2017 O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat Updates

October 17, 2017 Update

Hi All,
We are days away, and the fun begins.  Here are view items to consider:

Weather Looking Good
Rain is predicted for Saturday and Sunday, but that could change. Texas weather is funny that way. We suggest you bring a poncho or umbrella.  We have some for sale at the retreat booth.

If you are coming to us for the first time, please take a moment and review our NEWCOMER page.

Arriving Early or Late?
If you are tent camping or in an RV or staying in a dorm, you can set up any time after noon on Thursday. Keys to private rooms may not be available till later - possibly by 2 p.m. and certainly by 4 p.m. Thursday during check in. If you plan to arrive later than 9 p.m. on Thursday, send an email to enroll@oflahertyretreat.org to get instructions for getting your key and/or finding your lodging. If you need registration help after 9 p.m. on Thursday, call our office cell at (469) 215-1840.

Check-in will be at the Chapel from 4-9 p.m. on Thursday and 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Friday morning. If you can only arrive on Saturday morning, first go to dining hall and find one of our managers or go to our booth in the Chapel.

Meet & Greet in Texas Pavilion
Our Thursday night gathering will be held in the Texas Pavilion, located directly across the Barn.  There is no parking at the Pavilion, so you will need to park in the Coffield Parking Lot, next to the horse barn or at the Chapel and walk to it. Review the SITE MAP for locations. The Texas Pavilion is in the center of the map.  Sessions may happen at any time before, during or after the dinner, so bring your instruments.  To our veteran attendees, if you see someone who is new to O’Flaherty’s, reach out to them, welcome them and answer any questions you can or get them to someone who can.  There’s a lot to process if your new.

Kick-Off Ceili After Meet & Greet in the Longhorn Room
Around 8:30 p.m., we invite you to go to our new dance hall in the Longhorn room at the Coffield Conference Center for our Kick-Off Ceili.  If you’d like to experience the music in a more physical way, you gotta join us.  Susan and Michael Harrison will call the dances and teach you what you need to know.  Live music is provided.  We’ll end around 11 p.m. to allow your bodies to rest for the start of the classes the next morning.

Hotel Shuttle Bus
We have a number of people who are flying in and won’t have their own transportation. For those staying at the hotel who need a ride to and from the hotel and camp, here is the SHUTTLE SCHEDULE.  If you need a ride outside of the shuttle times OR you missed catching a shuttle, call our Operations Crew at (469) 215-1840.  PLEASE NOTE: If you are staying at the hotel and have a car, please help us transport folks to the camp and back. See Louvain and let her know your willingness to help.

Breakfast at Courtyard Marriott
If you are staying at the Courtyard Marriott in Midlothian, your breakfasts are included in your room package and is available to you in the hotel conference room between 7:15-8:15 a.m. each morning.  Be sure and wear your retreat name badge.  By the way, this is also the room that can be used for sessions.

Stuff for Classes
Be sure and bring a recording device and a pad and pencil/pen. Some teachers will not have printed documents for you, but instead, will have you write down the music, chords, and note for their classes. You are also welcomed to bring music stands.  Please get approval from the instructor before videotaping him or her.

Stuff for On-Campus Lodgers
If you are staying in the dorm or counselor rooms, you must bring your own linen, pillows, towels, toiletries.  With the exception of toiletries, the hotel rooms and cottages will supply these items.  Ear plugs are recommended for light sleepers.

Stuff in General to Bring or Not





WiFi Available
WiFi is available throughout the camp although in some places it’s better than others. No password is required.

Instrument Petting Zoo/ Mandolin and Banjo Tasting Classes/Used Instrument Sale
One of our instructors John Liestman organizes an Instrument Petting Zoo and Mandolin/Banjo Tasting each year.  This year it will be held in the Maverick on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.. If you want to try different instruments and/or test drive a variety mandolins or banjos, stop in. No registration necessary.  Also, we will begin permitting students to display used instruments for sale.  Look for the tables that are designated for these items.  We take no responsibility for the instruments.  We provide this as a service to our students who have instruments to sell and those who want to buy them.

Massages Are Back
Melody is back with us to offer massage therapy for our students and staff.  She has worked a lot with musicians, so be sure and sign up at her booth for a needed massage from Friday evening through Sunday. She will be available throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, but if you schedule a massage during class time, be mindful that classes are being held in the Chapel where the massages will take place. No loud groaning or screams please.

Keurigs at Chapel
We will have Keurig coffee makers in the Chapel entry with a selection of coffee and tea K-cups.  Please place a drink donation in the cash box to support this service. You are welcomed to bring your own Keurig K-cups to use.  If the Keurigs need water, please help us by filling them.  Also, consider bringing a reusable mug or container to help us cut down on waste and trash.

Rob Forkner Drum to be Auctioned
If you are interested in owning a beautifully crafted bodhran made by one of the top makers Rob Forkner, Rob has donated a drum to help support our retreat and you can view it at the retreat booth.  If you would like a chance to be the owner of this fine instrument, there is a silent auction sheet on which you can state your bid.  The drum will be awarded to the highest bidder on Sunday night at the Farewell Concert.  Thanks Rob for your generosity!

