Irish Festival is an annual event held in Indianapolis, Indiana. The entry below is an account of an adventure Rooster and I took to the event. #Claddagh Irish Pub
In September, the city of Indianapolis throws a three-day event called the Irish Festival. From the New York Street side of the chain-link fence surrounding Military Park, the festival gives the appearance of a circus come to town.
White tents flap in the slight breeze blowing off the White River Canal. We see a crowd gathered on the other side of the fence, and we hear the sound of Irish music flowing in the breeze.
When the notes os the Irish music played in the park reaches my ears, excitement bubbles up inside of me. My heart races inside my chest, and I can’t wait to pay the price of admission so I can enter through the gate.
The sound of flutes, guitars, fiddles, and drums blend together in the distance and provide a hint of what awaits inside the festival. The oranges, greens, whites of the Irish flag greet you as you move through the gate. (The Irish flag colors were displayed prominently in this 14-acre green space.) These are the sights and sounds a person should expect when you arrive at Irish Fest.
Things you should expect to experience at the Irish Festival
- Irish music
- Food from local pubs
- Men wearing kilts
- Vendors selling Irish merchandise
Rooster and I start the festival by taking a stroll through the park past the long line of vendors selling their wares beneath tents, which shield them from the weather. I noticed the kilt-wearing hairy-legged men strutting tas soon as we walked through the gate. An abundance of men dressed in kilts walked with Irish pride through the old state fairground. They don’t have the slightest bit of embarrassment about wearing a skirt in public. Rooster considered buying a kilt to wear around the house.
An entire gamut of Irish merchandise was available for us to choose from. There were t-shirts, pottery, wool sweaters, leprechaun hats, and an extensive collection of trinkets.
I found the jewelry displays fascinating. Every booth in the Irish Market had a necklace I wanted to buy.
Local restaurants set up makeshift kitchens for people to choose from when it came time to eat.
Claddagh Irish Pub
We picked the Claddagh Irish Pub. Rooster had a corned beef sandwich., and I decided on the fish & Chips. I enjoyed the flavor of the meal. The white fish meat was tender and juicy inside the crispy outer coating. The chips were fried just enough to leave them soft inside. It was almost as good as what my mother made every Friday night when I was a kid.
Rooster enjoyed the corned beef. He said it had a good flavor. Vendors sold green beer by the pint, but we never developed a taste for it. We stuck with our Diet Coke. Almost as soon as we finished eating, the distinctive sound of bagpipes caught our attention.
Rooster and I watched the St. Patrick’s Day Rouges stroll tall and proud through the crowd. They stopped in an open space, and they play an assortment of Irish melodies. They might change their repertoire from year to year, but they always play
“Danny Boy.” The song is a crowd-pleaser, so it remains on the Rouges playlist. The St. Patrick’s Day Rouges is one of our favorite musical attractions when we come to the Irish Festival.
Military Park turns into a giant mud puddle
The weather was dry this year. Military Park turns into a giant mud puddle of water if the weather turns rainy. On Saturday the heat was oppressive. The high humidity lent a trapped in a sauna feeling to the experience, and our clothing clung to our bodies because of sweat.
Rooster and I discovered it was cooler under the trees, so we move our chairs under the trees while we listened to the music flow from the stage. We weren’t the only people with the shade idea.
By mid-afternoon, there was a crowd handing out under the trees in an effort to hide from the relentless sun. An occasional cloud would provide additional cover. Sometimes we could feel a breeze blow through the leaves in the trees above our head. We became the “forest people” living in “Ewok village” for the afternoon Aoife Scott called us her “wavies” because we looked awesome waving to her from our forest home.
Rooster and I caught her performance twice. Rooster and I enjoyed both shows. She has a voice as smooth as butter, and she can play a mean Bodhrán. Overall. The 2018 Indy Irish festival was a success. We missed hearing Chance the Arm because they didn’t come this year, but Whisky of the Damned made up for their absence.
Missed Galway Girl
I also didn’t hear “Galway Girl” the entire weekend. This was a big disappointment because I love the song written by Steve Earl. We found the food delicious. the vendors brought exciting merchandise, and the music sounded sweet and exciting depending on who was playing. (Rooster like the music Whisky of the Damned played.)
We didn’t make a trip back festival on Sunday. We missed mass and the Kilted Mile Run due to other obligations, and overall, we had an excellent Irish adventure. We’ll be sure to make the trip again next year. Even the folks who didn’t have a drop of Celtic blood running through their veins partied like an Irishman in Military Park for a weekend.
Things we liked at the Irish Festival
- The food
- Interesting merchandise
- Aoife Scott
- St. Patrick’s Day Rogues
- Whiskey of the Damned
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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