Irish/Celtic Heritage Week – March 11 – 17, 2023 in Beckley

The City of Beckley will celebrate an Irish / Celtic Heritage themed week on March 11–17, with a variety of activities from road bowling to a concert, food specials, and a painting class. 

On Saturday, March 11 (rain date 3/18), an Irish Road Bowling demonstration will take place on the McManus Trail. Local road bowler Mark Whitt will offer an introduction to road bowling. The game uses a small iron and steel cannonball called a “bowl” that is rolled down a lane (or a trail for this event). To learn about the sport and practice a few throws along a section of the trail for fun, meet at the trail shelter located near Prince Street and McDonalds at 11 am for this a free event (11 am – noon). More road bowling activities may be planned in the future.

On Sunday, March 12, an Irish/Celtic Concert event is planned at The Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre featuring a concert by Patrick O’Flaherty. Sponsored by an Irish Heritage Festival grant through the WV Division of Culture & History, admission is free to attend the concert; donations will be accepted for the Bill Withers statue. The event begins at 3:30 pm with a few comments about Irish/Celtic heritage in southern WV presented by David Sibray. Around 3:35 pm, Patrick O’Flaherty will take the stage to perform traditional Irish/Celtic tunes – attendees are welcome to sing-along. 

O’Flaherty was raised in Ireland and now lives in Lewisburg. His professional music career spans over three decades. Dedicated to the promotion of Celtic arts, he is a highly respected player of mandolin, harmonica, button accordion, banjo, and bouzouki. He performs original and traditional songs, and he can speak Gaelic. 

O’Flaherty will perform at the theatre for about an hour, followed by Mark Whitt playing a couple of songs on a bagpipe, and maybe a Celtic dance by a dance class (tentative). During an after-party (around 5 pm) at The Axe Hole on Neville Street, attendees can meet the performers. 

Tuesday-Friday, March 14-17, Irish/Celtic Food Week will be celebrated at local restaurants. Themed lunch specials are planned at Fruits of Labor & Beckley’s Historic Black Knight, along with Shamrock Shakes at McDonalds. Fosters on Main Street plans to be open for both lunch and dinner specials on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day).  Fruits of Labor is planning a special evening St. Patrick dinner by reservation – call to 304-252-9421 to select time to attend – 4:30, 5:45, or 7:00 pm. Other local restaurants and bars offer Irish-themed food and drink specials on the holiday as well. 

The Axe Hole is offering St. Patrick’s Day specials: receive $5 discount off axe throwing if wearing green between the hours of noon and 7pm. Then starting at 8pm, until close, enjoy the Black Light Event $50 per lane (up to 5 people per lane).

The Pottery Place will offer a Celtic Highland Cow Canvas Class on March 17 and 18. The class on Friday begins at 6 pm and the Saturday class is at 11:30 am. The fee for the painting class (16 x 20 canvas) is $30. Reservations are required – call 304-253-8777.

According to Jill Moorefield of Beckley Events, “We are excited to offer some fun, Irish / Celtic themed activities during a week in March. Then as spring arrives, we will feature our Coffee and Tea Celebration on April 22 and the Rhododendron Festival in May.”  For the schedule of the committee’s 2023 events, visit the city’s website at beckley.org.  For more details, contact Beckley Events at 304-256-1776 or follow “Beckley Events” on Facebook.