By Tess Malijenovsky
After many, many centuries of suffering invasion, famine and war — the Vikings, the English — the brave, persevering culture of Ireland has many centuries worth of celebrating to do in honor of its independence. Do you share the Éire love? Whether you’re of Irish descent or simply have an interest in the Irish culture, there’s an Irish Festival in town that you shouldn’t miss.
Beginning on Friday, Feb. 24, from 6-9 p.m. is the “Evening in Ireland” Gala at the Best Western Sea Island Inn (one of the sponsors of the festival). There will be fine food and live music by Harry O’Donoghue. This is a limited event, exclusive to the first 125 guests that buy tickets.
All proceeds, by the way, go to the benefactor of Beaufort’s Irish Festival, which will be Low Country Habitat for Humanity., a nonprofit organization that helps responsible families in need build, renovate and repair affordable housing with the help of volunteers.
Saturday’s daylong event, the Irish Family Festival, is one centered on family and the love of the Irish culture. The Beaufort Irish Festival committee is a group of members who had a vision of sharing their love of the Irish culture with the community, “not the St. Patrick party thing,” as Brenda Hill, a coordinator of the festival and committee member, puts it. There will be plenty of games, Irish dancing and live music throughout the day.
The headlining band John and Joe Dady of The Dady Brothers is a big name in the Irish music circuit hailing all the way from Rochester, NY. The brothers play a lively tune with banjo, uilleann pipes, harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bodhran and the penny whistle! Tickets are $10, children under 12 are free, and takes place at the Quality Inn (another sponsor).
In the evening any and everyone is welcomed to Luther’s for the ol’ Irish Pub Night for great Irish music and a special guest appearance with no cover charge.
However, you won’t want to miss the Jam Session Sunday afternoon also at Luther’s from 1-4 p.m. This is the time of the year local musicians can openly jam with the traveling Irish bands. Recalling previous jam sessions during Beaufort’s Irish Festival and seeing a local violist girl tune in, Brenda said: “It brought tears to my eyes just for her to have that experience and just for the entertainers to be so down-to-earth.”
So you don’t have to cross the ocean this weekend to see a bit of Ireland; just come on down to Beaufort’s Irish Festival. Volunteers are still needed for Saturday’s event. If you’re interested in volunteering, learning more information or buying tickets to the Gala or Family Irish Festival, visit http://www.beaufortirishfestival.org/Index.html.
By Tess Malijenovsky