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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Irish Festivals in Massachusetts

Irish and Celtic Festivals Abound in Massachusetts This Summer
(Boston) – Irish fiddlers, accordionists, flutists, pipers, singers, dancers and storytellers are out in force this summer at outdoor festivals throughout Massachusetts, America’s most Irish state.

From Cape Cod and Canton to Blackstone Valley and Springfield, organizers say the demand for high quality Irish and Celtic music has never been stronger.

Among the world class musicians performing in Massachusetts this summer are fiddle stars Eileen Ivers, Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll and Seamus Connolly, accordion maestro Joe Derrane, uilleann piping master Paddy Keenan, and traditional music super groups from Ireland like Altan and Dervish.

Here is a list of the Festivals:

The 5th annual Cape Cod Celtic Festival June 21-24 has “a killer line-up this year” says festival chairman Lew Taylor, featuring all-star duo Liz Carroll and John Doyle, singers Aoife Clancy and Robbie O’Connell, Mance Grady, a renowned master on the bodhran, or Irish drum, and The Clancy Tradition, with its authentic ceili band sound from County Armagh. The festivities take place at venues throughout Cape Cod around West Dennis and Yarmouth. For details visit

The 14th annual Glasgow Scottish Lands Festival takes place on Saturday, July 21, at Look Park in Florence (Northampton), featuring a dazzling array of Scottish pipe bands, athletic games, Highland dancing, clan gatherings and Celtic music throughout the day. You’ll find authentic Scottish foods, genealogy information, and plenty of activities for families and children, including a display of sheep herding. For details visit

The 5th annual Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival takes place on Saturday, July 28, at an exciting new location – the Indian Ranch Performance Center in Webster, Ma. This year’s line up features some of the world’s best traditional Irish performers, including uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, formerly of the Bothy Band, accompanied by flute master Peter Molloy and guitarist John Walsh. Nan Tom Teaimin, an accomplished sean nos singer from Connemara, County Galway, is performing at the festival. Seamus Connolly, ten-time All Ireland fiddling champion and music professor at Boston College, is also appearing this year with his all-star band. For details visit

The 9th annual Irish Music Festival takes place on Saturday, August 11 at the John Boyle O’Reilly Club in Springfield. Topping the billing is Enter the Haggis, the exciting Toronto-based quintet playing a vibrant blend of traditional Celtic mixed with rock, fusion, bluegrass, folk and Latin sounds. Other bands performing this year include The Rising, The Rogues, The Healys and Norman Payne. For more details, visit

The weekend of August 10-12, the exciting, newly named ICONS Festival, formerly the Irish Connections Festival, takes place at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, MA. The festival, now in its 17th year, celebrates Irish music and its various connections to other musical genres. Topping this year’s line-up are Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys, the legendary Irish punk rock band whose hit song, “Shipping up to Boston,” was featured in the Martin Scorsese film The Departed. Other headliners include folk singing legend Nancy Griffith, top Irish traditional bands Alton and Dervish, fiddler Kevin Burke, and blues rockers The Black Crowes. For details visit

Rounding out the summer season is the 10th annual Newport Waterfront Irish Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. Overlooking beautiful Newport Harbor, this year’s line-up features fiddle star Eileen Ivers, one of the world’s great Irish fiddle players, whose playing has transformed Irish music. Also on stage: balladeer and music legend Tommy Makem and the Spain Brothers, The Fenians, Glengarry Bhoys, Seamus Kennedy, the Screaming Orphans and more. For more details visit

According to the US Census, over 23% of all residents claim Irish ancestry, making Massachusetts the most Irish state in America.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) was created in 2000 to promote the Irish cultural community of Massachusetts year round. BITA works with the state’s tourism, hospitality and travel industry to welcome visitors from out-of-state. In addition, BITA has created an Irish Heritage Trail that highlights the Irish experience in Massachusetts dating back to the 18th century, and has created a guide to genealogy resources entitled Finding Your Irish Roots in Massachusetts.

For full details on year round Irish activities, small businesses and hospitality amenities in Massachusetts, visit