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What's On

Crawley Irish Festival back for its 21st year

Sunday 27 August 2017 |



Venue: The Hawth, The Hawth Theatre, Hawth Ave, Crawley RH10 6YZ

Region: West Sussex

The Crawley Irish Festival celebrates its 21st Anniversary when Crawley goes green on 27th August with plenty of craic agus ceol at The Hawth Theatre, Crawley

From humble beginnings, it has built up a strong following over the years attracting over 5,000 people yearly and accepted now as the only Irish Festival of its type in the UK. It has something for everybody with music, song, dance and lots lots more. It always makes for a great Bank Holiday treat and what’s more – it’s free.

Last June the outgoing Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall hosted a special night in the embassy recognising the festival’s milestone anniversary and “the commitment of the organisers continuously running it”.

Every year the festival offers a wonderful array of entertainment, music, sport and dance – and this year is no exception.

It features three different music areas catering from traditional to country to contemporary.

50% of proceeds from the programme will go to the charity Stamp Out Suicide, find out more on the Celtic & Irish Cultural Society’s website

The 21st birthday event will feature

MCing the Foundation Developments Ltd On the main stage with Gerry Molumby:

Paddy Ryan Band

Paddy Ryan, John Leigh Baron, Cathal Caks Harkin and Danny Muldoon. They are Liverpool based and played the Embassy at our 21st Anniversary reception. They are a well travelled multi award winning quartet with a talent beyond limits…

Mary Rose Band 

A four piece band based around London – one of the busiest country and Irish bands on the circuit, and one of the few bands still using a live drummer. 

The Craicheads 

Rising stars of London’s Irish music scene, The Craicheads have carved themselves a reputation as one of the hardest working bands on the circuit fronted by the energetic Mick O’Beirne (lead vocals / guitar) and Tim Eyles (guitar / mandolin) with Ben Gunnery (fiddle / whistle / vocals), Stefan Marinov (bass / vocals), and Martin Stewart (drums / vocals). 

The Craicheads band

Reel Strings  

The highly acclaimed Crawley band that have played at the Irish Embassy with Eddie Hurdman on fiddle, Frank Scully on drums and John Barber on guitar.

The Reel Strings band

Celtic Crunch 

Helen Mullen (accordion, fiddle, whistle) Natasha Magee (vocals) Noel Mullen (guitar). This band plays a mix of traditional Irish tunes, Irish folk and Irish country songs.

Marian Waldron travels from Manchester for a guest appearance.


Over on the Coinford TRADITIONAL STAGE and MC’d by Patrick O Connell there’s

Brogue Irish Folk


Local band of Larry Kenny (vocals, guitar, flute & accordian) Pauline Farrell (Bodhrán, vocals) and Edd Mann (guitar, vocals, mandolin)

Irish Mist with Joe Giltrap and Mal Rogers


Mannie McClellanConcertina Bodhran, Dance calling Fergus McClelland – Vocals, Bouzouki, Fiddle Sarah Mooney – Flute, Low Whistle, Guitar, Bass pedals Jacquelyn Hynes – Whistle, Flute, Saxophone.

Blackthorn band

Chris O Malley (guitar) 

Plays the Best of Traditional with guests Dominic Henderson (pipes) Tad Sargent (Bodhrán) and Eimear McGeown (flute)


An energetic local band of Eddie Hurdman on fiddle, Denys McDermott (vocals / percussion), Dan Wheale (Guitar / vocals) and Calum McManus (bodhran / vocals)

A highlight of the festival is the 7 hour music session where Celtic Crunch and Strawdogs provide the musical backbone where acts from across the festival are joined with local bands adding to a great mix of music throughout the day.

The Irish Dancing arena features the famous Crawley Ceili with music from Tony Kearney and dancing displays from Crawley’s Irish Dance Schools.

Cultural identity are featured strongly with an Irish Shop, GAA All–Ireland Football on the Big Screen, a photo exhibition, and various food and craft stalls and displays.

The younger element are well catered for with J Devine special Children’s Entertainment Arena with particular emphasis on traditions and folklore, art workshops, kids drama corner and storytelling by Deirdre O’Byrne and magic by Paul Saulsbury

Martin Logan and his TV Crew from Sky TV are recording a special programme on the festival and Neil Munday of SuzyRadio103.4 are broadcasting live all afternoon.

It all kicks off at 12 noon and runs for 7 hours at The Hawth Theatre in Central Crawley.

The festival is a fantastic day out for the whole family and with a wide selection of food and refreshment stalls, it’s an ideal bank holiday treat.

The event is being updated daily, keep posted via the Celtic Irish website or call John Nolan on 01293 513189 with any questions.

How to get there

SatNav Postcode: RH10 6YZ

By train: The Hawth is within easy walking distance from Crawley and Three Bridges BR stations

Want to help out?

The Celtic & Irish Cultural Society is a small group of committed volunteers who work together to organise and run the festival. If you’re an enthusiastic team player, and you’d like to help out at this high profile cultural event, please get in touch. 

From event promotion to set up, fundraising to stewarding, Celtic Irish will find a role that suits you! 

Contact Celtic Irish via their website or or call John Nolan on 01293 513189 with your interest and for more information.