The Republic of Ireland consists of over 80% of the "Emerald Isle." This lush green island is full of thatched cottages, pubs, music, wit and poetry. The relaxed good humor of the people make Ireland a most welcoming place to visit and perform.
Ireland has seen more than its share of wars and disasters, culminating in the Great Famine of 1845-8. Since then, emigration has been part of the Irish way of life. In fact, more people of Irish descent live in the United States than in Ireland itself! This is certainly one reason that so many American groups are interested in visiting this country. This is the homeland of literary giants such as James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. Music-wise, who has not heard the unmistakable lilt of an Irish tenor? Ireland is the only country in the world to have a musical instrument – the harp – as its national emblem. In this land, famous for its love of music, modern forms such as country & western and rock flourish, but it is the traditional music that captures the essence of the country. Whether you are listening to Gaelic love songs that date back to medieval times or 17th – and 18th-century folk songs with their English and Scottish influences, the music is unmistakably Irish. And dance is an equally important aspect of Irish culture. Come to the land of St. Patrick to see Neolithic sites, kiss the Blarney Stone, listen for banshees, look for leprechauns, hear Gaelic spoken, and most of all, perform in historic settings to warm, appreciative audiences.