For the past 28 years, Gaelic Park, the Irish cultural and athletic center located on over 50 acres at 6119 W. 147th Street, Oak Forest, has brought the best in Irish entertainment to the Southland on Memorial Day Weekend. This year, the tradition will continue May 23–26. All of the entertainment, unlimited free carnival rides, and free parking are included in the admission price.
This year's festival brings back all the favorites. Ronan Tynan, Makem and Spain Brothers, Screaming Orphans, and Infinity. Ronan Tynan is a world renowned Irish tenor. He has performed at such momentous occasions as President Reagan's funeral, the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and Yankee stadium. He appears at Gaelic Park for one day only on Saturday, May 24.
The Makem and Spain Brothers keep the great Irish folk music of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem alive and well. Irish folk music has been a core of Irish fest since its inception.
New this year is Nathan Carter, a huge attraction on the Irish music scene who brings a new generation of fans of all ages to country music. In the past three years, Nathan has released five albums and two DVDs. His most popular release to date has been the single "Wagon Wheel" taken from the album of the same name, which has become a huge hit and has over one million hits on YouTube.
The return of Black 47 to the stage at Irish Fest is much anticipated. This year, exactly 25 years after their first tour, Black 47 are now playing their farewell tour. Their music espouses an unblinkingly political and thoroughly Irish form of rock 'n' roll with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights in contemporary New York. The Fighting Jamesons deliver a traditional style of Celtic music with an aggressive and energetic rock approach.
It's not all Irish music at Gaelic Park. Local rockers Infinity, and M&R Rush are back by popular demand. Other local favorites such as Bernie Glim & Country Roads, Ray Gavin Band and the Larkin & Moran Brothers are among the 40 acts performing.
Irish Fest hours are:
- Friday, May 23, 4 to 11 p.m.,
- Saturday, May 24, 2 to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, May 25, 1 to 11 p.m., Mass at 11:30 a.m.
- Monday, May 26, 1 to 8 p.m. The Chicago Feis, Irish step dancing competition takes place from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
- $15 at the door for adults
- $12 for adults 65 and older, kids 4 to 12 years of age
- $10 for the first hour each day
- $28 for four-day pass, if ordered by May 22
- $18 for two-day pass, if ordered by May 19
- $8 for seniors, kids age 4 to 12 years old if ordered by May 19
- $15 for two-day pass, adults 65 and older if ordered by May 19
- Parking is free.
For further information, call Gaelic Park at 708-687-9323 or visit the special festival website at chicagogaelicparkirishfestival.org.