Irish Festival Roundup

A young dancer at Colorado's annual Irish Fest.

By Irish America Staff
August / September 2000


The art of matchmaking is still alive and well in Ireland, at least when it comes to the matchmaking festival held in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare each year. This year’s love fest takes place from September 1 through October 5, under the knowing eye of local matchmaker Willie Daly.

For all that jazz and more, the well-respected Cork Jazz Festival (running this year from October 27-30) has come to be an unmissable event. Such living legends as Thelonious Monk and B.B. King are past attendees, and both had high praise for the Leeside music extravaganza.


New York

The Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural & Sports Center in East Durham, N.Y. will sponsor one of the foremost Irish musical gatherings in the United States from Sunday, July 16 to Saturday, July 22.

Held annually in the village of East Durham, the Catskills Irish Arts Week features workshops led by master artists in folk music, dance, song, language, and history to students of all levels. Concerts, seisiúns and céilís are held in various pubs each evening. The week ends with a day-long traditional music festival.

This year’s roster includes tin whistler Mary Bergin, National Heritage Award flautist Jack Coen, guitarist Gel Foley, uilleann piper Jerry O’Sullivan and step dancer Patrick O’Dea.

The Albany Ancient Order of Hibernians have set September 23 for the fourth annual Irish 2000 Festival at Altamount Fairgrounds. Last year more than 8,000 people attended the day-long festival and enjoyed a tremendous selection of live Irish folk, traditional, and rock music. This year’s line-up includes Tommy Makem, Altan, Solas, and Hair of the Dog. Along with live music will be performances by local pipe bands and dance schools, and an Irish theatre competition along with activities for children.


Colorado Celts

Colorado’s lrish community celebrates its heritage at the sixth annual Colorado Irish Festival Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, at the Lakewood Heritage Center, 797 South Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood, C.O. Sponsored by the Colorado United Irish Societies, the event will feature Irish step dancing competitions, traditional and contemporary lrish music, food, arts, and crafts of lreland.

Colorado Governor Bill Owens will join country music superstar Michael Martin Murphey to officially kick off the festival Saturday at 11 a.m. Other attractions will include storytellers, drama, fiddlers, pipe bands, weaving, and lace-making.

Proceeds from the festival will go to a building fund for the Colorado Irish Community Center. Organizers say the center will preserve Irish culture for more than 600,000 Coloradans of Irish descent. ♦

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