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March is around the corner and we love how Muskegon goes all Irish all month long! There are more varied events for all tastes and ages than you can shake a shillelagh at! “County Muskegon” is teeming with Irish and Celtic themed culture, activities, music and fun. We’d like to highlight some of them here for you.

Muskegon Sounds Like Ireland!

Did you know there is a Muskegon radio station that hosts an Irish music program? If you tune in to Muskegon 100.9 FM from 5-7 pm EST you will find that Muskegon “Sounds Like Ireland” every Thursday! The program is hosted by “Voice of the Michigan Irish Music Festival” Bill Marshall and is “jammers” full of jams to get you in the mood for March!

Trad Seisiún

Start getting your Irish on right at the beginning of the month. Bring your musical instrument and join a “Trad Session” at Hennessy’s Irish Pub. An Irish traditional music session (seisiún) is an informal collection of folks gathered together to play traditional Irish music. Hennessy’s Irish Pub host one on the first Tuesday of every month. Even if you don’t play, you can still come and enjoy the music! (March 3)

Irish Dancing

Photo: Tim Reilly

Ardan Academy of Irish Dance is a school teaching traditional step and Ceili dance classes for all ages. The dancers vie in state and national Feis competitions; including the Michigan Feis that takes place every September right here in Muskegon. They send qualifying dancers to the Mid-American and international Oireachtas each year. Come be amazed at their skills as they kick up their heals during  a free performance at the beautiful and historic Hackley Public Library (March 9)

See the Book of Kells

Book of Kells Hackley Library

A MUST see, while you are at the Hackley Public Library, is their rare copy of the “Book of Kells”. Only 1,480 facsimiles of this breathtaking illuminated manuscript exist in the world. The original, housed in Trinity College Dublin, is widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure. As far as we know, ours and the copy at Washington Centerville Library are the only two available for public viewing in a library.

Irish Whiskey School

Just one week before St. Patrick’s Day you can learn all about (and sip!) Irish Whiskies at Hennessey’s Irish PubWhiskey School”.  The Irish Whiskey Tasting is led by St. Mary’s priest Father Jared. There will be a special St. Patrick’s Day menu to accompany the samples. (March 10)

Party with the Michigan Irish

Start the St. Patrick’s Weekend at the Michigan Irish Music Festival’s St. Patrick’s Party which runs March 13 & 14. There will be live music from Detroit’s Celtic Rockers “The Kreellers”. The Kreellers will bring two evenings of danceable, blood pumping, high energy Celtic music that fuses traditional with modern rock, funk…and a little punk!

Joining the musical lineup are acoustic bluegrass and Irish trio Oat Bran Boys and dance performances from Ardan Academy of Irish Dance. Don’t forget your checkbook! Their famous auctions will take care of your Christmas list early!

Of course there’ll be Irish eats by way of yummy corned beef and bangers and mash from McGovern’s Catering. And more delicious dining options from Teddy Spaghetti. You won’t find green beer here! There will be Pigeon Hill Brewing Company’s MI Irish Stout, Magner’s Irish Cider from Tipperary, Irish cream, Jameson Irish Whiskey..and a full bar.

The festival is proud to support Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and Kids’ Food Basket with gifts of non-perishable food items and cash donations.  Since 2008, due to the success of the St. Patricks Party, and Festival, Michigan Irish Music Festival has donated over $330,000 in cash and 23,000 pounds of food back to the community.

Get a Running Start or Gobble Green Eggs and Ham

Saturday morning gets a “running” start at 9 am with Run Muskegon’s Shamrock Shuffle, this festive 5K encourages participants to dress for the holiday – and awards prizes for the best costumes.

Then take the wee ones for a Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast at the Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club! The ladies are celebrating Reading Month, Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the whole green theme with a delicious breakfast that includes a free Dr. Seuss book and visit from a Dr. Seuss’ character.

Everyone Loves a Parade 

Be sure to finish your breakfast or run by 11:00 am! This is when the 9th Annual Muskegon St. Patrick’s Day Parade is presented by the Greater Muskegon Jaycees and Hennessy’s Pub. The fun, family oriented parade marches down Clay St. between 4th and Jefferson in Downtown Muskegon; and there is a great cause behind it!

Entry fees to participate in the parade are non-perishable food and pantry items – and spectators are encouraged to bring them too! The Jaycees will push shopping carts along the parade route collecting the items. Everything collected during the parade will be donated the local food pantry; Catholic Charities West Michigan. So grab some canned goods and get gussied up in your green garb! Watch the floats, marching bands, dogs, live music, catch some candy and cheer for the grand Marshall.

