Coney Ireland! 36th Great Irish Fair comes to People’s Playground

Coney Ireland! 36th Great Irish Fair comes to People’s Playground
Photo by Mike Beitchman

It was a lucky day for the Irish!

Brooklynites descended on the Ford Amphitheater on the Boardwalk on Saturday for the Irish American Building Society’s 36th Annual Great Irish Fair of New York to celebrate the borough’s Emerald Isle heritage and culture, according to one longtime attendee.

“It was fantastic,” said Ridgite and attendee James Quigley. “They’re trying to recapture the Irish spirit of Brooklyn.”

The event kicked off with a morning mass, followed by an award ceremony where state Sen. Marty Golden was among the honorees, taking home the Al O’Hagan Community Award for his contributions to the populace. Following the ceremony, a variety of traditional, folk, Irish, and cover bands and musicians serenaded the crowd on two different stages, while vendors offered Irish food and beer and children enjoyed face painting, balloon animals, and cotton candy.

For one of the bands, which plays Celtic roots rock, the event was a homecoming of sorts.

“We don’t always get to play Brooklyn, but we’re all born and raised here, so it’s always nice to come back home,” said Keith Fallon, the Canny Brothers Band’s singer and guitar player. “And the audience is fantastic.”

The band is one of the many that have played at the event for years now. And this year, Quigley filled in with the Canny Brothers Band on the keyboard, and said that he can’t wait to returning in the future, as either a musician or an attendee.

“I’ll look forward to the event for years to come,” he said.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.