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AN INTRODUCTION TO CHICAGO GAELIC PARK

By published January 04, 2024


I recently made my first visit to Chicago Gaelic Park, a place I’ve always been curious about since I have some Irish ancestry in my family. My father had mentioned when we were kids that there were some Irish roots, but my aunt had always talked about our English heritage and made trips to Great Britain to visit places that ancestors had originated from. 

Then oneIMG_3631.jpg day about 6 years ago as she pulled out handwritten family trees and booklets typed on manual typewriters about our family history, the Irish connection was confirmed when I learned that my great-great-great-great grandfather, the son of an innkeeper in Dublin made his way to Virginia as a stowaway on a ship as a young teen. Ever since then I’ve felt a little more enthusiastic about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and can confidently say that I really am a wee bit Irish. I find myself more drawn to Irish music, Irish delicacies, Irish history and Irish culture, in general.IMG_3635.jpg

My first visit to Chicago Gaelic Park was for one of my favorite rituals - tea service. I attended with my sister-in-law for a Holiday High Tea just before Christmas. The banquet hall was decked out for the holiday and beautifully decorated. Holiday music played in the background. We started with a glass of sparking wine and enjoyed cheese, scones with clotted cream, a variety of finger sandwiches and a selection of miniature desserts along with our hot tea. It was a delightful afternoon and a perfect way to relax a little amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

The company was also lovely. We sat with a couple of ladies, one of whom has a family home in Ireland, and we enjoyed chatting with them and hearing about their travels there. They also filled us in on many of the activities that happen there at at Chicago Gaelic Park and on what they like best from the menu at The Carraig Irish Pub, which was right next door.

A peek at the event calendar revealed that there are so many activities and so much entertainment happening there throughout the year. Whether you’ve got a bit of Irish blood in you or you just enjoy the revelry of Irish culture, there’s something for everyone - from live music several nights a week to an Irish singer’s club to festivals to a book club to sporting events to Irish dance lessons and more. 

You may want to mark your calendar for some of their annual events, like Ireland on Parade in March, Irish Fest in August, Harvest Day and the Chicago Feis. 

The Carraig Irish Pub is an on-site restaurant and pub open every evening except Monday serving up Irish classics and cold pints. I haven’t been there yet, but plan to return soon to soak up the Irish atmosphere and enjoy a meal that my ancestors would be proud of.

 

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