How To Be Irish in Philly This Week
If you’re anywhere near Havertown on Sunday morning, stop by Sacred Heart Church on Wilson and Manoa Roads. Some good-hearted folks are holding a huge bake sale to raise money to defray the medical expenses of a young couple from Belfast whose four-year-old son is in Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
Last week, we wrote about little Oscar Knox, who was born with a rare genetic condition, and then developed a rare form of cancer that strikes mainly babies and children. Supporters in Ireland raised about $400,000 to bring “wee Oscar” to Philadelphia for potentially life-saving cancer treatment, but while here, his doctors found he also had a rare complication from previous cancer treatment that means he can’t undergo immunotherapy, a relatively new treatment that trains the body’s immune system to fight cancer on its own.
As of Friday morning, Oscar was still at CHOP, though he was out of the intensive care unit and plans were being made to take him home, where his two-year-old sister, Isobella—known as “Izzy”—is waiting for him.
The Knoxes ran through the money that was supposed to pay for the immunotherapy—instead, it paid for Oscar’s treatment for pulmonary hypertension, the new illness that has kept him in Philadelphia since October 6. The Knoxes knew no one in Philadelphia when they arrived, but a large group of supporters has grown around them. Sunday’s bake sale is just the first of many fundraisers planned to help the family and little Oscar cope with the setbacks. That will be your good deed for the week.
There are plenty of fun events this week. It’s the final week to catch “A Slow Air,” a Scottish play produced by the Inis Nua Theater Company at the Off Broad Street Theater at First Baptist Church on Sansom Street in Philadelphia.
On Saturday night, catch Dick Hensold on the Northumbrian pipes—small, quiet bagpipers from Northeast England—at the Water Gallery in Lansdale. Several local Irish musicians have their jewelry and art at the gallery, which also has live music on a regular basis. It’s just down the street from Molly Maguires, a popular Irish pub which also has live music. There’s your Saturday night, right there.
Or, if you’re in Bethlehem, catch Timlin and Kane at the St. James Pub at the Sands Casino, where they’re pretty much the house band.
Jamison fans—and it’s hard not to be a Jamison fan once you hear them—can find their faves at Curran’s in Bensalem on Saturday night.
If you have that good old republican (with a small “r”) spirit, join the group planning a centennial commemoration of the Easter Rising at the MacSwiney Club in Jenkintown on Sunday afternoon.
On Sunday evening, celebrate Samhain (that’s Halloween to you non-Irish speakers) at the Irish Center with ghost stories! And they’re straight from the ghosts’ mouth, literally. They’ll be told by Frank and Bill Watson, who are responsible for discovering the bodies and revealing the stories of the 52 Irish immigrants and railway workers who died or were killed during a cholera epidemic at an area called Duffy’s Cut in Malvern nearly 200 years ago, and a paranormal investigator who has worked at the archeological dig. That starts at 5 PM.
The dancers and music lovers who used to spend Sundays at the late, great Emmett’s Place in Philadelphia are holding a reunion at the Rising Sun VFW—with Emmett Ruane himself—on Sunday night. Expect music, dancing, and lots of camaraderie.
A word about next weekend: It’s the annual Mick Moloney and Friends fundraising concert at St. Malachy’s Church in Philadelphia on Sunday November 4. Mick and his friends—all top Irish musicians—will also be stopping at Villanova the night before to raise some money for the Literacy Council.
When he was a folklore PhD candidate and professor at Penn many years ago, Moloney, who is from Limerick, helped reinvigorate the Irish music scene in Philadelphia. While in the city, he befriended St. Malachy’s pastor (now emeritus) John McNamee and has given concerts every year to benefit the mission parish in North Philadelphia and, across the river, Sacred Heart Parish in Camden, NJ.