Booth Vendors
This year we’ll see the return of Herb Taylor Instruments and his finely crafted mandolins, bouzoukis and guitars.  New to our booth lineup is Things Celtic from Austin that will bring in many items related to the Irish culture.  Albert Alfonso will have his quality bodhrans for sale, and finally, our massage therapist Melody will be back bringing relief to those who play so long and hard in classes and sessions.

Instructor Concerts Streamed Live
This year we will be streaming live all of our evening instructor concerts.  If you have friends and family who can’t make the retreat but would love to at least view our extraordinary instructor concerts for a small fee, send them this link for all of the details – CONCERTS.  Some of the most amazing music has been played on the Chapel stage during the retreat. 

Important Phone Numbers
Retreat Office: (469) 215-1840 
Courtyard at Marriott Hotel: (469) 672-8760
Airport Shuttle to and from Retreat: (770) 633-9856
Director’s cell (Ken Fleming): (214) 770-5036

Past Updates
To view previous updates, go to UPDATES. Be advised that some information may have changed from the original emails sent.

I think that’s all that’s left to cover, so let’s get this event going! See you very soon!


October 7, 2017

Hi All,
We are weeks away!  We’re at full throttle heading to this year’s O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, and we’re pumped.  Here are some important items for your review:

Payments Due and Please Check Your Selections
Please take care of your balances due, if any, as soon as possible before the retreat.  To get to the log in window, there is a button on the left side of our homepage (www.oflahertyretreat.org) called “MY ACCOUNT LOGIN”.  You can also go to from HERE.  It’s a good idea that you check all of your selections for classes, meals, lodging, shuttle, etc.  Some of these items may not be available when you arrive at the camp if you failed to correctly select them ahead of time.  For example, we have to finalize our meal numbers by this Monday, Oct. 9th.  You may not be able to order extra meals at the retreat.  If have problems, contact us at enroll@oflahertyretreat.org.

Meal Menu
Here are our meals for the retreat – MENU.

Shuttle Service from Hotel to Camp
We have hired a bus to take students and instructors to and from the Courtyard by Marriott Midlothian Conference Centerto Camp Hoblitzelle.  The fee is $25 for the entire weekend and can be purchased from within your online account.  Click to the “Online Store” tab and select “Online Shopping” on the left, and you can make your selection.  Here is the camp shuttle SCHEDULE.

Shuttle Service from/to DFW Airport
If you are flying into DFW Airport and would like to take the shuttle ride to and from Camp Hoblitzelle, please review the shuttle schedule at SCHEDULE and complete the online form at SHUTTLE.  We only offer the shuttle during set times during the day on Thursday and Monday.  The fee is $25 PER ONE-WAY TRIP and can be purchased from within your online account.  Click to the “Online Store” tab and select “Online Shopping” on the left, and you can make your selection.

Signed Release Required by Hoblitzelle
Beginning this year, every participant will be required by Camp Hoblitzelle to sign a release.  This came out of left field, but they are requiring us to comply.  Here is the FORM.  We will have copies at check-in, but to save time, please bring your signed copy with you to check-in.

Music Posted for Retreat Tunes Played Slowly and Some Classes
We have uploaded the music for the Retreat Tunes Played Slowing workshop at TUNES.  You are encouraged to learn the tunes in advance so that you can play the tunes in one or both workshops on Friday and Saturday afternoons from 3:45-5:15 p.m.  Be sure and signup!  Also, some of our instructors have music uploaded that you can download for your class.  You can check this by logging on to your online account, go to “Registration” tab, and click on the “File Downloads” on the left.  If there are any documents, you should see them in the window for you to select.

Thursday Night “Meet & Greet,” Contests, Sessions and Kick-Off Ceili
We will have our traditional “Meet & Greet” Thursday night in the Texas Pavilion if the weather is good.  The meal begins at 7 p.m. followed by smores cooked in the fireplace, a pumpkin carving contest and a pie/dessert contest.  No entry fees but there will be prizes.  Sessions will happen at the Pavilion and at the Maverick and Jim Bowie.  Please do not use any other facilities on Thursday night as we have not rented them.  Around 8:30 p.m., we will have our Kick-Off Ceili at the Longhorn room in the Coffield Conference Center.  Here is a flyer for more details – MEET.

Enrollment Ends on Oct. 14th
If you have friends and colleagues who would enjoy three days of Irish music at a scenic place with plenty of lessons, concerts, ceilis, sessions, and good times, it’s still not too late to sign up.  There are openings in most classes.  At the bottom of this email is a blurb you can copy and paste and send out to prospective students.

Join Our Facebook Group
We have a Facebook “group” page where you can connect with our students, instructors and staff. Here is a link to it – RETREAT GROUP.  If you are coming for the first time, there a lot of veteran students and staff present who can answer your questions or help in other ways.

