Kiss em, they’re Irish!
The 41st Annual Great Irish Festival is Irish-steppin’ into a brand new location in Brooklyn this Saturday — the Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Windsor Terrace.
The celebration of Irish culture features a lineup of Irish step dancers, Irish music, bagpipe players and everything Irish in between hosted by the Irish American Building Society, which focuses on connecting New Yorkers with Irish backgrounds with one another for business opportunities, friendships and mutual development.
For the first time in its history, this year the event will be held on the grounds outside of the Prospect Park West church. The fair was previously held in Coney Island and had its last year in the seaside neighborhood in 2021, following a virtual event in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic shut down New York City. The Great Irish Fair had been held in Coney Island under the Parachute Jump since 1983, two years after the event first launched underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in 1981.
This year’s festival will feature live musical performances by The Screaming Orphans, the Hambones, The Diddly Idols, and the Canny Brothers Band, with lively step-dancing by students at the Buckley School of Irish Dance in Windsor Terrace and the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy in Marine Park.
The fair, which marks the halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day, will kick off with a 9am mass at Holy Name, with festivities to follow at 11am. Each year, the festival honors notable members of the community, and this year, that tradition will have a slightly more somber tone – James Houlihan, the owner of local institution Farrell’s Bar, who was set to serve as the festival’s Grand Brehon, passed away earlier this week.
“We send our prayers and best wishes to his family during this difficult time,” festival organizers wrote on Facebook ahead of the festival. “Please join us this Saturday at the 41st Annual Great Irish Fair as we celebrate his memory.”
The Great Irish Fair has celebrated the Emerald Isle and its people in Brooklyn since 1981, when the bash was held under the Brooklyn Bridge. It moved to Coney Island in 1983 and remained there for 39 years.
The 41st Annual Great Irish Fair kicks off at 11am on Sept. 24 at Holy Name of Jesus Church at 245 Prospect Park West between Prospect Avenue and Windsor Place in Windsor Terrace. Tickets are $25. Buy tickets and get more information online.