Coney Island celebrates the Emerald Isle

What a smile: Mia Tesoriero was all smiles at the Great Irish Fair on Surf Avenue in Coney Island.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

It’s great to be Gaelic.

Lads and lasses from Kings County and beyond made their way to Coney Island for the weekend-long Great Irish Fair that kicked off on Sept. 26, where all things Gaelic, from Irish dancing to a good, dry stout, were celebrated by the young and old alike — except the stout, kids weren’t allowed to celebrate that.

“We had a great time,” said Meghan Heegan, who’s made a tradition of bringing her sons Aidan and Duclan to the fair each year. “It’s fun for the kids and it’s fun the adults.”

The air was flush with the sound of bagpipes — a blaring sack of music that’s as common in the Emerald Isles as it is in the Scottish Highlands — and lasses from Buckley’s School of Irish Dance and the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy delighted audiences with their fancy steps and their traditional, full-skirted dresses.

Green-and-clover-clad kids were kept busy with less-traditional bouncy houses and fun slides, while moms and dads availed themselves of the stout and porter on tap from the many Brooklyn watering holes that erected makeshift pubs for the festivities.

Between Saturday and Sunday, fairgoers were treated to performances by local Irish bands, including the Narrowbacks, the Canny Brothers, Broken Banjo Strings, Darek Warfield and the Wolftones, the Sporting Paddies, and U2 tribute band Unforgettable Fire.

The Great Irish Fair was founded in 1982 by the Brooklyn Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Since then, it’s become a Coney Island staple every September, and a great source of philanthropy — 100 percent of funds raised by the event go to charity.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
The girl in green: Katie Heegan showed off her Irish pride.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

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