How to Be Irish in Philly This Week
Of the three festivals happening this weekend, only one is sweating the weather reports. The 10thAnnual Scottish-Irish Festival held at Green Lane Park in Green Lane, Montgomery County, is scheduled to kick off on Friday night, September 11, with Barleyjuice and Raining Hearts (an unfortunate coincidence, since it’s raining buckets as we write this).
If all goes on as planned, you’ll see more Irish dancers that you do at a feis, an exhibition of Gaelic football, pipe bands, and great music from Barleyjuice, the Hooligans, and the Martin Family Band. The weather is supposed to clear by Sunday. We hope.
In Mt. Holly, New Jersey, the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival, which raises money for police coverage for Burlington County’s fabulous St. Patrick’s Day Parade, is scheduled for Saturday. It features the Brimingham Six, the Shantys and Jamison, and only costs $10. And it’s under a tent.
We’ll try to keep you posted on weather updates.
The Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival is indoors at the Irish Center in Mt. Airy so it’s going on. In fact, it started on Thursday night with a terrific concert featuring Tim Britton. On Friday night, there are some fabulous singers on tap, including Len Graham, Brian Hart, Terry Kane and Rosaleen McGill, among others. On Saturday, there are vendors, food, educational workshops, music, dancing, and an evening house party—bring your dancing shoes and your party piece.
Otherwise this week: The plays, “The Bros. Flanagan” and “Trad” are still going on. “The Bros. Flanagan” is being staged upstairs at Fergie’s Pub at 12th and Sansom Streets in Philadelphia. Buy one entrée and get the second free, thanks to the kindness of Fergie (Fergus Carey). “Trad” is at the Amaryllis at the Adrienne Theatre, also on Sansom Street. It’s produced by the Inis Nua Theatre Company, which brings the best of Irish, British, and Scottish plays to the Philadelphia area.
If you’re gambling away your kids’ college fund at the New Sands Casino in Bethlehem, you can catch The Broken Shillelaghs at St. James Gate Pub there on Saturday night.
On Sunday, head out to McNally’s on Rhawn Street in the city for a beef-and-beer to raise money for The Shamrocks youth football team.
On Tuesday, Lunasa’s Kevin Crawford is giving workshops on flute and tin whistle in Vorhees, NJ. See the calendar for contact information. On Thursday, he and band mate Cillian Villaly will be performing. They’re both extraordinary musicians, and Crawford, we can tell you from experience, is one damn fine stand-up comic. A very funny guy.
You should check out our calendar not only for the details on these events, but for much, much more.This week, we added as many local Irish radio shows as we could find to the calendar so you know when to tune in. There are more than you think, from Bucks to Lehigh Counties! There are some great new classes at the Irish Center, including flute and whistle for beginners and advanced, and DADGAD Irish guitar accompaniment (DADGAD is a kind of tuning used in Irish music).
Coming up: The Gloucester City Shamrock Festival (September 19); musician and folklorist Mick Moloney will examine the role of the Irish and Jews in the songs of Tin Pan Alley at Villanova (September 22); the AOH Irish Festival in N. Wildwood, which starts off with a boxing match (the Harrowgate Boxing Club of Philly vs. The Holy Family Boxing Club of Belfast on September 24) and continues through the weekend with great music (Paddy’s Well, the Elders, The Broken Shillelaghs, the Bgside Rogues, the Sean Fleming Band, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones, among others) food, vendors and lots of wild fun (and this year, Blackthorn returns for two days at the Anglesea Pub); the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem (September 25) featuring music, food, pipers, dancers, border collies and highland games (care to learn to toss a caber?); and the appearance of incredible Sligo-style fiddler Tony DeMarco (September 26) at the Coatesville Cultural Center.
It’s a great month to be Irish anywhere within 100 miles of Philly. Remember, you can sleep when you’re dead.