Friday, January 22, 2016

Festival to honor Irish culture in South Texas

Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas celebrates 50 years in 2016
Beautiful landscape in the Emerald Isle
The Harp &Shamrock Society of Texas (HSS) will continue its 20-year history of celebrating its annual Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival on Saturday, March 19, 2016 from noon to 8 p.m. on the campus of University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway, San Antonio.

The event celebrates Irish traditions in South Texas with a full day of activities including:
Harps are found in many Irish homes.
--Onsite Irish parade - Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium (12 noon)
--San Antonio Gaelic Athletic Club Gaelic football tournament and hurling competitions - Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium (12 p.m.)
--Food trucks offer authentic Irish cuisine (corned beef, Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, fish & chips, and Irish sausage) “traditional” festival food
Dancers step to lively Irish tunes.
--Irish music and dance by Inishfree Irish dancers, Ravenmoor, San Antonio Pipe & Drums, Kelly Singers, Sean Orr & Celtic Texas, and Black Irish Texas
--Arts and crafts
--"Passport to Ireland" – Culture area that offers genealogy research, history of early Irish Texans, introduction to Gaelic language and bag pipe, Kiss the Blarney Stone and much more

 Parking is free on University of Incarnate Word (UIW) campus and free admission for active military with ID, UIW students with valid ID and children 12 and under. Adult tickets are $5 at the gates with advance discount tickets available on the website.

Bagpipes are part of the Irish tradition.
“The main goal of the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival is to celebrate our rich, spirited Irish heritage and traditions with everyone – Irish or not! It is a bonus that we raise money for HSS’s scholarship program, which has granted over $60,000 in academic and cultural scholarships,” says HSS Irish Festival chairman and Board Member Carolyn Dowd. "The 2016 festival will be expanded to include even more festivities because it will be the Society's 50th anniversary."

 “In addition we are hosting a St. Baldrick’s Foundation Fundraiser during the festival." Dowd adds, "Last year the event raised $40,000 for the foundation's research fund to find cures for childhood cancers. Individuals who are participating in the fundraiser also receive free admission to the festival.” 

Other events open to the public include:

--Saturday & Sunday, March 12 & 13, noon - 6 p.m. – Annual Murphy's St. Patrick's Music Festival –Arneson River Theatre

Sample yummy Irish stew, too.
--Sunday, March 13, 4 – 5 p.m. – Annual Murphy's St. Patrick’s River Parade – San Antonio Riverwalk
--Thursday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), 12-12:30 p.m. – St. Patrick's Day Alamo Wreath Laying, honoring Irish heroes present at the Battle of the Alamo – Alamo grounds
--Saturday, March 19, 8 a.m. – Donovan’s Memorial Day Fun Run – Lady Bird Johnson Park, 10700 Nacogdoches Rd
--Saturday, March 19, noon to 8 p.m. – Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival – University of the Incarnate Word (UIW)

Another amazing landscape--no wonder the Irish love their country.
--Harp & Shamrock Society Fiesta medals commemorating the Society’s 50th anniversary in 2016 will be on sale at all these events and at the Fiesta Commission Store.
Drums are an important part of Irish
music, culture, and history.

Since 1966, the Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas has been dedicated to keeping Irish history and culture alive in South Texas. “Our legacy in Texas started with the birth of Texas,” says Melissa Schulz, president, Harp & Shamrock Society.  “Of the 188 defenders at the Alamo, 12 were Irish-born; 30 were of Irish heritage.   Four Irishmen signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and 100 were listed in the rolls of the Battle of San Jacinto – comprising one-seventh of the total Texan force in that battle. To say our bloodlines and pride runs deep in Texas is an understatement!”

Glenveagh Castle is a reminder of Ireland's ancient past.
For more information, visit or call 210-896-1598.
Information courtesy of Jeanne Albrecht, Harp & Shamrock Media Coordinator

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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