Look, we all know March is typically the time of year to don the kelly green, but if you've ever been to East Durham in the Catskills — and you know you're there when you start driving over shamrocks painted in the street — you quickly realize a celebration of all things Irish simply can't be relegated to one measly day in March. So, how about a two day festival over Memorial Day weekend, packed with all the Irish music, dance, food and libations you can handle?
Having an Irish heritage isn't necessary to attend the East Durham Irish Festival, but you should be prepared to feel Irish even if you're not. Aside from that stomping beat of the music, with many bands hailing from across the Atlantic, the Guinness, Harp and Smithwick's on tap, and the smell of bangers all around, there's the fact that if there's a countryside as green as the Emerald Isle herself, it's East Durham in May.
Walk the world's largest map of Ireland — about two acres of brick laid out like the homeland — and check out the county flags. Visit the thatched roof cottage imported stone by stone from Ireland and imagine what life was like for those who left the island in search of a better life. Stand next to the mass rock, a nod to those mid-17th century Irish Roman Catholics who were forced to worship in secret by blessing a rock in the middle of the woods as a suitable altar. And, of course, save time to soak up the largest collection of bands — from traditional Irish folk to modern Irish rock and everything in between — you're going to find anywhere in the country.