Irish Spring Festival History
The community of Ireland is located in the Southern end of Lewis County, West Virginia. There you will find many people with Irish names, an organization called Shamrock Extension Homemakers Club and an annual deluge of cards and letters to be postmarked "Ireland" for St. Patrick's Day. And so it has been for several decades. But it was not until the winter of 1981, that some community members were finally overcome by their curiosity as to the origin of the small hamlet's name.
A research effort by the Shamrock Extension Homemakers Club was launched to discover more about community roots. Their work confirmed information already discovered by former resident, Cly Reger, about the village's history:
It was found that the area had been settled by an Irishman named Andrew Wilson. In later years the man became affectionately known as "Old Ireland" to the settlers of that area. More in-depth research led to the discovery that "Old Ireland" had lived to enjoy 114, yes, 114 springtimes. The average life-span at that time was only approximately 38 years.
Then other community members heard of the discovery, they were convinced there was something about the quality of life in Ireland, West Virginia, that was conductive to long life spans. A coupling of this new-found reason for excitement, along with the already established and perennial desire to celebrate the vernal equinox led to the first planned IRISH SPRING FESTIVAL.
For obvious reasons, it was decided to wear the green and celebrate spring to include March 17 and the first day of spring. The Shamrock Extension Homemakers Club organizes the annual event.
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