Indianapolis, Ind. – Ever played camogie? Or played with Celtic canines? You can this weekend at the 24th Annual Indy Irish Fest!
“There are a lot of people that come that like celebrating St. Patrick’s Day 2.0, which you’re going to have those people and that’s totally fine!” said co-chair Erin O’Rourke. “We also have people that it’s an important family tradition.”
For Erin, it’s family.
“Both sides of my family are Irish. It’s a volunteer gig but it’s also a tip of the hat to my family and their heritage.”
She’s been working on this year’s festival since last year’s ended.
“We don’t care if you’re not Irish! We welcome all people!”
Of course there will be food. The Hibernians, American’s oldest Irish Catholic Fraternal Organization, will man one of those tables.
Bob McCurdy is president of the local group, which is one of the biggest in the country. They celebrate Irish culture and show community support where they can.
“This year we awarded four scholarships to four seniors from local Indianapolis area high schools so they could continue their education,” Bob said.
Before you visit the Hibernians, work up an appetite with the Indianapolis GAA!
“We’re the Gaelic Athletic Association and we play hurling, camogie and Gaelic football,” said hurling player Rudy Nehrling.
“I went to a practice and I’ve been stuck in this glorious sport ever since. You don’t have to be Irish, although afterwards you can always pretend like you’re Irish!”
Alician Mendez McCarthy plays camogie.
“I am Mexican American! My husband was playing and I was always on the sideline watching. I have been in athletics my whole life so it was interesting to me. I tried it out and I liked it!”
The free club has more than 100 members and they’re always looking for more.
Vice-chair Josh Lane says he’s “100% American!” and got involved when he saw a scrimmage one day and asked what it was about.
“I went to a practice and here we are five years later!”
He plays Gaelic football.
“It’s kind of like a volleyball but a little heavier.”
Click here for more on what exactly hurling, camogie and Gaelic football entail. You can also find information on free practices starting soon for adults, and youth sessions. Coaches will help you learn if you don’t know how to play!
Irish Fest kicks off Friday at 4:30 p.m. and wraps up Sunday after a performance by the High Kings.
Click here for details on admission and the Indy Irish Fest lineup.