We trust you’ve recovered from St. Patrick’s Week. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that you can find something to keep you in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit most of the time in the Delaware Valley. And the month isn’t over.
Here’s what’s happening.
A quick reminder: Bucks County’s own Irish Music Award-winning band Runa is at the Sellersville Theater tonight. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the show starts at 8. This is the band’s 10thanniversary tour, and they just keep getting more and more creative. Info and tickets here.
(You might also be interested in reading our first Runa interview, by Lori Lander Murphy, from the very beginning.)
History can seem, well, just like that: history. We might know about it intellectually but haven’t internalized emotionally. Whatever happened, it happened to someone else, a long time ago.
So it might well be with An Gorta Mór—the Great Hunger, often referred to simply as the potato famine. “Potato famine,” of course, doesn’t half cover it. It’s far more complicated than that. From the standpoint of many historians, the vast starvation of the Irish people in the middle of the 19th century amounts to nothing less than genocide perpetrated by the British.
How to tell that old story to make it real to high school students today?
Hanrahan’s bartender Bobby Callan has lived in the Drexel Hill area all of his 30 years. He has a house in Clifton Heights now, but he grew up three blocks from this bustling Irish bar on Burmont Road, catty-corner from the Aronimink Avenue SEPTA station.
Callan got into the bar business a few years ago when one of his best friends suggested that he join him in working at a dive bar. “He said to me, ‘This is easy. It’s great. You get to meet new people.” He took to bartending, but after a while he tired of the dive bar scene. Fortuitously, he played on a local softball team, and a Hanrahan’s employee who was on the team recruited him.
They’ve come in rain, freezing rain and snow. Yesterday, on a chilly but sunny day, a large crowd of Irish and Irish-Americans joined together at Philadelphia’s iconic Irish Memorial for the annual commemoration of An Gorta Mór—the Great Hunger.
The centerpiece of the Memorial is the immense bronze statue created by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Standing 12 feet high, 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, it occupies a place of honor on the nearly two-acre park at South Front Street and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia’s Old City. The Memorial dramatizes both the Great Hunger and the vast migration of the Irish to America’s shores during those hard times. It has stood on that spot since its dedication 16 years ago.
It’s expected that the Memorial ceremony will be held in the same place next year, but after that, its next—albeit temporary—location is uncertain.
If you thought last weekend was big, hold on to your shamrock deely bobbers. This is the really big St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Here’s what’s happening Saturday:
- There are four St. Patrick’s Day parades, with Springfield, Delaware County, starting at West Springfield Road and Britton Road and ending at Saxer Avenue and Powell Road, beginning at 12 noon. Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 1 hosts the Montgomery County parade, beginning at 2 p.m., proceeding down Fayette Street in Conshohocken. Wilmington starts at 12 noon and runs through 1:45 p.m., stepping off from 4thand King Streets. If you’re in the Lehigh Valley area, the Parade of Shamrocks starts at 1 p.m. in downtown Bethlehem, stepping off from 10thAvenue and Broad Street, and continuing down Broad to Main, ending under the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. The weather looks great for all.
- Following the Bethlehem parade, it’s the Fáilte Festival at the Charles A. Brown Ice House, featuring a day’s entertainment, including Timlin and Kane with O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance, the clown prince of Irish music Seamus Kennedy, and piper Robert Watt.(The festival continues Sunday.) Tickets here.
- Tenor Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder Fame is on stage at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 North Lansdowne Avenue in Drexel Hill, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets here.
- Michael Londra and the Celtic Fire—we interviewed him recently—appears with a big show of Irish music and dance at the Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street on the Penn campus. The show starts at 8 p.m. Info and tickets here.
- Catch Galway Guild at Xfinity Live, 1100 Pattison Avenue in South Philly. The band plays from 2 to 6 p.m.
- Starting at 2 p.m., the John Byrne Band takes the stage at Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main Street in scenic New Hope. It’s part of the Playhouse’s weekend Irish Music Festival. Tickets are 20 bucks. It’s a fabulous venue. Following that, Celtic-American band The River Drivers appear on the Playhouse stage starting at 8. Tickets are $25.
- The 69thPennsylvania Irish Volunteers Band hosts at St. Patrick’s Performance at Crooked Eye Brewery, 13 East Montgomery Avenue in Hatboro. The performance is from 7 to 11 p.m.
- Celtic Pride featuring Bill and Jim Monaghan and friends, plays the Washington Crossing Inn, 1295 General Washington Memorial Boulevard in Washington Crossing, at 8:30 p.m.
- Shenanigans returns to Marty Magee’s, 1110 Lincoln Avenue in Prospect Park, starting at 9 p.m. and continuing through the wee hours.
Here’s our last and final batch of photos from the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, shot by freelance photographer Gwyneth MacArthur.
Freelance photographer Gwyneth MacArthur also joined us Sunday at the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Here’s a batch of images she captured along the parade route. Thanks to Gwyneth!
It’s been a few years since we covered the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I missed it. Aside from an opportunity to snag a lot of really fun photos, it’s also old home week, where I ran into old friends I might not have seen for a while. Missed them, too.
Without further ado … here are all the pictures I took. Hope you see yourself somewhere in the mix. Click on the arrows above.