The Poor Clares

"The Poor Clares" made their debut at the 1992 New Orleans Jazz Fest. They were hailed by B97 radio as "the surprise hit of the Fest", and have been playing around the country to rave reviews ever since to include the Milwaukee Irish Festival which is the largest Irish Festival in the country".   The band members are Betsy McGovern, Patrick O'Flaherty and Justin Murphy.  They are starting a 10 city marathon this week and end up at Pat Troy's Irish Pub, Alexandria, Va on April 4th at 730pm.  Call Pat Troy's for reservations at 703-549-4535.  This show is sure to be a sellout!!   Tell them that  sent you!!
Here's a little bit about each of the members of the band.....
Betsy McGovern'  a Washington native now spreading the Celtic gospel in Louisiana, Betsy McGovern's voice can chill as easily as it caresses. Therefore she handles up-tempo songs with relish. The slower songs she invests with a quiet authority, and they in turn become things of shimmering beauty. A wondrous voice of pure and untarnished beauty, she is capable of moving mountains with a voice like this."Her voice has also earned praise from  around the world.  A couple of years ago, Paul McCartney was strolling by OFlaherty's Pub in New Orleans and heard Betsy singing and came in and listened to her entire set, purchasing a CD on his way out.  He told Betsy she was a "breath of fresh air"!   Read about it on Betsy's web page at
Patrick OFlaherty is a talented multi instrumentalist.  A native of Connemara, Ireland, Patrick is part of a selct group of people who's native tongue is Gaelic. Today he is acknowledged as one of the truly fine practitioners of Irish mandolin and harmonica. He is also a highly respected player of the button accordion and banjo. Patrick is one of the few composers today writing original songs in Gaelic. His professional music career has spanned nearly three decades. During this time he performed with two excellent bands, The Celtic Folk and The Poor Clares, whose   second album, "Change of Habit," reached the national charts. He has played in a multitude of venues including the National Press Club, the D.C. mall on Solidarity Day, Notre Dame University, the National Geographic Concert Series, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He played on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean and he plays the music on the documentary at Antietam Battlefield. He has also performed for a variety of notable audiences including Pope John Paul II, President Reagan, President Herzog of Israel, and Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.  Check out Pat's website at
Justin Murphy has been playing music professionally for the last eleven years. During that time, he has distinguished himself as one of the most talented Irish flute players in the country. Dirty Linen Magazine gave Justin a glowing review of his solo album, "Mana", and noted him as " of the best flute players around." In addition to his wizardry on the flute, tin whistles and low whistles, Justin is also a talented guitar player, singer and bodhran player.  Read more about justin at


The Poor Clares have three recordings, one of which, Change of Habit , rose to number 26 on the national Folk/Roots music charts.  Check out some critics quotes below:


"The US Folk Scene can count themselves very fortunate to enjoy the sweet voice and amazing range of songs of the lovely Betsy McGovern: I only wish she's think about moving to Europe!"
Derek J. Oliver, Bagman, The Thameside Mummers (Essex, UK)

"We were just passing by and heard your voice, and wanted to come in and see who it was. You're a breath of fresh air." Paul McCartney, summer 2002

"I listened to [your CD] and was dazzled and just had to write and tell you that it's wonderful. I mean really, really wonderful." Bill Bryson, Author (private correspondence, May 19, 1997)

"The incomparable Betsy McGovern sings some terrific ballads with her big, full voice and backs it with robust guitar." (Steve Winick, Dirty Linen Magazine, August/September 1997)

"Vocalist Betsy McGovern draws on her impressive folk background in the spinning of her balladry." (Gambit Weekly, April 25, 2000)

"A similarilty to Joan Baez in her prime, both comforting and angelic." (OffBeat Magazine)

"First and foremost, she has a glorious singing voice. Her clear, pure sound harkens back to Judy Collins.serenely beautiful, [she] performs with first-rate vocal ability..McGovern's taste in songwriters is superb.Betsy's singing comes straight from the heart." (Sean O'Meara, OffBeat Magazine, May 1995)

"Jazz Fest Great Discovery! With her nightingale voice, McGovern and her band explore the melancholy and exuberance of Irish Folk music." (Lagniappe/Times-Picayune, May 5, 1995)