By Taylor Markey
St. Patrick’s Day came a little early this year on The Wharf .
The waterfront district pier held a festival March 10 at 2 p.m. titled “Ireland on The Wharf,” which was presented by Kirwan’s Irish Pub and Guinness. Crowds gathered in D.C. for pints, live music and performances by Irish dancers.
Sheila Wheltle, 57, of Catonsville, Maryland, said she heard about the event from her son, Patrick, a bagpiper working as one of the street performers.
“It’s wonderful. It’s a perfect day in Washington, it brings everybody out. You see so many dogs, so many people. Everyone’s having a great time. Music everywhere … We would come back again, definitely, even if [Patrick] wasn’t bagpiping,”
Wheltle and her husband, Ray, brought their dog Guinness, a St. Bernard rescue, to the event.
“We didn’t even realize about The Wharf, we never knew it existed,” Wheltle said. “So our intention is to come back some time without the dog so we can actually go into a restaurant.”
After this performance, Dale Crammond, agriculture counselor at the Embassy of Ireland in Washington, greeted everyone. He explained the week the embassy has coming up; Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will be arriving in D.C. and they will visit the Oval Office “on Thursday … to exchange the shamrock bowl like we’ve been doing for many many years,” Crammond said.
“The U.S. is so important to what we do in Ireland, I look after agriculture so from a trade point of view, the U.S. is our second biggest market after the United Kingdom. We exported $1.4 billion worth of food and drink here last year. So, well done; you’re doing something right.”
He then asked the crowd if they knew what the biggest export within his previous information was. The crowd started yelling out, “Beer!” Crammond apologized and said “It’s not Guinness. It’s actually Irish whiskey.”
Crammond thanked The Wharf and Kirwan’s Irish Pub, and praised the event because it starts their “lead in into St. Patrick’s Day next Saturday.”
The Boyle School of Irish Dance performed to Celtic music but also to the modern song, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.”
Crammond came back on stage when they finished and asked everyone to raise their cups and toast. “So raise your glasses. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone and up Guinness!” Crammond said.
Steve Coughlan, 56, of D.C., said he attends Irish-themed events and festivals each year. He described this event as a “great day — beautiful weather, nice people, good music.”
There were also tents set up near The Wharf Boathouse with vendors — Cristina Kirklighter’s Justice and Awareness Bead Creations and Caity Freidhoff’s Isle of Sprouts Celtic babywear. Five percent of all sales Kirklighter made during the event went to the Irish Heart Foundation.
Featured Photo Credit: The DCFD Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Band march down The Wharf during the event. The society consists of active and retired D.C. firefighters. (Taylor Markey/Bloc Reporter)