The O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat was first held on October 30-31, 2004, at the Springhill Retreat Center in Richardson, Texas. More than 140 students of all ages gathered to learn traditional Irish music on a variety of instruments taught by teachers mostly from the Dallas area. The enrollment was far greater than what was expected, and it demonstrated a strong interest in Irish music throughout Texas and the Southwest region.
As a tribute to Jim O'Flaherty, a native Irishman and musician living in the DFW region who passed away in 2001, a Dallas musician named Ken Fleming organized the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat. The retreat focuses on the teaching of traditional Irish music on fiddle, flute, harp, uilleann pipes, tenor banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, bodhrán, guitar, piano, accordion and concertina. Singing in English and Irish Gaelic are taught along with enrichment classes pertaining to music history, session etiquette, music arrangements, learning resources, and more. A number of the instructors are internationally-acclaimed performers and teachers many of whom are brought over from Ireland.
After its successful first year, the retreat moved in 2005 to larger facilities at Hoblitzelle Camp and Conference Center in Midlothian, Texas and again in 2012 to the more expansive Lakeview Camp & Conference Center in Waxahachie, Texas. In 2014, we are very excited to return to the beautiful Hoblitzelle campus due to extensive renovation and expanded meeting space. With increasing enrollment from outside of the region, the retreat is now ranked internationally with similar music camps in America such as the Augusta Irish Week, Catskills Irish Week and Swannanoa Celtic Week.