Connecticut Irish Festival

290 Washington Avenue, Route 5
North Haven, CT 06473

History: 

One of the major achievements of the New Haven organization, founded more than 50 years ago, was the inauguration of the annual Field Days in 1963.The first Field Day included exhibitions of Irish dancing, a Gaelic football game against CountyLeitrim, a hurling match (Kilkenny v. Cork), a youth football game, a tug of war and a road race.

The event was repeated annually and, in 1966, Feis competitons were joined with Field Day activities.That first year almost 400 dancers participated, with the stage lit by automobile headlights for the final competitions.Music, art, singing and language entries grew in number until, in 1977, it was the largest such competition in the country, with 1,600 entrants from the United States, Canada and Ireland.

In 1989 the Feis and Field Day expanded to a weekend Irish festival (now called the Connecticut Irish Festival:first three days, now two).Hundreds of club members and friends volunteered to assist and guide cultural exhibitions, music, dance, evening concerts and sports.In addition to the spotlight on national and international step dancing competition there are demonstrations of such skills as bread baking and Irish lace making and information about genealogy, set dancing and music of uileann pipes.Here, more than anywhere, are the children and grandchildren of those founding club members, carrying on the traditions of Irish culture.

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