Columns, How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week


If the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Wolfhounds vs. the US Tomahawks rugby match whetted your appetite for this exciting blood sport, then you’re in for a treat. Coming next weekend: The 2011 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship to be held at Chester’s 18,500-seat soccer stadium on the waterfront, home of the Philadelphia Union.

NBC is televising the games, but don’t be a wuss: Get out there and see it live for yourself. Your ticket will entitle you to a free post-match concert on Saturday June 4 by the Dropkick Murphys, the Boston born and bred Celtic punk band who do a pretty cool version of one of our favorite songs, “The Fields of Athenry.” They’re better known for “Kiss Me, I’m —-faced,” but there you have it.

Why are we telling you about an event that’s actually not happening this week in Philly? Because you have a chance to mix and mingle with the Notre Dame team at a reception at Finnigan’s Wake this week–Wednesday, June 1, from 6:30 to 10:30 PM (and we wouldn’t be surprised if it went a little longer). If you pony up a sponsorship, you get to have a private dinner with the team. Think of it—dinner with a bunch of college-age rugby players. How can you pass that up?

If you’re a Blackthorn fan, you already know that your boys are celebrating Monday, Memorial Day, the same way they always do–at Canstatters German Club in Northeast Philly for a day-long feast of Irish music and German beer. The Hooligans are joining them as is Sparkle the Clown. Kids under 14 get to be scared for free. Um, we mean they get in for free. (Did we mention that we have a little problem with clowns? Mimes creep us out too.)

Also this week, an annual treat for young and old: The AOH Notre Dame Div. 1 is holding its Irish Festival at St. Michael’s Picnic Grounds in Mont Clare, PA. The three-day festival kicks off on June 3 and features entertainment by Jamison, the Bogside Rogues, Tom McHugh with Jim and Kevin McGillian, Misty Isle, and The Belfast Connection (which just released a fabulous new EP that we’re sure they’ll have on sale—buy it!). Of course, the Irish Thunder Pipes and Drums band will be there—that’s their home turf. And you can see the wonderful little dancers from the Coyle School with their curls bobbing as well. There’s food, vendors, and an outdoor Mass on Sunday. And recession friendly prices: A three-day pass is only $15. It’s all for a good cause: Everything the Hibernians raise goes to charity. They’re like that.

One big change in a regular event on our calendar: Radio host Vince Gallagher’s weekly Sunday Irish music show has moved to a new station, WNJC 1360 AM. Same time—11 AM—and same Vince. Marianne MacDonald’s “Come West Along the Road” show remains at WTMR 800 AM. Michael Concannon’s weekly show on WVCH 740 AM is also staying where it is. You can hear Mike (when he’s not playing with Round Tower) on Saturday starting at noon.

Taking a peek ahead on the calendar—mark the date, Sunday, June 12, from 4-8 PM—for a Evening at the Races fundraiser for the Kiely Family to be held at the Irish Center in Philadelphia. Lori Kiely, mother of four small children, died last August. A Cardinal Dougherty graduate, Lori was a tireless supporter of Gaelic athletics—she was an officer on the Philadelphia Youth Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association as well as being active in the Fox-Rok and Fox Chase Athletic Associations. “She made all children feel important,” a friend told us. A worthy woman and a worthwhile cause.

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