MIDDLETOWN – Claddagh na nGael will present GaelFest, a new festival on Saturday, June 1, which will be celebrating all aspects of traditional Irish culture.
Presented in partnership with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann North America and Christian Brothers Academy and with support from the Gaelic Athletic Association of N.Y., the daylong cultural festival will be held on the Newman Springs Road grounds of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.
“This festival is meant to be a celebration of everything that is truly Irish from traditional music and dance, which most are familiar with, to our sports, language, food, art, and literature,” said Dermot Farley, executive chair of Claddagh na nGael. “We are very excited to be working with our partner organizations to bring a traditional festival of this caliber to the area.”
The inaugural edition of GaelFest will begin at 10 a.m. and run all day with a full schedule of events and activities for all ages and interests.
Music and entertainment will be provided throughout the day by the traditional Irish groups, including Blackwater, The Erin Loughran Band, Girsa and Trinity and an evening concert by Joanie Madden and her all-star group The Pride of New York Band.
The New York Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will put on all-star exhibition matches of the traditional Irish sports of hurling and Irish football. In addition, the GAA will provide kid-friendly introductory sessions to some of the basic skills of each sport.
Traditional step-dancing exhibitions by the Patricia Murphy School of Dance and the Shea/Jennings School of Dance will be accompanied by an opportunity to learn Sean Nós (Old Style) Irish Dancing taught by Megan Downes. For the ceili/set dancing crowd, there will be ceili for all ages with The Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band, featuring Margie Mulvihill, John Reynolds and Patty Furlong.
For those inclined to slightly more sedentary activities, there will also be a series of lectures, presentations and exhibitions throughout the day covering a variety of topics and interests including Irish history, storytelling of Irish mythology, Irish harp and pipe exhibitions and “How to Speak Irish in 30 Minutes.” There will also be exhibitions of Irish arts and crafts as well as food vendors serving traditional Irish food and beverages.
Finally, as GaelFest is a family-oriented event, there will be plenty to do for the little ones including GAA sports workshops, dance workshops, kiddy rides, face painting, storytelling and tin whistle lessons.
Proceeds from the festival will go to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of traditional Irish culture, and Christian Brothers Academy.
More information regarding GaelFest can be found at www.gaelfest.com as it becomes available.