Irish Festival events are sponsored by the Wake Forest University Press, the premier publisher of Irish poetry in North America. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the press.
On March 16, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, the celebration of Irish culture will begin with the Irish Festival Community Day at Reynolda House, Museum of American Art (adjacent to Wake Forest). The free community event will run from noon to 3:30 p.m. Last year, 3,600 people attended the outdoor event.
Irish Union, an area traditional Irish band, will perform. Led by fiddler Fred Lail, the group performs on the Uilleann pipes, guitar, cello, flute, whistle, concertina, Irish button accordion, and bodran—the drum that’s the heartbeat of Irish music. Another musical group, the Morris Family, will demonstrate the links between Celtic and Appalachian music. Rince na h’Eireann (the Triad Irish Dancers) will perform traditional Irish dances. The event will also feature hands-on crafts for children, storytelling and poetry reading. Bagpiper David Cone will also perform. Irish food, music and gifts will
be on sale.
During the week, two Irish films will be shown on the Wake Forest campus in Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. “Rat,” a 2000 film set in working-class Dublin, will be shown on March 18. Based on Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” the movie follows hard-drinking Hubert Flynn as he wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into the rat he truly is. A second film, “The Matchmaker,” will be shown on March 19. The romantic comedy stars Janeane Garafalo as an American woman who visits a small Irish town during its annual matchmaking festival. Admission is free.
On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, the Wake Forest Irish Festival will present “Across the Ocean, into the Mountains: The Celtic/Appalachian Connection” at Eelia’s Café, located at 5391 Shattalon Drive. The event will feature live music, dance and stories exploring the links between Irish originals and the Appalachian versions. Cloggers and Irish step-dancers, the Morris Family musicians and area storytellers will perform. Admission is $5.
Members of Rince na h’Eireann will teach traditional Irish dances—the jig and the reel— from 11 a.m. to noon on March 19 in Benson Center. Admission is free.
The festival will conclude with an Irish poetry reading and recitation contest on March 21 from 11 a.m. to noon in Shorty’s, located on the second floor of Benson Center.
For additional information about the Wake Forest University Irish Festival, call Wake Forest University Press at 336-758-5448.
WAKE FOREST IRISH FESTIVAL CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, March 16
Noon-3:30 p.m. Wake Forest University Irish Festival Community Day at Reynolda House featuring live Irish music, dancing, storytelling, poetry reading and children’s activities. Irish food, music and gifts on sale. Free admission.
Sunday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day)
6-10 p.m. “Across the Ocean, Into the Mountains: The Irish/Appalachian Connection” at Eelia’s Café (located at 5391 Shattalon Drive). With live music, dance and stories exploring links between Ireland and Appalachia. $5.
Monday, March 18
7:30 p.m. Irish Festival Film Series. “Rat,” a 2000 film set in working-class Dublin. Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium. Free.
Tuesday, March 19
11 a.m.-noon “Irish Dancing Made Easy”
Triad Irish Dancers will teach the jig and reel in Benson University Center. Free.
7:30 p.m. Irish Festival Film Series. “The Matchmaker,” a romantic comedy starring Janeane Garafalo. Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium. Free.
Thursday, March 21
11 a.m. – noon Irish poetry reading and recitation contest. Shorty’s on the second floor of Benson University Center. Free.
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