Harp & Shamrock Society Celebrates 50 Years with Irish Festivals and Parades

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Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas sponsors celebrations featuring Irish-Gaelic music, customs, foods, festivals, huurlings and gaelic football. Festivities include the only St. Patrick's Day River Parade in the world

Wreath Laying at the Alamo

“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. "

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!”

The centerpiece of the Harp & Shamrock cultural celebrations in March, revolving around St. Patrick’s Day, is the annual Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival on Saturday, March 19, 2016 from noon to 8 p.m. on the campus of University of Incarnate Word (UIW). The festival features an onsite Irish gaelic parade; San Antonio Gaelic Athletic Club Gaelic football and hurling; non-stop Irish gaelic music and dance by Inishfree Irish dancers, Ravenmoor, San Antonio Pipe & Drums, Kelly Singers, Sean Orr & Celtic Texas, and Black Irish Texas; "Passport to Ireland" booths with genealogy research for those with Irish last names (or not), Irish history; Kiss the Blarney Stone and much more; and adult beverages including Guinness, Pabst Blue Ribbon and other beers from GLI Distributing. There is not a charge for parking on the campus, and no admission for active military with ID, UIW students with valid ID and children 12 and under. Tickets for adults are $5 at the gates.
Other events—all also 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, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – Annual Murphy's St. Patrick’s River Parade – San Antonio River (the only St. Patrick’s Day River Parade in the world)
  • Thursday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), 12- 1 p.m. – Harp & Shamrock Society Wreath Laying, honoring Irish heroes present at the Battle of the Alamo, grounds of The Alamo
  • Saturday, March 19, 6:30 registration; 8:30 a.m. start time – Donovan’s 5K Run & Fitness Walk – Lady Bird Johnson Park, 10700 Nacogdoches Rd

HISTORY: In October 1966, Dr. Sean Burke, an Irish-born professor at then Incarnate Word College; San Antonio native Joseph B. McShane, a third generation Irish-American and retired Air Force Colonel; and Patrick J. Dowd, a first generation Irish-American who was born in New York City and was a scientist and instructor at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, met in San Antonio to form a society which would involve persons of Irish nationality or heritage to honor the land of their forefathers.

The Society’s events support the Harp & Shamrock scholarship fund; the UIW Sean Burke Scholarships; educational materials about early Irish settlements in San Antonio; and other charitable organizations in San Antonio.

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

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Jeanne Albrecht

Jeanne Albrecht
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