What is FÉILE Incorporated?
FÉILE, Incorporated is a public charity established under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax Code, devoted to the preservation and sharing of Irish culture. FÉILE was founded by members of the Gaelic American Club in 1989 to continue the Fairfield County Irish Festival which the Club had started in 1988 and to promote and support the many facets of Irish culture. The Festival is FÉILE ‘s primary exhibition of Irish culture, as well as its principal fundraiser. Over the years FÉILE has presented the Fairfield County Irish Festival at Ludlowe High School, Jennings Beach, Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Indian Ledge Park in Trumbull and now at its home on the campus of Fairfield University.
FÉILE derives its name from the word in the Irish language for a feast day, which has acquired the modern meanings of “festival”, “generosity” and “hospitality”. FÉILE is governed by a 15 person Board of Directors who serve on a purely volunteer basis, without compensation, as do the hundreds of people who make the operation of the Festival possible. FÉILE has no staff and does not use professional fundraisers. In essence we all are FÉILE and encourage you to join in our celebration of Irish culture.
During the three days over Father’s Day Weekend, the Festival welcomes thousands of visitors, who are treated to over 50 performances and displays of Irish and Irish-American culture and history, including music, dance, drama, storytelling, Irish language demonstrations, genealogy and historical exhibits, crafts, Gaelic football and hurling (the traditional sports of Ireland), as well as workshops in traditional music and dance.
The money generated by the Festival in past years has allowed FÉILE to foster an awareness and appreciation of Irish culture by supporting and sponsoring year-long arts and cultural programming, including traditional Irish music concerts, workshops in dance, music and the Irish language, theatrical productions, history and genealogy lectures and Irish film series. In addition FÉILE awards charitable donations and grants to support numerous cultural and charitable causes for such Irish Cultural endeavors as –
- Joe Moran Memorial Scholarships for high school seniors
- Clan na Gael Players theatrical performances
- Lá Gaelige: Irish Language Day of immersion
- Irish Immigrant Oral History Video Project
- Irish Literary Club
- Irish History Lectures
- Fréamh Éireann Genealogy
- Irish Dancers’ World Championship Grants
- Greater Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
- St. Patrick’s Gaelic Football and Hurling Club
- The 1916 100th Anniversary Easter Rising Memorial Fund
and other charitable efforts by such organizations as –
- Operation Hope
- The Thomas Merton Center
- The Norma Phriem Breast Care Center
- The SWIM Across the Sound – St. Vincent’s
- Barretstown (for seriously ill children, Co. Kildare
- Katrina Relief (Habitat for Humanity/Tipitina Foundation)