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Irish Festival highlights Celtic culture and music

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Get some air with Seamus Kennedy. - PHOTO BY RICHARD DORBIN
  • Photo by Richard Dorbin
  • Get some air with Seamus Kennedy.

IT'S February already, and you know what that means: less than 30 days until Saint Patrick's Day! There's no better way to get into the spirit of things than a weekend at the 23rd Annual Savannah Irish Festival.

Kick it all off on Friday night with a traditional Ceili, a popular form of Irish folk dancing (lessons will be provided), then wake up Saturday and hit the Main Stage for the opening ceremony, featuring SVA Chorale and Savannah Pipes and Drums.

From morning to evening, dance, song, and laughter will provide entertainment for the entire family across four stages.

If you’re looking for Irish dance and music, scope out the schedules at the festival Main Stage and Kevin Barry’s Pub Stage. The great thing about the Irish Festival is that, even if your busy schedule keeps you from attending the whole weekend, most performers offer multiple shows, so that you can catch them at least once; with some of Ireland’s top performers on tap this year, you won’t want to miss it.

One of the most-highly regarded Celtic acts today, Burning Bridget Cleary is sure to get even the wallflowers up and off their feet.

Burning Bridget Cleary are on fire at Irish festivals around the country.
  • Burning Bridget Cleary are on fire at Irish festivals around the country.

Georgia-based Irish folks will certainly enjoy the Celtic and bluegrass interweavings of The McKrells, helmed by singer-songwriter Kevin McKrell.

Taking their name from an old slip jig, Open the Door for Three play traditional Irish tunes and original compositions with a fresh, powerful energy.

“They’re all very sought-after for most of the Irish Festivals across the nation,” says the Irish Festival’s Paula Fogarty.

Seamus Kennedy, often called the “hardest working man in Irish entertainment,” returns. He blends wit and skill to put on an interactive show to delight the “wee ones” and grownups alike.

Take the kids over to The Children’s Area, where they can make crafts, have their faces painted, soar in the bounce houses, and enjoy live entertainment especially for them.

Over at the Buttimer Family Cultural Stage, enjoy insightful, thought-provoking discussions of Irish History, literature, and music. Humorist and folk singer Tom O’Carroll provides an accessible, interesting look into literary Ireland with his talk “Literary Dublin in Song, Story and Humor,” offering a glimpse into the storied lives of the Fair City’s most talented wordsmiths.

Attendees are invited to explore the vendor booths and sample food prepared by many of Savannah’s Irish organizations. Whether you chowing down or dancing, the festival crew is happy to welcome you to the season of green.

“It’s Irish Time in Savannah!” Fogarty cheerfully declared.

CS
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