The Samhain Celtic New Year Festival will feature a variety of workshops highlighting cultural aspects of the seven Celtic nations.

Here is what you can see, hear and do.


  Learn the art of Aran knitting with Helen Burros

The morning session will share the research on the history of Aran knitting, and explain that various cable patterns traveled with the fishing fleets and the Herring Lassies, so were not restricted to just certain areas.

Simple Rope Cable: Using size 5, 6, 7, or 8 needles and worsted weight yarn. Attendees should have 18 stitches cast on and six rows of garter stitch worked before the session begins, to provide a beginning to work the cable stitches on.

Scottish Fiddle Introduction with Brandon Vance

This class is designed to introduce the basic characteristics of Scottish Fiddling, including the Scots snap, birl, and the stylistic principles governing the strathspey, Scotland’s national dance. The aim is to help students not only learn new repertoire and skills, but to gain a greater understanding of the cultural and historical forces that have shaped the Scottish fiddling tradition. Two tunes will be taught by ear, phrase-by-phrase, through sheet music will also be provided to serve as a memory aid outside of class. I highly recommended bringing a recording device, as well.

Explore Irish history with Aislinn Adams

Workshop No. 1: The 1916 Rising- The who, what, where, when, why!

Workshop No. 2: Women’s role in the 1916 Rising and their increasing participation in the War of Independence.

Welsh cake baking with the Welsh Society of Oregon

Welsh cakes are “native” to the nation of Wales. They are griddle simple cakes with a memorable flavor. The demonstration will focus on the baking (griddling) of little cakes.

Irish Language with Bruce Kenny

This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of Irish language including common phrases and rudimentary elements of structure and pronunciation. Open to everyone with an interest in the language and emphasis will be given to practice speaking and developing ways to integrate it into daily use.

Scottish Gaelic Sean Nos Singing with Brandon Vance

In this workshop, we will explore the genre of Scots-Gaelic singing known as “puirt-a-beul” or “mouth music.” These tongue-twisting songs tend to have short, repetitive phrases and fast, dance-like rhythms, making them easier to memorize initially, but also more difficult to perform up to tempo.We will cover the basics of pronunciation by diving into one or two short songs from this genre – slowly. In Sean Nòs (old way) singing, the songs are taught by ear.However, lyrics and music sheets will be provided during the workshop for reference. Recording devices are highly recommended.

Four-Step Highland Fling with Laura DeVoe

Get a basic introduction to Scottish step dance by learning a four-step highland fling. No experience needed. No partner needed, either, as this is a dance for an individual person.

Spinning Demonstrations with Becky

Becky will be presenting a “hands on” demonstration of spinning. She will have her spinning wheel in motion for folks to watch the creation of yarn.  She also will have samples of different types of wool for them to dig their hands into and “tools” of the trade displayed to see what’s used. Becky has created great visual presentation boards that will be on display that trace the process from start to finish.

Irish Set Dancing Workshop with Mary Lowes

Here’s an opportunity to try Irish Social dancing in a relaxed setting.  It’s similar to square dancing and is favored by the Irish. The dances developed in the rural areas of Ireland and many of the sets are named for the area in which they were danced.

St. Brigid’s Cross with Carlee Wright

Learn about the St. Brigid’s Cross in this craft and culture workshop where attendees will make a Brigid’s Cross to take home.

Irish Genealogy with Kerry Wymetalek

Introduction to basic genealogy with references to Ireland.

Firelight Stories with Gordon Munro 

Stories will come from Ireland, Scotland, and England.

Scottish Gaelic for Beginners with Channing Dodson

Channing Dodson has been a piper and keen student of the Scottish Gaelic language for more than 20 years. He has studied Gaelic at Glasgow University and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye.

This workshop will give you a painless introduction to the joys of Gaelic conversation, demystify pronunciation, and give you important building blocks that you can use to continue studying on your own.

Guitar DADGAD tuning with Glen Waddell


Basic Vocal Techniques for Irish Singing with Elizabeth Nicholson

The singing class is an introduction to basic vocal production and vocal color, and a discussion of the vocal tone used in singing Irish traditional songs.


Bodhran Irish Drum with Glen Waddell


Portland Scottish Country Dancers

During our exhibition, we hope to show some examples of the types of dances as well as do some audience participation so people can see how much fun it is.

Uncial Calligraphy with Dennis

Dennis will teach the basic formations of Uncial. Calligraphy pen would be helpful, but not required.

Scottish Singing & Melody Instrument with Channing Dodson

Learn how to sing a simple Gaelic song and also one or two puirt-á-beul (mouth music). For instrumentalists, knowing how to sing the words can help you memorize the tune and unlock the secrets of the rhythm. Singers and players of any melody instrument are welcome.

Singers and players of any melody instrument are welcome.

Intro to Irish Penny Whistle with Eliot Grasso

This class examines the techniques, repertoire, and general artistry involved in playing dance music on the tin whistle in a traditional style.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a recording device, paper, and a writing instrument. The CVS General Store will have whistles for purchase.

  Playing Back-up for Irish Music with Elizabeth Nicholson

This is an introduction to the modes, chords and rhythms used to back-up Irish dance tunes. It is for all back-up instruments. Bring an instrument if you have one.
Composition in a Traditional Style with Eliot Grasso

This class investigates the anatomy of an Irish tune, and how learners might compose original music in a traditional style. Participants are encouraged to bring a recording device, paper, and a writing implement.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a recording device, paper, and a writing instrument.

Intermediate Irish Flute with Eliot Grasso 

This class examines the techniques, repertoire, and general artistry involved in playing dance music on the flute in a traditional style. Participants are encouraged to bring a recording device, paper, and a writing implement.

Sword Dance and Art of Kilt Folding with Eric Chandler

Eric will share his Sword Dance skills during the Opening Ceremony. Watch for Eric to demonstrate the art of the great kilt in the gym.

Bagpipes of Scotland with Channing Dodson

Learn about the fascinating history of the bagpipes in Scotland and the rest of the British Isles and hear traditional pipe tunes played on the Scottish small pipes and the Great Highland bagpipe.

Welsh Society of Oregon Chorus

The Festival Chorus will be performing two times.