Getting Gaelic: Brooklynites fête Irish culture at Coney Island’s 37th-annual Great Irish Fair

Luck of the Irish: Members of the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Committee sold merchandise at The Great Irish Fair in Coney Island to raise money for their March event.
Brooklyn Daily
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Call it the luck of the Irish.

The 37th-annual Great Irish Fair at Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheater on Sept. 22 was one of the best attended in the event’s history, as Kings Countians with Celtic roots paid tribute to Gaelic culture. One musician who took the stage to play folk tunes with his band said this year’s event was one of the best he had been to, and that attendees seemed to revel in the celebratory atmosphere.

“It was a really great day, and the weather was fantastic, and the turnout was phenomenal,” said Keith Fallon, the singer and guitar player for the Canny Brothers Band. “The reception was fantastic — you could tell the people were really into it and dancing and singing along. Every year it’s gotten better.”

The band’s road manager added that the event and other ones like it are important ways to help preserve and perpetuate Irish culture, especially among youngsters.

“It’s really nice to see so many people participat­ing,” said Thomas Harkins. “It’s great to see a lot of young people involved as well — that’s how these things kind of get passed down.”

When attendees weren’t rocking out to Celtic tunes at the fair, they sipped on stouts and shopped for shamrock-adorned goods. And some bought raffle tickets to support Bay Ridge’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, helping raise at least $1,300 for next year’s parade, according to the committee president.

“It went very well — everybody was saying it’s the biggest crowd that they ever had,” said Denise Frederick.

Another musician who performed with U2 tribute band Unforgettable Fire said the crowd loved their takes on the band’s classic hits — including “One,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “I Will Follow” — and that the sunny skies and festive vibe made the day a success.

“The weather was great, the crowd was great, the atmosphere was the great,” said Anthony Russo.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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