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Explore Irish culture at Eugene’s Irish Cultural Festival

For the ninth consecutive year, Eugene will welcome the Irish Culture Festival, beginning on March 7. The festival, which features a variety of workshops and performances, is intended to be a celebration of Celtic heritage in Oregon as well as a learning experience. Coordinator Peggy Hinsman offered insight regarding the value of the coming event.

“The thing is, there is a lot of Celtic heritage in Oregon,” she said over the phone. “A lot of the first people to come to Oregon, like Eugene Skinner, had a lot of Irish Heritage.”

One of the 18 workshops that will take place at the festival offers a chance to trace one’s Irish genealogy. Other workshops include crafts, an introduction to speaking the language and even calligraphy. Every year features a competition in hurling, which is the national sport of Ireland.

The musical aspect of Celtic culture will not be neglected, either. Several of the workshops will revolve around teaching various instruments prevalent in traditional Irish music. There will also be dance lessons and performances. As for the events Hinsman is anticipating the most, they seem to be the opening and closing concerts.

“The start-off event is the Friday concert and it’s going to be fabulous, she said.

The performance will feature traditional Irish musician Mick Moloney, Irish instrumentalist and singer Michelle Mulcahy and Irish fiddler Dana Lyn. The concert is March 7, from 8-10:30 p.m. in Beall Concert Hall. The Nettles, a Celtic acoustic band from Corvallis will perform for the closing concert and also open for the Friday evening concert.

A comprehensive list of the workshops and events can be found on the event’s website: The Saturday workshops do require registration, which can be done until 10 p.m. on Friday. Or just swing by Sheldon High School Saturday to peruse the Celtic vendors or try the good Irish food provided by South Eugene High School’s Culinary Team. Either way, you’re sure to learn something and have a lot of fun.

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