Boston Irish Festival Off to a Sunny Start in Canton
With the unbelievably good forecast for this weekend, and the wide range of entertainment available at family-friendly pricing, the ICC festival is the place to be in Canton this weekend!
On the opening evening of the Irish Cultural Centre’s three-day Boston Irish Festival in Canton, things were off to a great start. Traditionally, the festival has been a rather rainy experience, with some festival weekends in recent memory held under downpours. However, while the sky appeared ominously cloudy all afternoon, the rain held off until closing time.
Canton residents enjoyed the Irish festival for free on Friday, as a traditionally kind gesture from the Irish Cultural Centre. There were plenty of ways for one to revel in the Irish culture. Rolling guitar beats drifted from the main stage for shoppers to hear as they perused a large and varied assortment of authentic Celtic crafts, jewelry and memorabilia.
O’Casey’s Jewelry stand displayed a large selection of “Celtic Warrior” jewelry, which has a particularly historical story to it. As shop owner John Casey explained, in the 1800’s, Irish farmers unearthed a Celtic chalice. Knowing it was precious, “…the farmers turned it in to the authorities, as any good farmer would do. Now it is in the National Museum of Ireland,” Casey said. Known to archeologists as the Ardagh Chalice and dated to at least 700 AD, this treasure of Ireland is the basis for the many shield decorations on their jewelry.
Further along, festival-goers gathered outside of the Irish Cottage as a traditional Irish Music session started. A dozen musicians from far and wide took up their fiddles, violins, harps and voices to entertain the crowd with a traditional Irish jam session, led by musician Bill Black. The youngest performer was Audrey Bulger, an eight-year-old violinist from Easton. She’s been playing the violin since she was four, but the flute only since she was six, she admitted.
The Irish Cottage was also open for visiting. This replica of traditional Irish housing indeed looked like it was plucked from a post card, with its crisp white façade, red door and thatched roof. Inside, traditional Irish household items were displayed in front of an electrically crackling fireplace.
On the main stage Friday night was the popular band, Prodigal. A real crowd pleaser, this band constantly got people tapping their feet, waving their arms, dancing and singing along. By the end of the night, Prodigal was lured back to the stage for two encore songs, which included the well known “Jetliner in the Sky” and “No, Nay, Never,” which played to huge crowd reactions.
The Irish Cultural Centre, celebrating its 21st Irish Festival, will continue to celebrate the music, food, beer and dance of the Irish culture Saturday and Sunday. There will be Irish Step Dancing shows, as well as workshops so that visitors may learn a bit as well. Mega bands Joshua Tree and The Gobshites will also be playing this weekend, as well as other special musical guests.
A playground is within earshot of the main-stage and mini-carnival, making day trips a great family adventure.
As Eileen Daly of Canton put it, as she listened to Prodigal play and watched her children play on the playground, “We come here every year. We love supporting the Irish Cultural Centre!”
With two days of excellent weather predicted for the festival, Irish eyes will certainly be smiling in Canton!