(last updated Sep 29, 2009)

A Trip to Dublin..............Ohio

By Edie O'Donnell

A number of Washington area dancers journeyed again this year to Dublin, Ohio, on the first weekend of August for their annual Irish Festival. This event gets bigger and better each year! Our own Jim Keenan is the featured dance master on the dance stage, and all the DC dancers turn up in full force to assist and participate in the four dance workshops Jim conducts over the weekend. The dance stage is covered, with a lovely raised wood floor and big fans creating a cooling effect. It's a far cry from what a few of us remember from our first trips to Dublin where we danced in several interesting venues, such as the tennis courts! This year the dance stage was particularly well-populated, with eight sets dancing in several of the workshops.

The festival really has something for everyone. With seven stages catering to all tastes in music and dance, we had plenty to choose from when we weren't dancing. Couple that with extensive food and drink choices, tons of craft vendors offering everything from fine jewelry to shamrock shoelaces, a separate area with "kiddie" entertainment, and it's hard to beat for the $10/day admission. Two masses (Gaelic and English) and a non-denominational service are held on the grounds on Sunday morning. On top of that, if you enter Sunday before 11 with a can of food for Dublin's food bank, your admission is waived.

This festival is supported by the City of Dublin, and a number of major sponsors, like Wendy's, Scotts, Time Warner and Killians. IGS sponsored the dance stage, and IGS representatives were on hand tossing dry t-shirts to sweaty dancers. Regular shuttles ran circuits between the major hotels and the festival grounds, and we never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus to arrive.

Entertainers, too numerous to mention here, included Dervish, le Bottine Souriante, Slide, Bua, the Celtic Tenors, Gaelic Storm, Screaming Orphans, Prodigals, Young Wolf Tones, Clancy Legacy, and local bands, singers, pipe bands and dancers. The Dublin Feis takes place in another location on Saturday, so Feis champions appear on stage with various musical groups.

Quite a few of the Washington attendees stay over on Sunday night, and we always convene in a local restaurant that night to keep the good times rolling before the long trip home on Monday.

This is definitely a festival worth attending at least once, but then you'll probably be hooked! Follow their progress for the 2010 festival at their website: http://www.dublinirishfestival.org/