STAFFORD – The songs and stories reflect the personal history: an Irish experience shared with a packed community center in Ocean Acres.
“Ireland and Italy, Jerusalem and Germany …” goes the song McNally’s Rows Of Flats, one of many songs sung by performers at Amergael’s annual Irish festival in the Ocean Acres Community Center on February 25. “… A paradise for cats; Jumbled up together, in snow or rainy weather, They represent the tenants in McNally’s row of flats.”
The event, called Celebrate Irish Arts, featured performances by bands and musicians such as Clan Suibhne, reminisced on family stories passed down generations, describing how family made the trek from Ireland across the Atlantic to life in the United States during waves of immigration. Stories were collected from diaries, as speakers read from or recalled history out of the late 1800s onward.
President Jim Curley lead and introduced speakers and performers. One letter read was from an Irish railroad worker from 1846, describing conditions but also the journey the man made and his correspondence with family and how he may never settle down with a family and homestead and would instead continue a life spent finding work along the railroad.
Also featured: Irish step dancers, vendors displaying art and photography of Irish landscapes and subjects, and tables with artifacts and antiques from Irish life and arts.
The library, who helped sponsored the event, had instructions on how to tie a Celtic knot. And a slice of Irish soda bread with Irish butter with a cup of tea could be enjoyed. Refreshments and treats such as loaves of baked goods were also available, made by Amergael members.
For more information on Amergael and its coming events, check out amergael.org.