A greener New Jersey - the Irish invade for annual New Jersey Irish Festival

Willie Lynch
The annual New Jersey Irish Festival takes place this Sunday and it can’t come soon enough!

MTV’s Jersey Shore show and programs like Jerseylicious and Real Housewives have categorized us as tan-obsessed drooling morons with big hair and an obsession with animal print.

The pale nation of Irish people will descend on Monmouth Park Racetrack on June 10 from noon until 7 p.m. and will demonstrate our strong and proud Irishness.

This year the festival committee has amassed the best of the best from our local bar scene. I live in a section of the shore called the Irish Riviera -- okay, I live in the white trash section of the Irish Riviera, but still -- and our bar scene is dotted with authentic Irish pubs and old Victorian mansions hollowed out to make room for the kegs!

Pat Roddy is the lord of these mansions, bringing his crowd pleasing brand of Irish-tinged rock and roll to places like the Columns, the Norwood and The Parker House.

His shows there have been stuff of legend, and it might look a wee bit funny to see the man rock in the daylight for a change! He released a great album, Shed My Skin, a while back, so count on Pat doing his share of original songs and cover tunes as well.

Willie Lynch -- what can you say about this Dubliner that hasn’t been said already? He has been playing around the Garden State for decades.

When he’s not playing for the hipsters up in Hoboken, he’s playing faithfully in the bars around Sea Girt in the middle of the week to give you that blast of green merriment to get over “hump day.”

He cracks jokes with an audience that knows him like the back of their hands and strums his Irish blarney over synthesized beats.

Round the House Band is comprised of industry veterans led by Kevin Guerin from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare.  Guerin is an All-Ireland tin whistle champion and his flute does battle with Jim Calvert’s mighty guitar. Calvert has done session work with the likes of John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

Round the House is topped off by the accordion riffing of the Bronx’s own Luke O’Malley, a name known to many who have haunted the Catskills over the years.

The lineup is rounded out by Jackson, New Jersey folkster Thomas Wesley Stern and Paddy and the Pale Boys. Monmouth Park is a picturesque setting to see the ponies run, and there will be tons of food and craft vendors and a pipe band competition to ensure that there’s something for everyone on that day.

For more details, log onto www.nj-irishfestival.com.

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