Other festival highlights include the lineup of new Irish music. Gemma Hayes, Foy Vance, the Coronas, Colin Devlin and local favorite Brendan O’Shea are all participating at gigs hosted each evening at Mercury Lounge.
“We’re excited to have the Coronas at the festival, since they’re becoming huge already and we have their exclusive U.S. gig,” says Mulligan. “But Maud in Cahoots are also debuting with us and they were recently hand picked to open for Snow Patrol by the band themselves.”
Colin Smith, vocalist from Mr. North, has released his debut CD and will perform at the festival.
“His track ‘Love’ has been picked up by a lot of outlets and it’s been getting momentum for the past couple of weeks, and we’re very excited to have him at the festival,” Mulligan says.
Documentary film will also get a welcome forum at the festival with the screening of His & Hers, director Ken Wardrop’s brilliant and heartwarming film charting the bond between long married Irish people, which is an award winning and unmissable gem (trust me, I’ve seen it) that played to packed houses in Ireland.
“I personally have a passion for documentary film makers. I’ve worked with them, I’ve done them, I hang out with documentary filmmakers so His & Hers is perfect for us,” says Mulligan.
There will also be a special Kids Film Fleadh on Saturday afternoon, March 12, which will include a screening of the best of Ireland’s short films for children, and the craic will really get going with Irish step dancing after the screening handled by the Niall O'Leary dance group (complimentary coffee and donuts for adults and goodie bags for the kids will be provided – they think of everything, this lot).
Irish A-list stars like Colin Farrell, Aidan Quinn and Cillian Murphy tend to turn up unannounced for festival events and screenings so you never know who’ll you meet.
“Peter Cunnan and Damien Dempsey are confirmed for the Between the Canal’s premiere,” says Mulligan, hinting that some of his A-list buddies will also be in town.
With the festival presented by Con Edison, the after parties are going to be epic too, sponsored by Stella Artois and Tullamore Dew (get the hint?).
This is the best and brightest kick off to the St. Patrick’s Day season, so grab your tickets while you still can. For more information, contact festival manager Marisol Cheng at 646-549-1349.