Harmonicas Ireland.

Welcome to Galway Sessions 2018

We would like to extend a true Galway welcome to visitors & locals alike to this year’s Galway Sessions Festival. This year, our focus is on the deceivingly simple looking but quite complicated instrument, the harmonica. Colloqueally known in the Irish Tradition as the “Tin Sandwich”.

The playing of this instrument has experienced a strong revival in the past decade due mainly to the eorts of some great practitioners such as Noel Battle, the Murphy Brothers from Wexford, Carlow’s Mick Kinsella and one of Ireland’s greatest imports Rick Epping from the USA.

We are proud to present these greats and many more wonderful artists in what promises to be a memorable week of music, song and dance.

Harmonica Workshop

Mick Kinsella, Traditional Irish Music on Harmonica for Tremelo, Chromatic & Blues Harp,
Please bring Key of G Harmonica (Workshops include maintenance, repair & history of Harmonicas by Cathal Johnson of Harmonicas Ireland)
Registration at the Crane Bar 10.30am
Adm: 1 day = €20 • 2 Days = €30
Upstairs at the Crane Bar register 10.30 / 11am-1pm / Sat 16th & Sun 17th

Blues Harp Workshop

Maciek Zaworonek Basic & Advanced techniques on Blues Harp, Blues & Jazz.

Columban Hall, Sea Road / 11am-1pm / Sat 16th & Sun 17th

We are delighted to announce that National Harmonica League president Ben Hewlett will be at our workshops this year. Ben is an expert on the playing of Sonny Terry and will give a workshop on Sonny Terry’s playing in the Crane on Saturday afternoon at 3. This is a free event!

Spook of the 13th Lock

Róisín Dubh / WED13 June at 8pm / Admission €10

The band match Irish Folk and Trad. Music with experimental Rock to create an exciting and exhilirating sound.

Cathal Johnson (Harmonica)
Gerry Harrington (Fiddle)

St. Nicholas Church / Thurs 14 June at 7.30pm / Admission €15
Free historical Tour of Church included


RICK EPPING (Harmonica /Concertina)

Seamie O’Dowd (Guitar)

Róisín Dubh / Thurs 14 June at 8pm / Admission €20

Stephanie Geremia (Flute/Vocals)

with Aaron Jones, (Bouzuki/Guitar)
Ben Gunnery (Fiddle)
Alan Kelly (Piano/Accordion)

Crane Bar / Thurs 14 June at 9pm / Admission €15

Seamie O’Dowd

(Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Fiddle)
Traditional Folk & Roots

St. Nicholas Church / Fri 15 June at 7.30pm / Admission €15
Free historical Tour of Church included


Folk Legend,Songwriter & multi-instrumentalist of Planxty & Patrick St. lends his unique talent & voice to the song traditions of Ireland, Scotland, England & America.

Róisín Dubh / Fri 15 June at 8pm / Admission €20


Patrick Bergin (Guitar / Harmonica / Vocals)
Tin Sandwich Featuring John+Pip Murphy (Harmonicas),  Benny McCarthy (Accordion), Donal Clancy (Guitar)
Mick Kinsella (Harmonica / Concertina), Thierry Masure (Fiddle)
Les Trois Blondes, Bal Musette (French Café Music)

Monroe’s / Sat 16 June at 8pm / Admission €20


Unaccompanied Trad. songs in Glorious Four Part Harmonies

Róisín Dubh / Sun17 June at 8pm / Admission €10

Free Events

Cathal Johnson (Harmonicas)
Andreas De Staic (Fiddle)

Trad, Roots & Folk at the Crane Bar
Wednesday 13th June / 9pm

Paul Moran (Harmonica)
Anders Trajberg (Accordion/Fiddle)

Traditional Music, Song & Sean Nós Dance in the Kings Head
Thursday 14th June / 3pm

Mick Kinsella (Harmonica/Concertina)
Josephine Marsh (Accordion)

Traditional Music, in the Kings Head
Friday 15th June / 3pm

Kinlochard Ceilidh Band

Famed Ceilidh Band from our Clutural partner, Stirling, Scotland make a welcome return.
Scottish Trad. Music, Song & Highland Dance
Crane Bar / Thursday 14th June / 9pm

Singing in the Crane

Hosted by Dave Larkin & Lorraine Fitzpatrick
All Singers welcome
Crane Bar / Saturday 16th June / 6pm

Great Sessions daily at:

Tí Coilí / 6pm & 9.30pm
Taae’s Bar / 5pm & 9.0pm
also at Tí Neachtain Fri 15th & Sat 16th


Hosted by: Sean Ryan (Whistle), Mick Crehan (Whistle), Greg Cotter ( Guitar/Vocals) Special Guest: Tony O’Connell (Harmonica)
Crane Bar / Sunday 17th June / 2pm


Hosted by: Cathal Johnson, Featuring Visiting & local players
Crane Bar / Sunday 17th June / 6pm

Maciek Zaworonek Trio

Blues / Jazz
Crane Bar / Sunday 17th June / 9pm

Exciting news! Renowned Hollywood Actor Patrick Bergin plays Galway Session’s Harmonica Festival!

