Reprinted from yesterday's late editions

By now, nearly everyone recognizes Washington as the bluegrass capital of the world, but little note has been taken of the city's almost equal stature as a center for Irish music. Perhaps it is not much to boast about (it seems to relate in some way to our per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages), but the Irish musical presence certainly gives variety and vitality to our musical life.

Thursday night at the corcoran Gallery, beverages were available only at intermission, and they were soft drinks from a vending machine, but the music seemed to suffer not at all. It gained, in fact, by being taken briefly out of the pubs that nourish it and getting the individual attention of a concert audience. But there were many times when you couldn't help wishing there were a dance floor nearby.

The featured group was Celtic Thunder, five people who play, among then, more than a dozen instruments as well as sing solos. Their repertoire includes the traditional jigs, reels and kerry slides but also ballads about maidens betrayed, and they perform it all with great zest and polish. The opening act, a trio called Ballintorewas musically excellent but a bit less varied.