by Beth Keating
September 1, 2023
It’s a party weekend for many families, whether you are celebrating the start of school, toasting good-bye to summer, or just gathering with family and friends for the long three-day holiday. If you’re Irish, you might be taking the time to celebrate the “Great Irish Hooley,” returning to Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Disney Springs this weekend for its 11th year.
From September 1-4, 2023, Raglan Road will be offering up an even bigger helping of its usual festive atmosphere. For those who don’t speak Gaelic at home, a “Hooley” is another name for a party – a great, big party – and the Raglan Road version will be bringing more of its live music, specialty entrées, and even free face painting for the kiddos to help you get into the Celtic spirit.
Raglan Road is already famed for its high-energy performances, including its award-winning Irish step dancers and a multitude of musical acts in various genres, but this weekend will have a few unique and much-anticipated touches. Among them, Sina Theil will be gracing the stage at this year’s Hooley. According to Disney Parks Blog, this multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and winner of several Irish music awards “was named ‘Rising Star of 2022’ at the American Celtic Listener Supported Music Awards, so you won’t want to miss her performance kicking off the festival!”
Also bringing the entertainment will be Irish folk/trad four-piece band Strings & Things; Sam Carey and Orla Leavy, The Connemara Ramblers; the transatlantic trio One for the Foxes with their blend of Irish and American folk music; and County Down’s own Oliver Havlin, sharing his special mix of rock music on guitar, fiddle and vocals. If you happen to be at Raglan Road in time for Brunch, the Byrne Brothers will be on stage.
While the music and dancing are undoubtedly a core part of the celebratory atmosphere, food is the primary focus of the party. Raglan Road’s menu always offers up the chance to experience authentic Irish fare, and the Hooley menu will include classics like their Fish & Chips ($19.95 lunch/$27.50 dinner) and the Shepherd’s to Die for Pie, a scrumptious pulled beef and lamb pie with red wine jus ($20.95 lunch/$27.50 dinner). Oh, and if they bring a basket of bread with the unbelievably delicious whisky sauce for dipping, go ahead and indulge! We have enjoyed this complimentary starter on a number of occasions, and it is one of the things we think of first when we reminisce about great Raglan Road dishes! And if you are going all-out and adding dessert to your meal, be sure to snatch up Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding ($12.00), a heavenly and shareable bread pudding with a phenomenal sauce you can drizzle over your portion.
But in addition to the classics, you’ll also get to choose from a handful of new menu offerings, like the Crispy Cream Goats Cheese Salad, the Guinness & Onion soup, and the Sea Board – a sharing board for two filled with savory seafood bites. (If you miss the Great Hooley this weekend, the newbies will stay on the fall menu, so you’ll get a little longer to try them.)
Did we hear someone ask about drinks? Of course, we did. After all, Raglan Road is an authentic Irish pub, with the restaurant’s components actually built in Ireland and shipped over to Disney Springs! This weekend, Raglan Road will debut its new Irish-American collaborative, an aged-in-stout-barrels “Stars & Hearts” Keeper’s Heart Whiskey flight, and the “Heart of the Hooley,” made with Keeper’s Heart Irish Bourbon and blackberry. There’s also the popular and returning limited release “De Fesht” Hooley brew.
Raglan Road is always a busy place, especially on weekends, so you’ll want to snag an Advanced Dining Reservation on your My Disney Experience app quickly. Raglan Road is serving lunch from 11:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m., and dinner from 3:05 until 11:00 p.m. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for the Great Hooley, Brunch runs from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.