The Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio, is where you can get a true taste of the Irish without having to travel across the world. Each year the second largest Irish festival in the world, which begins today, attracts tens of thousands of guests with an anticipated attendance of over 100,000 people this year.
For 23 years the Dublin Irish Festival has been entertaining Ohioans and attracts many out-of-towners as well. Mary Margaret McLernon, from Dublin, Ohio, traveled to Ireland in 1987 and saw that Ireland was preparing for a huge millennium celebration. Coincidently, that same year Dublin, Ohio attained it's status as a city.
“I thought it would be great to establish a connection between the two Dublins, especially since we would celebrate our first anniversary as a city the same year that Dublin, Ireland, would celebrate its 1,000th anniversary,” said McLernon.
Thus, the Dublin Irish Festival was born.
What is there to do at an Irish Festival, besides some good old drinking—of which there is plenty of? There are three days full of entrainment with 7 stages and over 65 acts from great Irish performers like, phenomenal Irish fiddler Natalie MacMaster, the traditional Irish band Solas, and Celtic rockers Gaelic Storm.
As part of the celebration, an annual Irish dance competition began with one of the first groups called The Greenfields of American, which included Jean Butler, who later became the lead dancer in Riverdance.
In past years, the band Flogging Molly from Ireland would draw huge crowds of people who danced, cheered and toasted too and with the band. This year however, they are not scheduled to perform.
Men in kilts playing the bagpipes are also a festival staple.
Besides music and dancing, the Dublin Irish Festival boasts a host of family friendly activities like unique Irish shops, to authentic Irish food, and games.
This year’s festival begins at 4 p.m. on Friday and runs through Sunday.