Midsummer Faire &

Celtic Celebration at the Farm on Saint Mathias

Special Guests

Our special guests are award winning crime novelist Erin Hart and her husband 2012 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Traditional Composer of the Year, Paddy O'Brien. Both Paddy and Erin are respositories of fascinating information, history, and stories which they will share with you. Find them speaking, reading, playing, and chatting in the Farm Market. 

Hear Award Winning Author Erin Hart at 12:00am and 2:00pm

Erin Hart writes a series of archaeological crime novels set in the mysterious boglands of Ireland. After graduating with a theater degree from Saint Olaf College, she earned an M.A. in English and creative writing from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and worked as an arts administrator, journalist, and theater critic. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music also led her to co-found Minnesota’s Irish Music & Dance Association. 

Erin’s debut novel, Haunted Ground, introduced readers to pathologist Nora Gavin and archaeologist Cormac Maguire. In addition to winning the Friends of American Writers award and Romantic Times Best First Mystery, the book was shortlisted for Anthony and Agatha awards, and was named by Book-Of-The-Month Club and ALA Booklist as one of the best crime novels of 2003. Lake of Sorrows, the second novel in the series, was recognized as a Minnesota Book Award finalist in 2004. False Mermaid, third in the series, was published in March 2010. In addition to being published all over the English-speaking world, Erin’s work has beentranslated into German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, and Japanese.

She lives in Saint Paul with her husband, Irish button accordion player Paddy O’Brien, with whom she frequently visits Ireland, carrying out essential research in bogs and cow pastures and castles and pubs.

See Legendary Accordion Player and Author Paddy O'Brien at 1:00 and 3:00pm

A product of County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, Paddy O'Brien is regarded by serious players and collectors of Irish traditional music as one of the tradition's most important repositories; in a musical career that spans nearly forty years, he has collected more than 3,000 compositions—jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, and marches, including many rare and unusual tunes. His mastery of the two-row button accordion was also acknowledged through prestigious awards: he was named Oireachtas champion four times, and All-Ireland senior accordion champion in 1975. In Ireland, he played and recorded with the famed Castle Ceili Band and Ceoltoiri Laighean.

In 1978, Paddy began playing regularly in the United States, in Washington D.C., Saint Louis, Saint Paul, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and many places between. He has been featured on three recordings with Shanachie Records since 1978, and in 1988 released his first solo album, "Stranger at the Gate," on the Green Linnet label. Paddy has taught at the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School held in Milltown Malbay, County Clare, and has served as a master artist in the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program.

In 1994, Paddy received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to record and annotate 500 reels and jigs from his vast repertoire of traditional tunes. The result of that effort, The Paddy OBrien Tune Collection: A Personal Treasury of Irish Traditional Music, Volume One, was released in 1995 and has received accolades from players of Irish music around the world. In 2011, Paddy released Volume Two of his ground-breaking work, containing another 500 tunes. 

In 2012, the Irish language television network TG4 honored Paddy with its Gradam Ceoil Traditional Composer of the Year Award. This prestigious award (commonly referred to as the 'Oscars' of Irish music) recognizes a lifetime of achievement. 

Paddy currently plays and tours internationally with Chulrua, a trio also also featuring fiddle and guitar. He also tour and plays around the country with a seven-piece ensemble,The Doon Ceili Band and with a new traditional music chamber orchestra called O'Rourke's Feast.