The Irish spring into San Marcos


Ansley Grizzle helps children decorate runes with Celtic designs.
Photo by Diana Furman | Lifestyle Reporter

Diana Furman

San Marcos welcomed in the promise of spring with a celebration of light and Celtic tradition.

Sunday, Jan. 28, the San Marcos Activity Center burst to life with Celtic music, Irish dancing, art gallery exhibits and more. For the third year, O’Malarkey and the Walkers’ Gallery hosted a Celtic Festival in honor of St. Brigid’s day, an Irish celebration in honor of longer days and warmer weather.

Local artists displayed and sold their Celtic-themed art. Traditional Irish dolls, serpentine necklaces and hand-made moccasins bordered the room. On stage were varying performers, including a bagpiper and Morris dancers. Among the entertainment was one arts and crafts booth hosted by Linda Kelsey-Jones, art professor, and Texas State students.

Kelsey-Jones, a curator for the Walkers’ Gallery, helped organize the event alongside Virginia Davis, a fiddle player in the Irish band, O’Malarkey. Nine years ago, they both discovered their mutual love for Celtic culture and found it to be a popular subject among their friends. It was not long before they were planning the first Celtic Festival.

Kelsey-Jones traveled to England one summer during a high school trip. She said it was in a town bordering Wales that she began to fall in love with Celtic culture.

“As soon as I experienced it for the first time I was interested,” Kelsey-Jones said. “I then found out why- it was in my genetic code.”

Kelsey-Jones said she was in raptures over the Morris dancers and Wale’s landscape as soon as she experienced it. She said she enjoys many cultures, but there was something about this one she was indescribably drawn to.

“Loving this culture is like the difference between falling in love and choosing to marry someone,” Kelsey-Jones said. “It just happened.”

Ansley Grizzle, art education junior, assisted children in decorating rocks, or “runes”, with Celtic symbols.

Grizzle, of Irish decent herself, was drawn to the event after studying Celtic art. She said the history and intricacies of the designs fascinated her and she was thankful the event highlighted the importance of Celtic art.

“It’s crazy to think that people hundreds and hundreds of years ago could do these insane designs that I still have trouble drawing,” Grizzle said. “It’s not just ‘doodling dragons.’ Their lore and history are interwoven in their art.”

Rose Marshall, art senior, volunteered at the children’s arts and crafts booth. She said she was blind-sided by the intensity in the celebration of the rich Irish culture.

“The San Marcos community is cool because it’s so ready to learn about and celebrate new cultures,” Marshall said.

Marshall said she also was not expecting a bagpiper to be parading the room with live music or multiple people to be clothed in Celtic garb, but the crowd seemed to love it.

“It’s true that it’s a little bit different,” Kelsey-Jones said. “It’s not every day that you see Vikings hanging out in the hallways.”

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