Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Radio Offers the Flavor of Ireland

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Radio Offers the Flavor of Ireland

Article excerpt

It's not just any radio show this side of the Atlantic that will tell you what the mood was in the pubs of Ireland the night after the national rugby team lost to France.

But listeners to "Echoes of Erin" learned Sunday that "the pubs, and everything, were like a morgue," from Ann Bray, in Dublin, the Irish correspondent for "Echoes of Erin."

The pubs there, Bray reported, are "usually very lively."

"Echoes of Erin" has been airing on White Oak's WEDO-810 AM for 15 years. It's the radio equivalent of the Irish classroom at the University of Pittsburgh.

Every week, Diane V. Byrnes, who raises the money needed to put on the hour-long show, presents the news of Ireland, an interview with an Irish celebrity or news maker and a healthy dose of Irish music that's good for the soul.

For Byrnes, of Etna, who was last year's grand marshall of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the radio show is truly a labor of love.

Every year, she holds fund-raisers to raise the $13,000 she needs to pay for the air time, the expenses that go into keeping the show playing for its Pittsburgh audience.

This Sunday, the morning after riding in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Byrnes was on the air, thanking the committee and her fans.

"Thank you for letting me know you listen and enjoy the program," she said in her introduction to the show.

It wasn't until the 1980s that Byrnes, who grew up in Garfield, discovered the music of Ireland. Though her heritage was in part Irish, with other parts being German and Italian, she didn't discover the music until she went to an Irish dance at the Pittsburgh Irish Club in Squirrel Hill. Shortly thereafter, she attended an Irish music festival in 1986.

She was so taken with the music, she became an Irish music promoter, bringing in bands to halls such as the Carnegie Music Hall next to the Homestead Library in Munhall. …

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