It’s hard to describe what it’s like to live in Savannah without a mention of St. Patrick’s Day.

And, the annual Savannah Irish Festival will once again kick-off the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day season with their family friendly celebration featuring Irish dancing, Irish food, Irish music, Irish storytelling and a crowd-favorite Irish-themed marketplace.

This year’s Savannah Irish Festival begins at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 with the Ceili. And, according to Savannah Irish Festival Committee President Deana Shores, the annual Ceili has a new location.


“We are excited to have the Ceili in the MLK Arena at the Savannah Civic Center this year where the festival will be for the weekend,” she says. “The Ceili is a gathering of family and friends dancing folk dances. Our own Savannah Ceili Band will provide the music and Maggie Sikes, the director of the Irish Dancers of Savannah, will be teaching us the dances. Not only is it fun to dance, but it’s fun to watch, too.”

Guests for the Ceili are asked to use the service entrance on Liberty Street. A $10 donation per person gets you inside for the celebration; food is available for purchase.

The Savannah Irish Festival runs Feb. 16 to 17 at the Savannah Civic Center. Shores says it is an annual celebration of “our Irish heritage and traditions.”

“We are pleased to bring to the festival several new entertainers: Georgia’s own The BlarneyGirls; neighbors from South Carolina SYR; our youngest band ever to the festival and Dublin, Ireland, ‘borne,’ The Byrne Brothers and Donnybrook Fair from New York.

“We have brought back the festival’s favorite funny Irishman Seamus Kennedy and wonderful storyteller Tom O’Carroll.

“Local favorites Harry O’Donoghue and the Savannah Ceili Band will be here, too.

“Our marketplace will host our local favorite Irish shop, Saints & Shamrocks, and many new vendors. Artisans from across the East Coast come to share their handcrafted goods from jewelry to glassware to sweaters and kilts.”

And as a long-time festival goer herself, Shores says for her the highlight of the weekend is watching the Irish dancers.

“Savannah has been blessed to support two Irish dance schools. Each year we get to watch a new group of wee ones take the stage. Then before we realize it, they are all grown up and competing in feis’ all over the world.