Great Irish Fair returns to Coney Island

Honoree Maura Coughlin and her husband grooved to Irish music at this year’s Great Irish Fair.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta


The Great Irish Fair of New York graced the shores of Coney Island once again this weekend, bringing songs and dances from the Emerald Isle to the People’s Playground. 

After the pandemic forced it to go virtual during 2020, the fair returned in-person for 2021 at the Ford Amphitheater on Sept. 25. 

Chief Brehon Alan Cummings and Caroline Ingram.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

The daylong festival hosted each year by the Irish American Building Society featured performances from Irish musical groups and dance troupes, including The Brooklyn Bards, the Susan and Gerard Irish Band, the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy, and Gaelic Storm. 

A performance by The Buckley School of Irish Dance.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

The fair also saluted a number of honorees, including Kevin Cummings, who served as Chief Brehon of the fair, Dick Brennan, who was awarded with the Celtic Cross, and Brenda McCabe, who was honored with the Kathleen Slatey Woman of the Year Award. 

A baby reaches for mom’s hamburger at the Great Irish Fair on Coney Island.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

The fair was first held in 1981 beneath the Brooklyn Bridge with Irish musicians and vendors, before moving in 1983 to Coney Island beneath the Parachute Jump where it was stayed ever since, helping in part to revitalize Coney Island during one of its rougher eras. 

For a full list of honorees and performers, visit IABSNY.com.