Kiwis love the Irish, and with over 600, 000 New Zealanders claiming Irish ancestry, it’s no wonder. Yet there has never been a National Irish Festival in New Zealand, until now…
For the first time, this November, Kiwis and Irish alike, will come together to celebrate everything Irish with a massive four-day celebration, with over sixty events, across three cities, as part of the inaugural NZ Irish Fest.
From the 15th – 18th November, three celebrated songwriters will travel from Ireland to play shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch alongside local musicians. The feature artists are: the iconic Damien Dempsey from Dublin; award winning songwriter Mick Flannery from Cork; songstress Lisa O’Neill from Cavan and Irish comedians Alan McElroy (Dublin) and Darren Jardine (Belfast).
NZ Irish Fest will also see the premiere of four Irish Films in NZ and marks the very first Irish Film Fest. As if musical performances, comedy, film, Irish dancing displays and Gaelic Football showcases weren’t enough of a reason to celebrate, the All Blacks play Ireland in Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road in Dublin the same weekend on Sun the 18th of November at 8am (NZ Time).
The festival has been curated by Gerry Paul, an Irish born Kiwi who has lived in Ireland for over 20 years and played with some of the biggest names in Irish music including Sharon Shannon and NZ/Irish band Gráda. While directing the music for the Irish President’s State visit in 2017, Gerry noted the joy when the Irish community united to celebrate Irish culture and what it means to be Irish. He decided it was time for an annual event. He is joined by impresarios Paul Brown (Coastella) and Johnny Gibson (Nostalgia Festival) to deliver the largest Irish Celebration New Zealand has seen.
November 2018 will mark the inaugural National Irish Festival with over 60 events in three cities.