Irish cultural celebrations begin early


Bagpipes, Irish dance and families coming together.
It’s all part of a celebration that has taken place in Grand Ledge every year for more than a decade. This year’s Grand Marshals, Jim Hogan and Pat O’Shea, wanted to share their culture with the rest of the town.
“We did it for two years, and it was a quaint neighborhood get-together,” Hogan said, “and the mayor of Grand Ledge asked us to bring it downtown, and we did. And so we’ve been doing this downtown since 2003.”

And even though both men say there’s nothing like celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, it’s still great to show people in Grand Ledge the same parts of the Irish culture they experienced as kids.
“The music, traditional ballads, the Irish dancing,” O’Shea said, “and the pipers as we have here today at the Opera House, and just the family togetherness of it as well.”
It’s about sharing the history and culture not just on the holiday, but year round. It’s something that Emma Jandernoa, the Director of the Hubbardston Irish Dance Troupe tries to do with her students every day.
“Slowly we’re losing these Irish ancestors, so it’s a great opportunity for us to really revive the culture and to bring it back through America and into all of the schools,” Jandernoa said. “We dance all over the state, lots of different schools. So it’s really great for us just to be able to, to help embrace it and keep it alive in the young people.”

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