EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Eastchester High School science teacher Hilary Beirne, who hails from County Roscommon in Ireland, was chosen by Breizh Amerika (Breton's of America) to lead the U.S. delegation that traveled to the Interceltic Festival in Lorient, on the south coast of Brittany, France.
Beirne and his delegation joined approximately 700,000 Celtics in Lorient from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10. Every year, 4,500 artists and bands from the eight Celtic "nations" -- Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Cornwall in the United Kingdom, Brittany in France and Asturias and Galicia in Spain -- go to Lorient to take part in the festival.
The delegation participated in a number of conferences and cultural activities connected to the largest gathering of the eight Celtic nations in the world. The festival's theme was "In the year of Ireland" and was attended by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
“It is so important cultural exchanges occur between people of different cultures, especially cultures that have been so intertwined over the centuries. The eight Celtic nations have so much in common, and this is very evident when one attends the festival in Lorient,” said Beirne.
“There are so many different forms of Celtic dance and music, yet they are all similar. One can hear and see the common Celtic thread and theme in all of them. The festival is absolutely an amazing cultural event and everyone should try to attend it at least once in their lifetime!”
Beirne is also the founder of the St. Patrick's Day Foundation in New York and executive secretary of the St. Patrick's Parade in New York City.