GaelfestMiddletown, NJ -  On Saturday, June 1, Claddagh na nGael will present a brand new festival, GaelFEST, celebrating all aspects of traditional Irish culture.  Presented in conjunction with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann North America, the Gaelic Athletic Associations of New York and Philadelphia, Monmouth University and Christian Brothers Academy, this day long cultural festival will be held on the impressive grounds of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ.

“GaelFEST is meant to be a celebration of everything that is truly Irish, from traditional music and dance to our sports, language, food, art, and 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 Central Jersey and Jersey Shore area.”

GaelFEST will begin at 10 a.m. and run all day with a full schedule of events and activities for all ages and interests, including:

  • Music and entertainment throughout the day by the traditional Irish groups Blackwater, Erin Loughran & Mickey Coleman, Girsa, Trinity and the All-Ireland champion, Pearl River Youth Ceili Band capped off with an evening concert by the renowned Joanie Madden and Her All-Star Band.
  • The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) will put on all-star exhibition matches of the traditional Irish sports of Hurling and Irish Football with teams from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  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.
  • A series of lectures, presentations and exhibitions throughout the day will include Irish History, Storytelling of Irish Mythology, Irish Harp, and “How to Speak Irish in 30 Minutes.” 
  • There will be Mass celebrated in Irish at 10:00 a.m. to start the day
  • Exhibitions of Irish arts and crafts.
  • Food vendors serving traditional Irish food and beverages.
  • This family-oriented event also includes plenty of fun for the little ones, including GAA sports workshops, dance workshops, kiddy rides, face painting, storytelling and 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 GaelFEST 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 on GaelFest including advance ticket purchases can be found at www.gaelfest.com.

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.