By LAURI GROSS
If St. Patrick’s Day has you seeing green and you’re digging out your “Kiss Me: I’m Irish” button, get set for yet another St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Cleveland. Here are some ways to stay in touch with your inner Gaelic all year long.
Murphy Irish Dance Center: With studios in Beachwood and Willoughby, the Murphy Irish Dance Center offers classes for everyone, ages four through adult. Participants have many opportunities to perform at picnics, concerts, fundraisers, folk festivals and parades, including of course Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In addition, Murphy’s offers summer camps and this year, in celebration of their 45th anniversary, the Center is planning a late-July tour to Ireland and Scotland. The group’s mission is to preserve Irish culture and the art of Irish Dance and to share that heritage with audiences everywhere. The Center will have three units in this year’s parade featuring groups of children and adults marching and dancing in Murphy’s 42nd consecutive appearance in the parade. For more info about the Dance Center and the tour to Ireland and Scotland (which is open to anyone),call 216.378.0878 or visit MurphyIrishArtsCenter.com.
Irish Music Marathon on the John Carroll radio station WJCU (88.7fm): On St. Patrick’s Day, WJCU will offer its traditional 6 a.m. to midnight Irish Music Marathon featuring Irish favorites by request all day (with bands such as The Chieftains, Brigid’s Cross, The New Barleycorn, and The Clancy Brothers) and then, from 10 p.m. to midnight Irish hard rock and metal (with tunes from Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher and others). Listener interaction and engagement is an important part of what makes this event so special every year. Make requests at 216.397.4438, firstname.lastname@example.org or at https://facebook.com/wjcuirish. The station also streams live online at wjcu.org, and via the free (and ad-free) WJCU app for Android and iOS. WJCU has been offering the Irish Music Marathon for more than 20 years and regularly attracts listeners from all over the country and as far away as Japan.
The Irish Garden at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens: Along Martin Luther King Boulevard and East Boulevard in Rockefeller Park, passers-by will notice dozens of enchanting gardens considered among Northeast Ohio’s most beautiful treasures. The 35 gardens, known as the Cleveland Cultural Gardens are each designed and cultivated by distinct cultural or nationality groups. Ten more are in development. All the gardens are free and open to the public to attend. The Irish garden features sandstone walkways in the shape of the Celtic Cross, bordered by planting beds and lawn. A fountain plaza and Writer’s Recognition Court features statuary and busts in tribute to authors, composers, Nobel prizewinners and other notables of Irish descent. Visit ClevelandCulturalGardens.org or call 216.220.3075 for info on tours.
Cleveland’s West Side Irish-American Club: On Jennings Road, in Olmsted Township. Founded more than 90 years ago, the West Side Irish-American Club preserves and promotes Irish cultural heritage in song, dance, literature, sports and traditions while enriching and enhancing family and friendships. The Club is situated on a 27-acre property, including a lake and a football field which hosts rugby and other competitions native to Ireland. There is also an outdoor pavilion and indoor rooms available to rent. The Club’s 2,500 members enjoy year-round events and activities from a Super-Bowl party to dances with live music. The club also sponsors visits to Ireland including a 10-day trip in July 2023. On St. Patrick’s Day, the Club is represented by the largest unit in the parade, featuring a drill team, marching units and a float.
Cleveland’s Irish-American Club Eastside: On Lakeshore Blvd., in Euclid. Since the 1970s, this Club has been promoting Irish heritage as a family organization and has sponsored social, cultural, educational and athletic programs for members. Throughout the year, members enjoy family events, concerts, dinners, parties, dances, book clubs, a newsletter and more. The group is very active in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and in any given year, parade attendees might see their ladies drill team, pom pom unit, fife and drum group, flag corp. and float. More at EastSideIrish.org.
Celebrating Irish culture and heritage, Cleveland style
By LAURI GROSS
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