How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

It’s pretty busy this coming week, with a wide range of events—from Gaelic athletics to fund-raisers to a concert by one of the best Irish traditional fiddlers on the planet.

So here goes.

Tomorrow, Saturday, there are two noteworthy events:

The first is the Liam Hegarty Liberty Bell Tournament, a huge youth Gaelic Athletic Association tourney in Malvern. The event is named after the late Liam Hegarty, a man deeply dedicated to many local Irish causes, including the Delco Gaels youth athletic club and Gaelic athletics writ large. He passed away in December and is sorely missed.

We have a story about the tournament that provides a lot more details, but the long and short of it is, hundreds of young hurling and Gaelic football athletes from up and down the Northeast coast will converge upon the Line Road Fields, 137 Line Road, in Malvern, starting at 9 a.m. and going all day, culminating in a match between the adult Delco Gaels and Donegal Philadelphia. It’s all in support of a great cause, and a terrific way to learn more about Gaelic sports—if you’re not already intimately familiar. Continue Reading


Tournament Honors the Legacy of Liam Hegarty

When Liam Hegarty passed away December 3 of last year, he left behind a treasured legacy: The Liberty Bell Tournament, drawing youth Gaelic athletes from several states to the Philadelphia area for a day of hurling, football and camogie.

When more than 700 of those athletes from Philadelphia, New York and Boston converge on the playing fields in Malvern this Saturday, they’ll be honoring his memory in more ways than one. Yes, the tournament, which started several years ago, is this year named in his memory. But it’s also a way to perpetuate an idea that was his to begin with.

“It was his brainchild,” says Aidan Corr, Delco Gaels chairperson and Philadelphia Youth Board tournament organizer. “Liam was one of the founding members of the Delco Gaels 20 years ago. His four sons played for us all the way through, from when they were able to walk. His idea for the Liberty Bell Tournament on a Philadelphia Youth Board level, not a club level, was part of an East Coast league, with Boston and New York. It was essentially to get the East Coast teams ready to play in the main tournament at the end of every year (the Continental Youth Championships).” Continue Reading


Irish Genealogy Group’s Expanding Roots

Aengus Lawlor’s Presentation on Griffith’s Valuation at the April 9th Meeting


For over eight years, the Irish Immigration Center in Upper Darby has been steadily and surely attracting a growing crowd of dedicated researchers to their monthly genealogy group. Meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, the gathering has been led by Pat Corey for the past few years. For many people, including myself, who have heard how helpful, valuable, worthwhile and welcoming this group is but are unable to attend the daytime meeting, the Immigration Center has come up with a solution: beginning Thursday, April 25, a second, evening group will be meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month.

“We get a lot of phone calls from people inquiring about the genealogy group. They want to attend, but because of work and other commitments, aren’t able to make a meeting held in the middle of the day,” Nicola Bell, the Center’s Community Programs and Communications Director, explained.

About a month ago, the Center’s Executive Director, Emily Norton Asinhurst, and I also discussed this. She knew of my interest and experience in genealogy and the podcasts I had recently started recording for this website. She had several members of the current group who were on board to assist with facilitating a second, evening meeting, but didn’t necessarily want to lead it regularly. She asked if I would be interested. I thought about it for about two seconds, and answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Attending this month’s daytime meeting on Tuesday to get a sense of how the current group runs, I was struck by the genuine camaraderie and appreciation shown for each other’s research. With over 30 people in attendance (some meetings have seen as many as 60), everyone there came away with some new insight into how to further their own search for ancestors. Pat Corey has done a wonderful job of growing this group and providing guidance and leadership while making everyone feel like this is their meeting. I was also overwhelmed by how many people said that they plan on attending the evening meeting as well the daytime meeting from now on.

And that is what I envision the Thursday night group to be, a welcoming second place to come and share a love of all things genealogical. With current members Aengus Lawlor (who did an incredibly informative presentation on Griffith’s Valuation at Tuesday’s meeting) and Bill McCrea on board to help facilitate, there will be a monthly topic to focus on, guest speakers, and lots of discussion.

Nicola Bell summed it up best when she relayed some of the comments and questions she gets from people enquiring about the meetings: “People will say, ‘I’m not Irish, can I join?’ And ‘I have no experience, can I come?’ And “I don’t know where to start, will I be welcome?’ I tell them all, ‘Of course. Everybody’s welcome.’”

