Authentic Ireland Festival/Good Piping
When: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5. Through Sunday, Aug. 7
Where: O'More College in Franklin
Purists may consider “authentic” and “festival” two words that should never appear in the same sentence. But if your Gaelic blood longs to join in a céilí (a gathering of dancers) to the nimble plucking of an Irish bouzouki, Franklin’s O’More College of Design is your makeshift Emerald Isle this weekend. Thanks to Cultural Ireland Tennessee, an organization that aims to preserve and celebrate Irish culture in the Volunteer State, Williamson County will ring with traditional Irish song and the thwack of hurley on sliotar. (That’s not a missing Lost episode, just a reference to the ancient sport of hurling.)
Friday night’s “Taste of Ireland” kicks off at 6 p.m. at The Factory at Franklin with visiting artists from the west of Ireland, The Kristin Butke School of Irish Dance, stories of Irish and Tennessee history and an appearance by the Middle Tennessee Hurling Club, before heading back to O’More at 8:30 p.m. for a jam session and a pint or two. (This is not the time to practice hurling.)
Saturday brings a full day of workshops and performances by Irish fiddler Eilis Crean, button-accordion player Johnny Og Connolly, the Nashville Céilí Band and more — including, yes, hurling demonstrators — before adjourning to the premiere of Nashville filmmaker Davis Watson’s new documentary Good Piping. In this labor of love, for which the director sold his car, withdrew his savings and made way for Dublin, Watson traces the history and the remaining practitioners of Ireland’s native instrument, the uilleann pipes.
If you miss Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. premiere at O'More — which charges no admission but has limited seating — and its subsequent live pipes concert and party, the film repeats at 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by an afterparty and jam. The festival is free and open to the public.