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Activities

*Events and Activities subject to change

*NEW* ANCIENT CELTIC AXE THROWING

We are partnering with Ace Axe Throwing to bring you the sport of Ancient Celtic Axe Throwing! This year, guests 16+ wearing closed-toe shoes will get to try their hand at axe throwing for free with festival admission!

*NEW* A TASTE OF IRELAND

New this year, festival visitors will be able to sample and purchase foods and snacks made in Ireland! Take home items like Guinness chocolate & fudge, Keogh’s potato chips, Mileeven Honey with Jameson, soda bread & scone mixes, Butlers candy bars, Irish teas & coffees, and so much more!

*NEW* CULTURAL COTTAGE: ARAN KNIT DISPLAY

Ireland’s popularity and beauty is ensured by its profound cultural heritage and breathtaking scenery. Nowhere is this more evident than the ARAN ISLES. Located in the west of Ireland, this area is a region of contradictions, with its farming areas, rugged coastlines, and cosmopolitan towns. The warmth of the people, spoken Irish language, and haven for traditional music and dancing, this is where can still experience the rich history of Ireland, as the island life has changed little in the last hundred years. This year we are pleased to feature the many Aran knit sweater designs in our Cultural Cottage. One of Ireland’s most recognized garbs, these oiled, off-white (though now featured in many colors) sweaters used to be handed down through generations of Aran fishermen. Legend has it that each family used its own design motifs to designate family identity and tradition.

*NEW* OUR CELTIC COUSINS

It is always exciting to experience the ancient and contemporary connections between Ireland and Scotland. Enjoy Pittsburgh’s finest clan representation, as Scotland visits the Pittsburgh Irish Festival! Featuring music, dancing and a bit of Highland gaming, join us in welcoming our Celtic Cousins to the Festival!

*NEW* HURLING MATCHES

See the national sport of Ireland live when the Pittsburgh Pucas face the Pitt Panthers in exhibition matches throughout the weekend! Festival guests can also try their hand at the sport following the match! Matches are scheduled for Saturday, September 8 at 2 & 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 9 at 2:30 p.m. at the Celtic Spirit Stage.

SESSION TENT

Musicians, bring your instrument and get into the Festival for free. Join other musicians and play your favorite Irish songs throughout the weekend!

WATCH THE GAME

Join Thanks to our friends at the Ya Jagoff! Podcast, festival guests can watch the Pitt vs. Penn State game on Saturday, September 8 and the Steelers game on Sunday, September 9.

STEEL CLOVER’S INSTRUMENT DEMONSTRATIONS AND CELTIC OPEN MIC

This area has been capturing the hearts of many over the past several years. Steel Clover provides an interactive experience to both adults and children looking to experience playing an instrument. Musicians and singers get a chance to sing and play Celtic songs in during the open mic and the music and instrument demonstrations are wildly popular at the festival. This experience takes people to a new level of thinking about music. Guests get to “feel the musical experience, not just look and listen.”

*NEW* LIVE ART DEMONSTRATIONS

We are thrilled to have partnered with local artist, Conor Coleman, to bring live art to the Festival for the first time.

Conor is a self-taught artist who works in all visual media, but specializes in murals and traditional ink practice. The complexity of his work resembles ancient, tribal Celtic artwork, and at this year’s Festival he’ll be crafting live-artwork in this same fashion! His pieces will be available for purchase throughout the weekend and his live art can be bid on for a lucky home.
As a compulsive doodler, Conor has found both personal sanctuary and a platform to engage communities in art. Professionally, his practice began is using art as a tool for collective introspection in after-school programming with at-risk youth in North Philadelphia. After early experiments and successes, he was selected to continue his work as a Fulbright scholar in India where he made several murals with and in different communities. Some of you may recognize him from years past: Conor got his start as a world-class Irish dance competitor and professional, placing fifth in the World Championships and dancing with Lord of the Dance, among other companies. He’s no newcomer to the Pittsburgh Irish Festival and has performed multiple times with the Burke-Conroy School of Irish Dance, Gaelic Storm, and others! Be sure to stop by his live art demonstrations this year.