EXTRAS – Check It Out!
There is a lot of important information on this webpage on our site - EXTRAS.  For maps, directions, meal menu, fliers, schedules, etc.  You may save yourself a lot of time roaming the website by looking here first.

Previous Updates
If you would like to see a previous student update, go to UPDATES

Word about Alcohol
The camp is operated by the Salvation Army, and if you know anything about its history, this should be no surprise – no alcohol is permitted to be consumed at Camp Hoblitzelle.  If they catch you consuming it or carrying it on campus, they will require us to invite you to leave without a refund of any camp meals or lodging that you have purchased.  There is a bar at the Courtyard Marriott, so if alcohol is something you want to have, please go to the hotel.  Please understand that our compliance of this policy factors into whether or not we get to keep our event at this wonderful camp in future years.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

That’s about all for now.  I will send out a few more updates before the retreat, so please read them as they arrive in your inbox.  We are happy that you are coming, and we want this to be a grand experience for you all.

September 15, 2017 Update

Hi All,
Where did the summer go? Things are picking up speed heading to this year’s O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and we’re getting excited. Here are some important items for your review:

Check Your Account
Please review your Account Report on the “My Report” tab to be sure you have reserved everything you wanted. This is important because some things – particularly on-campus lodging and meals – may not be able to be corrected when you arrive.  Also, check your class choices, charges and payments for any errors.

Final Payments Due by Tomorrow
For those that paid a deposit of $100.00 or some other amount, the remaining balance is due tomorrow (Sept. 16).  You can use the payment portal within your online account or mail a check payable to the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, 1320 Navaho Trail, Richardson, TX 75080.  If you have problems paying, please let us know. We want to be certain that you are coming, and having your full payment is one way we can know that.  After tomorrow, full payment is required with any new enrollments.

We have received conflicting stories about the rooms at our official retreat hotel Courtyard Marriott being fully booked. Please go to our website at HOTEL and call them to see if there are any available rooms within our block of rooms at the special pricing.  If they are completely booked, there are other hotels listed on that webpage.  At the camp, we still have dorm beds, RV and tent camping spots available, but no private rooms. 

Shuttle Service from/to DFW Airport
If you are flying into DFW Airport and would like to take the shuttle ride to and from Camp Hoblitzelle, please review the shuttle schedule and instructions at SCHEDULE and complete the online form at SHUTTLE. We only offer the shuttle during set times during the day on Thursday and Monday.  You will need to prepay for this service by going into the Online Store within your account.

Liz Carroll to Receive Award
Liz Carroll, one of Irish music ‘s foremost musicians, will receive this year’s “Irish Artist in America Achievement Award” at the retreat. We will have an intimate time to chat with Liz during a “Trad Talk.” Similar in some ways to the notable “Ted Talks,” our Trad Talks feature moderated question and answer sessions with our award recipients. We are delighted that Liz will be joining us. You can sign up for the Trad Talk by going to your online account and selecting it for the Sunday afternoon workshop time of 3:45-5:15 p.m.

Music Posted for Retreat Tunes Played Slowly
We have uploaded the music for the Retreat Tunes Played Slowing workshop at TUNES. You are encouraged to learn the tunes in advance so that you can play the tunes in one or both workshops on Friday and Saturday afternoons from 3:45-5:15 p.m. with John Liestman.  Be sure and signup!

Join Our Facebook Group
We have a group on Facebook where you can go to ask questions and learn more about the retreat before, during and after. In Facebook, search for the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat public group and join it. Please use this LINK. There are two groups listed, but use the one that is associated with the link. If you have photos or video from previous retreats, please post them on our page and anywhere else you can. 

Annual O’Flaherty Retreat Benefit Saturday, September 30th in Dallas
On Saturday, Sept. 30th, beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting till midnight at the Trinity Hall Pub in Dallas, we will be hosting our annual fundraiser for the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat.  Here’s the flyer – BENEFIT -- and here is our musical lineup in order of appearance:

6 p.m. - String Theory
7 p.m. - Jigsaw
8 p.m. – Beyond the Pale
9 p.m. – Selkie Girls
10 p.m. – 5 Second Rule
11 p.m. - Slugger’s Rule

Admission is free to all of the performances.  In addition to the music, there will a raffle for some great prizes.  We need your support, and two ways you can do that are come out to Trinity Hall Pub on Sept. 30th and eat, drink and listen to some great bands, and buy some raffle tickets.  Trinity Hall Pub donates a generous portion of their sales that night to the retreat, so the more you eat and drink, the better it is for us.  Also, if you can help us with a donated raffle item, send us an email or call us at the number at the bottom.

That’s about all for now. Things are going well, and we are expecting another great year.  Please spread the word about the retreat to the people you know who love Irish music and would like to learn to play it or play it better. We still have availability in most classes.  I have prepared a summary of the details below that you can copy and paste sections and send out. Thanks for your help!