Looking Forward: Festivals

Gilda Fiume in title role of Maria de Rudenz by Donizetti. WFO 2016. (Photo by Clive Barda)

By February / March 2017

Fun Festivals in Ireland and Irish America

Wexford Festival Opera

The 66th Wexford Festival Opera will take place between October 19 and November 5, showcasing Medea by Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842), Margherita by Jacopo Foroni (1825-1858) and Risurrezione by Franco Alfano (1875-1954).

Since first taking place in October 1951, Wexford Festival Opera has grown into one of the world’s leading opera festivals, taking masterpieces that were forgotten over the years and turning them into high-quality productions, attracting thousands of opera-lovers from all over the world and acting as a beginning for some major stars in the business.

The old Theatre Royal has been replaced by a state-of-the-art building, which is Ireland’s first custom-built opera house.

The Wexford Festival Opera is a must for any and all opera lovers.

Gilda Fiume and chorus in Maria de Rudenz, by Donizetti, at the 2016 Wexford Festival Opera at the National Opera House in Wexford. (Photo: Clive Barda)

Gilda Fiume and chorus in Maria de Rudenz, by Donizetti, at the 2016 Wexford Festival Opera at the National Opera House in Wexford. (Photo: Clive Barda)

The Rose of Tralee International Festival

The Rose of Tralee International Festival, which is one of Ireland’s largest festivals, will take place from August 16-22 this year. Young women of Irish descent from around the world travel to this small County Kerry town for a global celebration of all that is good about being Irish.

Despite a widely-held, though inaccurate, perception, the Rose of Tralee Festival is not a beauty pageant, as the winning Rose is selected based on her personality. The organizers of this festival search for a Rose that will be a good role model and ambassador for both the festival and Ireland, as her Rose duties entail much international travel.

This festival is not only about the two selection nights, which are broadcast live on RTÉ, but a celebration of Irishness that offers fun for all the family with events such as street entertainment, a carnival and funfair, live concerts, fireworks, and much more.

So why not travel to Kerry this year, joining the 65 Roses and their escorts from Ireland and Irish communities around the globe for the seven-day festival, and witness first-hand crowning of the 2017 Rose of Tralee.

Maggie  McEldowney,  representing Chicago, is crowned the 2016 Rose of Tralee. (Photo: Domnick Walsh Photography)

Maggie McEldowney, representing Chicago, is crowned the 2016 Rose of Tralee. (Photo: Domnick Walsh Photography)

West Cork Literary Festival

The West Cork Literary Festival is a highlight of the Irish literary calendar and takes place in Bantry between July 14-21. A festival for all ages, it is a week-long celebration of writing and reading.

The Literary Festival originally began as a series of casual poetry readings in association with the Chamber Music Festival, and has since expanded into a week of workshops, readings and discussions. Designed not only to encourage experienced writers but also inspire beginners, it is the perfect festival for anyone with an interest in the written word.

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

An annual event since 1978, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival has become Ireland’s biggest and longest established jazz event, attracting hundreds of musicians and music fans to the city each year.

­­­The week is fast-paced and fun, with numerous events taking place at over 90 of the venues, including pubs, clubs, and theatres. (Some have even been known to spill out into the streets.) Many of the events are completely free, too. Even if you’re not a jazz fanatic, the electric atmosphere during this festival is not easily forgotten.

Even though the details for 2017 are not yet fully confirmed, it is scheduled to take place from Friday, October 20, to Sunday, October 22.

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

The most important event for lovers of traditional Irish music is Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, which this year will take place between August 13 and 21 in Ennis, County Clare. As many put their months of practice into action to become an all-Ireland champion, others get to enjoy the abundance of live and dance that surrounds them.

Each year, this event builds on the success of previous Fleadhs by adding the uniqueness and traditions of the town land in which it takes place. The festival attracts people of all ages from all over the world and is guaranteed to get your feet tapping – so don’t be surprised if spontaneous music sessions erupt as you walk through Ennis this August!

Clare All-Ireland Hurling Winner  and two-time All-Star Brendan Bugler (right) and All- Ireland Club  Winning Captain with Na Piarsaigh, Limerick, Cathall King, united in music and playing side-by-side in Ennis. (Photo: Eamon Ward)

Clare All-Ireland Hurling Winner and two-time All-Star Brendan Bugler (right) and All-Ireland Club Winning Captain with Na Piarsaigh, Limerick, Cathall King, united in music and playing side-by-side in Ennis. (Photo: Eamon Ward)

Gaelic Park Irish Fest

The Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest has been celebrating Memorial Day weekend for more than 20 years with four days of Irish themed activities. Over 40 music acts performing, shows by more than 500 traditional Irish step dancers and plenty of opportunities to play and watch traditional sports make it a great festival for people with all manner of interests. The younger attendees can even look forward to petting zoos and carnival rides.

Dates and details for 2017 are yet to be announced, but it’s sure to be one you don’t want to miss.

Milwaukee Irish Fest

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers at 2016 Milwaukee Irish Fest.

 

The very popular Milwaukee Irish Fest will be highlighting Celtic culture and heritage yet again this year August 17-20.

This festival is well known for promoting all aspects of Irish and Irish American cultures while encouraging current and future generations to have an appreciation of their heritage through live entertainment, baking contests, sports, music, family activities, a Jameson lounge, and even a red hair and freckles contest. There really is something for everyone over this celebratory weekend!

Taking place every third weekend in August, Milwaukee Irish Fest is the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, so it’s the perfect festival for anyone who wants to celebrate their heritage.

Newport Irish Film Festival

Fifty-five miles south of Hollywood, the Newport Beach Film Festival will take place April 20-27 in Orange County, bringing 350 films and nightly gala events to an estimated 50,000 film fans.

Actor Chris  O’Dowd at the 2016 Newport Beach Film  Festival. (Photo courtesy NBFF)

Actor Chris O’Dowd at the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival. (Photo courtesy NBFF)

This festival has a strong history of presenting Irish films and an audience with an interest Irish cinema and culture. The festival will present its signature Irish Spotlight event on the evening of April 23, 2017 and this evening will celebrate Irish film by screening a number of feature-length Irish narratives and documentaries.

So, if you happen to be on Southern California’s pristine coastlines in April, make sure to check out Orange County’s largest entertainment event.

Dublin, Ohio Irish Fest

An internationally, recognized event that promotes Irish music, dance, culture and tradition, Dublin Irish Fest is not to be missed. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, this three-day festival will take place in Dublin, Ohio from August 4-6. The event averages over 100,000 guests per year, attendees can expect to be entertained by 65 acts and 535 performers over 7 stages. ♦

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For more information, email Áine McManamon here

One Response to “Looking Forward: Festivals”

  1. Melissa says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for including Milwaukee Irish Fest in this article!

    I just wanted to comment to let you know that the photo you have under the Dublin Ohio Irish Fest is actually a photo from Milwaukee Irish Fest. That’s the Red Hot Chilli Pipers on the Leinie’s Stage, so it’s not a part of Dublin [you guys have it captioned as such too].

    If that could be changed, I’d greatly appreciate it.
    Thanks!

    Melissa N.
    Director of Marketing
    Milwaukee Irish Fest
    CelticMKE

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