How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Hey, we did this!

Hey, we did this!

Festival fever this weekend!

The annual AOH Montgomery County Irish Festival runs all weekend at St. Michael’s Picnic Grove in Mont Clare, PA, featuring Jamison, the Bogside Rogues, Irish Thunder, the Celtic Flame Irish dancers, the McGillians and Tom McHugh, as well as vendors, food, and kids’ activities. It’s only $7-10 to get in (or $20 for the entire weekend).

On Sunday, the annual Irish Festival on Penn’s Landing kicks off at 1 after an outdoor Mass at the Irish Memorial. Blackthorn, the Hooligans, and Jamison will be performing.

Later in the afternoon, dancers from the region’s Irish dance schools will perform together as a tribute to 7-year-old Jane Richard, an Irish dancers from Massachusetts who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. The schools and other Irish organizations have been raising money to send to the Richard Family Fund to help defray medical costs for the family. Jane’s 8-year-old brother was killed in the terrorist attack and her parents were both injured.

And it’s a festival of sorts—actually of language—at the Irish Center on Saturday. It’s the annual Satharn na nGael, a day of immersion in the Irish language. It’s the place to be if you want to learn the language of your forebears or just pick up a few more phrases other than “Erin go bragh” to mutter on St. Patrick’s Day and amaze all your friends. There will also be “craic.” You’ll have to go there to find out what that is, but trust us, you’ll like it.

Also on Saturday, you can enjoy an up-close-and-personal concert with Celtic Thunder’s Paul Byrom at Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center in Blue Bell. Very few tickets were available to start with—only 40—and they’re pricey. But if you’re a Byrom fan, it may be worth it.

And that’s not all: GaelFest, an all-star Irish festival featuring Joannie Madden of Cherish the Ladies and friends, is on at the Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, NJ. Some of our local GAA teams will be on hand to give demonstrations. And Enter the Haggis is on stage at the Sellersville Theatre on Saturday night.

The 40th Anniversary Show featuring Timlin & Kane in Bethlehem was cancelled and will be rescheduled later.

In the run up to Bloomsday (June 16), the annual celebration of Leopold Bloom’s famous walk around Dublin chronicled by James Joyce in “Ulysses,” the Rosenbach Museum and Library has launched a Bloomsday Exhibition of Contemporary Art and Literary Manuscripts. The Rosenbach owns a hand-written copy of “Ulysses” that you can get pretty close to. There’s also the entire text of a novel written out in 310 yellow rubber kitchen gloves. Don’t ask. Or, rather, ask—that’s what the Rosenbach is all about. It’s a magical little spot on Delancey Place in Philadelphia and worth the trip.

If you’re down in Holmes on Friday night, catch Jamison at RP Murphy’s.

If you’re closer to Philly on Friday night, come and celebrate with us. We’re having a party to honor the musicians who play on our own CD, Ceili Drive. The musicians get in free (let us know if you’re coming, guys and gals!), and there’s a $25 charge for everyone else which gets you hot and cold appetizers, wine, beer, and soft drinks, and, of course, music. It’s at the Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street, Philadelphia, starting at 7:30 PM. All proceeds from anything we do go right back into the website, which Jeff Meade, Lori Lander Murphy, and I do in our spare time and on our own dime.

Here’s our dream: To be able to hire reporters to get to the events and write about (photograph and video) the terrific things we see in the Irish community that we don’t have time to do. We have started paying some of our formerly volunteer photographers (a pittance of course) and we’d like to have some extra cash to pass to writers. We don’t take any money ourselves. Our reward has been the wonderful people we’ve been blessed to meet while doing this for the past seven years—and the great craic we’ve enjoyed with them. But we all have spouses who think it would be nice to have a weekend where they’re not hearing yet another version of “The Fields of Athenry” (I never get tired of it) or baking in the broiling sun watching Gaelic football (I never get tired of it), so we can’t be everywhere and do everything (okay, that does make me tired).

Thanks for all the support you’ve given us in the past, especially those of you who helped us fund “Ceili Drive” in about 24 hours (we cried). Come out and let us thank you in person. (Oh, and we all have birthdays within weeks of one another, so you can help us celebrate that too.) Hope to see you there!

Click below to hear Blackthorn’s John and Michael Boyce, with their sister, Karen Boyce McCollum, sing “Peggy Gordon,” a track from “Ceili Drive.”

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