How to Be Irish in Philly This Week
This is shaping up to be one major Irish week in the Philly region, thanks to the Celtic lineup at Bethlehem’s annual Musikfest and the visit from the Glasgow Celtics on Saturday, August 11.
It all starts on Friday night with the hard-driving Tartanic at Musikfest. Most but not all of the Celtic acts are appearing at what they’re calling the Pennsylvania Lottery Volksplatz. It’s really Johnston Park, Conestoga Street and W. Union Boulevard in the Christmas city. Tartanic returns to the same stage on Saturday night as well.
On Sunday, Lazy Lanigan’s Publick House in Sewell, NJ, is the scene of a ceili to benefit Haley Richardson and Emily Safko, two pint-sized Irish music phenoms, who will be competing again in the All-Irelands this year. Haley is the four-time under 12 Mid-Atlantic fiddle champ, while Emily is the two-time under 12 Mid-Atlantic harp slow air champ. And they are both as cute as buttons. Lazy Lanigan’s is donating 10 percent of its profits to the girls.
Also on Sunday, the Philly GAA’s Notre Dames ladies football club is sponsoring a benefit at Daly’s Pub in Philadelphia for fellow footballer Alisha Jordan. Jordan, who came from County Meath, Ireland to New York this summer to compete in the GAA games, was attacked and seriously injured as she and her friend walked to their home in the Bronx on July 14. Jordan suffered a broken bone in her skull, a broken nose, broken teeth and lacerations, including a cut on her face that took 15 stitches to close. Proceeds will help pay for reconstructive surgery and a metal plate to hold her skull together. The young woman has no insurance.
The fundraiser will follow a critical matchup between the Dames and the national champs, the Mairead Farrells, at Cardinal Dougherty fields on Sunday afternoon. The Dames are two up in a best-of-five for top berth in the nationals, which are in Philly this year over the Labor Day weekend.
Catch singer-comic Seamus Kennedy on Tuesday at Musikfest—he has two shows.
Carbon Leaf, a five-piece indie rock band with a Celtic flair from Richmond, VA, will be doing a Tuesday evening concert at Musikfest.
On Wednesday, catch the Killdares, a Texas-based group known for its alternative Celtic rock, at Musikfest.
And on Friday, you can see Philly’s own John Byrne Band at 5 PM, as well as the Lehigh Valley’s band, Amarach in the afternoon.
On Friday, Celtic Weekend starts in Philadelphia. There’s a host of events planned to herald the soccer match between Glasgow Celtic and Real Madrid scheduled for The Linc on Saturday. An estimated 20,000 Celtic fans are expected to descend on Philly for the weekend festivities, which includes concerts by Glasgow-based band, Charlie and the Bhoys, as well as local favorites Raymond Coleman and Olive McElhone.
Most of the activities are centered at The Plough and the Stars at Second and Chestnut streets and Fado Irish Pub on Locust. There’s breakfast every morning at both pubs and music every night. Fado has two poolball tournaments planned (think pool, but you’re the cue and it’s soccer, not billiard balls), as well as late night dance parties.
Freelance journalist Phil MacGiolla Bhain, who exposed and brought down the Celtic’s archrivals, The Rangers, for tax evasion, will be speaking on Friday afternoon at Fado. There will be a blessing and a huddle on Friday night at the Irish Memorial at Front and Chestnut Streets. Father Bryce Byczynski of the Marist Brothers in New Jersey will offer a blessing. (The Celtic team was founded in Glasgow by a Marist brother in 1888.)
Check out our calendar for all the details of Celtic Weekend and Celtic acts at Musikfest.
And mark your calendar for Saturday August 11 for a fundraiser for young Corey Hughes, who moved to the US from Ireland with his family in 2010. Corey was diagnosed the following year with a rare form of cancer that affects his knee. He is currently undergoing radiation to shrink the tumor so it can be surgically removed. His family needs help with medical expenses. The Beef and Beer will be held at the District Council 21 Painters and Allied Trade Union Hall on Southampton Road in Philadelphia. Raymond Coleman and Rusty Bass will be providing the music and there will be beaucoup de raffles and auctions.