Shamrock glass by Edward Main

Erin Go Bragh! Whether you are Irish or Irish-ish when convenient (on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17; subsequently turning Mexican on May 5), the influence of Irish culture is certainly applicable in Connecticut, partly due to its juxtaposition to Massachusetts, the largest percentage (21 percent) of Irish population in the U.S. So, raise your glasses to these top Irish concerts & festivals In Connecticut. Bang on, paddy!
Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Infinity Music Hall
32 Front St.
Hartford, CT 06103

Date: March 9, 2016 at 8 p.m.

For over ten years now, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers (RHCP) have been bringing “bagrock,” a unique blend of bag pipes, guitars and drums, across the pond and across the world. Disclosure: Okay, they are Scottish, but who cares? They bring their audiences into their infectious, foot-stomping Celtic rock with them as they meld the gorgeous sounds of bagpipes with guitar riffs that you are familiar with, such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Coldplay’s “Clocks,” and Deep Purple’s “Smoke On the Water.” Complete and absolute mayhem; don’t miss it! Note: Not to be confused with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Related: A Night Out In Front Street District: Hartford

Dropkick Murphys
Mohegan Sun Arena
1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard
Uncasville, CT 06382

Date: March 11, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Raise your fists and fight for your right to “hooley” with Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys, one of the top Irish rock bands in the nation. Surely you know them from “Tessie,” the fist-raising anthem for the Boston Red Sox during their 2004 run to win the World Series after an 86-year drought. Now on their 20th anniversary tour, the DKM swing by Mohegan Sun to wreck the place and get you ossified on some hardcore punk rock.

CT Irish Festival
North Haven Fairgrounds
300 Washington Ave.
North Haven, CT 06473

Dates: June 25, 2016, from 12 – 11 p.m. and June 26, 2016 from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Back in 1963, the New Haven Gaelic Football and Hurling Club began an annual competition of Irish dancing (Feis) and sport based on the local traditions of the Irish immigrant factory workers that settled in the area. By 1977, this festival became the largest in the country. Today, the former “Feis and Field Day” is now the CT Irish festival, a two-day celebration and competition full of Irish step dancing, music, sport, culture, Irish soda bread, sheep herding an Irish Shopping Village and Irish Tea House. Forgot your uileann pipes? Don’t let the locals “slag” you, there is plenty of music to listen in 2016 including Jeff Conlon and Ameracelt, Noel Henry Band, Billy Egan and the Rising, Stony Creek Fife and Drum, Truckstop Troubadours and more.

Pipes In The Valley (PIV)
Mortensens Riverfront Plaza
300 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT

Date: September 24, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. ~ Free

For the past 14 years, in the month of September, downtown Hartford is transformed into a Celtic-Gaelic festival with celebrations of music, games and local craft beers. PIV is an “Aoibhneas” (bliss, delight) of Irish (and Scottish) influence, and completely free. Dozens of bands from rock to traditional bagpipe bands have played at PIV, including national (e.g. Albannach & Red Hot Chilli Pipers), regional (e.g. Barleyjuice & Dicey Riley) and even local bands such as the underrated Connecticut-based Jolly Beggars. One of the most unique parts of PIV is the Highland Games, where teams compete in traditional Celtic games such as Braemar Stone, Open Stone and Caber Throw. Not sure what those are? Try throwing a telephone pole or large rock for distance and you get the idea. Grrr!

Related:A Breakdown Of Connecticut’s Neighborhoods

Edward Main is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut, with a strong focus on Hartford area tourism, entertainment, culture and events. His work can be found on and at