Hooley on the Hudson in Kingston


If your notion of an Irish celebration is a green-beer-fueled donnybrook, with shillelaghs and fists a-flying, prepare to be educated in the finer points of Celtic culture (and still have a boisterously great time) at the 15th annual Hooley on the Hudson, which takes place, as always, on the day before Labor Day at Kingston’s T. R. Gallo Memorial Park. “The Hooley’s focus every year is on family. It’s a free, safe and endlessly entertaining venue for families and friends to get together before the school year starts,” says Jim Carey, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), Con Colbert Woulfe Division 1, Ulster County, the event’s sponsor.

The waterfront park lies just downhill from the Abeel Street site designated for the Irish Cultural Center, whose plans are currently undergoing zoning review by the City of Kingston. “The Rondout historically holds special meaning for the Irish,” Carey explains. “It was here that the Irish immigrants landed, more than a century ago now, to escape poverty and starvation, political oppression and religious persecution in our homeland. They arrived at Rondout Creek to work on the D & H Canal: hard, dirty work.”

Though there are few left alive today who remember the days when the Irish were among the more recently arrived (and therefore widely despised) waves of immigration, negative stereotypes still persist in popular culture, such as the pugnacious “Fighting Irish” mascot of the University of Notre Dame’s varsity sports teams. Perhaps that’s partly why some Rondout residents and business-owners have expressed concerns about potential noise and other impacts from the Cultural Center’s arrival.


The Hooley on the Hudson is known largely for its music and dance offerings on three stages. National acts the Andy Cooney Band, the Canny Brothers and Get up Jack will headline on the Tara Stage, while the Feeney Stage hosts local talent, including the Wild Irish Roses, the Ulster County AOH Division 1 Pipes & Drum Band, the Little Creek Band and Alternative Ulster. The relatively new Trad Stage is the place to be if you like your jigs and reels unsullied by modernity; it will feature the T. McCann Band, the Wild Swans, Toss the Feathers, Gaelic vocalists Joy Dunlop and Noeleen Ni Cholla and tenor harpist James Ruff.

The Hooley also offers storytelling, craft demonstrations, food vendors, authentic Celtic products and more. The fun goes on from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 4, preceded by the “fast, flat and first-class” Hooley on the Hoof scenic 5K run along the Rondout Creek. Runners interested in participating can get all the details by calling (914) 906-1165 or visiting www.hooleyonthehoof.org.

Parking venues for Hooley on the Hudson will be the Kingston Plaza, the Cornell Street public lot and Kingston Point. Free shuttle buses will be provided to the Hooley site on the Rondout. For more info, call (845) 338-6622 or (845) 246-7195, e-mail events@ulsteraoh.com or visit www.ulsteraoh.com.

There are 6 comments

  1. Hillary

    The bigotry against the Irish discussed in this article is not at all why Rondout residents and business-owners have expressed concerns about the proposed Irish Cultural Center (ICCHV). In fact, Irish stereotypes have never even been mentioned when listing concerns about this proposal. If that wild accusation had been researched before printed, it would have been obvious from the many letters and statements made on record to the Planning Board that the concerns about noise and other impacts actually stem from the fact that the proposal does not adhere to Rondout zoning codes and has only gotten so far in the process because of special favors granted to it. In fact, many of the statements of concern were made by people of Irish heritage and long time Kingston and Ulster County residents. We have said we were originally interested in supporting an Irish Cultural Center for the Hudson Valley, but when we discovered this proposal’s size and scale and how little it fit into the historic or zoning regulations for the neighborhood, as well as the intense parking problems it would create, we felt it our civic right and responsibility to let local government and the ICCHV know the impacts it would have on us. I would invite this writer to attend some of the Kingston city board meetings and to reach out to some of the Rondout neighbors in order to educate herself on her presentation of the legitimate concerns surrounding this proposal. Slander has no place in journalism.

  2. Owen Harvey

    As an Irish-American of 100% Irish descent, I take great offense at Frances Marion Platt’s article. To associate those of us who have expressed legitimate concerns over the current ICCHV proposal with Irish stereotypes is inappropriate. Instead of attempting to research why residents of the community would be upset about a large scale project that will create unnecessary burdens for its neighbors and the Kingston community, she defaults to assumptions. The publication of this insinuation amounts to little more than slander. I look to the editorial staff to have the integrity to retract this accusation and issue an apology to those they mischaracterized for doing nothing more than participating in the civic process.

  3. Merle

    I will state this once agai…as I have so many times before. My concern is the lack of parking. Anyone of any group who wanted to accommodate 430 people with 18 parking spaces would hear the same protest from me. There is not enough parking available on or around Abeel Street. I have no idea how in heaven’s name anyone could read bigotry in a parking problem.

  4. Tracy

    Not sure how accusations of bigotry have made it into the author’s understanding of the issues surrounding the proposed Irish Cultural Center. I am very supportive of a center that celebrates Irish culture in the Rondout. I would love to have a place that offers opportunities for dance, lectures, a library, art, etc. What I’m not in support of is a building way too big and inappropriately zoned for that space, that places an undue parking burden on the neighborhood, whose purpose seems largely for commercial purposes and for a private club, that is funded by taxpayer dollars, and that has sidestepped city zoning and planning processes and rules. Not once have any of us express concerns informed by bigoted assumptions about Irish people. I think many of the concerned residents are Irish themselves. To postulate that anti-Irish sentiment is the reason for our concerns is an incredibly offensive attempt to divert the conversation away from the real issues.

  5. Judith Emilie

    I was surprised and saddened by several references in your coverage of the Hooley. It starts out by suggesting to your readership that their concept of an Irish celebration might be a “…beer-fueled donnybrook, with shillelaghs and fists a-flying,” “pugnacious Fighting Irish,” reinforcing this further on as “negative stereotypes.” It then takes those negative images and assigns them with a suggestive “perhaps” to the “Rondout residents and business-owners [who] have expressed concerns” about the ICC project. When I originally expressed my concerns about the Irish Cultural Center proposed for Abeel Street in this paper, I was speaking of the size and scope of the project. It has simply become too large for such a small parcel on a residentially-zoned block, and that would cause a cascade of problems for the Rondout and the City of Kingston. These are legitimate concerns that the City and the ICCHV need to consider. Let’s not get sidetracked by created innuendos.

  6. Neville Bean

    To clarify… I am not opposed to the Irish Cultural Center. What I am concerned about is the scale of the project, overriding zoning in this residential neighborhood, the prospect of cutting into Company Path and the impact on parking that an over-scale venue would cause.

    As far as negative stereotypes fueling this debate, this is not the issue. I am from Boston and love Irish culture and music. An Irish Cultural center would be a wonderful addition to this richly historic area. The Hooley was very festive, family friendly – great music — kids in kilts!

    We are not on different sides. We all want a vibrant, thriving Rondout. This project, as currently proposed, will have a hugely negative impact on this neighborhood we love. Alternatively, if the project proceeds with transparency, vision and proper oversight, The Irish Cultural Center can be a positive contribution to the cultural life of the Rondout.

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