How To Be Irish in Philly This Week
Get a little festival practice this weekend in West Windsor NJ—it’s the Mercer Irish Fest, with rides, food, vendors and music—nine different bands over the two day event. Bring the kiddies—under 12s are free.
Jamison is at the Sugarhouse Casino on Delaware Avenue in Philly on Saturday, the last night of the casino’s outdoor summer concert series. Slainte—which is Frank Daly and CJ Mills of Jamison—will be back at Sugarhouse on Thursday, September 12, for a Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade fundraiser with the Celtic Flame Adult Step Dancers.
On Monday, you can get a fab lunch with some great company at the monthly senior lunch at The Irish Center.
And on Tuesday, head back over for some free—yes, free–fiddle lessons from noted local fiddler and teacher Hollis Payer, whose classes will be starting up again on Tuesday, September 17.
Also on Tuesday, Dublin-born singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey will be performing at the World Café Live on Walnut Street in Philadelphia.
After that, get some sleep because Thursday is the first evening of the three-day Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival of Irish Music and Dance at The Irish Center. Tyrone-born musician Gerry Timlin (Timlin & Kane) will be host for the Singers Night, dedicated to the memory of longtime festival organizer Frank Malley, himself a singer.
On Friday, the McGillians and Friends will play for the annual ceili dance in the ballroom, while in the Fireside Room, musician Gabriel Donohue will host a “Rambling House,” a Clare tradition in which anyone is invited to trot out their “party piece,” whether it’s a tune, a song, or a story. Special guest: Cherish the Ladies’ Joannie Madden.
The festival continues on Saturday with free workshops for various instruments, Irish language, St. Brigid’s cross making, genealogy, and more, plus live music, dancers, Irish fairy tale telling, face painting and other kids’ activities. Saturday’s closing concert features the Philadelphia premier of fiddler Tony DeMarco’s Atlantic Wave, including DeMarco, Martin O’Connell, Donie Carroll, Sean Ernest, and Siobhan Butler, along with Nuala Kennedy with Eamon Leary. This is the real thing, folks—craic with a capital C.
Believe it or not, there’s even more going on. On Thurday, Oliver McElhone will be appearing at Jack McShea’s in Ardmore, join McDermott’s Handy at the Gloucester City Marina and Proprietors Park in Gloucetser City, NJ, for an Irish trad night along the Delaware, or check out the Broken Shillelaghs at the Dubh Linn Square Pub in Cherry Hill.
And on Saturday, September 14, it’s another festival—the 7th annual Gloucester City Shamrock Festival with Clancy’s Pistol, the Misty Dew’rs, and the Broken Shillelaghs, along with food, crafts, a beer garden and children’s activities, all along the Delaware River.
If you choose to, you can wave to them from the deck of the A J Meewald, a 120-foot sailboat leaving from Penns Landing on Saturday, with the Friends of Eric onboard playing Irish tunes.
If you think this is an overdose of Irish, just wait. Bethlehem’s Celtic Fest and the AOH Fall Irish Weekend are coming up. Word to the wise: pace yourself.