Kathleen Parks and Ricky Mier of the band Cat and the Moon share a duet during the Boston Irish Festival music weekend. Sean Smith photo
Dancers small, tall, and in between swarmed the Irish Cultural Centre of New England campus June 14 for the second Boston Irish Festival Feis, a day of Irish step dance competitions that attracted some 450 participants of various ages and levels from across the Northeast, as well as from Toronto, South Carolina, and even New Zealand.
Co-organized with the Harney Academy of Irish Dancing, the Feis was the third of three consecutive weekend Boston Irish Festival events celebrating popular Irish pursuits at the Canton-based ICCNE, which is marking its 25th anniversary. On May 31, the festival featured a day of sporting events – notably hurling and Gaelic football – and children’s activities. The middle portion of the festival, June 6-7, showcased top-line Irish/Celtic acts Black 47, The Screaming Orphans, and Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, as well as numerous musical performers from the Greater Boston area and elsewhere in the region.
Misty, murky weather greeted the Feis, and a steady, 45-minute drizzle at mid-day posed a potential threat to the styled hair and make-up sported by some of the competitors. But most of those present, being pretty experienced in matters of feis, seemed unperturbed by the damp and focused on the task at hand – although a number of younger dancers found the temptation of the center’s playground facilities irresistible.