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Manasquan's Algonquin Theatre to Celebrate Irish Heritage

Series of events highlight culture from the Emerald Isle

As part of a month of performances celebrating Irish heritage, the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan is hosting several performances this week that are sure to bring out the Celtic spirit.

The nonprofit performing arts center will host performances of "Many Young Men of Twenty." The play, written by John B. Keane, is a musical that relates the experience of Irish emigrants, leaving their home country in search of better opportunities in England. A folk song of the same name has become a standard of sorts among Irish groups and has been covered by the likes of the Dubliners and the Wolf Tones.

"It just highlights how they were forced to leave their homeland because of the lack of job opportunities at the time," Mary Harris, a spokesperson for the Algonquin, explained.

Harris explained that while the show is considered an "Irish drama," it is also full of light-hearted humor.

To add to the authenticity, the show will be performed by the Castlewood Players, a group of Irish actors from Cratloe County Clare.

"We're hoping to get a good crowd out here to support them," Harris said.

"Listening to them perform, they do have the authentic dialect which is really neat," she added.

Two preview performances will be held on St. Patrick's Day, a 2 p.m. and an 8 p.m. curtain call. Tickets range from $25 to $35.

The main performance will be Saturday, March 19 at 8 p.m. with tickets priced between $30 and $40.

On Sunday, the Algonquin will play host to Danu, an Irish musical group who have received worldwide acclaim for their unique blend of traditional and modern music.

The award-winning group take their name from pre-Christian Irish mythology where Danu was known as the mother goddess.

"They're fantastic," Harris said. "We're actually thrilled that we're able to get them here."

"It's very lively and exciting," said of Danu's live performance, noting the array of musical instruments, both ancient and modern, that helps the group create their sound.

The County Waterford natives will perform at 3 p.m. Tickets range in price from $30 to $45.

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