North & South - - Four Corners / Events - BE­VAN RAP­SON

Ir­ish-born and Hutt Val­ley-raised Kiwi Gerry Paul un­der­stands well the en­dur­ing in­ter­na­tional ap­peal of Ir­ish cul­ture. As a mu­si­cian, he’s played with some big names in Ir­ish mu­sic and per­formed at fes­ti­vals all over the world. “The Ir­ish tend to take the party with them wher­ever they go,” he says.

As the man be­hind the in­au­gu­ral NZ Ir­ish

Fest ( 15-18 Novem­ber, nzirish­ nz), Paul this month brings the party to venues in Auck­land, Welling­ton and Christchurch, with a pro­gramme of Ir­ish mu­sic, com­edy, film and more.

He says the fes­ti­val was born as an idea for “a few gigs” but soon ex­panded. “Next thing you know you’re jug­gling 60 events.”

Head­lin­ers in­clude con­tem­po­rary Ir­ish singer-song­writ­ers Damien Dempsey, Mick Flan­nery and Lisa O’neill, and co­me­di­ans Alan Mcelroy and Dar­ren Jar­dine, but plenty of lo­cal Ir­ish acts and tra­di­tional mu­sic are also on the bill.

Ir­ish Fest or­gan­iser Gerry Paul.

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