For 27 years and counting, Dublin has celebrated its Irish roots the first weekend of August with the Dublin Irish Festival. It’s now the largest three-day Irish festival in the world, with seven entertainment stages, 65 acts and more than 530 performers celebrating Celtic tradition in music, dance, stories, games and other Irish customs. The festival offers something for everyone, with tasty Irish cuisine and activities ranging from whiskey tastings to bagpipers. We’ve rounded up five can’t-miss activities.
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Despite the name, this talented Scottish band is far from a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band. Since the Chilli Pipers came together in 2002, the band has garnered a large fan base with its modern take on the bagpipe and other traditional Irish instruments, forging a new genre it calls “bagrock.” The Chilli Pipers will play two shows at Killian’s Celtic Rock Stage — the first at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, and the second at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2.
Jameson Irish Whiskey Tasting
Drink as the Irish do at the Jameson Irish Whiskey Tasting presented by Claire Gavin, the Dublin-born Jameson Ambassador of Ohio. You’ll have the opportunity to taste six different whiskies that range in heaviness, and be enlightened on each. The tasting costs $20 and will last about an hour. The tastings will be held at 6 and 9 p.m. Friday, 1, 3:30 and 7:15 p.m. Saturday, and 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Sunday.
Get your fix of Irish cuisine at Dayton’s own Dublin Pub, located at the Temple Bar Food Court. The pub will serve traditional Irish fare throughout the weekend, with dishes including fried pickles, Reuben sandwiches, pork chops and pub fries. With Dublin Pub cuisine in one hand and a Guinness in the other, it’s truly a match made in heaven.
Sheep Herding Demonstration
The peoples’ demands have been heard, and the sheep herding demonstration of years past is returning to the Dublin Irish Festival this year. In an approximately half-hour show, trained dogs will herd and navigate sheep through a not-so-simple obstacle course designed in the Chevrolet of Dublin Greenfields Sports Area. Bring your family and friends to watch what shepherds of Ireland have been doing in the Irish hills for centuries. The demonstration takes place at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3.
Dance Instruction With Jim Keenan
If you’ve ever wanted to take an Irish dance lesson, now is your chance. Jim Keenan, a seasoned Irish Ceili and Country Set dancer and instructor, will teach the dance at the Cardinal Health Ceili Dance Tent this weekend. Keenan has been teaching, performing and lecturing on Irish dance since 1982, teaching all over the United States, Canada and Europe. Instructions take place at 2 and 6p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2. Keenan will also perform with the Old Bay Ceili Band the hour after each lesson.
Photos courtesy of The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Dublin Irish Festival