Socorro celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

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A celebration of all things Irish will be held today (Saturday, March 17) at the Alamo Gallery and Gifts, 1008 N. California St. Old St. Pat will be honored, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The afternoon festivities, sponsored by Socorro County Arts and the gallery, will be a Nuevo Mejicano version of a “craic.”

What’s a craic? There’s an Irish expression “ceoil agus craic,” meaning “music and fun.” It requires a group of people, a celebratory atmosphere, traditional music, with the result, quintessentially Irish.

Such an event is exactly what’s in store, according to Jennifer Gonzales, Socorro County tourism director.

“This is going to be an exciting event, everyone should come. Everyone will absolutely love it,” said Gonzales.

There will also be light refreshments available at no cost to festival goers.

The program will feature Irish bagpiper Bob Farmer, an Irish blessing, a demonstration of Celtic knot craft, and a performance by the Socorro members of the Coleman Academy Irish Dancers, high-stepping with traditional reels, slip jigs and a special St. Patrick’s Dance.

The Coleman Academy of Irish Dance is located in Albuquerque. According to its website, the school, “offers traditional and cutting edge Irish dance classes for dancers of all ages in a family friendly atmosphere.” Its mission is to promote teamwork, sportsmanship, hard work, and a desire to succeed while helping students have fun and make friends.

Artist Leon Miler will offer a workshop on the venerable art of Irish knot-making.

“It’s a decorative craft, which has much of its roots in ancient Celtic tradition,” he said.

Simple forms will be demonstrated, with a hands-on section.

“Everyone will get the chance to complete something,” he said.

Socorro has a core of devotees to Gaelic heritage, music and dance. The Coleman Academy has trained local residents in the fine art of Irish dance, and that contingent will be the center stage entertainment.

Emmie Domschot, 14, is a member of the local dance troupe. She recently won first and second place prizes in a competition in February and encourages residents to come and get a bit of Irish culture.

“It’s fun, and we’ll be doing a lot of different pieces,” she said.

Along with other members of the class, Domschot will also be joined by her sisters, Eva, 16, and Lucy, 7.

Socorroans are proud of their heritage, particularly their Hispanic roots, and this event provides a way to sample another part of New Mexico history. Irish New Mexicans have made invaluable contributions to the state’s legacy. They include the artist Georgia O’Keefe is known world-wide for her paintings of our sweeping vistas, her home — the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, and her relationship with photographer Alfred Steiglitz.

Mabel Dodge Luhan was a patron of the arts and hosted such luminaries as D. H. Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Willa Cather and a wealth of others. Her former Taos home was converted into an artist’s colony with an international cache.

William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, found safe harbor the Enchanted State, most notably Lincoln County, as well as what many historians refer to as his true love, Ft. Sumner resident Paulina Maxwell.

In our own backyard, Irish influences can be found, looking no further than the Kelly Mine and the influx of Irish miners and railway workers during the period just before the Mexican-American War.

 


-- Email the author at lalvarado@dchieftain.com.