Columns, How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Two great festivals are already underway in the region, but they run all weekend so there’s still time to join in the craic.

To our south, the AOH Irish Weekend in N. Wildwood, NJ, is so anticipated, many out-of-towners book their motels months in advance and take off work so they can start partying on Thursday night. If you don’t have a place to stay, it’s a fairly easy day trip, but make sure you designate a driver.

Much of the action takes place at the Music Tent at the Inlet at Anglesea “where Olde New Jersey meets the ocean.” There’s pretty much nonstop music going on there, including Paddy’s Well, the Elders, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones, The Broken Shillelaghs, the Bogside Rogues, the Sean Fleming Band, Love Seed Mama Jump, and the Secret Service Band. Dancing and cuteness will be provided by the Fitzpatrick School of Irish Dance from Bucks County. Blackthorn will be playing at the Anglesea Pub right nearby all weekend.

There’s usually vendors as far as the eye can see, lots of great food, a pipe band competition, and lots of camaraderie. The event benefits AOH charities, so you can feel good about getting a little crazy. But get crazy wisely—you want the memories to be good. Heck, you just want to be able to remember. . . .

The Celtic Classic is equally fun (we’ve been to both, many times), but in Bethlehem you also get to watch highland games (caber tossing, the hammer throw, the sheaf toss, haggis eating–no, wait, that’s a separate event, but eating an oatmeal-filled sheep’s intestine takes courage nonetheless), see border collies go through their paces, and watch drum major, pipe band and fiddle competitions.

The Allentown Hibernians hurling team—in their second year of existence, they earned the right to compete on a national level—will be giving a demo, and then there’s music, music, music. Among the entertainers: Malinky, Albannach (Scottish drums and pipes–we like to think of their music as Barbarian rock), Scythian (you can join them for breakfast at McCarthy’s Tea Room in downtown Bethlehem—check our calendar), the Glengharry Boys, the Barley Boys, Barleyjuice, Burning Bridget Cleary,Timlin and Kane, Robert Watt and Charlie Zahm, Blackwater, Kane and Beatty, Seamus Kennedy, and Bua (fresh from their recent appearance at the Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival), to name a few. We’re excited to see Fil Campbell, who will be appearing on Friday, October 2 at the Irish Center and is scheduled to perform several times over the weekend in Bethlehem.

Believe it or not, there are other things going on this week. The Lantern Theater Company is performing Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days” till mid-October—and no, there’s no Richie Cunningham or Fonzie in this one. You can also catch the Inis Nua Theatre Company’s staging of “Trad” at the Amaryllis at the Adrienne in Philadelphia.They’re bringing a one-off performance to the Irish Center on October 11 too.

Unfairly buried in all of this festival-ing is one of my favorite musicians, Tony DeMarco, a Sligo-style fiddler who is appearing at the Coatesville Cultural Society on Saturday night. Tony is magic—and I can’t say any more than that. Absolutely worth the trip to this wonderful venue.

Speaking of fiddlers, Liz Carroll will be in York giving a fiddle workshop on Sunday. Later, she’ll be at the Yorktowne Hotel giving a concert with the group Trian.

Want to learn to do Irish ceili dancing? A new class is being held this week at the E.T. Richardson Middle School in Springfield, Delaware County, and costs only $40 for a 10-week session, after which we expect to see you at the regular monthly ceilis at the Irish Center, kicking up your heels (when that step is called for, of course). On Thursday nights at the Irish Center, you can learn some ballroom dancing along with ceili dancing so you’re ready for the county balls, which are coming up soon.

Dolores O’Riordan was the voice of the Irish supergroup, The Cranberries, and she’s bringing her solo act to the World Café Live on Monday, September 28.

We bid a fond farewell to September this week, and with it goes the last of the big festivals until March, which we like to think of as St. Paddy’s month in the Philadelphia region because the fun never stops. But the craic goes on. Tune in next week!

Or, go look at the calendar. That’s where you’ll also find the details about this week’s events.

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