Last year Raglan Road at Downtown Disney held its first Great Irish Hooley over Labor Day weekend. You can see highlights in the video accompanying this article. The event was so successful that it’s returning for 2013, and this year it’s even bigger.
This year the Great Irish Hooley runs from August 30 to September 2 with a jam-packed entertainment line-up of song and Irish dance. Performers include the rock-infused Celtic music of Scythian; Lisa Canny’s contemporary twist on traditional and folk tunes; and, of course, wildly popular U2 tribute band Elevation.
The Great Irish Hooley is a family event, with Irish dance workshops for all ages, led by renowned Irish dancer/choreographer/former Riverdance performer Ronan McCormack. There’s also Ceili-style line dancing and Irish music workshops by Dublin-born multi-instrumentalist and Riverdance musical director Declan Masterson. If you bring the kids on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, be sure to let them get their faces painted.
Monday night has a big grand finale: Electric Ceili, a high-voltage mash-up that brings every one of the weekend’s Hooley performers all out on one stage.
“Orlando’s own boutique Irish festival is back by popular demand, and we’ve invited the best of Irish bands and entertainers,” says John Cooke, a Raglan Road founding partner and Emerald Isle native.
The festivities start on Friday, August 30, at 5 p.m. and continues through midnight Monday, Sept 2. In addition to Scythian, Lisa Canny and Elevation, performers include:
- Creel, the popular Raglan Road house band with its repertoire of traditional Irish ballads, jigs and reels, as well as modern Irish and country music
- The Raglan Rebels, Ireland’s best up-and-coming young band with traditional and modern songs and ballads
- The Farrell Brothers, a multi-talented Irish duo putting their own spin on traditional Irish and modern music
- Johnny Norton & Justin Murphy, an accomplished pair of musicians bringing foot-stomping jigs and reels and Irish ballads. Johnny is a world-renowned bodhran player and has performed with the Chieftains and the original production of Riverdance. Justin has mastered the tin whistle, flute, bodhran and guitar.
“Take several ultra-talented traditional Irish bands, bring to a boil over the festival weekend, mix all together on one stage and plug them in…it’s electric!” says founding partner Paul Nolan, also an Ireland native. “This is an incomparable display of talent and collaboration among a group of musicians who understand and respect one another’s musical flair.”
Of course, there’s plenty of fine dining at Raglan Road throughout the festival, including authentic Irish fare from celebrity chef Kevin Dundon. The restaurant is a Diners’ Choice 2012 award winner, and it’s well known for dishes like beer-battered fish and chips and Shepherd’s pie that get a pleasing contemporary twist.
The restaurant is a great place to eat any time. Check out this article to read about the wonderful Sunday Brunch spread.
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