Dublin Irish Fest Provides Fun-Filled Day

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I spent a fun-filled day at the Dublin Irish Fest this
past Saturday. The festival itself is three days
in length (Friday, 4-midnight, Saturday, 11 a.m. –
midnight, Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.), but so far I’ve
not managed to be in attendance for more than one day.
Even at that, there are so many venues, so many
exhibits, so much going on that it is impossible to
get even a glimpse of everything. One has to be
choosy!
This year, I decided to try all new artists, and
avoid the ones I’d heard before (however much I
like them). My first stop was to hear a local group
called the Ladies of Longford. And there’s a bit of
a backstory to this one.
Week before last, a friend had invited me to a
program taking place at a church in Westerville,
OH (like Dublin, a suburb of Columbus), called
Xenos Fellowship. Xenos operates
a small bookstore, and as I glanced through it, I
saw some CDs from a group called the Ladies of
Longford. As I looked at the song titles on the
back of the case, I noticed that they didn’t seem
to be Christian songs. I might have taken longer
to consider a purchase, but we needed to head into
the auditorium for the presentations, and afterwards
my friend wanted to depart right away.
Okay, back to last Saturday: When I saw that the
Ladies were on the program, I decided to head to
their venue first. I was not disappointed. No,
they’re not a Christian group, though they do have
some contacts at Xenos and did perform there once,
at something called a “Pub Night.” (I’d
certainly be interested in knowing more about
THAT!) But the Ladies (with one member of the
group being a male) were great, and gave a tremendous
performance. Afterwards, I purchased a couple of
their CDs.
That would prove to be the only performance I attended
in its entirety all day. I suppose I was trying a
little TOO hard to get in as many acts as possible,
but I would spend some time at one spot, then move
to another. And I did break my vow to avoid groups
I’d heard before, but only once, and only for their
closing number. That group was the Brass Band of
Columbus, not an outfit one would normally hear at
the Irish Fest. The program they offered here was
quite likely a contrast to their normal one of
hymns and marches, and I wish I could have heard it
in its entirety. Alas, I’ve yet to master the art
of being in more than one place at a time.
I’m not sure if the names of the other groups would
mean anything to the rest of the you, but I’ll
mention them just in case. There was the Clancy
Legacy, a small outfit consisting of descendants and
relatives of the famous Clancy Brothers. From Ireland
itself came a group called Slide, while Canada
provided at least two groups, Vishten and Tartan
Terrors. I wish that I had stayed for the entirety
of the program of the latter, but it was the only
performance where I wasn’t under a cover, and after
a while I decided that I’d had enough of the sun
beating down on me, so I left.
The next venue I visited was supposed to have
dancers, but as it turned out, it wasn’t one of
the numerous local schools of Irish dance, but
rather consisted of inviting couples to go out onto
the dance floor to learn a few steps. That quickly
became boring, so I departed and returned to Tartan
Terrors, just in time to hear their closing numbers,
“Amazing Grace” and “Scotland the Brave.” (Note:
I was on a
British-manual, National Championship-winning,
precision military drill team during my ROTC days.
When we would finish a performance, as we marched
off the floor, we would sing a song called “the
Bonnie Lassie,” which is the same tune as “Scotland
the Brave.” So needless to say hearing that tune
always brings back memories!)
I heard just a small portion of the programs of
Homeland and a girl named Beth Patterson.
I did a bit of browsing of vendors of jewelry, etc.,
but didn’t purchase anything. Apart from seeing
them from a distance, I didn’t venture near any of
the historical re-enactments, music workshops, etc.
While the Fest is a lot of fun, it’s also incredibly
frustrating, because it is simply impossible to see
everything one might really like to.
I ended my day there by going to the Spoken Word
tent, where my friend (from both ShoutLife writers’
online site, as well as from the Celtic Christianity
discussion group), novelist Cindy Thomson, would be
speaking. Cindy is the author of a novel of
historical
fiction entitled BRIGID OF IRELAND, which I’d acquired
from her last fall when we’d met in person at a
concert of the Celtic Christian group from Chicago,
the Crossing. (Highly recommended, by the way —
both Cindy’s novel and the Crossing!) She has a
new book which, alas, won’t be published in the USA
until September of ’09. (She also writes books about
baseball.) Cindy’s talk was on “Ancient Irish
Saints: Fact and Fiction,” and was quite interesting,
as well as being, at her wish, interactive. I as
well as others in the audience were able to respond,
and often Scripture was quoted. Apart from the
Masses and non-denominational service on Sunday
morning, it may have been the most specifically
Christian event of the three days.
Cindy would also be speaking the next day, on “Writing
Irish History.” I trust that it went well, too.

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