Every day is St Patrick's Day

Salisbury Journal: Essence of Ireland Essence of Ireland

A “darn-good Irish party” is set to take Salisbury’s City Hall by storm when Essence of Ireland brings its all-singing, all-dancing show to the stage.

Combining a touching love story with all the energy and craic you might expect, Essence of Ireland has been described as “making every day feel like St Patrick’s Day”.

Central to the show is the theme of Irish emigration.

Young lovebirds Sean and Cora are brought up in Ireland in the 1950s before Sean moves away, first to England and then America.

His love letters, written over the next 50 years, form the basis of a show.

Essence of Ireland has a cast of 11 dancers and five musicians who perform a host of well-loved Irish favourites such as Danny Boy, Galway Girl and the Irish Rover, as well as plenty original material.

The show was created by director and performer Ged Graham, who was born in Ireland. He later emigrated to Manchester.

“Everyone in the show has Irish roots and is very proud of them,” he said.

“It was always my dream to create a show like this and the response has been incredible – last tour we had 22 standing ovations in a row.

“On one level you can enjoy the music and the dancing, and then we also have this lovely story of Irish life.”

Hot on the fast moving heels of hit show Riverdance, a number of Irish music and dance shows emerged and their popularity doesn’t appear to be waning.

“I think everyone appreciates the ability of the Irish to have a darn good party whatever life throws at them,” said Graham.

“This is an interactive show; we like people to clap along and often they get up on their feet and do a bit of a jig.

“At the end we mingle with the audience – the men in particular, who often get dragged along by the wife, thank us for giving them such a good night out.

“It’s about having a great time and celebrating Ireland.”

Essence of Ireland comes to Salisbury on February 28 (and will also be at the Bournemouth Pavilion on March 13) ahead of St Patrick’s Day but is touring all over the country and has also been to Africa and the Middle East.

“The reaction there was just as great. St Patrick’s Day is now celebrated in almost every country in the world – they love the music, dancing and atmosphere,” said Graham.

“It’s about throwing your cares away and having fun.”

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