Stephenson Center for Appalachia to host Irish music duo The Belfast Boys

October 07, 2016

Ireland is coming to Lees-McRae! The Belfast Boys, traditional Irish music duo, will visit campus on Thursday, October 13. 

As part of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lecture Series, poet and musician Adrian Rice and classically-trained musician Alyn Mearns will appear at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium in the Cannon Student Center.

Rice and Mearns grew up in the midst of the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland—both immigrating at different times to North Carolina.

These natives of Belfast met in a Hickory bookstore where their shared language and experiences drew them together.  Rice, who plays mandolin and bodhran—a framed drum made of goat skin and played with a two-headed stick—and guitarist Mearns, both share the vocals in their contemporary renditions of traditional Irish songs.

Rice has appeared at Lees-McRae before entrancing an audience of students, faculty and local community members with his heartfelt stories and insightful poems.

He and Mearns have produced a successful CD of some of their favorite Irish melodies. Songs for Crying Out Loud includes such old favorites as “Danny Boy” and “Wild Mountain Thyme” with its roots in Scotland, as well as original material.

“The Belfast Boys bring a breath of old Ireland and a refreshing new Irish-Appalachian sound to our campus. We are fortunate to host these vibrant musicians as we welcome autumn to the mountains,” said Director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia Dr. Michael Joslin.

Stephenson Center lectures are free and open to the public. For information, email Michael Joslin at

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Poet and musician Adrian Rice