Originally created 03/13/98

Irish will dance around Augusta



It may not be Boston or Savannah, but there are plenty of opportunities to party in honor of St. Patrick in Augusta.

Starting Saturday, Augusta's St. Patrick's Day celebration unofficially begins with the 13th Annual Evening in Ireland showcase at Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

Sponsored by the Irish American Heritage Society, this year's show features Andy Cooney's Irish '98 Spectacular, including Irish cabaret star Joe Cuddy, vocalist Catherine Coates and original Riverdance cast member Belinda Murphy.

It will be a variety act with music, song, dance and a bit of comedy -- all with Irish themes.

"The balance is just about right," Mr. Cuddy said in a telephone interview from a Massachusetts hotel room, where he was relaxing between shows.

Mr. Cuddy's act consists of jokes, tales about some characters he has developed, observations about everyday life and a few songs.

"It's good old-fashioned Irish humor," said Mr. Cuddy. "It's really based on the fact that we are able to laugh at ourselves. Most comedy comes out of tragedy, and we've had enough of that."

On Tuesday (which is St. Patrick's Day), Augusta's 21st annual St. Patrick's Day parade is scheduled to proceed down Broad Street, beginning at 2 p.m.

It will follow the same route as last year, starting at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center parking lot, heading west on Telfair Street to 11th Street, then turning right on 11th and proceeding toward Broad Street. The route then goes east on Broad to Sixth Street and makes a left on Sixth, ending at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Reynolds Street.

This year's grand marshal will be Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., who was recently selected by the Irish-American Heritage Society to head up the parade.

"Judge Mulherin was chosen because he has given the most to the community and has worked diligently and gone above and beyond to earn his title. The grand marshal is someone who exemplifies an Irish gentleman," said Bill Berry, second vice president of the heritage organization.

After the parade, it's party time at the Riverwalk until 10 p.m. There will be food, beverages, activities, children's amusements and Irish music and dance performed by the Augusta Irish Dancers, Dan O'Connell and local rock group Shine Boxd.

Also, several downtown watering holes, including the Cotton Row Café and King George Pub on the Riverwalk and the Soul Bar on Broad Street, will be partying Irish style.The celebration of Irish culture doesn't stop on St. Patrick's Day. At 8 p.m. Thursday, the Etherredge Center at USC Aiken presents the Joys of Ireland Concert Tour, featuring the Christian Brothers Male Voice Choir, various musicians, and traditional high-stepping Irish dancers.

Evening in Ireland

What: Evening in Ireland

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St.

How much: $15

Phone: 826-4700

St. Patrick's Day Celebration

What: St. Patrick's Day Celebration

When: 2-10 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Riverwalk Augusta

How much: Free

Phone: 821-1754

Joys of Ireland Concert Tour

What: The Joys of Ireland Concert Tour

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: University of South Carolina Aiken's Etherredge Center, 171 University Parkway

How much: $10 for adults, $5 for students and children

Phone: (803) 641-3448