ROSWELL, Ga. — Historic Roswell will soon be the home to an annual two-day celebration Nov. 8-9 of Irish culture, music, dance and heritage.
IrishFest Atlanta, now in its seventh year, announced this year that it is moving to Roswell.
“This is a pivotal year for IrishFest Atlanta,” said IrishFest Atlanta Chair and Founder Teresa Finley. “This move will allow us to increase our access by including indoor and outdoor events available to a larger audience.”
The move will allow the festival to expand with concerts, dance performances, workshops, a ceili dance, lectures and family-friendly activities. Celebrations will be held across several locations, including Gate City Brewing, Roswell Historic Cottage and The Gaslight.
“Canton Street in Historic Roswell offers a close-knit community of small shops and restaurants reminiscent of many such streets in Ireland towns,” Finley said. “From the beginning, we’ve been deeply committed to bringing not only the entire Irish community, but all of Atlanta, together to celebrate the best of the Irish culture.”
Professor Emeritus of Irish Studies at Emory University James Flannery said IrishFest Atlanta is one of the best examples of a genuinely Irish celebration.
“There was a great warmth about the whole event, from the friendly greetings of the volunteers, to the lively concert and ceili with all the musicians joining in to bring the whole event to a fitting end,” Flannery said. “There was always a sense that everyone was there in order to enjoy in a communal experience in which sharing music, dance and good craic was what was important.”
Music is at the core of the festival.
“At its inception, [IrishFest Atlanta] was organized by parents of our young Irish musicians who were in grade school or younger at the time,” Finley said. “We wanted to bring in top musicians for our own children to gain access and bond with during a weekend of workshops and concerts. That was wildly successful. Some of these same children are college-age and beyond and are returning to teach, perform and volunteer at IrishFest Atlanta. We have succeeded in preserving the culture in Atlanta through these young adults.”
The musical tradition will continue this year with performances by Crannua Collective and The Andrew Finn Magill Band. Dance teacher Shannon Dunne will conduct workshops in set dancing and Sean-nos dance. A silent auction will be offered, with proceeds going toward Irish Traditions Atlanta scholarships.
The event also features 20 workshops and classes — which include playing traditional Irish instruments such as the harp, fiddle and flute — set throughout both days.
This year’s IrishFest Atlanta also includes two special events: a whiskey tasking and afternoon tea with the Irish Consul General.
Free activities include marketplace performances and children’s programs.
Between 600-800 people are expected to participate in IrishFest Atlanta this year. In past years, about 10-20 percent of participants were Irish born, with some visitors from as far away as New York and Illinois.
Several types of passes are available for concerts, workshops and events. For more information, the full schedule of events and tickets, visit irishfestatlanta.org.