The Dublin Irish Festival

I grew up in the area of Dublin, yet had only been to the Irish Festival once. It was 5 billion degrees and I was underage, so I hadn't been back until last weekend. I've been missing out! I will say that because I went in without doing much homework at all, I can't wait to do it over again with some of the tips below.

This was a girls-only night because we'd be out way past bed time. Scandalous. We picked up my mom and headed to the Metro Center parking lot, which is off Frantz road. I know enough about the festival to know that taking the free shuttle is the way to go, unless you like walking a LOT.


We waited in a short line for our charter bus (which of course broke down, but we were put on another one...a fluke that would only happen to me). It drove us to the festival and we had our choice of the South (first) or North (second) entrance. We got off at the first entrance, and I now know why everyone else stayed on the bus. The North is where the fun is at!

The South entrance has the giant stage for the big music shows, some food options, and the Supergames bouncy house set-up. The Supergames area required a $10 wristband for Larkyn to jump her heart out. She got moody and only did it twice, so that was kind of a bust. But the kids were having a blast and the enormous sand box could have kept her busy all night.






Mom and I stopped for some food, which we were able to get with cash. We got brats, pierogies, and fish and chips. All good, all priced like normal festival food.

I would love to see bottled water and non-alcoholic drinks available for cash instead of the token system. The long line for the tokens to get water is what started the hot 4 year old downward spiral. I realized later that we could have brought bottled water with us.

We moved toward the middle of the festival, which was a giant food court packed with people waiting. I would suggest beating the dinner rush like we seemed to do so that you can avoid this. But, we were so excited to see Graeter's ice cream and bring Larkyn back from the dark side!  Graeter's (thank GOD) took cash, and we sat happily and ate our vanilla, black raspberry and cookie dough while listening to bagpipers in the distance.



We moved through the middle area into the fun part. If you have little ones, I'd suggest getting off the shuttle at the North entrance (by the Rec Center) and experiencing it from there. We would have been totally fine without the Supergames if she hadn't seen them in the first place.

Here is what we loved about the North side of the festival: Arts and crafts (led by kind volunteers and nicely stocked), face painting, photo ops, LOTS of shopping, and interesting cultural demonstrations. There are genealogy booths and historic performers/presenters like Timothy the Weaver, who entranced everyone who stopped to listen. We also enjoyed the violin player with his little dancing puppet. The further North we went, the better the food got as well. We could have eaten J. Liu and Ruth's Chris?!  Oh, and next year, someone is going to wait in the token line so we can try Jameson Mules. It's happening.








We can't leave a festival without a crown and princess dancing, so...






And bonus, as we were headed toward the shuttle stop, we got to see the little girls perform their Irish dance. Larkyn was pretty impressed, and I felt like it was the perfect ending.


I was disappointed that we were way past bedtime and had to leave. We had so much fun and I HOPE next year brings the same kind of weather so we can do it again.  Even if you aren't Irish, the festival is fun for everyone.


Tips:
  • Ride the free shuttle
  • Enter from the North
  • Bring cash
  • Get in line for tokens right away or have someone wait while the kids do an activity
  • Look at the schedule before you go. We saw the wolfhounds walking but missed their exhibit and heard the bagpipers while we were eating our ice cream but missed their show too. My bad.
  • Leave before the last show is going to end. Our driver told us that the rush to get out of the festival when it is over is very bad. 


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