There's one question we get asked here more than any other this year at Irish Fest HQ: why do you keep that gobshite Regan around? The second most asked question though has to do with this year's cow art, created for us by the lovely and talented Maria O'Keefe.
Why the three dancing birds?
I've just spoken to Maria and I have the answer for you. The birds depicted are starlings, a species native to Europe and introduced to America in the 1880's when 100 of the birds were released in Central Park in New York by a Shakespeare enthusiast who sought to bring all the birds mentioned in the Bard's plays to the new world. The birds have long been kept as pets in Europe. Mozart is said to have owned one who helped him write music. And as it happens, Maria has a pet starling, which she rescued as a baby, or chick or whatever very young starlings are called. Maria has great affection for her bird, which she says is a fantastic mimic who often greets her with calls of "you're so smart" and "you're beautiful." So the starlings on our posters, volunteer shirts, billboards and right up there on the right, are an homage to Maria's little bird. As for why there are three, Maria says succinctly "three's a good design number." She also points out that starlings, being social birds, seldom go anywhere alone.
Now you know the rest of the story. Maria, our cow and starling artist, will be around the grounds Irish Fest weekend. She's as delightful as she is talented, so if you get the chance to visit with her, don't pass it up. You might just learn something new about birds.