performed and toured with numerous bands and teaches locally. Around the same time as the fiddle took over from the viola, Kira took up competition Irish step dancing. She stopped competing after reaching preliminary championship level, but has frequently been a good go between and translator for arranging shows with both live musicians and dancers. She brings those skills and the joy of both music and dance together to A Gaelic Gathering.

Frank Simpson – musician, native of Dublin, Ireland, is an award-winning musician who enjoys performing the colorful tradition of Irish music on wooden flutes and whistles. Durfee Foundation Master Musician Fellowship, 2006; Wind Instruments Director for Solstice Festival.

Moira Smiley – musician, vocals, accordion, from Vermont: works internationally as composer-vocalist; leads visionary vocal band, Moira Smiley & VOCO; travels the world as a soloist in early & traditional music and creates new work with dance, theatre & film. Moira is now lead singer with Irish/American supergroup Solas.

gg_nuala_kennedyNuala Kennedy who was awarded a Masters in Performance and Composition with distinction from Newcastle University, and holds a post-graduate degree with distinction in education from the University of Edinburgh, enjoys researching traditional song. As a performer, she weds a serious pedigree of musicianship and a deep understanding of the history of her native music, with a light-hearted musical spontaneity. Each of her recordings have a bold, unique sound and as a producer she is known for exploring the confluence of traditional and contemporary music. The Irish Times described Nuala Kennedy as “a flute player and composer of remarkable finesse, fearless of the unknown”.

Megan Drake – Megan has been dancing professionally since 2009, and has toured throughout 4 continents with many prestigious companies, such as Celtic Legends, Rhythm of the Dance, and Rockin’ Road to Dublin. She competed at the world championship level, and placed top 5 in the Western Region US multiple times. She is also currently a Pilates and Fitness instructor, and enjoys helping Irish dancers maintain fitness and prevent injury. She is delighted to be a part of A Gaelic Gathering, sharing her love of dance with audiences throughout Southern California!

gg_daithi_fisherDaithí Fisher – started dancing aged four with the McGarrity School of Irish Dance in Belfast. Title-holder several times of Ulster Champion, he trained also with the Doherty School, winning North American Championships, All Ireland, Irish Nationals and was runner up in the World Championships. Daithi has toured throughout Europe and China with acclaimed Irish dance show, Celtic Legends . A certified teacher with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Daithi now co-runs Fisher-McLeod School of Irish Dance in Southern California.

gg_ian_mcleodIan McLeod – trained at what is now known as the Butler Fearon O’Connor School of Irish Dance, winning the Western US Championships four times. Aged 18 he moved to Belfast and under the Doherty School won two Ulster regional titles, placed top 5 at All Ireland and World Championships, and top 2 at All Scotland and Great Britain Championships. He was part of the All Ireland winning team in Ceili Dancing. A certified teacher with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Ian now co-runs Fisher-McLeod School of Irish Dance in Southern California.


Guest Artists

gg_maeve_crokeMaeve Croke – started dancing for the Troy school or Irish Dance in her hometown of Waterford, Ireland. Following a successful competitive career, she was selected to join Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Maeve was principal dancer with Rhythm of the Dance before touring the world with Riverdance, for which she was Dance Captain. Performance highlights include The Great Hall of the People in Beijing and the Kremlin in Russia. Maeve’s stage and TV credits include The Shaughraun in London’s West Endand The Today Show on NBC. A popular tutor at Camp Rince Ceol, teaching students from all over North America, Maeve currently resides in Los Angeles and runs the Celtic Irish Dance Academy.

Jonathan Presley – Dancer, native of Fresno, California, international Irish Dance competitor since 2004. He trained at the McTeggart School of Irish Dance for ten years under Maureen Hall, and in 2011 co-founded the Irish dance club, Gra Ag Rince, at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Alice Ryan – trained at the McTeggart School of Irish Dance under legendary teacher, Maureen Hall. A graduate of The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, she is a company member of Theatre Banshee. Alice sings and dances with Irish bands, The Rolling Wave, Blackthorn Aire, and The Sweet Set.

Owen Barrington – Hailing from his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, Owen Barrington began dancing at the relatively late age of 12 and by age 15 began his competitive Irish dance career under the instruction of famous teacher, adjudicator and choreographer Tony Comerford A.D.C.R.G. In spite of his late start, he became the first Alaskan to reach Open Champion status and the first to qualify for the World Irish Dancing Championships. In 2005, Owen joined the internationally acclaimed touring show “Riverdance” and has since performed all across North America. Owen Barrington became Senor Men’s World Champion in 2008.

Tara Barry Phelan – is from Cobh, County Cork. Having toured the United States as leading lady in Riverdance for six years, Tara married and settled down in Redondo Beach, California. Twice crowned World Champion and six-times winner of the All-Ireland Irish Dance Championships, with Cowhie Ryan School, Tara nowadays coaches dancers nationwide and is in high demand for her outstanding choreography.
Michael Patrick Breen – dancer from Ireland and England. He is an actor, Irish dance teacher and choreographer; team titles in Irish Regional and four U.S. National Championships; Southern California Men’s Championships. He also founded the Irish Set Dancers of Southern California.
Helen Donnelly – dancer from Los Angeles. Former Open Champion from the olden days before wigs. Performed extensively with the band Ciunas and appeared at the Ford Amphitheatre and the Queen Mary; she is currently studying for her TCRG Irish Dance Teacher’s exam.
Jennifer Keogh – dancer from Dublin, Ireland; silver medalist All Ireland finals, lead dancer Tribute to Maureen Potter, RTE television, Dublin. Qualified masseuse and makeup artist.
Jimmy Murphy – musician from California, guitar, mandolin, vocals. Traditional Irish guitarist, he performs, teaches, and plays in sessions throughout the greater Los Angeles area. International residencies in Japan for Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios.
A Gaelic Gathering is available for school assemblies, concerts, recitals and parties. The group can also be hired in tandem with Máire Clerkin’s school workshop programs in Traditional, Rhythmic & Creative Irish Dance and Irish Dance Drama.
Bookings: email maire@maireclerkin.com