Arizona may not be the first place you would think to look for a rich Celtic culture, let alone find one. Yet, if you look hard enough you can see that the Irish and Scottish communities are thriving within the desert. Phoenix itself houses an Irish Cultural Center where anyone can go and take classes on Irish Language, Ceili Dance, Bagpipes, the Irish Fiddle, and other cultural immersion studies. Many Gaelic speaking (and non Gaelic speaking) Irish-American Immigrants meet there to connect, chat in a familiar language, and enroll their children in language and dance courses to keep their culture alive. Connected to the Irish Cultural Center is a massive grey stone library dedicated entirely to the topic of Ireland.
Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Sedona, and many other Arizona cities host different Celtic festivals throughout the year. March is home to the St. Patrick’s Day parade. January and February see dinners and celebrations in the honor of Scottish poet Robert Burns. The annual Renaissance festival showcases bands such as Tartanic (pictured below) whose instruments include bagpipes and drums. Arizona hosts an array of Celtic themed fairs, clothing, events, and music as well as Irish centered societies, social groups, and academies.
The Celtic undercurrent in Arizona is strong, if you just know where to look.
This blog will delve into that rich vein of Celtic culture and expose how the Irish and Scottish re-imagine, resurrect, and rekindle the Celtic culture in the entirely different desert terrain that is Arizona.
If you happen to know of any Celtic events, stores, speakers, classes or people that I have missed, please let me know in the comment section below!