Celebrating Irish culture

(WTNH) — To many on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s about the green beer and a hat, but at the Fairfield Gaelic-American Club, it’s about much more. It’s about celebrating their history and heritage and passing it from generation to generation.

Emily Grady and Erin Duffy are flying to Ireland for the world championship of step dancing. They qualified earlier this year and will be competing with dozens of other countries.

“We practice at least five times a week for a couple hours a day, we are pretty dedicated,” said Emily Grady.

“It has gotten so much more athletic over the past couple of years. To be at this level you really have to do a lot of cross training, it has become more like an Olympic sport than it ever was,” said Erin Duffy.

Dancing and music are at the core of the Irish spirit. The pipe and drum gained popularity through the military, but its origins are obscure.

Art Beagan plays the pipes, his wife plays the drums and they have been doing it for nearly 20 years, sharing the sounds and traditions at weddings and funerals and celebrations across the country.

“The bagpipes just have some allure to them, you know from the start as a young person, if you really want to play them and you have to really want to play them to get good at it,” said Art.

So, on St. Patrick’s Day as we have a green beer and hats at the parades, look past the glitter of the holiday, and take a listen to the sounds of the proud, rich culture of the Irish.

For more New Haven Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration stories, videos, music, and more, click here.

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