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Celebrate Irish Heritage Month in Massachusetts

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Posted by Michael Quinlin, guest blogger of MassJazz

Massachusetts rolls out its finest greenery each March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  And why not, since 21% of residents claim Irish ancestry, making it the most Irish state in America, according to the US Census.

The Irish community is one of dozens of ethnic communities from around the world that proudly call Massachusetts their home, and everyone is invited to enjoy the festivities.

Here is a sampling of Irish activities in Massachusetts this month. Enjoy!

LECTURES, THEATER & FILM 

The SpeakEasy Stage Company presents Once: The Musical at the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston’s South End from March 1-30

An Irish documentary, the Queen of Connemara, is being screened at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton on March 8 

Author Christopher Klein discusses his book, When the Irish Invaded Canada, at Lawrence Heritage State Park on March 3 and at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square on March 14.

Northern Ireland poet Michael Longley reads at Boston Public Library on March 21.

The American Committee of Irish Studies (ACIS) holds its annual convention at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on March 20-23. 

The Irish Film Festival takes place at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, Somerville, on March 22 bringing documentaries, shorts and features made in Ireland such as Float like a Butterfly and Late Afternoon, which was nominated for an Oscar for animation. 

MUSIC AND DANCE

Rockport Music presents Irish concerts at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, including the Celtic Tenors on March 3, Danu on March 9 and Matt & Shannon Heaton on March 15.

The Celtic Crossroads Concert features fiddler Rose Clancy and shanachie Dennis Cunningham at South Harwich Meeting House on Cape Cod on March 9.

Canadian Celtic duo Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy performs at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester on March 15, and then the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford on March 17.

St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn with WGBH radio host Brian O’Donovan, performs at Saunders Theatre in Cambridge on March 16 (2 shows) and The Cabot Theatre in Beverly on March 17, featuring the Friel Sisters

The AOH Club in Worcester presents the Belfast Cowboys, who play the music of Van Morrison at Fiddler’s Green Pub on March 10 & 17.

The University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music & Dance performs and gives master classes at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton on March 28-29.

PATRICK’S PARADES 

Saturday, March 9

Cape Cod parade begins at 11 a.m. on Route 28 in S. Yarmouth

Sunday, March 10

City of Worcester parade begins at noon at Mill Street & Park Avenue

Sunday, March 17

City of Abington parade begins at 1 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Square in Abington Center.

City of Boston parade begins at 1 p.m. at West Broadway near the MBTA stop.

City of Holyoke parade begins at noon at the Kmart Plaza on Route 5.

Town of Scituate parade begins at 1 p.m. at Gate Middle School on First Parish Road.

Saturday, March 23

City of Lawrence parade begins at 1 p.m. at Essex & Amesbury Streets

Sunday, March 24

Town of Weymouth parade begins at 11 a.m. at Union Street 

CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS

The Irish Cultural Centre in Canton celebrates St. Patrick’s Day throughout the month, with concerts, children’s activities, set dancing, lectures, classes and social gatherings. The 46 acre Centre is open year round.

Lawrence Irish Heritage Month presents various lectures, concerts, exhibits and films at Lawrence Heritage State Park and the Lawrence Public Library March 3-29.

The Yarmouth Irish Festival on Cape Cod takes place on March 9, the day of the Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Parade.

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England, a brand new facility in Springfield, celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with concerts and family activities on March 14 & 15.

Old Sturbridge Village presents St. Patrick’s Dinner & Concert on March 16, with Irish music, poetry and storytelling, with music by Full Gael, plus a full dinner.

HISTORY & HERITAGE

Take a self-guided tour of Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail.  Free maps are available at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center on Tremont Street.

The National Park Service hosts the annual Evacuation Day ceremony at Dorchester Heights in South Boston commemorates March 17, 1776 when American troops, led by General John Sullivan, forced the British to evacuate Boston.  The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and includes a flag-raising and speeches.

Spend a day at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum to learn about the nation’s first Irish Catholic president.

You can get more information about the Ireland-Massachusetts connections at Ireland’s Consulate General in Boston’s Back Bay, or by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com. To visit Massachusetts any time of year, go to MassVacation.com.

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