How to Be Irish in Philly this Week
Lace up your running shoes, kiddies. You are going to be oh, so very busy this coming week.
Honestly, we’re not this crazy busy with Irish and Celtic stuff in March.
First, this weekend. There are three festivals. Let me start by saying that Irish people could not possibly have planned any of this weekend’s events, or they would all be on the same day, and you’d have to figure out which one to go to, and which two to blow off. Fortunately, such good planning hardly ever happens.
All you have to know is, they’re all in Jersey:
Dublin Square Pub over in Bordentown is hosting its Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day event Friday night, starting at 8 and continuing until whenever. Live Irish tunes with the Broken Shillelaghs, and lots of fun.
The Gloucester City 2010 Shamrock Festival kicks off on Saturday, starting at 12 noon, in Proprietor’s Park & Marina on the waterfront at 225 South King Street, in Gloucester City, one of our favorite towns. The Broken Shillelaghs will be there, too, with Jamison, Beautiful Day and the Misty Dew’rs. Vendors galore, and plenty of activities for the kiddies.
On Sunday, starting at noon and going until 5, Mount Holly launches its Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Music Festival at the High Street Grill. Music by Paul Kennedy, Celtic Connection and the debut of O’Farrelly’s Whiskey. Bonus: Find out who the 2011 Mount Holly St. Patrick’s Day Parade grand marshal is going to be.
After the weekend festivals are over, shoot back over to Pennsy—Norristown, to be specific— for the Ciara Kelly Higgins for CP 5th Annual Fundraiser at Plymouth Country Club (Belvoir and Plymouth Roads) on Monday. It’s an all-day event, including breakfast, golf, music by Paddy’s Well, dinner and the comedy of Joe Conklin. There’s also a silent and live auction. All to raise money for 7-year-old Ciara Higgins, who has cerebral palsy, and other kids with CP, to make sure they get the therapy they need. Learn more here.
Knock off for a couple of days after that. You’re really going to need your rest because …
Irish Weekend down in North Wildwood—one of the biggest such events on the East Coast—gets under way with live amateur boxing Thursday night at 7 in the Music Tent at New Jersey and Spruce Avenues. The main celebration kicks in on Friday from 8 in the morning until 7 at night with music and vendors, and no small amount of food and drink.
It continues on Saturday, with the Brian Riley Pipe Band Exhibition at 8th and Central at 10 a.m., and more entertainment and vendors all day, and a ceili at Anglesea Firehouse from 7 to 11 p.m.; and a big, splashy parade on Sunday. Lots of your favorite bands will be booked down the shore that weekend.
But wait! The annual Celtic Classic, Highland Games and Festival—another event that also easily fits the “one of the biggest” description—kicks off Friday, runs throughout Saturday and wraps up on Sunday. We’d tell you what’s happening hour-by-hour, but there’s just so much going on, we would fall down from exhaustion before we got midway through Saturday.
Suffice to say that many of the top Celtic bands will be performing, including some of our particular favorites: Bua, the shy and retiring (not!) Timlin & Kane, Burning Bridget Cleary, Enter the Haggis, and the Jameson Sisters. Plus, the great John Doyle and Karan Casey team up for concerts Thursday and Friday night. Their CD “Exiles Return,” was one of the best Irish traditional recordings of the year. They’re just terrific together. This is an absolute “don’t miss.”
(UPDATE Sept. 18, 2010: Karan Casey will not be appearing, due to a family emergency. Taking her place is the marvelous Susan McKeown.)
The Classic also features enough pipe bands to cause ringing of the ears for weeks, Highland games (think beefy tattooed dudes in kilts tossing telephone poles … the dudes, not the kilts), sheepdog trials, haggis … it’s a jam-packed weekend.
With all the festival fun going on, you run the risk of missing two very good concerts: the Celtic Fiddle Festival Saturday at 8 p.m. at Sellersville Theatre, and Eileen Ivers—a one-woman fiddle festival in her own right—the same night and time at Zellerbach Theater on the Penn Campus. If you can see your way clear, either one is likely to be a rock-solid hit.
I don’t know about you, but after all that running around, I might sleep until March.