We hope you’re in the holiday spirit. Last week, almost every event featured a Christmas connection. It’s even more so this week.
Here’s what’s on:
Saturday, December 7
Ready for a brisk run or walk? Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 87 is hosting the Tommy “Wengo” Wenger Memorial Jingle Bell 5K Run and 1K Walk and the Annual LAOH Children’s Christmas Party. The race steps off at 9 a.m. at St. George Elementary School, 2700 East Venango Street in Philadelphia.
Santa Claus will be riding along on Fire Engine 81, “The Pride of North Catholic.” Registration is $25, and $15 for kids 10 and under. Cost of admission includes a pancake breakfast, t-shirt and jingle bells for your sneakers so you can music wherever you go. Text your email or home address to Jim Carr at 215-620-6547, and they will send you a registration.
Andrew John Hozier-Byrne—between us, known simply as Hozier—stopped by The Met Philly on his Wasteland Baby tour.
The 29–year–old folk rock singer from County Wicklow (UP WICKLOW!) is on the road supporting his second album, the tour’s namesake, with opening act Angie McMahon.
Born to a blues drummer father and artist mother, the Trinity College graduate realized international and commercial success with his 2014 debut single, “Take Me to Church.” The popularity of the song was helped with a now iconic video featuring renowned ballet dancer Sergei Polunin which was directed by famed visionary, David LaChapelle and choreographed by Jade Hale-Christofi.
Tara Regan is a remarkable young woman.
Start with her course of study at Bloomsburg University: social work, with minors in political science and American Sign Language (ASL). She’s always wanted to be in a helping profession. The ASL makes her valuable to a particular client population and the political side of things, she believes, will make her more effective in dealing with the policy side of being a social worker. Too, her cousin is Second District U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle. “On the 4th of July and such, we would always talk politics,” she says. “I would be 12 years old, telling him what I think.”
Look back, too, on her time playing the rough and tumble Irish sports of hurling and camogie with the Glenside Gaelic Club and the Philadelphia Shamrocks. She’s also played field hockey since she was 9—and she continues to play intramural field hockey at Bloomsburg. She also performed in plays at Bishop McDevitt High School. “I always loved acting and theater. I’m really big into Broadway. I love Broadway shows.”
Finally, though, catch a glimpse of the small round white sensor on her arm, and when you hear the story behind it, you’ll understand one reason why Tara Regan, 19, of Glenside, is the new Miss Mayo.
Are you ready to get in the holiday spirit? With several Christmas-y events on tap, this is your week.
Here’s what’s on:
Saturday, November 30
Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones return to The MacSwiney Club, 510 Greenwood Avenue in Jenkintown.
Due to popular demand, that’s for everyone who couldn’t get tickets to the Friday night show in this cozy space. The show starts at 8 p.m.
(If you’d like more insights into Derek and his long musical history, check out our podcast.)
Sunday, December 1
Break out the mistletoe. The holiday kicks off with a Christmas Tree Lighting and Open House at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (the Irish Center), 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy. You really have to put this one on your calendar. If you’ve not visited the Irish Center, here’s a chance to see the place at its absolute family-friendly best, with music, dancing, vendors and sooooooo much more (including a visit from you know who). It all starts at noon and goes on ‘til 6 p.m. (Full story here.)
Many were introduced to the Philadelphia Ceili Group and its festival through dance.
One of those was Marian McGill McFeeters. Over time, though, she says, the number of dancers drawn to the Ceili Group has dwindled.
After the last festival, Ceili Group board members decided it was time to do something about that. The answer: a Ceili Og, or young ceili, to be held December 8 at the Philadelphia Irish Center. Kids will be under the tutelage of longtime dance instructor Rosemarie Timoney.
“Bringing children to the festival doesn’t seem to be sparking any interest in the Irish culture,” McFeeters explains. “For them, the festival hasn’t been as exciting. It seemed to have been pushed to the wayside. And we asked ourselves … how can we bring it back?”
Welcome to another compelling episode of “As the Irish Philly World Turns.”
Here’s how it turns this week.
Saturday, November 23
It’s “Tara Gael Night with the Hooligans” at St. Dominic’s Marian Hall, 8532 Frankford Avenue in Philly.
Join the Tara Gael Dancers as they host a fun-filled night with great music, starting at 7 p.m. The event is a benefit for the Tara Gael Dancers to help them go dancing in the streets in the 2020 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Tickets are $35 per person, including beer, wine, soda and buffet. BYOB for additional drinks.
If you would like to pay via Venmo @Danielle-Pastella.
The folks at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (also known as the Irish Center) want you to get to know what a singular contribution the venerable institution makes to the Philadelphia Irish community and to the surrounding neighborhood of Mount Airy—and what better time than at the beginning of the Christmas holiday season.
The Center will host its first Christmas Tree Lighting and Open House December 1 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. You can find the Center at 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy. Best of all, it’s free, although donations will be accepted.
“There will be something going on in every room of the Center,” says board member and vice president Lisa Maloney. “In the Fireside Room, there will be Irish music from noon ‘til 6. We have a number of Irish musicians already confirmed. From there you move into the Barry Room, where we’re hosting a Christmas market. We have about 12 or 13 vendors already confirmed. Bette Conway will have jewelry, and there will also be antique jewelry, and handmade candles made by Maureen Barry Connor. Bewley’s Tea will be there with tea and jam and other yummy treats.
Between 600 and 700 art lovers eager to savor the best of the Emerald Isle’s contemporary works visited the “Straight Out of Ireland” exhibition last weekend in Bryn Mawr.
Organized by the Philadelphia Irish Immigration Center in an ornate mansion on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy and pulled together by a dedicated crew of volunteers and committee members, the display showcased the work of 20 artists from Ireland and another dozen artists from the United States who have been influenced by the culture of Ireland. “Straight Out of Ireland” featured a range of contemporary art, including ceramics, glass, drawings, lace, jewelry, photography, paintings, fashion and more.
The event began with a grand gala Friday night, followed by a day of exhibits and informative panel discussions the next day, and a special family day on Sunday.
Immigration Center organizers were expecting 500 or so visitors, so the event exceeded expectations, says Emily Norton Ashinhurst, executive director of the center.