Hanging inside the Gaelic American Club on Beach Road a visitor will find the music and lyrics to an old tune, "Will You Go Lassie, Go."

At this year's Fairfield County Irish Festival in Fairfield, which starts Friday and runs through Sunday, the great-grandson of the man who wrote that song, Francis McPeake IV, will perform in the main tent with his band, "McPeake."

"They have over 100 years of musical tradition," said Irish Festival Committee member Jim O'Donnell. "His great-grandfather actually wrote that song and his grandfather was the first to record it in back in 1957."

Like several other performers this weekend at the festival -- first held in 1988 -- McPeake will play the uilleann pipes, the national bagpipe of Ireland that is said to produce a sweeter tone, and a wider range of notes, than the more familiar bagpipes.

Another uilleann piper at the festival will be Paddy Keenan, and there will also be music from the Rogues, Pogey and Hair of the Dog, as well as local musicians including Once Removed, Colleen and the Boys, the Highland Rovers and Keltic Kick.

Foods on offer at the festival, in addition to the usual fare of corned beef, hot dogs and hamburgers, will include a healthy choice of salads and wraps, O'Donnell said.

More Information

A GAELIC OLD TIME The Fairfield County Irish Festival opens at 6 p.m. Friday and runs until 11 p.m. Hours on Saturday are noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students with a valid ID and $20 for a three-day pass. Children under 16 are admitted free if with their parents. There is no parking for festival goers on the Fairfield University campus. There is free parking, served a regular shuttle bus service at the following spots: Fairfield Railroad Station lot (north side of tracks) off Unquowa Road, commuter lot on Mill Plain Road, the lots at Ludlowe High and Middle schools on Unquowa Road, and Tomlinson Middle School's lot on Unquowa Road. A full schedule for the festival can be found at www.irishfestival.org.

"We're also bringing in pizza," O'Donnell said. But not just any pizza. Bridgeport resident Marty McCarthy, whose brick oven pizza restaurant closed this spring after a fire, will bring his firetruck that's retrofitted with a woodburning pizza oven.

There will be new rides for the older kids, including Jacob's Ladder, a velcro wall and a climbing wall, along with magicians, storytellers, and arts and crafts.

There also is a slate of Gaelic football on all three days of the festival, highlighted by the annual Donnelly Cup Tournament on Sunday, named to honor the memory of Tim and Kim Donnelly, two Fairfield jewelers who were killed during a 2005 robbery at their store.

As for settling into the festival's home on the Fairfield University campus, where it returned last year after a hiatus, O'Donnell said, "It couldn't be better."

He said while space is a bit tight, "it gives the feel of a cozy Irish pub. It's worked out well for us."

The first festival was held at then-Roger Ludlowe High School on Unquowa Road and that's where it stayed for 13 years. But when a new middle school was built and the high school was renovated on the Ludlowe campus, the festival moved first to Jennings Beach, then to Bridgeport's Seaside Park before landing in Trumbull at Indian Ledge Park. Last year, after going without a festival in 2009, the three-day event returned to Fairfield.

O'Donnell said the event's success at Fairfield University is due in no small part to the cooperation Feilie Inc., which sponsors the festival, receives from the local police, Fairfield U. security and the college's assistant vice president of administration and student affairs, James Fitzpatrick. "We no longer think of (Fitzpatrick) as the university's liaison but as a member of the festival committee," O'Donnell said.

For a detailed schedule of events at the Fairfield County Irish Festival, visit www.irishfestival.org.

A GAELIC OLD TIME

The Fairfield County Irish Festival opens at 6 p.m. Friday and runs until 11 p.m. Hours on Saturday are noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students with a valid ID and $20 for a three-day pass. Children under 16 are admitted free if with their parents.

There is no parking for festival goers on the Fairfield University campus. There is free parking, served a regular shuttle bus service at the following spots: Fairfield Railroad Station lot (north side of tracks) off Unquowa Road, commuter lot on Mill Plain Road, the lots at Ludlowe High and Middle schools on Unquowa Road, and Tomlinson Middle School's lot on Unquowa Road.

A full schedule for the festival can be found at www.irishfestival.org.