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Aon Sceal?

Jamesie Johnston of Albannach

Albannach drummer Jamesie Johnston of Glasgow, Scotland, is recovering in the University of Louisville Hospital after being stabbed in the liver and thigh by an intoxicated fan after the Glasgow, KY, Highland Games on June 5. He’s expected to fully recover.

Johnston, his band mates, and members of several other bands were relaxing post-Games at a cabin at the Barren River Lake State Resort Park. According to published reports, a fan, James E. Null, 42, of Glasgow, KY, had been hanging out with the band and started to become belligerent. Johnston attempted to force the man to leave, which is when, reports say, Johnston was stabbed. Albannach drummer Colin Walker also was scraped by the knife. Null was arrested and charged.

The popular Scottish percussive group appears every year at the Mid-Winter Scottish-Irish Festival in Valley Forge and performed on May 22 at a street fair at Molly Maguire’s in Lansdale. They’re managed by Bill and Karen Reid of East of the Hebrides Entertainments in Plymouth Meeting.

“Jamesie is on the mend,” Bill Reid assured us this week. “It will take some time but he’s physically fit so that will speed things up. If it was me I’d be in bed for years.”

The band has gigs in the US through mid-July, including the annual Celtic Fling at Mount Hope Winery in Manheim, PA, June 24-26, Camping Weekend Festival in Barto, PA, July 1-3. They plan to keep those commitments, though Jamesie will sit out the first few. “”The others can do the job and from the fan reaction, the vibe is good and the shows will have that high energy everyone loves,” says Reid, who joined the band at its gigs in Rhode Island this week.

Our Rose Moves Up!

Philadelphia’s Rose of Tralee, Beth Keeley, is heading to the finals in Tralee this August! Keeley, a 25-year-old writer, competed last week in the International Rose of Tralee Regional Finals in Portlaoise and was one of 23 Roses from around the world chosen to compete in the main event in August. Congratulations to Beth!

John Byrne and the Blind Pig

Like many musicians, John Byrne (The John Byrne Band) has a secret “other” life. Until recently, the popular local Irish musician was an English teacher and a part-time bartender (at Kelliann’s on Spring Garden Street). Soon, he’s about to be part-owner of his own pub, along with Debra Ciasullo (another tap-meister from Kelliann’s) and David Hentz.

The Blind Pig is scheduled to open soon at 702 N. Second Street in the young and trendy Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. The menu will be “pork-centric” and the atmosphere, “neighborhood bar.”

“I’ll be working there a bit and playing music fulltime, and putting the teaching on hold for at least a year,” Bryne told us.

Know Someone Who Should be Honored?

The Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame (DVIHOF) is looking for a few good Irish people. For the eleventh year, the Hall of Fame will be honoring people from the Delaware Valley region who have contributed to the preservation of Irish culture.

Last year’s honorees include Vince Gallagher, Donegal-born and president of the Irish Center and founder of DVIHOF; Msgr. Joseph C. McLoone, son of Irish immigrants and chaplain of several Irish organizations including DVIHOF, the Donegal Association, and the Danny Browne AOH Div. 80.; and Kathleen Sullivan, vice president for government and community affairs at Comcast and vice chairperson of the Irish Memorial.

Send your letter of nomination by June 24 to The Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame, c/o Kathy McGee Burns, 2291 Mulberry Lane, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444, or call 215-872-1305.

The Hall of Fame Event Dinner is scheduled for Sunday, November 13, at the Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street, Philadelphia.

The Irish and Their Horses

Irish native Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley captured first place in the Grand Prix at the Devon Horse Show last week. He was riding Mark Q, a horse owned by a friend in Ireland.

Babington is the principal in Kevin Babington LLC, a large equestrian facility in Gwynedd Valley that provides training, boarding, and sales.

Babington, born and raised in Carrick en Suir in County Tipperary, has represented Ireland more than 30 times on National Cup teams, came in fourth as an individual in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, and contributed to a team gold medal in the 2001 European Championships. Recently, he placed first in the $25,000 Ted Grant Welcome Grand Prix and second in the $40,000 Essex Troop Grand Prix on Mark Q.

Babington came to the US in 1987 to work as a riding instructor at a Vermont summer camp. He met his wife, Dianna, at a horse show in Pennsylvania. They have two children.

Aon sceal means “what’s the story?” in Irish. If you have a story you’d like us to tell, email

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