The Indianapolis Irish Festival is in its 25th year. The festival is an opportunity to share Irish heritage through music, dance, cultural activities, and family fun. The festival was the vision of a small group of people who wanted to showcase the heritage, music and culture of the Irish people and the contributions of that culture to our city and state. The Irish are the second largest ethnic group to settle in the Indianapolis area. They have served the community in the fields of religion, education, medicine, law, the arts, politics and commerce.
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Indy’s Irish Festival committee, an all volunteer 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, was formed in 1996 to host the first festival. Its mission is to preserve, promote and nurture Irish culture, arts, music, and history. The festival has grown significantly over the years and with it, so has the festival’s support of charities and community organizations. Since its inception, the festival has made donations to or helped community organizations raise more than $250,000. In recognition of the years-long struggle of the Irish during the potato famine, we partner with the St. Vincent de Paul food bank to assist with feeding the hungry. We make a meaningful impact in this area.
Organizations that have benefited in the past or are benefiting this year include:
- American Heart Association
- Irish Children’s Fund
- Ancient Order of Hibernians
- Irish Dancers of Indianapolis
- Indy Hurling Club
- Boy Scouts of America
- Katrina Hurricane Relief
- Gleaner’s Food Bank
- Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians
- Indiana Irish Cultural Society
- Leukemia Society
- Indianapolis Firefighters Emerald Society
- Marian University
- Indianapolis Archdiocesan High Schools and Grade Schools
- Northside Knights of Columbus
- Indianapolis Police Department
- St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank
- Indianapolis Fire Department
- U.S.S. Indianapolis Survivors
- Catholic Youth Organization
- Go Irish Club
- Irish Outreach Program
- St. Barnabas Men’s Club
In 2003, the festival created the cultural scholarship program. Funding is provided for continuing studies in Irish dance, music, art and language/history. Students of all ages compete for funding of up to $1000 per student per year.
In addition to funding for individual studies the festival has also provided grant funding for many larger projects including:
- A children’s theater production by a local university
- Studies in Ireland of hurley making (the only maker in the US)
- A one man show of “RFK Remembered”
- A local author’s publication of a book about Irish in Indianapolis
- Seed funding for a ceili band
- Sponsorship of the Indianapolis Hurling team
- Start-up funding for expanded cultural instruction academy
- Sponsorship of local Celtic radio program
- Qualifying programs for Irish dance instructors
- Annual Irish dance ceili competition
- Irish language programs
Since 2003, $47,000 has been given directly to students pursuing further study in the area of Celtic dance, music, art or history/language.
2021 Festival Committee
The Irish Festival committee is made up of dedicated volunteers who work 50 weeks a year in their spare time to make the festival possible.
|Erin O’Rourke||Executive Committee Co-Chair Admin/Entertainment|
|Tim Malarney||Executive Committee|
|Caryn O’Brien||Executive Committee|
|Derek Nutty||Executive Committee|
|Joseph White||Executive Committee|
|Linda Caraher||Cultural Area|
|Mark Caraher||Operations/Cultural Area|
|Julia Snow Coffey||Children’s Area|
|Jane Elliott||Swag and Development|
|Tom Elliott||Swag and Sponsor|
|Gen Locke||Merchandise Vendors/Exhibitors|
|Kevin Murray||Legal Counsel|
|Jen Burchett||Volunteers and Support|
|Karen Towler||Volunteers and Support|
|Rick Towler||Volunteers and Support|
|Kevin Murray||Legal Counsel|
|Grant Smith||Technology/Web Development|
The Irish Cultural Foundation of Indianapolis was established by the Indy Irish Festival Committee in 2003. The goal of the ICFI Scholarship Program is to preserve, promote and nurture Irish culture, arts, music and history through the funding of scholarships of up to $1,000 each in the following areas of study:
- Traditional Music
- Irish Step Dancing
- Celtic Artwork (defined as a three dimensional artifact created through painting, sculpture, carving, weaving, jewelry)
- Irish History/Language (defined as the study of Irish language, history, politics, literature, theatre)
- Applications available: March 9
- Submit applications due by April 30
- Awards announced May 25
- Awards recognized at ICFI reception June (exact date to be determined)
- Awards presented at the festival
- Awards distributed to instructors on behalf of the students between October and August
- Expiration of scholarship monies if not used by August 31
- Request must be made for instruction in one of the four designated areas of study
- Applicants must reside in Indiana.
- Previous recipients are not eligible for 5 years after an award is provided
- Scholarship Recipient must make a presentation or perform at the Irish Cultural Foundation of Indianapolis award reception scheduled for June (Exact date to be determined).
- Scholarship money must be used to pay for instruction or programs beginning no sooner than October 15 and no later than August 31.
- Funds will be provided for instruction only. Monies may not be used for instruments, supplies or fees associated with competitions.
Application Submission Requirements
- Five completed copies of all pages of the application delivered by the deadline date (April 30). Deliver applications by U.S. mail to Irish Cultural Foundation of Indianapolis, Indy’s Irish Festival, P.O. Box 44197, Indianapolis, Indiana 46244.
- A letter of recommendation from an instructor directed to the Indy Irish Fest Foundation committee attesting to the talent and interest level of the applicant. Letters of recommendation must be forwarded directly under separate cover to: Irish Cultural Foundation of Indianapolis, P.O. Box 44197, Indianapolis, Indiana 46244
Donate to Indy Irish Fest
Indy’s Irish Festival is 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization formed in 1996 to host the first festival. Its mission is to preserve, promote and nurture Irish culture, arts, music, and history. The festival has grown significantly over the years and with it, so has the festival’s support of charities and community organizations (see a list). Since its inception, the festival has made donations to or helped community organizations raise more than $95,000. Help us continue the mission. Send donations to Indy Irish Festival, P.O. Box 44197, Indianapolis, IN 46244.
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* Listings and details subject to change. Check back often for latest updates.