Columns, How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Where’s CBS3’s Bob Kelly when you need him? The city’s on-air traffic controller needs to keep an eye out this week for the various buses shuttling revelers from pub to pub on a motorized version of a pub crawl. There are two of them going on in Philly on Saturday—the Center City-bound Erin Express (which has a second run the following weekend) and the Shamrock Shuttle, which will give you a tour of Northeast Philly’s bars. Fortunately, they’re not taking the same routes so we don’t expect any unfortunate pub crawl accident. At least, not involving the vehicles.

The third pub shuttle is the Running of the Micks (oh yeah, and we’ve taken grief because we call our e-newsletter Mick Mail) which starts out with a footrace before the drinking begins at Finnigan’s Wake at Third and Spring Garden. That’s next Saturday.

There’s so much else going on in this run up to the parades and St. Paddy’s Day we’re just giving you a list:


As usual, the Mt. Holly, NJ, parade is the first to step off the curb on Saturday, March 5. Pearse Kerr, a former Northern Irish political prisoner and president of AOH Div. 25 in Philadelphia, is grand marshal.

Queen of Peace Parish in Ardsley is having its annual Irish Night with Jamison providing the music, the Timoney Dancers doing what they do best, and DJ John Purshock. This is a major fundraiser for the parish.

Pick up your kilt from the drycleaners. It’s Celtic Kilt Night at Temperance House in Newtown, sponsored by AOH Bucks Division 2, to benefit the Hibernian Hunger Project.

Team Ratty Shoes, a group of Blackthorn fans who walk every year to raise money for multiple sclerosis research, is having its big fundraiser at North Penn VFW Post 676 in Glenside with music, fun, door prizes, and an auction. When they’re not walking, this group is a party to be around, so you’ll have a good time.

The Shanachie’s genial host, Gerry Timlin, will be performing solo at the Yardley Community Center.

The play, “Brendan,” by Ronan Noone, continues its run at McCoole’s Arts and Events Place in Quakertown. Likewise, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” is still at Plays and Players Theatre in Philadelphia.

This is also Gael Scoil weekend—an Irish language and culture immersion for kids 7 to 17, now in its fourth year at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, NJ.


A busy day for Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Director Michael Bradley: In the morning, he’s picking up a “Spirit of O’Hara” award at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield. In the afternoon, he’s presiding over the last and biggest of the parade fundraisers at Springfield Country Club, featuring Blackthorn. Expect to spend the day in Springfield. Lucky for us, O’Hara and the country club are on the same street.

In the afternoon, Father John McNamee, the poet-priest, will be reading from his latest book of poetry, “From Derrybeg and Back.” At the MacSwiney Club in Jenkintown.


The Dropkick Murphy’s will be playing the first of two shows at The Electric Factory. Count on them performing their St. Patrick’s Day singalong, “Kiss Me, I’m —-faced.” The second show is Wednesday.


Duo Gabriel Donohue (he’s from Galway) and Marian Makins (she’s from DC) return to the Shanachie in Ambler after their popular debut performance last month. Donohue is a remarkable musician and Makins has the voice of an angel. We really like them around here.


The day starts with the annual wreath-laying at the plaque honoring the Irish who served in the American Revolution on the west side of Philadelphia’s city hall, followed by Mayor Nutter’s proclamation of March as Irish Month in the city. At noon, the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association holds its annual luncheon to introduce the parade Grand Marshal—this year, Sister James Anne Feerick, IHM—and the Ring of Honor. Association president Kathy McGee Burns this year has selected a group of eight women to form the Ring, including her daughter Kelly Wall, a judge in Montgomery County.

AOH Notre Dame Division 1 in Swedesburg is hosting its annual Irish Coffee Contest, featuring concoctions from restaurants and pubs in the Conshy area. This is a lead-up to the Conshy parade next weekend.

Dublin-based singer Paudy Timoney is on tap to do some foot-stomping ballads at The Plough and Stars on Second Street in Philadelphia. If you’ve never been the The Plough, whatever is wrong with you? On cold nights there’s a wood and peat fire in the fireplace and, despite the ceiling that reaches to the sky, it’s one of the coziest pubs around. Both real and plastic Paddys love it.

Irish Tenor Michael Londra, whose “Danny Boy” rendition is breaking all YouTube records for views, will be performing at Sellersville Theatre.

Catch Jerry and Shaun of the Broken Shillelaghs at The Blue Monkey Tavern in Merchantville, NJ.


The John Byrne Band will be performing at The Shanachie in Ambler. If you haven’t caught this group yet, here’s a chance to hear some wonderful Irish and folk music from some top-notch musicians. It’s debut album, “After the Wake,” has gotten lots of air time and critical acclaim. We’re expecting an Amos Lee-like breakout any minute now. (And not just because Byrne Band member Andy Keenan also plays with Lee.)

The Sellersville Theatre is presenting the first—as far as we know—performance in the area of a Canadian group called The Town Pants which mixes Irish trad with acoustic pop, American, and a little Australian and Mexican sounds tossed in. Sounds like stone soup to us. This group sells out quick.

Next weekend

All parades, all the time, including Philadelphia, Bucks County, Springfield (Delco), and Conshohocken. But we’ll cross that particular bridge next week. It’s all on the calendar however, so you can scoop us by taking a look.

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