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Brisbane Irish Festival 2012

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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Brisbane Irish Festival 2012

This year a little bit of Irish magic has transformed Brisbane's traditional St Patrick's Day Parade and celebrations into a week long appreciation of all things Irish. It won't just be Irish eyes that are smiling at the parade, music, films, dancing, and sports at the inaugural Brisbane Irish Festival, from Friday 9 to Saturday 17 March 2012.

Scratch almost one third of the Australian population and you'll find a leprachaun or colleen. Famous Australians like author Thomas Kenneally, actress Nicole Kidman and Brisbane's own Kevin Rudd are amongst the estimated 30% of Australians who, like me, proudly claim Irish ancestry. Convicts, political, religious and economic refugees formed the huge Irish diaspora to Australia and, proportionately, Australia has more people of Irish descent than any place outside Ireland. No wonder St Patrick's Day has always been such a huge event on the Brisbane social calendar. And this year it will be bigger than Finn McCool.

Opening Weekend - Festival Ball, St Patrick's Day Parade & Irish Fair, and Family Day

Friday 9 March
Brisbane Irish Festival Ball
Venue: Tara Ballroom, The Irish Club, 175 Elizabeth St, Brisbane. Starts at 7pm
Entertainment: The Baby Boomers Party Band
Tickets: $120 pp or $1150 for a table of 10. Call 0433 703 645 or email

Saturday 10 March
St Patrick's Day Parade and Irish Fair
The theme for Brisbane's 23rd annual St Patrick's Day Parade is Ireland: Land of Legends, and this year's parade promises to be legendary indeed. The parade begins at 10.30 am at the corner of Elizabeth and George Streets and concludes at the intersection of George and Adelaide Streets. From there it's just an Irish jig, step and reel away to King George Square for the Irish Fair incorporating activities such as Irish dancing, pipe band and circus performances, and candle making. This is a FREE event for the whole family.

Sunday 11 March
Family Day
Your own "little people" will love this day of family fun. Enjoy the excitement of the world's fastest field sports - hurling and its female equivalent camogie, or watch some spectacular Gaelic football.
Venue: Queensland Gaelic Football Park, 308 Bowhill Rd, Willawong.
Entertainment: Irish sports, Irish pipe band, athletics, Irish dancing displays, carnival rides and Irish Australian Band Murphy's Pigs.
Cost: Adults $10, children FREE.

Irish Trivia Night and Rose of Tralee Fashion Parade

Monday 12 March
Irish Trivia Night
If you know the difference between "craic" and a "currach" then this event is for you. Not one, but four Irish pubs will play host to this test of Irish knowledge, where you'll battle the other venues answering questions broadcast on Radio 4EB Radio 98.1 FM.
Venues: Fiddler's Elbow, 380 Upper Roma St, Brisbane
Gilhooley's – Cnr of Albert and Charlotte Street, Brisbane
Irish Murphy's – 175 George St, Brisbane
Mick O'Malley's - 171- 209 Queens St, Basement Level, Wintergarden Centre
Cost: Free
Registration: By 5.30pm.
Grand Prize: Story Bridge Adventure Climb for two.

Tuesday 13 March
Rose of Tralee Fashion Parade
Enjoy fashions from Ascot boutiques, Hunt and Gather, Maggie T and Lorna Jane modelled by entrants for the 2012 Rose of Tralee competition.
Venue: Tara Ballroom, The Irish Club, Starts at 7pm
Tickets: $45 pp or $400 for a table of 10. Phone (07) 3221 5699 or email or visit Irish Club reception.

Queenslander, Tara Talbot, reigning International Rose of Tralee.

Irish Film Night and Traditional Irish Music Concert

Wednesday 14 March
Irish Film Night
Venue: Tribal Theatre, 346 George Street, Brisbane.
4pm Children's film screening - Irish short films plus the Oscar nominated "The Secret of Kells" (PG). Adults $10, children $8.
6pm Evening Show - Irish short films plus the documentary "The Pipe" (MA15 ). Adults $12.
8pm Late Show - Irish short films plus "The Guard". Adults $12.
Tickets: At Tribal Theatre or Irish Club reception.

Thursday 15 March
Traditional Irish Music Concert
Venue: 7:30pm Tara Ballroom, The Irish Club
Entertainment: Luogh, Tulca Mór and Sásta
Tickets: $15 pp. Phone (07) 3221 5699, visit Irish Club reception or at the door.

Closing Weekend - St Patrick's Eve Dinner and St Patrick's Day Celebrations at QPAC

Friday 16 March
The 114th Annual St Patrick's Eve Dinner
Venue: Tara Ballroom, The Irish Club. 6:15pm arrival for a 6:45pm start
Guest Speakers: To be announced.
Tickets: $110 - includes 2 course meal, beer, wine and softdrink. Phone (07) 3221 5699 or visit Irish Club reception.

Saturday 17 March
St Patrick's Day Celebrations at QPAC
The final festival event stars everyone's favourite Irish Australian, Damien Leith.
Venue: Concert Hall, QPAC. 7pm.
Entertainment: Damien Leith, the Danny Boys, the Queensland Pops Orchestra, and Irish dancers.
Tickets: Adult $79, Concession $69 available here.

Information about other festival events can be found here or visit the Facebook page here or Twitter here.
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Why? Begosh and begorrah - there's a little bit of Irish in all of us.
When: 9 to 17 March 2012.
Where: Various venues around Brisbane.
Cost: Varies for specific events.
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