On Friday, March 12, 2010, the IAHC kicks off the holiday with Irish Dance Chicago, a large-scale Irish dance event at 7pm. The event showcases more than 150 dancers in one night, from the ages 5-18. Tickets are $10 for adults and children under 12 are free with a paying adult. Irish Dance Chicago showcases the talents of some of Chicago's finest Irish dancers, all on one stage, including The O'Hare School of Irish Dance, The Mullane Healy O'Brien Irish Dance Academy, The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, The World Academy of Irish Dancing and The Tully Academy of Irish Dance. They'll be joined by the music group, The Academy of Irish Music.
On Saturday, March 13, 2010, the IAHC holds its St. Patrick's Festival following the downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade. This large-scale, family-oriented annual event includes traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, food and children's activities. The festivities begin at 1pm and end at midnight with live entertainment by Chicago Irish music groups as well as performers on tour from Ireland. Confirmed musicians performers include The Mickey Finns, Tim O'Shea and Patrick Buckley, The Dooley Brothers, The Shannon Rovers, The Mulhern School of Irish Dance and more. Tickets are $15 for adults, or $12 for advance purchase if bought by the end of the day on March 11. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.
On Sunday, March 14, 2010, the IAHC presents Munnelly in concert. Munnelly is one of Ireland's top young groups, featuring some of the most exciting established and rising stars of Irish music. The band has been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic and their style is reminiscent of the Irish American dance halls of the 1920's.
The band is led by David Munnelly, who was born and raised in County Mayo. Munnelly is a charismatic young Irish button accordionist and an award-winning composer.
With members from Mayo, Dublin, Donegal, Tyrone and Brighton, England, the exciting sextet combines button accordion, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, piano, bodhrán and flute for a high-spirited instrumental sound colored with a bit of jazz and ragtime, and extraordinary percussive dancing topped with the singing of All-Ireland champion Shauna Mullin. The band appears on Sunday, March 14 at the IAHC at 7pm. Tickets are $20.
On Wednesday, March 17, 2010 the IAHC will hold its annual St. Patrick's Day party in the Center's Fifth Province Lounge. The day-long event runs from noon until midnight. A St. Patrick's Day Mass will be held at 11:30am. Activities include Irish dancing, traditional and modern Irish music and food. Confirmed performers include Tim O'Shea and Patrick Buckley and The Chancey Brothers and more. The cost is $10 for adults and children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
On Saturday, March 20, 2010 wrap up the celebrations with Stepping Forward a variety show combing the best of Irish music, step dancing and bag piping in Chicago. Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, The City of Chicago Bagpipe Band and musical group The Four Courts, featuring Paddy Homan, Jimmy Keane, Maurice Lennon and Dennis Cahill will be on hand to delight crowds with dancing and live Irish music. Stepping Forward is Saturday, March 20 at 7pm. The publisher of the Irish American News, Cliff Carlson, will emcee the event. Tickets are $20 for General Admission or $30 for VIP tickets, which include preferred seating.
The Irish American Heritage Center, at 4626 North Knox Avenue, occupies an 86,000 square foot building on the City's northwest side, near Wilson Avenue and the Edens Expressway. It fosters the practice, study, and celebration of Irish, Celtic and Irish-American cultural traditions. The IAHC houses a 650-seat theatre/concert hall, auditorium, a library, an authentic Irish pub, a Social Center, a museum, dance/music studios and meeting rooms. For more information and to purchase select tickets, call 773-282-7035 or visit irish-american.org