Ask any one of my friends and they’ll tell you that I love a good party. Who doesn’t? So it should come as no surprise that I gobbled up every detail of Pam Bandon’s recent story on The Great Irish Hooley, a boutique Irish festival with authentic Irish food and top Irish entertainment happening this coming weekend.
I’ve marked my calendar and you should, too! Here are a few of the highlights I’m most excited about:
Dancing: Like many little girls, I took dance lessons growing up. It’s been a while since I’ve slipped on my jazz shoes, but I can’t wait to take part in the Irish Dance Workshop, “From Our Roots to Riverdance,” led by renowned choreographer Ronan McCormack of the original Riverdance cast. The workshop is open to the whole family, and while I don’t have kids of my own, I may insist that a few friends join me. (I figure if I don’t get any early takers, I can bribe them with Guinness!) While we’re at it, we’ll probably kick up our heels during structured set dancing known as the Ceili (pronounced kay-lee) – my friend Jennie tried it last year and promises that the Raglan Road dancers will be “sweet and helpful.” She had a blast and especially loved seeing guests going up on stage to enjoy the spotlight with Ronan McCormack himself.
Music: There’s nothing like a live show, is there? Seven bands will take the stage over the course of the weekend including Scythian, with rock-infused Celtic and world music; Garry O’Meara, who this year debuted his critically-acclaimed album “Pickin’ Time” with a lively mix of mandolin, banjo and other instruments for a modern take on traditional Irish music; and the world’s leading U2 Tribute Band, Elevation. (I’ve seen Elevation and if you didn’t know better, you’d swear you were mere feet away from Bono.) For the ultimate Irish music mash-up, catch the Electric Ceili – a wrap-up performance on Monday night featuring members of all seven Hooley bands!
Food and Drink: As Pam Brandon shared, it’s good news for brunch lovers … Raglan Road’s popular brunch will be offered Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the event from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., alongside their regular offerings. As for me, there’s no bar I’d rather belly up to than the 130-year old imported-from-Ireland bar inside the restaurant. It’s my favorite spot to grab a cold Guinness and an order of fish-and-chips. For dessert, I’m partial to the Bailey’s Iced Shake, though let’s be honest … it’s a party and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!
John Cooke, a Raglan Road founding partner, tells me that this caliber of talent and entertainment is typically experienced only at the major Irish Festivals. Lucky us – we’ve got it right here at Downtown Disney, and with no cover, I might add!
If you’re looking for a good time over the upcoming long weekend, add The Great Irish Hooley to your agenda. The event runs from 5 p.m. on August 30 until midnight on September 2, 2013, and you can get the schedule and event details here.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say this beats another Labor Day cookout any day! Agree?