Time for Wearin’ of the Green

  • Visit North Central

Flying Irish DancersIt’s no blarney—Irish roots run deep in Massachusetts, including right here in the North Central region.

The US Census Bureau tells us that 28 percent of Massachusetts residents claim Irish heritage —but as you know, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! It’s no surprise, then, that March is packed with “green” celebrations highlighting music, dance, and, of course, great food and drink!

St. Patrick may (or may not) have driven all the snakes out of Ireland—but it’s a sure bet that his popularity has sparked all manner of celebration — including some noteworthy parades and machinations that cause rivers to run bright green in some cities. On a more local scale, the town of Clinton has a reputation as a leprechaun haven, where the wee folk have been known to gather in this very green month (although, we admit, we’re not sure anyone has actually seen them).

But legend and folk tale aside, there’s lots of partying on and around March 17 here, and you’re invited to join in the fun.

The Flying Irish step dancers, based in Ashby, will be criss-crossing the region this month, with performances in Fitchburg, Ashburnham, and Ashby; and Anne O’Connell’s Irish American Step Dancers will entertain visitors with a lively performance at the Gardner Museum. If you haven’t seen a step dance performance, you’ll be entranced by the jigs, reels and trebles of this dance form, which is generally characterized by a stiff upper body and quick, precise movements of the feet.

You can get your own toes tapping, too, when Irish music — featuring a flute ensemble!—takes center stage at the Westminster VFW, Irish ballads fill the air at the Bigelow Library in Clinton, and Lúnasa performs at the Groton Hill Music Center.

Irish music is on tap, too—along with (what else?) some terrific brews in a four-day St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Moon Hill Brewing at the Gardner Ale House and Moon Hill Brewing’s Tap Room at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston. Yes, St. Pat’s Day is just too big an event for a 24-hour boundary—so these popular spots will be dishing up corned beef & cabbage, Steak & Stout Pie, and some great music for the mid-month party.

You may not discover a pot of gold (or even a rainbow), you’re sure to find plenty of Irish music and fun in North Central Massachusetts this month! Sláinte!