What a perfect way to celebrate Labor Day all weekend long – the annual Great Irish Hooley music festival rocks the house at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Downtown Disney.
A “hooley” is a traditional Irish social celebration, and this one combines live music, cool step dancing (you can even learn a few steps) and authentic tastes for a trifecta of fun all in one convivial spot.
Live music begins at 4 p.m. Friday, August 29, and at noon Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1 and continues throughout each day and night. This year’s Hooley band lineup includes:
Scythian- A headliner on the Celtic festival circuit and equally at home in rock venues – the band will release a fan-funded album, “Jump at the Sun,” this month.
The Raglan Rebels- Ireland’s best up-and-coming young band with traditional and modern songs and ballads.
Drops of Green- An exciting new ballad group from the heart of Ireland.
The Brayzen Heads- A popular duo on guitar and banjo playing Raglan Road regularly.
The West Coast Trio- From Connemara, playing traditional and contemporary Irish songs on accordion, flute and guitar with plenty of reels and jigs.
Just tap your toes to the music or get up and dance – from Saturday to Monday there will be free workshops, “From Our Roots to Riverdance,” led by renowned Irish dancer and choreographer Ronan McCormack of the original Riverdance cast. Or try a little “ceili” (kay-lee), a precursor to line dancing, with the award-winning Raglan Road Dancers. The complete entertainment schedule is at www.raglanroad.com.
Of course we think the authentic Irish cuisine at Raglan Road is the best part of this Hooley. Go for classics like beer-battered fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, or try something more contemporary like their butternut squash risotto with shiitake mushrooms, arugula and Parmesan. They also offer gluten-free options (including fish and chips).
We know we’ll be there for an early (8:30 a.m.) brunch on August 30, when big-screen TVs will be tuned to the University of Central Florida-Penn State Croke Park Classic football season opener taking place in Dublin, Ireland. Start the game with a Guinness, signature Bloody Mary or other favorite morning brew or beverage. Brunch guests can tuck into the chef’s Full Irish Breakfast featuring sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fried eggs with potato “roasties.” Smoked salmon omelette and pancakes with crème fraiche, maple syrup and berry compote also are on the menu. Hooley music begins right after.
For reservations, call 407-938-0300.