Every year in the town of Ireland, West Virginia (Lewis County) an Irish Spring Festival is held in celebration of St. Patrick’s day and the Vernal Equinox. But most importantly, it as a celebration of the communities Scots – Irish heritage and a way of welcoming spring to Appalachia. The theme of the festival varies year to year and is inspired by the different plants and animals of spring. This year’s theme is Horseshoes.
One of the festivals most unique events is the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling competition. In this old Irish tradition, an iron and steel small cannonball, called a “bowl” is hurled down a 1.2 mile country lane, and the fewest throws to the finish line wins, similar to disc golf.
At the moment of the Vernal Equinox, the festival goers trek up a cliff to the Blarney Stone where they stand an egg on end, the church bells ring, and just like that, the festival is over.
This year 35th Annual Irish Spring Festival will be held March 17 at 7:00 PM to March 20 at 8:00 PM.
For more information about the festival, check out their Facebook page:
The schedule of events is as follows:
Friday March 18, 2016
7:00 pm – Irish Jig Square Dance
7:00 pm – Costume Contest
8:00 pm – House Decoration Winners Announced
8:30 pm – Costume Contest
9:00 pm – King and Queen Coronation
Saturday March 19, 2016
Arts & Crafts, Irish themed food and drinks, harp music, an Ireland postal station with the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day collector’s cancellation stamp and a wide array of gift items are features from 9am to 4pm in the Ireland Community Building. Health Screenings by Community Care of WV will be available.
9:00 am -Scavenger Hunt
9:30 am – Kite Fly
10:00 am – Lucky Charms Horseshoe Pitch
10:00 am – Hunting Hounds [Central WV Hunting Dog Association]
10:30 am – Tour de Shamrock [10.5 mile bike tour]
10:30 – Intermediate Harp Workshop [Extra harps available at the church]
11:00 am – Foul Shooting Contest
11:30 am – Harp Concert Rehearsal [Ireland U.M. Church]
1:00 pm – The March “MARCH” Parade
2:00 pm – Harp Concert [Ireland U.M. Church]
2:30 pm – Road Bowling
3:00 pm – Beginners Harp Workshops [Ireland U.M. Church]
4:00 pm – Just Ducky Sweepstakes – Duck Race
4:30 pm – Building Shamrocks Talent Contest
7:00 pm – Luck O’ the Irish Bingo
11:59 pm – Ascent to the Blarney Rock
Sunday March 20, 2016
12:30 am – Vernal Equinox
Noon to 4:00 pm Shamrock CEOS Arts & Craft Table
1:00 pm – Snake Chase, 10K Walk/Run
1:30 pm – Road Bowling
2:00 – 4:00 pm – “Acoustics Only” Jam Session
4:00 pm – Fried Potato Contest
5:00 pm – Unicorns, Gremlins & Shmoos Pet Show
6:00 pm – Corn Hole Challenge