How To Be Irish In Philly This Week
It’s one of those fun festival weekends we look forward to all year.
AOH Div. 1 in Montgomery County is holding its three-day festival starting Friday night at Saint Michael’s Picnic Grove in Mont Clare. Music provided by the Bogside Rogues, Paul Moore and Friends, McHugh and McGillian, Fisher and Maher, and Belfast Connection (whose fiddler, Laine Walker Hughes, celebrates her birthday on Friday!).
The South Jersey Irish Festival to support the Keane Patrick O’Brien Foundation is on Saturday night. The Broken Shillelaghs, Birmingham Six, Clancy’s Pistol, Raymond Coleman, and Fintan Malone and Friends will be providing the music at the RiverWinds Community Park in West Deptford, NJ. The Foundation is a charitable organization that supports children 2with leukodystrophy, a rare disease that affects brain cells. There’s also face painting and inflatables for the kids, food provided by Dubh Linn Square, and Irish vendors.
On Sunday, the annual Irish Heritage Festival at Penns Landing follows a Mass at 11 AM at the Irish Memorial and Second and Front Streets. Blackthorn, Jamison, and The Hooligans will be performing next to the Delaware. There are inflatables for the kids and vendors for the moms and dads.
In the midst of this—a festival of the Irish language. It’s the annual Satharn na nGael—or Day of Gaelic—at the Irish Center in Philadelphia on Saturday. There are language classes, music workshops (including singing and dancing) followed by dinner and a closing session. I guess we need to say seisiun here, since it’s Gaelic Day. At that seisiun, fiddler Marie Reilly, who recently released a new CD, “The Anvil,” will be performing songs from South County Leitrim and County Longford, a region with a distinctive fiddling tradition, and talking about the history of music from the area. Reilly learned many of the songs from her father, a blacksmith who was also a fiddler, hence the title of her CD. Others came from 19th and 20th century manuscripts from Leitrim/Longford musicians. Aficiandos of pure drop Irish music will love this.
There’s more coming up this week. Claire Mann and Aaron Jones willl bring their mélange of traditional and contemporary Scottish and Irish music to the Blue Ball Barn in Wilmington, DE, a Green Willow production. Claire Mann is an All-Ireland flute and tin whistle champion but she is equally accomplished on the fiddle. Mighty bouzouki player and singer, Aaron Jones is currently the front man of Scotland’s award-winning Old Blind Dogs and has also recorded on over sixty-five traditional albums.
A note: The former Shanachie session in Ambler that moved to Finn McCool’s is temporarily homeless. A wall collapsed at Finn McCool’s at the beginning of May and it’s been closed ever since. Our reporters in the field tell us the session moved to a private home for a while, but is going to be the moveable session until McCool’s is intact again. Our sources also tell us that the rumor that Kildare’s was moving to the old Shanachie building were half right. It’s going to be Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House and Raw Bar. That’s Kildare’s non-Irish brother. Look for it in the Fall–maybe in time for Ambler’s international music festival!
As always, check our calendar for times and maps and late-breaking events. And check out our Facebook page too, where people announce other events, chat, argue, and in general treat it like a pub with no beer. Enjoy the weekend!