By Meredith Deliso
Irish eyes will be smiling this month when an Irish festival comes to Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field.
On June 27 and 28, the Brooklyn Irish Festival will take over Hangar 5, with Irish step dancing, Gaelic football, and, of course, music, taking centerstage.
In particular, the popular and long-standing Irish trio The Wolfe Tones, making the Northeast Irish festival circuit as of late, will headline Brooklyn’s own, playing the evening of June 28.
Regulars in the borough after playing annually at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope in Bay Ridge for over two decades, the band is looking forward to coming back to Brooklyn with their entertaining as well as informative show, which features images projected to illustrate the themes of the songs and help tell the story of Ireland.
“We gained many friends and fans in Brooklyn over the years and we are looking forward to renewing our friendship and meeting the next generation and playing the songs and stories of Ireland for them once again,” said Brian Warfield, the band’s vocalist, banjo, harp and bodhrán player, as well as the lead songwriter. “It is too long since we played Brooklyn so we are very pleased to be back again and at such a prestigious venue.”
Other acts scheduled to appear include Patty Smyth, Pat McGuire, Jameson’s Revenge, The Moonshiners, and Seanchai and the Unity Squad, and bag pipers will provide traditional sounds as well.
Local Irish dance groups will also provide entertainment, including from the Donny Golden Dance School on Saturday and the Niall O’Leary Dance School on Sunday. Know a step or two? A family ceili, or social dance, will take place during the weekend, as well as dance workshops so you can get in on the jigs yourself.
There won’t just be dance and music to help celebrate Irish culture in the city; on Saturday, June 27, the New York and the Brooklyn Shamrocks teams will face the Long Island Gaels in two separate Gaelic football games. The following day will see an NYPD Gaelic football game, as well as rugby, with the Rockaway Old Boys playing Young Gunners.
Between the sets and games, you can browse an Irish bookstore, supported by Barnes & Noble, as well as hear readings from Mary Pat Kelly (“Galway Bay”), Alfie McCourt (the youngest of the McCourts and the author of “A Long Stone’s Throw”), New York Times writer Dan Barry, author of the memoir “Pull Me Up,” about growing up Irish and Catholic in Long Island, and Peter Quinn (“Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America”), all scheduled to appear on both days of the festival.
A certified family affair, there will be arts and crafts, as well as a kid’s zone, featuring a bounce house, slide and face painting.
Aviator expects anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 people to head to Floyd Bennett Field to celebrate in Irish culture.
For the hungry masses, there will be Irish dishes such as fish and chips, roasted leg of lamb, shepherd’s pie and corn beef sandwiches as well as hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and grilled sirloin steak, among other items, on the pub menu.
With the wide range of events in what will continue to be an annual summer event, you can feel comfortable bringing the whole family.
“It’s a good experience for everybody, from young to old,” says Gene Branigan, head of the marketing department at Aviator Sports and Recreation, which is producing the festival. “You can bring your son and grandfather to the event. That’s our goal.”
The Brooklyn Irish Festival will be on June 27 and 28 at Floyd Bennett Field (3159 Flatbush Ave.) Gates open at 11 a.m. Admission is $10 ($15 after 4 p.m.), and free for children under 12.
For more information, call 718-758-7513.