Irish Eyes Were Smiling
Over the course of two days, June 1st and 2nd, more than 3,000 people came out for a weekend of Irish music and culture, presented by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21. The festival came back to the peninsula for the first time in 17 years and with its success, it won’t be the last time. Festival chairperson John Manning said that it will definitely be back next year on May 31st and June 1st of 2014. “We’ll make it bigger and better,” he said.
Visitors got to enjoy performances by The Canny Brothers, Andy Cooney, Jameson’s Revenge, Shilelagh Law, U2 Forgettable Fire Band, the Breezy Point Catholic Club Pipes and Drums Band, the O’Malley Irish Step Dancers, the Cunningham Brothers, the County Tyrone Pipe Band and Celtic Cross in the parking lot of St. Camillus Church. There was also food and beer and plenty of venders selling Irish goods and rides were available for the kids.
Manning, who organized the festival with the AOH, is pleased with the outcome. “It’s a good thing for Rockaway. I’m getting a lot of great reviews,” Manning said. He noted that “there was not one incident during the festival” and he was “told by police that there was no incident even after the festival.” “We worked hard because I don’t want that reputation that the festival used to have. All the members stepped up and we had a good time,” he said. According to Manning, the goal of the Irish festival was “for the people in Rockaway to be smiling again.” The goal was reached as smiles could be seen clear on the faces of visitors of all ages throughout the weekend.