Pittsburgh’s Own Irish Festival


Photo credit: Kelly Guerra

Kelly Guerra

The city of Pittsburgh hosts the 26th annual Irish Festival this weekend, September 9-11, 2016, at the Riverplex. The festival opened on Friday and continues Saturday 11:00 am to 11:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. On the way to the festival activities (whether walking or taking the shuttle), attendees get to see both a great view of the river and the unusual sight of a closed for the season Sandcastle. Those attending who under 40 and old enough to drink are required to wear wristbands at the festival and will be offered Bailey’s Irish cream and other alcoholic beverages. The festival is a family-oriented event with activities for everyone including kids who can play at the festival’s jungle gym and pet Irish breeds of dogs.

People of any age can shop for Irish goods and learn about Irish history, geography and culture. They can eat wonderful food including kettle corn, ice cream, Irish stew, seafood and many other items. Audiences are entertained by listening to Irish music, singing, recited poems and watching Irish dances.

Festival events are sponsored by many organizations including the Irish Partnership, Inc., The Harp and Fiddle, Carlow University and P.T.I–to mention just a few. One of the most popular events is going to the Hedge School where students are taught about history, legends, music, language, dance, sports and symbols of Ireland. There is also a chance to learn what life was like when Irish Natives met in secret in a barn or in the shadow of a hedge because it was against the law for them to be educated on their native culture, history and traditions.

Visiting the Irish Festival is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon and evening. Students with their RMU ID receive a reduced admission price of only $10. Remember to recycle when you visit; it was great to see that the festival is going green!