How to Be Irish In Philly This Week and Beyond
Kick up your Christmas heels on Friday, December 14, at the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s Christmas Ceili at the Irish Center in Mt. Airy. Prepare for an old-fashioned good time with live music, dancing, and a pot luck supper (bring a contribution–a big irishphiladelphia.com smooch to anyone who brings those great little meatballs in the grape jelly sauce). The festivities start at 8 PM.
Get ready for some serious toe-tapping if you head down on Friday night to Coatesville to hear The Hedge Band, four of Baltimore’s best Irish musicians (including Billy McComiskey, who shows up here fairly regularly). As usual, Frank Dalton has put together a great show of Irish traditional music at one of the nicest venues around. The show starts at 8 PM, but come down early and grab a light dinner at the Coatesville Cultural Society’s café.
On Saturday, take the kiddies to the Irish Immigration Center in Upper Darby to meet Santa, and shop for crafty items for those hard-to-buy-for folks on your list. There’ll be music (of course–this is an Irish event, after all), food, drink, and great raffle prizes.
Did we mention music? On Saturday night, the Philadelphia Ceili Group is presenting “Irish Christmas in America,” which promises to be a magical evening of music and dance with Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh of Danú, and Téada’s Sean McElwain and Tristan Rosenstock on guitar and bodhran respectively, acclaimed harpist Gráinne Hambly and uilleann piper Tommy Martin, along with dancers Abbey Magill and Sienna Hickey. Though the weather outside is predicted to be frightful, expect the evening to be delightful. Enough to make the Grinch give back Christmas. It starts at 8:30 PM.
Still have some Christmas energy left? On Sunday, the Donegal and Mayo Associations will be holding their Christmas party at the Irish Center. You don’t have to be a member to attend (you don’t even have to be from Donegal or Mayo). The party starts with a Mass at 3 PM. At 4 PM, Santa arrives bringing toys for the kids (you’re invited to be Santa’s little helper: Bring a wrapped toy with your child’s name on it so Santa can do the honors). Christmas shopping alert: At the same time that Santa is keeping your kids busy, there will be a Home Interior Show in progress in the Barry Room. Proceeds from your gift purchases will benefit the Golden Jubilee events for the Commodore Barry Club (the Irish Center). For more info, call Michelle Higgins at 215-722-8987. And stay for dinner. It starts at 5 PM.
Our friends to the North (that would be Quakertown and the Lehigh Valley) might want to mark down December 21–that’s the date of the Christmas Dinner and Concert by Seamus Kennedy at McCoole’s. We haven’t heard him, but everyone tells us that Kennedy is a total hoot.
And on December 23 at the Old Dutch Parsonage in Somerville, NJ, enjoy an evening of seasonal songs and stories as Robert Mouland portrays Michael Keane, an actual Irish harper who came to the American colonies in 1754 with the Royal Governor of North Carolina. The setting is the Old Dutch Parsonage, a house museum built in 1751. The concert is in the parlor which is warmed by a large fireplace and lit by candlelight (oooooo). Mouland will perform on a unique array of period and antique instruments including the Irish harp, harpsichord, baroque fiddle (c.1760), baroque flute (c.1795), English guittar (c.1770) and union pipes. It starts at 7:30 PM and seating is limited. For more info call (908) 725-1015.
Post-Christmas, think about attending the annual Wren Party at the Knights of Columbus Hall on December 26. We went last year and had a great time. It’s an old Irish tradition–make it one of yours. No New Year’s Eve plans? Consider the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at the Irish Center. Dance to the music of Vince Gallagher and John Kelly, enjoy dinner and drinks, and kiss your honey at midnight, all for $50 per person.
See our calendar for all the juicy details.