Arts preview: Dublin Irish Festival: Five things not to miss

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Being proud of your Irish heritagehas proven to be a year-round gig. When the Dublin Irish Festival takes off on Friday, housands of Ohio’s Irish folk—of the pretend and authentic persuasionwill come together for culturally rousing weekend.

It’s not all music and dancing either. This festival has plenty of events focused on immersing festival-goers with Irishculture.

“We try to have interactive things as well as things people can observe,” said Mary Jo DiSalvo, event administrator.

These things will have you running all over the festival; they include wine tastings, hearing storytellers recite Irish lore and even watching highland athletics.

“We always have the amateur competition for the highland games. This year we have a kids event,” said Sarah O’Malley, events assistant. “We’re also bringing back sheep herding this year.”

If you’re looking to do some folkin’ around at Dublin this weekend, here are five things I would be sure to check out.

Red Hot Chili Pipers

Unleash your gasp and withhold a sigh after rereading the name — the Red Hot Chili Pipers are just as worthy of your attention.This Scottish crew’s sound is the perfect infusion of Irish traditional texture and partyrock. Considering that the Pipers do a lot of covers, expectan eclectic set, ranging from “Thunderstruck” to “Amazing Grace.Are you up for seeing kilted dudes shredding on bag pipes? I know I am.

Celtic Canines

Pups in the sun make a perfect weekend. Especially with the Ireland-native breeds that will be at the fest. Breeders will be holding lessons on grooming and training of these Irish dogs, including the likes of Irish Settlers and Terriers. I’m allotting time just to touch ’em

John Shea at the Author’s Corner

The festival is in its second year of hosting Irish/Irish-American authors at its Author’s Corner, with the purpose of allowingfestival goers to meet famous writers in the field. The highlight of this year’s corner is John Shea, Irish-American and former Bostonian mobster, who will be doing a reading from his memoir, “Rat Bastards.” If that doesn’t seem cool enough, Marky Mark’s set to play Shea in an upcoming film about his life.

Sheep Herding

There are no cliffs in Ohio for sheep to run off, but the method of keeping them from doing so—swift, extremely well-trained dogswill be replicated in an insightful exhibition. An expert dog handler will be shuttling sheep through an obstacle course to show you how it was done. Baa-dass.

Shamrock Stage/Whiskey Snug

The Shamrock Stage is the go-to joint to see the best Ohio-based Irish bands. Be armed with a pint or a glass of whiskey before entering to help loosen up your vocal chords, as it’ll be awkward if you’re not singing along. Conveniently enough, the Shamrock Stage is adjacent to the festival’s Whiskey Snug, the only spot for cocktails and Bushmills in the entire place (they knew what they were doing) So yeah, sláinte!

Coffman Park

Aug. 2-4

5200 Emerald Parkway, Dublin