On Saturday, June 1st 2013, Claddagh na nGael will present a brand new festival, GaelFest, celebrating traditional Irish culture in all its varied forms and expressions. 

Presented in conjunction with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann North America, the Gaelic Athletic Association, Monmouth University and Christian Brothers Academy, the day long cultural festival will be held on the impressive grounds of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ. 

“This festival is meant to be a celebration of everything that is truly Irish from traditional music & dance, which most are familiar with, to our sports, language, food, art, & literature” says Dermot Farley, Executive Chair of Claddagh na nGael.  “We are very excited to be working with our partner organizations to bring a traditional festival of this caliber to the area.” 

The inaugural edition of GaelFest will begin at 10AM and run all day with a full schedule of events and activities for all ages and interests.   

Music and entertainment will be provided throughout the day by the traditional Irish groups Blackwater, Erin Loughran and Mickey Coleman, Girsa & Trinity capped off with an evening concert by Joanie Madden and Her All Star Band.  There will also be a special performance by the All-Ireland Championship U12 Ceili Band from Pearl River, NY.  

The New York Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) along with teams from the Philadelphia GAA will put on all-star exhibition matches of the traditional Irish sports of Hurling and Irish Football.  In addition, the GAA will provide kid friendly introductory sessions to some of the basic skills of each sport. 

Traditional step dancing exhibitions by the Patricia Murphy School of Dance and the Shea/Jennings School of Dance will be accompanied by an opportunity to learn Sean Nós (Old Style) Irish Dancing taught by Megan Downes.  For the ceili/set dancing crowd, there will be a fantastic ceili for all ages with The Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band featuring Margie Mulvihill, John Reynolds & Patty Furlong. 

For those inclined to slightly more sedentary activities, there will also be a series of lectures, presentations and exhibitions throughout the day covering a variety of topics and interests including Irish History, Literature, Storytelling of Irish Mythology, Irish Harp & Uillean Pipe
exhibitions and “How to Speak Irish in 30 Minutes.”  There will also be exhibitions of Irish arts and crafts as well as food vendors serving traditional Irish food and beverages.  

Finally, as GaelFest is a family oriented event, there will be plenty to do for the little ones to enjoy including, GAA sports workshops, dance workshops, kiddy rides, face painting, storytelling & tin whistle lessons. 

“We have an ambitious calendar of events and activities for our first year of GaelFest,” says Farley “but the Irish culture is so rich and varied that we really have only just begun to scratch the surface/”  

Proceeds from the festival will go to support the Claddagh na nGael branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann which is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of traditional Irish culture.  In addition, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Christian Brothers Academy. 

More information regarding GaelFest and advance ticket information can be found at www.gaelfest.com as it becomes available. 

About Claddagh na nGael

Claddagh na nGael (Irish Shore) is a branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (kol-tus kyol-tori air-in) covering Central New Jersey and the Jersey Shore. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was formed in 1951 and is the largest international body involved in the promotion of Irish traditional culture worldwide. Today the organization has 415 branches with over 40,000 members on 5 continents.  You can visit us at www.ccenorthamerica.org, www.comhaltas.ie or www.irishshore.org.