Guinness in a Plastic Cup

“You don’t take enough time for yourself.”

Friends and family remind me of this from time to time, usually as I am hurrying from one unfinished project to another while fretting over a dozen more which seem eternally out of reach.

They are not wrong.

We all need to give ourselves a little break from time to time, which is why I always look forward to our yearly trip to Fair Park in Dallas for the North Texas Irish Festival.  It’s nice to just roam around with my camera, taking in an afternoon of music, shopping and people watching.  And so for the moment I shall take a step back from my weekly musings and allow you to share, just a bit, in my yearly indulgence.

The best part of the Irish Festival is the musical talent of new artists putting a modern spin on traditional favorites.

Truly, the best part of the North Texas Irish Festival is to be found in the music!  Everywhere you go there are talented of Celtic artists putting a modern spin on traditional favorites.

Kids and dogs are always a magical combination.

We were talking to a vendor who was working the festival for the first time and his impression of what made this one different from other conventions was summed up in two words: “Dogs and Beer.”  The show is certainly a dog-lovers treat with every possible breed roaming the grounds to the delight of adults and children alike.

Animal rescue groups of all sorts (from cats and dogs to wild raptors) are very popular at the Irish Festival.

Animal rescue groups of all sorts (from cats and dogs to wild raptors) are always a popular attraction and make for some otherwise rare photo opportunities.

I sometimes refer to the Irish Festival as “Guinness in a Plastic Cup”.  The obvious reason is that this is how beer is served at the festival – something of a crime against nature.  The metaphor runs a little deeper, though.  There is an almost artificial quality to much of the show.  It’s easy to look at the show with a cynical eye and see crowds of “Plastic Paddys” glomming onto a culture they know little about while buying all manner of shamrock studded ticky-tack.

At the same time, there is a rich, wholesome quality to the show which the cheap plastic packaging does nothing to diminish.  Everywhere you look there are craftsmen, dancers, artists and musicians, who could no doubt make more money in conventional pursuits but who struggle daily to make ends meet for the love of their art and the desire to share it with others.  Many of us who attend have a genuine pride in their Celtic heritage and a desire to preserve that deeper connection with their history and their ancestors.

Visiting the North Texas Irish Festival may not satisfy that deep yearning for the homeland which many of us feel.  Think of it as instead as the biggest “support group” you could imagine, meeting on the first weekend in March.  It’s therapy, with beer and food and music.  Who cares if it comes in a plastic cup!

NTIF2013a

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Modern Life, Photography, Travel

One response to “Guinness in a Plastic Cup

  1. Pingback: Leprechaun Elvis | Stone of Destiny

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