Celebrating The Irish Way

There was a roaring fire in the hearth, the tree was decorated with ribbons and balls and garland, and the tables were filled with homemade delights. It was the annual Irish Immigration Center’s Senior Christmas lunch at the Irish Center in Philadelphia on Monday, December 19.

Mary Jane Kane sings a duet with Vince Gallagher.

It was a reunion of sorts for four women who came from Ireland in the 1960s. “Rose McGuinn was the first Irish person I me when I came here,” said Attracta O’Mally, her arm around her friend. “And we’ve been friends ever since.”

The Mayo girl (Attracta) and the young woman from Tyrone (Rose) said they met at “Connolly’s at Broad and Erie.” Irish immigrants of a certain age will know that as shorthand for a dance that was popular when Philadelphia was dotted with Irish dance halls. Many of the Irish seniors who still go to the Immigration Center’s weekly lunch, participate in the county societies, or attend parties at the Irish Center met their mates at one of those dances.

“We’ve made a lot of great memories,” says O’Malley. They’re still making them, as you can see from our photos.

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