RIVERTOWNE BREWING CRAFT BEER

With every sip, craft beer allows you to experience the passion, authenticity, excitement, creativity, and camaraderie that goes into brewing. Once again, our official craft beer partner this year is Rivertowne Brewing. They’ll be bringing various craft products that are sure to please even the pickiest beer drinker!

“BRIDGE TO EUROPE” PRESENTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH EUROPEAN STUDIES CENTER

Featuring presentations on Ireland’s economics, history, politics, and more! More details to come soon!

IRISH AUTHORS’ CORNER

Learn about Ireland and its lore while meeting visiting authors at this year’s Irish Festival.  Buy a book and get it autographed.  Hear the authors’ tales during the weekend at the Hedge School.

DELIGHT IN DANCE AND MUSIC PERFORMANCES

View continuous entertainment in 4 performances areas, presented by adult and children’s dance ensembles, all colorfully costumed and skillfully choreographed. In addition, our contemporary and traditional Irish musicians will bring you to your feet as they continue the party as only the Irish can!

FEAST ON IRISH CUISINE AND CELTIC BEVERAGES

Relish the mouthwatering sights, aromas and tastes coming from our Irish kitchens! From a bite to a hearty meal, we serve Irish sausage, Irish stew, boxty pancakes, corned beef and cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, potato soup, fish, colcannon, ham and cabbage, and much more! Our desserts are plentiful and delicious. While you are there, enjoy a wide variety of Celtic beverages at our Tara Tea Tent and numerous pubs!

DISCOVER YOUR IRISH FAMILY TREE

Trace that elusive Irish ancestor by visiting the Genealogy Pavilion. Learn how to search locally and online for long-lost family here and on the Auld Sod. Forms and reference books are on-site to guide you as you begin or restart the process of climbing your Family Tree.

IRISH DOG AREA

Visit with the dogs native to Ireland! Meet all Irish breeds: Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhounds, Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, Glen of Imaal, Irish Red and White Setter, Kerry Beagle, Kerry Blue Terrier, and the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier. Email us at pghirishfestival@gmail.com to include your dog in the festivities.

CULTURAL HEDGE SCHOOL STAGE

Presented by the Irish Design Center, one of the most popular areas at the festival is the Hedge school.  Based on the infamous Penal Laws, hedge schools developed in Ireland in response to the bans placed on educating Irish natives about their history, traditions, and culture. As a result, lessons were taught in secret in a barn or in the shadow of a hedge. We are proud to offer on-going educational sessions in the areas of history, legends, music, language, dance, sports, and symbols of Ireland.

TIR na nOg (CHILDREN’S AREA/IRISH ARTS, CRAFTS, & GAMES)

For our wee folk! Take home a hand-made souvenir, enjoy an Irish story, sing-a-long, find a fairie, and even dance an Irish jig!

IRISH MARKETPLACE

A favorite area of the Festival is the Irish Marketplace where unique shopping booths display a panorama of Irish items for sale. Take home a specialized clothing article, piece of art, interesting trinket or souvenir. Guaranteed Irish, we feature over 50 specialty booths. Don’t forget to visit our Festival’s award-winning t-shirt booth!

MEET PITTSBURGH’S IRISH ORGANIZATIONS

Members will be on hand with lots of information and an invitation to join them!

CULTURAL BEVERAGE TASTINGS

This year, for our guests 21 and over, beverage tasting will be included in the price of your Festival admission ticket! Visit our Cultural Beverage Tasting area as we experience the charm, depth and diversity of flavor found in Irish and “Celtic Cousin” whiskeys and mead. Each booth will feature professionally curated tastings conducted by a whiskey master, Protector of the Peat, or mead maker. You will compare and contrast the unique qualities of legendary brands. This area is brought to you by Kingview Mead. Check back for a complete list of featured brands.

IRISH MASS – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 AT 10 A.M.

Join us for our annual Irish Mass on Sunday, September 9 at 10 a.m. at our Celtic Spirit Stage.

OTHER FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Storytelling from Alan Irvine, Celtic Harper – Dennis Doyle, Bagpipes and Blarney with Patrick Regan, traditional step and ceili dance workshops and performances, Irish instrument and cultural area demonstrations, strolling bagpipers, Gaelic sports demonstrations, and Irish names with Sean.

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Riverplex | 1000 Sandcastle Dr., West Homestead, PA 15120 | 412-422-1113