20 July 2011

IRISH FESTIVALS AND GENEALOGY: PERFECT TOGETHER!

     Co-ordinating your genealogy research trip to Ireland with a local festival not only adds to your fun, but can advance your family history research. Festivals are a perfect venue for participating in the culture of your ancestors, as well as for providing an opportunity to connect with the locals. People everywhere tend to be friendly and outgoing when they are eating, drinking, dancing, playing music, and having fun--so, even if you are a shy sort, you can't help but make a few new acquaintances.

Kilkenny Arts Festival

     I know several researchers who made genealogical discoveries through the people they met at local festivals in Ireland. Their advice? Be friendly and mention your roots in the area to the locals you meet ("mention," that is, don't be boorish!).. Don't do all the talking, but take the time to question, listen, and learn. A festival is a showcase of local talent, arts, customs, or wares, and if you are a willing audience, you will find locals who are willing to share their knowledge of the local history.
    We attended the Kilkenny Arts Festival (August) during one of our trips. At the time, my girls were ten and twelve years old, and the festival was a nice break for them (they were growing quite tired of cemeteries and libraries). I did sneak in some genealogy time with a visit to the heritage centre at the Rothe House. 

Fun for kids at the Kilkenny Arts Festival
(Jill loved her elaborate face paint!).
     So, don't forget to research the calendar of events in the areas you will be visiting.  The types of festivals are boundless, some are quite unique. Religious, musical, art, farm, racing, food festivals--Ireland has them all! See the links below to find one that interests you!
LINKS
TONS OF FESTIVAL LISTS AND INFORMATION FROM IRELAND.COM
KILKENNY ARTS FESTIVAL
TOURISM IRELAND SCHEDULE OF FESTIVALS
EVENTS IN NORTHERN IRELAND
RICK STEVE'S LIST OF SELECTED IRISH FESTIVALS
CLANCY BROS. FESTIVAL, CO. TIPPERARY