Festival to Honor Irish Culture in South Texas

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Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas to celebrate 50 years in 2016

Harp & Shamrock Society Irish Festival

The main goal of the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival is to celebrate our rich, spirited Irish heritage and traditions with everyone – Irish or not.

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:

  •     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
  •     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
  •     Adult beverages including Guinness, Pabst Blue Ribbon and other beers from GLI Distributing

There will be free parking on UIW campus and free admission for active military with ID, UIW students with valid ID and children 12 and under. Tickets for adults are $5 at the gates. Advance discount tickets will be available on the HSS website.

“The main goal of the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival is to celebrate the rich, spirited Irish heritage and traditions with everyone – Irish or not. It is a bonus that HSS raises 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—as done for the first time in 2015—HSS is 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.”

Sponsors for the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival include Guinness, Pabst Blue Ribbon, McCombs Foundation, and UIW.

The Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival is just one event of many that the Harp & Shamrock Society will sponsor in 2016 the week of St. Patrick’s Day, which is Thursday, March 17, 2016. Others—all of which are 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
  •     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, San Antonio, TX 78217
  •     Saturday, March 19, noon to 8 p.m. – Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival – University of the Incarnate Word (UIW)
  •     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, while supplies last.

Since 1966, the Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas has been dedicated to keeping Irish history and culture alive in South Texas. “The Irish 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 Irish bloodlines and pride runs deep in Texas is an understatement.”

The Society’s events support the HSS scholarship fund, the UIW Sean Burke Scholarships; educational materials about early Irish settlements in San Antonio, including the Irish Flats and Avoca; and other charitable organizations in San Antonio.

For more information, visit http://www.harpandshamrock.org or the Society’s Facebook page, or call 210-896-1598.

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Jeanne Albrecht
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