Whiskey in a Jar and a Reel on the Fiddle

A good Irish tune can sweep you up. It can make you crave a Guinness and a jig in a warm, dimly lit pub. Fortunately, Kitty O’Reilly’s provides just that on every first and third Wednesday of the month.

Maybe you’ve stumbled upon them, tucked into the back of the dining room, when they suddenly strike up an acoustic song come 7 pm.

Musicians play in a circle (the better to hear each other and stay together) and use a variety of instruments on any given night: a tin whistle, fiddles, mandolin, accordion, guitar, flute, bodhrán (Irish drum) and sometimes banjo.

The sessions were started by the late Cy Rosenthal, who was a member of the Irish music group, Bubble and Squeak. Janelle Peotter is a musician that has been involved with the Irish music sessions from the beginning, about a year and a half ago.

“Some people come and play every single tune, some play a few and sit to the side,” Peotter said. “There’s a lot of laughter and the enjoyment of playing together without the pressure of it being a performance.”

The “session” part of these Wednesday nights means it’s an informal gathering of musicians. The players change, depending on who’s available.

In a given evening, the group plays a mix of reels (fast-paced dance tunes), jigs (lively folk dance), waltzes, horn pipe (upbeat, highly energetic dance) and airs (slow tunes).

Peotter said, “It can evolve into whatever energy people bring to it. Most of the tunes are instrumental. We play some of the popular Irish American songs, but it’s not a primary focus.”

Musicians and listeners are welcome. Though many play the music by ear, there’s always printed music available to read.

For more information, stop by Kitty O’Reilly’s located at 59 E. Oak Street, call 920.743.7441 or visit