Emerald Isle evening

19 Sep

Milwaukee, my hometown, is known as the City of Festivals for its many ethnic, cultural and religious festivals in the summertime. Muskegon, my new community, is not known by a similar nickname, but it offers a handful of festivals that are reminiscent of those in sister city across the lake.

Christopher and I wandered downtown to Heritage Landing on Friday night to check out the Michigan Irish Music Festival.

First stop, the Bob and Bernie’s Pub tent. Beers available included the Irish Fest Stout, crafted by Schell’s Brewery of New Ulm, Minn., especially for the festival this year; the Dublin, a combination of the stout and a light beer; and Magner’s, a hard Irish cider.

We opted for the cider. Mmmm. Magner’s tastes unlike all the other hard ciders I’ve had. It’s a nice cross between a beer and a cider, not too sweet or syrupy, but not too grainy or hoppy either. It’s just perfect.

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Next stop, the marketplace. Merchants were selling everything from rugby jerseys to kilts to claddagh rings to scones to tweed caps.

DSCN0565 (Isn’t he a cutie? Well I think he is…)

Next stop, the music tents. Three tents had European and North American acts playing Celtic and Celtic-inspired music. We ran into a woman I know through work and sat with her and her husband for a while. We sort of listened to the very traditional musical stylings of Kennedy’s Kitchen.

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After a while, we wandered around a bit to check out the grounds and to find food. (I took pictures of the festival, but I neglected to take pictures of our delicious eats, which included a very not Irish pulled pork sandwich and a somewhat Irish creamy potato soup.)

The grounds are beautiful and perfect for a festival—right along the lake and nicely landscaped including a cute little walkway over the water.

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Final stop, the music tent. We checked out two groups, one called Millish and another called Switchback, before calling it a night and heading home so Christopher could get ready for the weekend road trip with the team and I could put on my pajamas.

I returned to the festival Saturday evening because my dad and brother came to visit. (They heard about the festival and about the lineup around the time I moved and promised they would come back for it.)

First stop, the music tent to see the premier Celtic music group, Leahy, a group of brothers and sisters whose sound is as authentic as it is unique.

I can’t even describe what makes this family so incredible, so talented and so intriguing. The speed and precision with which each member plays his or her instrument is amazing. The beautiful and emotional songs that make up their performances is amazing. And the lively Irish step dancing that bursts forth during their songs is amazing. It’s an experience to see them!

The three of us “discovered” Leahy while watching PBS many, many years ago on a weekend afternoon. The channel was in between shows and played a music video for “The Call to Dance” to fill air time. We were hooked.

DSCN0589 (The fiddlers are incredible, absolutely incredible.)

DSCN0599 (The sisters, who play the piano, guitar and a couple other instruments, all take turns dancing throughout the performance.)

Next stop, in between Leahy and Gaelic Storm, the band that got its big break as the band in steerage in “Titanic,” the food tent.

I struggled with picking something to eat. I’m willing to eat a lot of things, and I’m usually willing to try pretty many new things, but I just don’t think I’m made for Irish fare. I don’t care for corned beef, and I detest peas, which rules out shepherd’s pie, cottage pie and bangers and mash. Rats. I planned to again get the potato soup, but they were out of it, so I chose the Irish stew in a bread bowl and hoped I could work around the peas (a.k.a. evil, mushy bee bees masquerading as vegetables).

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My dad and brother left a few hours ago—in fact, they should be calling or texting me soon to let me know they got home—and I’m blogging, listening to Celtic music on Pandora and plotting my next culinary adventure. (I already made a jar full of caramelized onions and a batch of black-bean chili.)

See ya’ later this week!

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2 Responses to “Emerald Isle evening”

  1. Dan September 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    I would have opted for the shepherd’s pie, for what that’s worth.

  2. kaylabee18 September 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    I tried a bite of it Saturday. Both my dad and brother got it, and I liked it, sans peas. 🙂

    I saw somewhere a recipe for a shepherd’s pie made with zucchini and carrots. I think I ought to try that sometime…

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