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, nzirishfest.co. 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.