Featuring Celtic Musical acts, Irish Dance and a Friday night Ceili (Gaelic for Party), the Savannah Irish Festival will be held February 19th thru 21st at the Savannah Civic Center. The Festival boasts a full line of entertainment including performances by the Irish Dancers of Savannah, the Atlanta Ceili Band and the Savannah Pipes and Drums.
Founded in 1733, Savannah was the southernmost major urban centre in British North America and boasts splendid Georgian, Federalist and Victorian architecture clustered around graceful squares. Savannah was spared destruction during the American Civil War due to artful negotiations between a Union Army massed outside Savannah and the City Fathers: “ It was a terrifying moment: 62,000 of Sherman’s men marching south from the ruins of Atlanta. Rather than face destruction, the city’s fathers chose to surrender. Sherman entered Savannah three days before Christmas…” (NYTimes-Kevin Boyle, October 2008).
What sets this festival apart is their Cultural stage which this year will focus on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. Tom O’Carroll will lecture on the history of the Rising and perform songs related to the events in Dublin in 1916. Also focusing on the commemoration of the 1916 rising will be lectures by staff from Georgia Southern University’s Center for Irish Research and Teaching. The Irish Research Center of Georgia Southern University has an active exchange program with Ireland’s Waterford Institute of Technology.
This year’s Festival include performances by Seven Nations. The band is active on the Celtic Festival circuit and is noted for melding Celtic Rock guitar and vocals with Highland bagpipes and fiddle. The band consider themselves lucky, according to lead singer and guitarist Kirk McLeod: " Because we come from two unique cultures. We love American pop and rock and roll, but we also love our Celtic roots. We want to touch everybody with our music. We soon introduced bagpipes into the show, and over time the number of songs utilizing bagpipes grew until it became obvious that they were integral to our emerging sound,” McLeod continued, “ Most of the band members grew up playing Celtic music, and we’ve been performing original compositions since we began. Our instrumentation, and bagpipes and fiddle mostly, give us a distinctive sound and that’s what makes us different.”
· Savannah Irish Festival