Festival History

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Twenty-five years ago, Gerry Curran, who was the President of the Danbury Ancient Order of Hibernians, had a dream—to bring an Irish Festival to Danbury in order to present and perpetuate Irish music and culture. Gerry convinced the President of the Ladies of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Sharon Higgins, that this was a worthwhile project.

Together, Gerry and Sharon shared their ideas with the men and women of the Danbury Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH & LAOH) to support this idea and work together to establish an Irish Festival. Any profits would be used to build an Irish Cultural Center in Danbury.

Gerry’s dream became a reality in 1995 when the Greater Danbury Irish Festival made its debut in Rogers Park. The festival subsequently relocated to the Ives Center and continued there until 2011 when bad weather and financial difficulties caused it to downsize and be held for several years at the Lake Avenue Irish Cultural Center.

In 2018 and 2019, the Irish Festival was moved to the Portuguese Cultural Center, under the leadership of Festival Chair Billy Knowles, in order to accommodate many bands, events and parking and not have to worry about Mother Nature’s wet and wild mood swings.

During 2020 and 2021, the Festival Committee, along with the entire world, took a long pause as Covid-19 disrupted and changed everything—shutting down venues and wreaking havoc. In 2022, our new Festival Chair, Steve O’Tree, partnered with the Town of New Milford and New Milford Parks & Recreation to hold the festival on the beautiful and historic New Milford Green. For the first time ever, the Greater Danbury – New Milford Irish Festival is now free of charge to enter! We hope you will come on one or both days and experience and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Emerald Isle!

For more information please email danburyirish@gmail.com.

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