The cultural areas of the Festival allow guests to discover their roots, step back into ancient times or learn a new skill. With a variety of exhibitors and four dedicated cultural stages, there is something for all interests and abilities. For a list of speakers and schedules check out the Festival schedule.
Cultural Workshop Tent
At the cultural workshop tent, guests can learn a new hands-on skill, from making chainmail, to basics of knitting and tatting.
Whether you bring your instrument or just want to hear the music, the music workshop tent will have non-stop instruction throughout the weekend.
Hear fascinating tales from Irish lore and mythology. Storytellers, authors and poets rule this stage.
Returning this year, the Irish Traditions stage focuses on the rich culture and history or Ireland. Learn a little more about the songs from Dublin (Ireland) or about the role the Irish played in the US Civil War.
The Irish Authors’ Corner is returning this year even bigger in its fourth year. Become acquainted with the beauty of the Written Word in Irish culture. Visiting authors, both Irish and Irish-American will be at this tent all weekend. They will chat with you about their work and you can buy the books from the Book Loft and have your new purchases signed by the author. This year, many of the authors will be speaking in the Spoken Word and Irish Traditions Tent.
Brian Boru’s Ireland
Brian Boru’s Ireland gives Dublin Irish Festival visitors an authentic experience of life as it was in Ireland 1,000 years ago. A hidden gem among the Festival’s music, dance, food and drink, this reenactment of a 10th century Irish settlement is fascinating, educational and important to a full understanding of Irish culture.
The area endeavors to recreate the daily life of early Medieval Ireland 1000 years ago. Metalworking, wood turning, combat and weaponry are just a few of the ongoing demonstrations. You can have your photo taken in costume; enjoy the sweet fragrance of herbs and perhaps a story with our herbalist. Visit our “caiseal” and listen to harp music while watching textile production in the form of drop spindle spinning and weaving on a warp weighted loom. Help our cooks churn butter while they prepare our meals over an open fire and bake in a clay oven. Come to the abbey and see our embroidered tapestry in progress learn to make a St. Brigid’s cross and in the scriptorium see the tools and techniques used in illuminated manuscripts. Admire the treasures of the Lost Viking Hoard. Join in a game of Brandubh or learn to make mead “the drink of kings” when you step back in time to Brian Boru’s Ireland. Two groups participate in this reenactment: The Irish Living History Society and the Lost Viking Hoard .
The Ward Irish Music Archives
The 2015 travelling exhibit will be Come Back to Erin. An exciting new exhibition featuring a selection of 20th century travel and tourism posters will be presented by the Ward Irish Music Archives.
These strikingly colourful posters feature the work of world famous artists like Paul Henry and Norman Wilkinson, the distinctive images will be a trip down memory lane for many people. In the early decades of the last century mass tourism began to develop and with it came a surge in promotional activity. A very popular and highly visible element was the travel poster. Some posters, such as the ones by Paul Henry, became best sellers almost immediately and are still essential images of Ireland.
Initially the posters were commissioned by Irish and British railway companies. These include CIE and its predecessor Great Southern Railways, and also British Railways and its predecessors. After World War II, airlines such as Aer Lingus, TWA and American Airlines also began to issue posters as an important part of their marketing campaigns.
The exhibition focuses on some of the prime examples of Irish poster art. Many feature famous Irish tourist locations such as Killarney, Connemara, Glendalough and the Giants Causeway. Other images are not place-specific but feature familiar scenes of upland well-proportioned landscapes, big skies, lakes and coasts. Of course there are also stereotypical Irish images of thatched houses, ruins, round towers, jaunting cars and inscribed high crosses. The aim was to create an attractive marketing image, presenting Ireland as happily old fashioned, but which could be visited by the most modern means of travel.
We hope you enjoy this journey back in time with the Ward Irish Music Archive!
Irish Linen & Wool Worker Demonstrations
Tim and Katheleen Nealeigh will use authentic 19th century tools to produce world-famous Irish linen and wool in a demonstration that appeals to all ages. Linen begins as the humble flax plant which is pulled up, retted, dried, scutched, hackled, and spun into linen thread. The linen fabric is then woven using a loom from the 1700s. Wool is shorn, picked, carded or flicked, and spun into yarn. A delightful, informative running commentary during the continuous demonstration will provide the human touch to these nearly forgotten skills.
Robert Mouland offers a unique presentation in traditional Irish music: “The Legacy Of The Irish Harp“. In this cultural offering he tells the history of Ireland’s national symbol, the cláirseach na h’Eireann or wirestrung Irish harp. The music he performs spans the history of Irish music, from the early harp tradition right up to more current traditional dance tunes using the fiddle, union pipes, flute and whistle. He also brings to life a four hundred year old tradition of jig puppets, which dance by his knee as he plays.
Irish Wake Tent
The Irish Wake Tent is celebrating its 10th year anniversary at the Dublin Irish Festival! The Festival has long celebrated and preserved Irish customs and culture. Music, dance, food and drink are among those customs, but other customs are equally important to those seeking to understand Irish culture, including funeral practices. So, in the midst of all the celebration, music and dance, festival-goers will find a Wake Tent, complete with a facsimile of a corpse and mourners.
The Wake Tent at the Festival is an authentic representation of a wake as it might have been in a family home in 1898, a timeframe that was chosen because it represents the broadest range of customs. The body is laid out, usually on a door, in his best clothes. His coffin is standing by, his tombstone has been prepared and food, drink and tobacco are set out for the neighbors.
The traditional Irish wake lasted three days, during which time the body was never to be left alone or left in the dark. The deceased in the Festival’s Wake Tent is represented as an old man who lived a full life; therefore there is much for his family and friends to celebrate.