Shenanigans at Muskegon’s Favorite Irish Pub

The parade route ends just outside Hennessy’s Irish Pub and Muskegon’s Irish Pub has a full day of craic planned. Irish fare & beverages will be accompanied by Irish Bag Pipers, a Costume Contest and a frolicking music line up:

Noon – Steeple Hill
3.00 – Irish Bag Pipers
4:00 – Bucket O Maybe’s
8:30 – Costume Pub Parade
9:00 – Costume Contest and Conklin Ceili Band

Unruly Pipers, Wolf Hounds and Music Schedule

Just around the corner Unruly Brewing will open at 9am for pre parade warm-up and an all day “Most Unruly St. Paddy’s Party“.  Right after the parade the Muskegon Regional Police Pipes and Drums (And by pipes, we do mean bagpipes!) will march over to the brewery. You will find Irish Wolf Hounds in the Beer Garden and live Irish music and dancers all day.

1:00 – Barley Saints
4:00 – Ardan Dancers
5:30 – Mona Shores Fiddlers
7:30 – Irish Trivia / Scavenger Hunt
9:30 – The Triumphant Return of the Toss Pints

Try MI Irish Stout!

Muskegon’s other local craft brewery; Pigeon Hill Brewing Company. “Hop” in and try a pint of their MI Irish Stout. You can also find the foamy goodness at the Michigan Irish Music Festival St. Patrick’s Party. If you love it (and you will!) you can find cans to purchase in select stores. Check Pigeon Hills Facebook page for a list of locales.

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

Whatever downtown business you are in, there is a good change the Muskegon Regional Police Pipes and Drums will wander in for an impromptu performance.

Fun in the North

The White Lake area is in on the craic too. There are two Celtic music performances at the Book Nook Java Shop. Both The Zachary Graft Celtic Trio and Nessa will entertain. The Book Nook is one of the coziest settings in West Michigan for curling up with a book or listening to live music. Our tip: Get a snifter of Jameson at the bar and a spot by the fire place. (March 14)

10:00 – Zachary Graft Celtic Trio
7:00 – Nessa

Good Craic, Good Cause

Father Matthew Barnum returns to Hennessy’s Pub as a Guest Bartender for their Fundraiser in celebration of Saint Patrick. Father will be collecting tip donations and baby items to fill the Catholic Charities West Michigan Baby Pantry. (March 16)

Raise the Flag, Raise the Roof

Then the next day, St Patrick’s proper, The Muskegon Irish American Society holds their 47th annual raising of the Irish Flag at Hennessy’s Pub, then head inside for live music, Guinness Glass Engraving and a Costume Contest…look at those prizes! (March 17)

11:00 – Live Music

Noon – Flag Raising
3:00 – Guinness Glass Engraving
4:00 – Uneven Ground
9:00 – Legal Rehab

Costume Contest Prizes
1st Place: $50.00 Gift Card, 2 Tickets to Whiskey School, Swag Bag!
2nd Place: $20 Gift Card, 2 Tickets to Whiskey School, Swag Bag!
3rd Place: $10 Gift Card, Swag Bag!

Find Out How to Pronounce “Aoife” 

The Playhouse at White Lake presents Michigan Irish Music Festival headliner Aoife Scott straight out of Ireland with Ben Bedford!   Born into the legendary Black Family, multi award winning Aoife is steadily rising to the top of the traditional and folk music scene, and has long enjoyed success as an established artist in her own right.

You may have caught her standing room only shows at the Michigan Irish Music Festival or her very memorable, rain drenched, rainbow covered, outdoor concert last summer.  She invited her audience up on stage with her to stay dry and dance. She is an absolutely lovely person and performer. You won’t want to miss this. (March 21)

Jig Around The Block 

The Block presents more Irish styled music:  “House of Hamill, Celtic fiddle!”. Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan create exciting and original jigs, reels and songs while breathing new life into traditional Irish fiddling.  Their voices are hypnotic and irresistible. Their chemistry is engaging and hilarious. The couple’s musical history is a rich resume including Enter the Haggis and Burning Bridget Cleary. (March 28)

Dig Into the Roots 

Find out why Muskegon has such deep Irish roots; visit the Lakeshore Museum Center’s “Voices of Muskegon” display which shares the story of the Irish diaspora to the West Michigan area.

Information for all these events, and many more, can be found on our website

“Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!” Visit Muskegon wishes you a happy and safe St. Patrick’s celebration and would LOVE to see your photos on social media!

Use hashtags #visitmuskegon and #watchmUSkeGOnIRISH