News in Review: North Texas Irish Festival Delivers Again

First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2009, Volume 16, #5

Written by Kirk DeCordova

Tue May 12, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT


Liz Carroll & John Doyle - Double Play

The 27th annual North Texas Irish Festival was held March 6–8 on the grounds of Dallas’ historic Fair Park. The event was blessed with extraordinary weather that, over the course of three days, brought more than 62,000 people out of their homes to attend the party. Offering something for everyone, the expanded North Texas Irish Festival hosted not only local and regional musicians but also many fine bands from across the pond. Fiddle-and-guitar duo Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Slide, Beoga, and the all-girl sensation Liadan were among the talented acts that headlined the concert.

Slide - Overneath

Oklahoma’s Boru’s Ghost the multi-cultural outfit Arabesque, Texas’ Brothers 3, and Clandestine were among the featured artists who hailed from places closer to home. Local pub favorites like Irish Rogues, Jiggernaut, and Jigsaw also graced the festival’s 10 stages. A few of the other performers who appeared at the event were harpist Geoffrey Ricketts — who is known to audiences as "Geoffrey the Bard" — and Ireland’s own Mairtin de Cogain, who has been described as a "singing, dancing, storytelling bodhrán player." For those fans who favored edgier Celtic fare, the internationally famous group Seven Nations provided a dose of rock ’n‘ roll.

While music plays an important role at the North Texas Irish Festival, there undeniably is much more to do and see at the event. One of the sensations that always is central to the weekend-long engagement is the wide variety of cuisine that is available at the gathering. Irish stew, bangers and mash, and a vast selection of Irish beers were enjoyed alongside funnel cakes, Philly cheese steaks, burgers, and a myriad of other treats. A wealth of Celtic vendors, activities for the children, a stage of traditional Irish dancing, workshops galore — which offered instructional opportunities on a host of instruments — storytellers, and a touch of Irish history rounded out the event.

Even though the kilts have been packed away and the North Texas Irish Festival has drawn to a close, faithful patrons have already circled the dates for next year’s incarnation. The event will be held on March 5–7, 2010. It’s the best way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in Texas.


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