Irish Fest Rocks Rockaway Beach

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Last weekend’s 7th Annual Rockaway Beach/Breezy Point Irish Festival was not one to be missed. With local musicians, rock stars, traditional Irish bands and more all taking the stage over the two-day event, the festival was another big win for AOH Division 21, who organized it, and all who came out to show their support.

With Saturday’s forecast calling for clear skies, the first day of the festival drew in big crowds at St. Camillus. For the first time, many local musicians took the stage with Brianne Rogers, Walter Ensor and Gerald Bair joining popular party favorite, Wine With Sue for the opening. Shilelagh Law kept the party going by playing their original tunes and even inviting some local youth on stage to join them, including a local girl named Brighid who added some ukulele into the mix. The Breezy Point Pipes and Drums band entertained with traditional Irish music, while O’Malley’s Irish Dance Academy impressed with their high kicks and jigs later on. Joe Hurley’s All-Star Irish Rock Revue brought an all-star mashup of musicians to the stage, playing songs by popular Irish bands and rock classics. The bit included some “Rockaway Royalty,” with musicians like Bobby Butler and Danny Mulvanerty from Indaculture taking the stage, plus soulful songstress Tiffany Lyons and BEasy’s Band’s Mike Benedetto. Irish actor and author Malachy McCourt proved that singing is among his many talents, as did Roger Clark of NY1 who busted out The Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach.” Steve Conte of the New York Dolls gave a snippet of his “Gimme, Gimme Rockaway” before singing a Thin Lizzy classic, and much, much more, with the music going late into the evening.

Sunday’s forecast kept big crowds away, but with the day turning out beautiful, a smaller crowd got to enjoy some great music by Marian Waldron, who came all the way from Ireland for the show, The Highland Rovers, The Canny Brothers, and HellCat Maggie. At the end of the show, AOH Division 21 announced the winner of the raffle for the trip to two to Ireland, which went to local, Kevin Donohue.

With the festival being an overall success, AOH Division 21 will be able to make several donations to local churches, organizations and charities with the money raised from admission, t-shirt sales, the raffle and more.

Congratulations to all of AOH Division 21 for putting in the hard work to make the festival a continued success. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s festival, which is expected to be held June 6 and 7, 2020.

Photos by Katie McFadden and Mark Eidinger

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