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James ( -
Posted on Saturday, September 07, 2002 - 09:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Here in Southern Pines/Pinehurst NC, we have an annual steeplechase called Stoneybrook. It is probably the largest social event of the year for our humble little neck of the woods and it usually occurs just a few weeks after St. Patrick's Day. The event was started some 25 years ago by an Irish immigrant named Mickey Walsh. Today, his family still sponsors the event. Many of the jockeys are from Ireland as are many of the horses. Given the Irish origins of steeplechase in general and Stoneybrook in particular I have the following idea.

The week preceeding the race should be a week of Irish cultural celebration in our little town. We could bring in groups of musicians (sponsored by families or businesses) to perform in our pubs with one group featured in our playhouse per night leading up to the actual race itself. At the race we could have vendors of Irish crafts/cultural items (ie: language tapes, music CD's etc). Essentially, what I'm after is a week long, post St. Patrick's Day, celebration of true Irish culture. (As opposed to the shamrock-ery of many St. Patrick's Day celebrations)

The goal is cultural exposure and expansion with a subtle nudging toward language study in my local area. I would love to see a Conrad Na Gaeilge develop locally but that is a few years off.

Any suggestions as to how to get this off the ground would be MOST appreciated. Any points of contact for musical groups or vendors who might be interested in making a trip to the sunny southland would, likewise, be appreciated. As soon as I have a presentable "package" I intend to approach the race coordinators and the town council with a proposal. What I'm seeking right now is an "electronic" brain-storming session, if you will.

If you are a musician or in a group of musicians, a vendor or have any other interest in participating respond here with an e-mail contact and I'll get back to you. I'd like to be able to present something this fall with an anticipated execution next year.

Le meas.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh.

(Dennis--if you can spare some of your time I would greatly welcome your involvement!)


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