How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish In Philly This Week

Caber tossing at Celtic Classic in Bethlehem.

This is another jam-packed week because, of course, it’s halfway to St. Paddy’s Day.

There are other reasons. We’re heading into the two biggest Irish festivals in the region: the three-day Celtic Classic in Bethlehem and the four-day AOH Irish Fall Festival in North Wildwood. And there’s another, smaller festival this weekend in the very Irish Gloucester City, NJ (where you presumably can practice up).

The Irish Festival kicks off on Thursday with a golf tournament and the annual match up of amateur boxers from the Harrowgate Boxing Club in Philadelphia and the Holy Family Boxing Club from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Then the musical lineup is almost too long to mention: The Paul Moore Band, Belfast Connection, Sean Fleming Band, the Bogside Rogues, the Barley Boys, Secret Service, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones, Bare Knuckle Boxers, Timmy Kelly, the Broken Shillelaghs and more will be performing in the Music Tent and the outdoor festival stage.

Also in town, Blackthorn at the Angelsea Pub and the Windrift Resort hotel; Jamison at Slainte at Keenan’s in North Wildwood and Casey’s in North Wildwood and the Broken Shillelaghs at Tucker’s Pub in Wildwood and Coconut Grove in North Wildwood. If you’re in the Wildwood area, you pretty much can’t escape Irish music; don’t try.

Solas will be making it happen on Sunday, September 24, at Foy Hall in Bethlehem, with McPeake opening. Other musical performers at Celtic Classic include Blackwater (and you thought they were just a security firm); the Paul McKenna Band, the Glengarry Bhoys, the Screaming Orphans (from Donegal), the Makem and Spain Brothers, and Timlin and Kane, among others. Making a different kind of music—highland athletes (they make Conan look like a wimpy barbarian), sheep dogs, and haggis-eating contests. Including the Scots makes everything more interesting.

But let’s back up a minute—or, a few days. Before the big festivals happen, there’s other stuff going on, including:

“Carthaginians: A Philly Fringe Festival Performance” in the unlikeliest of venues—Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls. The New York-based REV Theatre Company is presenting this Frank McGuinness play in a cemetery because it’s set in a cemetery. That’s one way to save on set decorating costs. Performances are Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, hear Secret Service, the Broken Shillelaghs, Green Spell and Misty Dew’rs on the riverfront in Gloucester City, NJ, where they’re headlining the Gloucester City Shamrock Festival. You’ll also find a beer garden (wonder what they grow there), vendors, and kids’ activities including inflatables.

The Bogside Rogues will be performing at the Irish Festival in Sea Girt on Saturday afternoon and at the Dublin Square Irish Pub in Cherry Hill in the evening.

In nearby Haddon Township, hop on the “Halfway to St. Pattys Pub Crawl” at Cork Genuine Food and Drink, Brewers, and Irish Mile. Or, if you’re in Pennsylvania, join the crawlers at Marty Magee’s in Prospect Park. Both on Saturday.

Jamison is on stage at Kildare’s in West Chester on Saturday too, while The Broken Shillelaghs (fresh from Shamrock Fest) are on tap at the Dublin Square Pub in Sewell, NJ, on Saturday evening.

Timlin and Kane are performing at the Shanachie in Ambler on Saturday night, and Sunday is their big “Family Day” at the pub (reservations recommended).

The Dropkick Murphys are bringing their Shamrock-N-Roll Festival to the Electric Factory on Sunday night, featuring Street Dogs, The Mahones, and the Parkington Sisters.

On Monday, the annual Ciara Kelly Higgins Benefit for Cerebral Palsy, featuring golf tournament and fundraising dinner, will take place at Plymouth Country Club in Norristown. Read about this remarkable little girl.

Check out our calendar for all the details.

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