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Celebrate Irish Culture and Heritage at Irish Festival Seattle | March 11-12

Photo by: Sunny Martini

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Festival to Feature Irish Literary Accomplishments on March 11 and 12

SEATTLE – Seattle Center Festál continues with Irish Festival Seattle, one of the longest-running festivals within the Festál series. Presented by the Irish Heritage Club, this free public festival takes place on March 11th and 12th at the Seattle Center Armory. The festival will feature live musical performances, genealogy workshops, children’s activities, step-dancing, and Irish and Celtic craft goods.

“We came back live in 2022, right as lockdown restrictions were lifted, to a modest but happy audience,” said Irish Festival producer Ralph Kosche. “We are excited to put the past behind us and enjoy the full participation of our great Irish community and the joy we share.”

This year’s festival will celebrate and feature literary accomplishments from Ireland, including honoring those who have won the Nobel Prize in Literature. 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer W.B. Yeats winning this prize, and he will be honored along with other writers such as George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney.

Emmet That Irish Guy, a popular Northwest Irish folk singer, is new to this year’s musical lineup. In addition, returning is CAVORT, Seattle’s premier Irish band, who has entertained audiences since 2015 with their hearty pub songs and vigorous instrumentals. Carrigaline Celtic Band also returns with traditional instruments, such as the bodhran, uillean pipes, and fiddle. Step-dancing troupes such as Haley Prendergast, Comerford, Cladach, Carol Henderson, Fire and Ice, Grafton Street, and Tara Academy round out the entertainment.

“We are excited to welcome Irish Festival Seattle back to Seattle Center,” said Seattle Center Interim Director Marshall Foster. “Irish Festival is a great example of what makes our Festál series so delightful – it brings together the community to learn and celebrate their traditions and gives our larger community a window into their unique culture.”

Booth and vendors include Apple Cox Design, Carbony Celtic Winds, Celtic Crossroads NW / Wandering Angus, Celtic Jewelry with an Ancient Story – The Celtic Jewelry Studio, Dwiggins Illuminations, Elfstone Celtic Jewelry, History of Names, India Imports, Into Totes, IHC Information, Irish Heritage Club Book Sales, Lyoncraft, Make it Feision, Seattle Gaels / Tacoma Rangers, Seattle Genealogical Society, Shawn O Donnell’s, The Fancy Accent Tea Company, and Postcards Guy.

Irish Festival Seattle is organized by the Irish Heritage Club (IHC), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Irish cultural activities in Western Washington, such as performances of Irish music, Irish dancing, Irish language, Irish history, Gaelic games, and cultural exchanges with Seattle’s Sister City of Galway, Ireland. The IHC was founded in 1982, the first year Irish Festival Seattle was held at the Seattle Center, and annually, the festival is a highlight of Seattle’s Irish Week celebrations organized to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, continuing the tradition of bringing together the Seattle area’s finest performers and artists to provide a taste of what it means to be Irish.

“Our vision for One Seattle involves bringing communities together to celebrate our city’s diversity and seek commonalities across cultures through shared experiences,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The Irish Festival is an outstanding event that honors our Irish community and the close ties we share with Ireland through our sister city relationship with Galway while inviting others to join in its rich cultural traditions.”

This is the second in a series of festivals put on by 24 cultural organizations that Seattle Center will host over 2023.

About Irish Festival History
The first city-permitted St. Patrick’s Day Parade was on March 11, 1972. That celebration was especially important as it followed the events of Bloody Sunday, where 13 unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, had been shot by British Army paratroopers and killed, while 17 were wounded. That devastating day sparked protests across the country and brought worldwide attention to the crisis in Northern Ireland. The 1972 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Seattle allowed the local Irish community to bring regional attention to the issues in Northern Ireland and educate Seattleites on the importance of the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement that was not signed until 1998.

About the Irish Heritage Club
In the 1980s, Seattle was home to three Irish community organizations: the Irish American Club, the Irish Festivities, and the Seattle Gaels. Although each had their own focus, club leaders realized how much overlap there was in membership in 1983 and joined forces to form the Irish Heritage Club. The Irish Heritage Club is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization that organizes and promotes activities of an Irish cultural nature in the Greater Seattle area. Information on the Irish Heritage Club is available at and, as well as on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

About Seattle Center Festál
Seattle Center Festál cultivates a deeper understanding of the cultures and ethnic diversity that contribute to the rich vibrancy of the Pacific Northwest. This unique series links together 24 free festivals presented on weekends from January to November, each with its own cultural focus, identity, and range of engaging activities. Seattle Center Festál is Where the World Gathers to celebrate the people, the places, the stories, and the traditions of the city’s communities. Seattle Center Festál is produced in partnership with 24 different community groups and supported by 4Culture, City of Seattle, and Seattle Center Foundation. Festál is also part of the ArtsFund Cultural Partners Network.

About Seattle Center
Connect to the extraordinary at Seattle Center, an active civic, arts, and family gathering place in the core of our city and region. Seattle Center’s 74-acre campus, centered around the International Fountain, is part of the Uptown Arts & Cultural District and home to Climate Pledge Arena; more than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations; and a broad range of public and community programs. In everything it does, Seattle Center’s mission is to create exceptional events, experiences, and environments which delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities.

In 2023 Seattle Center is expanding its role to provide maintenance and public safety services for Seattle’s new Waterfront Park, a series of new public spaces on Seattle’s downtown waterfront between Pioneer Square and the Seattle Aquarium. Seattle Center will support managing these new waterfront public spaces in partnership with the non-profit Friends of Waterfront Seattle, which offers the community a range of recreational and cultural programming.

Thanks to the support of Official Seattle Center Partners – Alaska Airlines, The Climate Pledge, Coors Light, Pepsi, Premera, Symetra, T-Mobile, and WaFd Bank – Seattle Center is the #1 arts and entertainment destination in the Pacific Northwest with 12 million annual visitors, generating $1.864 billion in business activity and more than $631 million in labor income annually.