How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Look for this guy (Jamesie of Albannach) and more Celtic acts at the Ren Faire this weekend.

Look for this guy (Jamesie of Albannach) and more Celtic acts at the Ren Faire this weekend.

Dig out your flowing dresses and your buckskin vests—it’s Celtic Fling weekend at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim (near Lancaster). The three-day event features top Celtic acts such as Gaelic Storm, Albannach, Barleyjuice, the Screaming Orphans, Rathkeltair, and Scythian, with both Irish and Scottish dancers, freckle, kilt, and haggis-eating contests, and highland games.

On Saturday, flute player John Blake will be performing at the Coatesville Cultural Society. Blake, who grew up in London, has been influenced by his Connaught roots and now lives in Dublin. A former member of the group Teada, he has performed with other top traditional musicians including Angela Carberry, John Carty, and the Kane sisters.

On Sunday, it’s Celtic Day in Bristol Borough, down along the scenic Delaware River. On tap: the Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, No Irish Need Apply, and the Hooligans.

Also on Sunday, The Plough and the Stars in Philadelphia is hosting a fundraiser for the six local Irish musicians who are heading to Sligo in August to compete in the All-Ireland championships. They include two of last year’s winners, fiddler Haley Richardson and harpist Emily Safko, both of New Jersey. Several of the kids play regularly at The Plough session.

Sunday is a very busy day for the Irish. There’s also a fundraiser at Maggie O’Neill’s in Drexel Hill for the 2015 Mary from Dungloe event which is held at the Donegal Ball in November. You can meet the current Philadelphia Mary, Kelly Devine, before she leaves for Ireland to compete and a few other former Marys, including International Mary from Dungloe of 2013, Meghan Davis.

There are still a few seats available for the Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely house concert in Center City Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 2. That’s three-fifths of Lunasa (one of my favorite groups, in case that means anything to you) and not only will the music be fabulous, so will the craic (Kevin Crawford is a hoot). To reserve, email It’s a house concert, so seating is limited.

Enjoy the Fourth!

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