Irish Festivals of Summer

Musicians playing at the Sioux Falls Irish Festival.

Julie Grates, Contibutor
October / November 2005

As the summer came to an end, once again, Irish-Americans took advantage of the muggy days and sultry nights to hold festivals celebrating their Irish culture. This summer saw festivals throughout the United States. Hundreds of Irish-Americans traveled from near and far for a chance to witness traditional music and dance.

The Sioux Falls Irish Club of South Dakota celebrated their Irish culture by hosting the Sioux Falls Irish Festival for the 6th year in a row. In late July, Irish enthusiasts were treated to a festival that included traditional music, song and dance. Despite the extremely hot temperature soaring near 100, everyone was treated to the sounds of five bands, including Gaelic Storm and Ellis Island, traditional Irish dancing and food and drink for the entire family. The festival also offered eight small workshop classes to anyone who wanted to learn tin-whistle bodhran or set dancing.

Also, in July, Lincoln Center of New York City hosted the 17th annual Midsummer Night Swing. The Irish “supergroup” Bohola was the main act for the evening, entertaining guests with traditional Irish sets and ceilis. In between the sets there was an old-fashioned Irish balladeer competition. If anyone needed a break from all the dancing, the festival featured a beer tasting festival on the plaza.

Finally, to say goodbye to the summer and ring in autumn, the Newport Waterfront Irish Festival was held during Labor Day weekend. The festival was a very popular three-day affair. For eight years, Newport has held the festival at the historic Newport Yachting Center. The festival celebrated not only Irish arts, music, culture and food, but also the beautiful, historic town of Newport, as well as the famous waterfront. There were five stages with continuous entertainment by over 100 entertainers and exhibitors. The line-up included Tommy Makem, Screaming Orphans, The Barley Boys, step dancing by the Nevin Academy Dancers and many more ♦

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