Something Different: Irish Festival

Different in the sense that I haven’t blogged here about stuff I do, lately. But I have pictures of men in skirts… what more could you want?

This is the year I drum up some interest in things Celtic, literally perhaps because while I attended the annual Dublin Ohio Irish Festival I bought another bodhrán. This one was a more moderate size than my original purchase… and I’ll likely have more to say about that at another time. Right now, I feel like talking about the festival.

First, it has grown into a monster of an event. Years ago, when we first attended (pretty much every year) it was a friendly family size festival. Now it rivals the state fair with its sea of people in an expanded size park.

I didn’t like the crowds so much- I never do- but there were interesting exhibits, and the Celtic music was as lively and enjoyable as ever.

One thing about the music, though. I am of Hungarian heritage and grew up listening to Gypsy violin music…so I know it when I hear it, and the main “Celtic Rock” group was definitely of the Eastern European genre. Sure enough, they unveiled those facts halfway through their set when introducing themselves and then “transporting us back to Bulgaria”. Whatever. Much of the music from Russia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc. has enough similar flavor-rather like cabbage rolls- that you recognize its common elements. They have nuances of the region, but basically you will have the basic ingredients that those of us of that background all love. it was good music, just not Irish or Scottish. So with the violins, Irish traditional music has its own flavor despite the world music meanderings of the Chieftains and ensuing Celtic Fusion. The group performing on the main stage was called ‘Scythian‘, and the lead violinist was exceptional- the second player was very good too. Mad Gypsy playing, I’ll tell you (not to say they are Gypsies, just the music style). When I was in Hungary, the Gypsy violinists roam streets and tourist attractions and play for tips. Just as exceptionally talented as any violinist in a concert hall…but I have digressed.

What you really want are the men in kilts, don’t you? The Irish Festival is the one place where the kilt is common. Now they have “American kilts”, that was new to my eyes. a men’s skirt made of plain broadcloth or camouflage pattern.

Men in Kilts

On another note, my Celtic page, which has lain dormant for so long is going to move to my Reflecting Pool website this fall. Geocities is closing and I thought I would refurbish the page and keep it alive.