Church Hill Irish Festival draws in hundreds of people

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 9:15 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Hundreds of people came to Church Hill over the weekend to celebrate what it means to be Irish.

The Church Hill Irish Festival has been running for more than three decades. It was initially started to help raise money to support St. Patrick Catholic Church, but now it’s become an essential part of celebrating Richmond’s Irish heritage.

”Being Irish myself, it’s a grand thing...the Irish get along with everybody except each other,” said Kevin McGranahan, who was a festival volunteer.

Festival goers got the chance to order traditional dishes like corned beef and cabbage, watch Irish step dancing, and listen to bagpipe music. Festival organizers say that the event is held separately from St. Patrick’s Day weekend to give the Irish more time to celebrate.

”We like to make sure that the Irish have enough time to be represented, and we let the St. Patrick’s Day people have their fun, but St. Patrick’s Church knows how to have it for the last 36 years that is now,” said McGranahan.

While the Richmond tradition is fun, it’s about more than just having a good time. It also honors a specific piece of Richmond’s history tied to St. Patrick Catholic Church.

“Well, the history behind it was the Church was losing funds and personnel at the school and stuff, so they started a little Irish festival to celebrate the heritage and the fact that the church was built by Irish immigrants and over the years, the festival has been able to raise enough money not only to keep the church afloat but sponsor almost 30-40 other non-profit groups in the city of Richmond,” McGranahan mentioned.

Organizers asked those that attended to donate 5 dollars to enter. All the proceeds will go toward helping St. Patrick Church and other charities and programs, including Child Savers and Church Hill Boys and Girls Club.