Who we are
The Irish Cultural Society of the Pacific Northwest was founded in 2014 as a Washington State nonprofit corporation and took over running the Sean-nós Northwest Festival. We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Board President Seán Williams has been studying the Irish language and sean-nós singing since the 1970s. In addition to being the President of ICSPNW, she teaches singing workshops at our festivals. Sean worked closely with the great sean-nós singer Joe Heaney in the final years of his life, and has recently co-written with Lillis Ó Laoire a critical and award-winning biography of Heaney’s life and works (Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song-Man from Oxford University Press). A previous book, Focus: Traditional Irish Music (Routledge 2010) is currently in use in a number of universities in Ireland and North America. And her The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook: Complete Meals from Around the World was named one of the New York Times’ Top 20 Cookbooks of 2006. Her current book projects include The Performance of Liminality: Sacred, Alluring, and Dangerous (a monograph); Musics of the World (a textbook); When Musicians Speak: Interviews in Ethnomusicology (an edited volume with Julia Byl); and Blood Harmony (a murder mystery). She is a professor of Irish Studies and ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College and has a Facebook alter-ego named Captain Grammar Pants.
Festival Director Kimberly Goetz is an award-winning public speaker and has been reciting poems and telling stories since the 1980s. She has performed for a variety of audiences, including at the Ocean Shores Celtic Festival. Kimberly honed her event organizational skills as the Golf Production Team Leader for the Richard Karns StarDays Celebrity Golf Tournament. She is a former member of the Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Board and currently serves as a Commissioner for the City of Lacey Historical Commission. She sometimes teaches beginning sean-nós dance in Olympia and is a fan of Captain Grammar Pants.
Dance Director Alicia Guinn currently teaches sean-nós, set, and céilí dancing in the Seattle area. Alicia started dancing as an adult while living in Northern Ireland in 1997. Since then, she has studied set and sean-nós dancing in Galway, Ireland, taught Irish dance workshops for festivals across the United States, and had the honor of dancing on stage with traditional musicians like Johnny B. Connolly, and Liz Carroll and John Doyle. Her sean-nós style incorporates steps learned directly from Galway dancers including Pádraig Ó hOibicín, Róisín Ní Mhainín, Máire Áine Ní Iarnáin, Rónán Regan, and Seosamh Ó Neachtain.