An Eastender in the West End

The Festival, which will run from June 13th to 17th will focus on the wonderfully versatile instrument, the harmonica, known in the Irish tradition as ‘The Tin Sandwich.”

Galway Sessions Tin Sandwich Festival June 13th to 17th, 2018!

12th August, 2014.Cathal Johnson, Harmonica musician and Service Repairer for All-Ireland for Hohner pictured in his workshop at Distillery Lane, Dundalk..Photo:Barry Cronin/www.barrycronin.com info@barrycronin.com 087-9598549/046-9055044

Cathal Johnson Harmonica Repairs

Andy Irvine, the most recorded harmonica player in Ireland, according to the National Archives!

Andy Irvine on Cathal Johnson’s Harmonica repairs and builds:

It’s great, after all this time, to find a harmonica technician here in Ireland! I’m delighted to give my full endorsement to his work, repairing and tuning harmonicas.

He does a very thorough job and from now on, I use no other!”


Delighted to service Andy Irvine’s harmonicas, some of them harmonicas are legendary harps that have recorded on many albums. Thank to Andy for this recommendation and endorsement!

‘I use no other!” Wow!



Brendan is a genius harmonica inventor and player. Inventing cutting edge harmonicas with cutting edge technology!

I taught Cathal the rudiments of harmonica repair a few years ago (circa 2010), and it’s good to see he’s developed his skills and created a successful small business. I now pass on some of my customers’ chromatic harmonica repair jobs to him.” – Brendan Power


Welcome to Cathal Johnson’s Harmonicas Ireland website for harmonica repairs, contact cathaljohnson@gmail.com or by phone 0834444980 and based in Galway at the Forge Arts Centre on 42A New Road.

Find out about Irish harmonica history, notable performers and innovators and recent developments internationally. You can also arrange for harmonica repairs, custom work and other harmonica repairs and improvements to your harmonicas. Find out about some interesting tunings available by browsing Harmonicas Ireland website. Buy new and refurbished customised harmonicas at excellent rates that will save you time, money and headache!

Cathal Johnson, (0834444980) harmonica, accordion and guitar musician, recognised as Service Repairer for All-Ireland by Hohner pictured in his workshop at Distillery Lane, Dundalk. Photo: Barry Cronin/www.barrycronin.com info@barrycronin.com

Recognised by Hohner as “Service Repair for All Ireland.” If you have any old harmonicas for repairs, customised or you would like to sell, feel free to get in touch.

Don Baker on Cathal and his work:

Harmonica repair testimonials

Considered by Bono and many others to be the world’s greatest harmonica player!

“At last, Cathal provides a much needed harmonica service here in Ireland. This guy knows his stuff when it comes to harmonica and he can play too!” – Don Baker

So please feel to shop below on this page or browse the history section for your perusal and get in touch by emailing Cathal at cathaljohnson@gmail.com.

Cathal would also love to hear your stories about harmonicas for his blog to post. Many people pop by into Cathal workshop in Galway on New Road at the Forge Arts Centre with different harmonica stories while visiting, some recalling times with had with the  great Eddie Clarke for example, so please feel free to call in, so get in touch…..

In stock and for sale now at unbeatable prices! Here are some special harmonicas for sale. Payments can be made via Paypal, a safe way to pay for your harmonicas. All harmonica for sale have had custom work done to them to varying degrees!


New and custom Hohner Marine Band harmonicas for sale.

Price range 36 euros to 120. Available in popular alternative tunings such as Paddy Richter for ease of playing traditional Irish tune and a myriad more!

For more information and to order  email cathaljohnson@gmail.com


This Larry Adler Professional 12 going for 190 euros, add 3D printed traditional comb from Brendan Power- 230 or special comb for extra volume 260, with added embossing on lower end reeds. All harmonica are fine tune to play in concert pitch.








This fully restored vintage harmonica with case 265 euros or with newly added traditional comb 310 or special designed 3D printed come installations 325 with added embossing on lower to mid range reeds, give this machine some serious elegance!

The rest below are also for sale but have to be priced up. Watch this space!