Cultural festivals connect people to their ancestry with authentic cuisine, traditional dancing, and a large glue stick. Bind yourself to history with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get one weekend VIP pass to iBAM! Irish Books, Arts, and Music Celebration at the Irish American Heritage Center (a $40 total value). The celebration takes place on Saturday, November 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday, November 13 from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Admission is free for children aged 12 and younger. The VIP pass includes the following:
- Two-day admission (a $30 value)
- 10 fare and drink tickets (a $10 value)
Irish Books, Arts, and Music gathers a cavalcade of Hibernian authors, artists, and musicians from around the world for a two-day celebration of Irish culture and heritage. Celtic cohorts unleash their knowledge of the emerald isle with a lineup of lectures including “Irish Theater Past, Present, and Future,” “Celtic Spirituality,” “James Joyce: The Stand-Up Comedy Years,” along with engaging literary discussions and poetry readings. “Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats,” an exhibit from the National Library in Dublin, will also be on display. Musical groups including performances by Dr. Matt Cranitch, Jackie Daly, Maurice Lennon, the Irish Heritage Singers, and The Dooley Brothers, stun attendees with their complicated fingerwork and birdlike voices.
Toe tappers can set their soles to stomp mode in Sean Nòs dance-technique classes, which teach students to communicate with downstairs neighbors via improvised floor-battering steps. On Saturday, take part in an authentic Irish Celli dance, complete with live music. On Sunday evening, the Cunninghams will display their sean-nòs dance styles on stage with lively jigs by Chicago Reel and Jimmy Keane. After cramming mindfuls of Hibernian logic and lore and tips on how to charm a leprechaun, revelers can stuff mouthfuls with traditional Irish fare from vendor booths, including shepherd’s pie (10 tickets), irish stew (10 tickets), and fries (3 tickets) washed down with a frosty pint of beer. For celebration updates, check out the celebration’s Twitter page.
Irish American Heritage Center
Occupying a building that sprang up at the turn of the 20th century, the Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC) somehow manages to cram Ireland into one of Chicago’s city blocks. Work from Irish artists hangs in the building’s art gallery, books from Irish authors fill its library, Irish plays light up its 658-seat theater, and Irish food and drinks delight the crowd on the main floor at the Fifth Province Pub. The IAHC also has a knowledgeable staff of instructors, who teach classes on everything from Irish dance and music to Irish language and genealogy.
4626 N Knox Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60630