One-day Irish Festival in the works for Adams Corner

It’s earned a reputation as the center of Irish Dorchester and remains one of the region’s most identifiably Irish-American enclaves. Adams Corner is likely to cement that image this fall as residents and merchants work to stage a one-day Irish Festival over Columbus Day weekend.
A committee of civic leaders has been working on the festival idea for months— and this week went public with a website and initial details for the October 11th event.
“For a while now, many of us have said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to put on a festival that highlights all of the Irish culture we have right here in the neighborhood,” says co-chairman John O’Toole, who was the longtime leader of the nearby Cedar Grove Civic Association. O’Toole is co-chairing the festival planning with the CGCA’s current president, Sean Weir.
The civic group has experience in mounting outdoor events in the village. For many years, they have participated to varying degrees in the staging of election-eve rallies — which have drawn hundreds and sometime thousands of voters to Adams Corner in the past. O’Toole says that the organizers feel that they are prepared to take on the logistical challenge of staging a more ambitious event with the help of City Hall and the local merchant community.
“The mayor’s office has stepped up to help us streamline things with permitting and street closures,” says O’Toole. The owner of the large parking lot in the village— Tom Cifrino— has also agreed to collaborate with the committee to make the Irish Festival happen.
“We’re looking to shut down Adams Street from Sonny’s down to the corner (of Gallivan Blvd.) at the Eire Pub,” O’Toole said. “We’ll have two stages with artists performing on either end and tents where food and drinks can be served. We’ll plan to get one-day off-license permits for each of the establishments in the village that currently serve beer and wine.”
The sale of alcohol, O’Toole says, would be strictly monitored and restricted to an enclosed area.
“This is going to be a family-oriented event,” he said. “We plan to have an inter-county sports competition — which we are still hoping to get some help in coordinating.”
One of the partners in organizing the event — Shamrock Nation— is planning a singing competition for the fall which will culminate in a final performance at the festival, O’Toole said. Many of the performers will be Boston-based talent, including Aoife Clancy, the Harney Set Dancers, and musicians affiliated with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eirann, an organization that promotes Irish music and culture around the world. Some of the merchants who are involved in planning the effort include the Quinn family of Greenhill’s Irish bakery on Adams Street— which will sponsor a trip to Ireland as a raffle prize— College Hype Sportswear.
O’Toole said that precise hours for the event have not yet been determined. More details will be posted at a website created by Dot native Tim Foley: irishheritagefestival.com.