“Everybody’s Welcome.” That will be the topic for the first evening meeting. Come out and join us at The Irish Immigration Center at 7 South Cedar Lane, Upper Darby, Pa., 19082, Thursday, April 25th at 7 p.m. For more information, check out the Immigration Center’s website and the Facebook Events page.

Can’t wait for the meeting? Listen to the “Who’s Your Granny” podcasts on “Tea with Irish Philly.

Podcast: A Beginner’s Guide to Irish Genealogy

Podcast: The Ins and Outs of DNA Testing

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

We’re coming up on Easter, and one of this week’s events will help you get ready.

But first …

Glenside Gaelic Club kicks off its season with a beef and beer Saturday night from 8 to 11 at Our Lady Help of Christians School, 1500 Marian Road in Abington. Pay $35 in advance or $40 at the door. You’ll get a lot for your money. First off, music by the fabulous Raymond McGroary, with beer, wine and food included. You can also try your luck at 50/50 raffles.For tickets, email Mairead at Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Something new this week, and something else you’d have to have lived under a rock to have missed.

Let’s start with what you know—Celtic Woman. The troupe’s Ancient Land tour rolls into Lancaster Saturday night at the American Music Theatre, 2425 Lincoln Highway East. The show starts at 8 o’clock. So if you missed out on their Academy of Music show Thursday night—or if you just can’t get enough and you want to see them again—here’s your chance.

You can order your tickets here.

Also a reminder, we interviewed CW violinist Tara McNeill. You might want to give it a listen. Continue Reading


Celtic Woman Brings Them to Their Feet at the Academy

The standing ovation at the end said it all.

The talented performers of Celtic Woman—at this point in the troupe’s nearly 15-year history can it be called venerable?—once again swung through town and left well-satisfied Academy of Music audience members on their feet and wanting more.

Truth be told, if they didn’t have them from the very beginning—and it would have been hard to find skeptics in that audience—they certainly had them at “Danny Boy,” which most people seemed to expect. They’d no doubt heard it many times, but with the announcement that “Danny Boy”—talk about venerable—was next up, there were audible “awwwws” and unrestrained cheers and applause throughout the audience. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Welcome to a less frantic—well, less frantic than St. Patrick’s Week—but still culturally enriching, HTBI.

Let’s start with Saturday—which is plenty busy enough.

We wrote about this last week, but it bears repeating: The Irish Memorial is sponsoring “Hunger on Trial,” a mock trial with British landlords, the Anglican Church, the British government and Irish tenant farmers accused for their purported role in An Gorta Mór (Ireland’s Great Hunger).

The mock trial takes place Saturday morning, starting at 10:30, in Philadelphia City Hall, Courtroom 653, President Judge Patrick Dugan presiding.

The general public is invited to attend, as well as take part in the trial, which will begin with a brief overview of An Gorta Mór. Prosecutors and defense attorneys—they’re the real deal—will be introduced, a jury will be chosen, and everyone in attendance will be randomly selected into one of the four indicted groups.

It’s all an involving educational experience. Check it out.

There’s much more to do later on Saturday. Paul Byrom, he of Celtic Thunder, will take the stage at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center—otherwise known as the Irish Center—at 7 p.m. This promises to be a pretty great show. Byrom all by himself is thunderous enough. Sneak preview of some of the tunes he’ll be singing: “My Land,” “Danny Boy,” “You Raise Me Up” and songs from Broadway, such as “Bring Him Home,” “Stars,” “I Won’t Send Roses” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Think of it as a perfect ending to St. Patrick’s Month.

Tickets here. The Irish Center is at 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy.

Also Saturday, not one but twoBag Bingo fund-raisers. Continue Reading

Food & Drink

If You Like Marmalade, You’ll Love these Muffins



Marmalade made with Seville oranges is often preferred in Ireland because these oranges are higher in pectin and give a slightly bitter taste. In this recipe, thick-cut marmalade adds both flavor and texture.

To keep the muffins light and fluffy, fold the wet and dry ingredients together as briefly as possible until just combined; not to worry if the mixture is a bit lumpy.

You’ll find recipes like this in my cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland. To order signed copies, visit


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coarse whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup thick-cut orange marmalade
  • Softened butter, for spreading

Continue Reading