DANBURY, CT – This weekend’s Greater Danbury Irish Festival is packed with Irish music, dancing, cultural activities, food, refreshments and a kids’ area with games, music and more . It will take place on Saturday and Sunday September 16, 17 and 18, 2016 at Ives Concert Park in Danbury, Connecticut.

Irish Gaelic language teacher John Feeney runs the cultural tent which showcases a wide range of Irish heritage and gives festival-goers an up-close experience of traditional Irish music, Gaelic language, history, dance, genealogy, cinema, theater and literature. through live performances, exhibitions, talks and tent workshops. Anyone interested in Irish culture can enroll in classes and activities at the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center.

Kathy Hannigan hosted a number of activities for the kids in the Youth Zone tent, including face painting, crafts, a genealogy coloring page, sand art, jewelry making and storytelling of stories. A Halloween parade is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Saturday. Children can bring their own costume or wear one from the youth area. Prizes will be awarded for the most creative costumes.

New this year for kids and teens will be a “Selfie Treasure Hunt” starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Participants must be at the Youth Zone 15 minutes before the scheduled start time for cues and instructions. Prizes will be awarded. The hours of the youth area are Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

All weekend there will be exhibits on Women of the Easter Rising, Book of Kells, Irish Crochet, Irish Language and Classes, Irish Family History, Genealogy, Irish Blessings , Irish literature, history of the Potato Famine, Irish traditional music history and lessons. and much more.

Main Stage Entertainment:

Saturday September 17, 2016:

  • Steve O’Tree and Friends 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Ringrose & Freeman with special guest Mary Gardner – 1:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Irish Dance Ashurst – 2:00 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
  • Knights of Tipperary – 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Celtic Cross Pipe & Drums – 4:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.
  • Irish Dancing Ashurst – 4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
  • Celtic Cross Pipe & Drums – 6:00 p.m. – 6:40 p.m.
  • Mighty Plowboy Nation 4 – 6:45 – 8:00 p.m.
  • The Peelers (Canada) – 8:15 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 18, 2016:

  • Poor Richard (Rhode Island) – 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
  • Petri Dance School – 1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
  • Highland Rovers – 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
  • Petri Dance School – 3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Cunningham Brothers – 4:45 – 6:00 p.m.

Schedule of activities under the cultural tent:
Saturday September 17, 2016:

  • 1-2pm Liz & Gordon will sing traditional Irish tunes on guitar and fiddle.
  • 2-2:30pm Fiddleuisce (pronounced fidel-ooshka) is a new band formed at the GDICC whose name is a combination of English and Irish meaning Fiddle Water. Enjoy instrumental pieces of traditional Irish music on fiddle, flute, flute and guitar.
  • 2.30-3.30pm Women of the Easter Rising 1916. During Easter week 1916, Irish rebels rose up in revolt against English rule. Over 300 women were involved in combat and non-combat roles. LAOH Historian Marilyn Madigan will give an exciting presentation on these brave women.
  • 3.30-4.30pm The Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance will be giving a Step Dance workshop for children. The Academy was founded by champions Craig and Christina Ashurst, both former cast members of Riverdance. Christina is from CT while Craig is from Australia.
  • 4:30-6:00 pm Ringrose & Freeman are a Celtic duo – Dan Ringrose (vocals, guitar) and Jeanne Freeman (violin, vocal harmony). Playing and singing traditional Irish and Celtic music, with a touch of contemporary folk for good measure, including original songs and tunes.
  • 7-10 p.m. Céilí with music by Music in the Glen. A céilí (pronounced kay-lee) is an Irish social dance. Great dancing and fun to watch and listen to music if you don’t dance!

Sunday, September 18, 2016:

  • 1-2pm Matty Connolly on the Uillean Pipes. Uillean pipes (pronounced “illin” and means elbow in Irish) are the traditional pipes of Ireland. All-Ireland champion Matty grew up in the Scotstown area of ​​County Monaghan in a very musical family. He has been delighting the public with his piping for over 40 years!!
  • 2-3pm The Shamrogues are a festival favorite and play traditional Irish music on all Irish musical instruments and a few more! Talented, lively and a real sense of humor!
  • 3-3:30pm Fiddleuisce (pronounced fidel-ooshka) is a new group formed at the GDICC whose name is a combination of English and Irish meaning Fiddle Water. Enjoy instrumental pieces of traditional Irish music on fiddle, flute, flute and guitar.
  • 3:30-4:30 pm Women of the Easter Rising 1916. During Easter week 1916, Irish rebels rose up against English rule. Over 300 women were involved in combat and non-combat roles. LAOH Historian Marilyn Madigan will give an exciting presentation on these brave women.
  • 4:30-6:00 p.m. Thorne Academy of Irish Dancing. Presentation on Irish dancing and how it evolved to what it is today, and how the founders want to keep the tradition alive with their new school. The demo is definitely for those who want to jump a step or two, big and small. Get up and try a step!

Entry fee :

Saturday (hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.):

  • $12 per day or $25 for a weekend pass
  • “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” $2 off if you wear green
  • Children 12 and under are free
  • Cash, Visa and Master Card are accepted

Sunday (hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.):

  • $12 per day or $25 for a weekend pass
  • Children 12 and under are free
  • Cash, Visa and Master Card are accepted

Raffle tickets:

  • Tickets are $5 each
  • The first prize is $2,000
  • The second prize is $1,000
  • Third Prize $500
  • Call Sharon O’Rourke at 203-470-7570 for tickets

The brainchild of Gerry Curran, former President of the Danbury Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Festival began in 1995 at Rogers Park in Danbury with the help of Sharon Higgins. Twenty-one years ago, Curran dreamed of organizing a festival of Irish music and culture in Danbury. Now held at Charles Ives Concert Park, the festival offers Irish food, camaraderie and fun for people of all ages.

The Greater Danbury Irish Festival will be held at Ives Concert Park, 48 Lake Avenue, Danbury on Friday September 16, Saturday September 17 and Sunday September 18, 2016.

For more information, click here, email [email protected] or call the club at 203-739-0010.

Photo by Wendy Ann Mitchell