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Debut for new New Jersey Irish festival GaelFest

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There is a new festival called Gaelfest 2013 on Saturday, June 1 down the gateway to the Jersey Shore area at the Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey.

It will focus on music, dance, the Irish language, literature, history and Gaelic games.  It runs from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. with a Mass in Irish with Father Dan Cahill inside CBA for the first hour.

On the main stage, a local Jersey shore Celtic group called Trinity kicks off the music followed by the Patricia Murphy School of Dance (noon), Erin Loughran and Mickey Coleman Band (12:30 p.m.), Pearl River All-Ireland under-12 champion Ceili Band (2 p.m.), Girsa (2:45 p.m.), Shea-Jennings School of Dance (4 p.m.) and Sean Hennessey’s Blackwater Band finishing out the afternoon program with a 4:30 p.m. set.

There are six GAA teams invited to play from around the Northeast with hurling and Gaelic football being featured.  First up is a hurling match between Na Toraidhe (Philadelphia) and the Long Island Gaels (noon) followed by more hurling with the Hoboken Guards facing the Allentown Hibernians (12:45 p.m.).

Then a Gaelic football match with the New York PD versus St. Barnabas of Paddy’s Field fame from Woodlawn in the Bronx at 1:30 p.m.  After a musical break with Pat Torphy and the CBA Pipe Band (2:15 p.m.), there’s more hurling action. The field events close with a Gaelic football clinic for children at 4 p.m.

Inside the CBA school will be Irish language events with Anthony Valentino and Micheal O’Maille who will also lecture on the origins of the Irish (3 p.m.), Irish literature talks with Beth Gilmartin, and a harp workshop with Iris Nevins (who will also be doing sessions with Linda Hickman during the day).

Dancers will be catered for with sean nos stepdancing with Megan Downs at 1 p.m. followed by a ceili from 2-5 p.m. with the Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band in the gym.

Capping off the day’s celebration will be a special concert -- with separate admission -- with an all-star troupe of Irish trad entertainers led by Joanie Madden in the CBA auditorium at 8 p.m. Joining Madden will be fiddler Dylan Foley and accordionist John Nolan, and singers Gabriel Donahue and Padraig Allen for a great night of music at the Shore.  

Call 732-915-2191 or visit www.gaelfest.com where you will also see a list of Irish shops where tickets can be purchased.

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