How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Rob Dunleavy and Michael Boyce of Blackthorn doing a duet?

Rob Dunleavy and Michael Boyce of Blackthorn doing a duet?

We’re rich! We’re rich!

Rich in Irish entertainment that is. It all starts this weekend when Blackthorn, Galway Guild and the Shanty’s perform on the same stage—Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino in Chester—on Saturday night. They’re calling it “Irish Paradise,” and it sure sounds that way to me.

If you’re in Upper Darby on Saturday, stop in at Cawley’s Irish Pub at 9 PM and show your support for the Young Irelands Gaelic Football Club–regional champs!–by eating some beef and drinking some beer. Cawley’s is at 7919W. Chester Pike. Music will be provided by John Lefty Kelly. Proceeds from the benefit will help the Young Irelands get to Chicago for the national championships in which they’ll face Vancouver in the first round on Friday, September 4.

On Sunday, the tempo changes a bit. County Offaly’s Paddy O’Brien, button accordion champ and repository of more than 3,000 Irish traditional tunes, will be performing with fellow Minneapolis resident Nathan Gourley, a remarkable young fiddler. They’ll be at the Coatesville Cultural Center.

Paul Moore Band will be playing its usual first Friday gig at Brittingham’s in Lafayette Hill on September 4.

The following week, though, we have an embarrassment of riches. The Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival starts on Thursday, September 10, with a singers’ night, followed by two more days of music and dance, culminating with a Saturday night concert by Girsa, an amazing, not-to-be-missed female trad group that doesn’t get to our area often enough.

That same weekend, you can also see Irish boxing—the Holy Family Boxing Club Vs. Philly’s Harrowgate boxers—at Canstatter’s in Northeast Philadelpha which kicks off the Northeast Philly Irish Festival. That features Irish country singer Deirdre Reilly, Timlin & Kane, the Bogside Rogues, Celtic Connection, Belfast Connection, and Oliver McElhone. Kids under 16 get in free to this festival.

Sign up today for a spot in the Center City living room of Gabriel Donohue and Marian Makins to hear piper Cillian Vallely of the super trad group Lunasa who has recorded with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Mary Chapin-Carpenter and Natalie Merchant, and his brother Niall, a concertina player who’s performed and recorded with Tim O’Brien, Paddy Keenan, and singer Karan Casey. They’ll be sitting somewhere near the grand white piano playing like you wouldn’t believe. Email to reserve a spot.

AOH Notre Dame Div. 1 is holding its 19th annual golf outing on September 11 at Landis Creek Golf Course in Limerick There don’t seem to be any spots for golfers left, but go to to see if you can get on a waiting list.

However, you may still be able to catch a spot on a golf foursome on September 9 featuring some local sports celebs like former Phil Ricky Bottalico and the Flyers’ PJ Umberger, Steve Mason, Matt Read, Danny Briere, Jabuk Voracek, and Kimmo Timonen. You might also get paired up with Ken Casey, front man for the Dropkick Murphys and founder of The Claddagh Fund, which is sponsoring the event to raise money for underfunded nonprofits (you know, the little guys who do big work). Go to the Claddagh Fund ticket site to sign up.

Also on the way, the long-awaited John Byrne Band CD Release Party at World Cafe Live. The band’s latest offering is “The Immigrant and the Orphan,” and it is just magnificent. That’s coming up on September 19.

Coming up later in the month (September 25-27: Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, a great big mish-mash of Scottish and Irish food, drink, music and dance , border collies, and highland games. Music will be provided by a dream team of groups from across the country, including Burning Bridget Cleary (go see them!), Blackwater, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Across the Pond, Scottish singer Archie Fisher, Celtic Spirit, Craig Thatcher and Nyke VanWyk, Emish, the Glengarry Bhoys, the Kilmaine Saints, McPeake, the Mudmen, Poor Man’s Gambit, Steve Stanislaw and John Beatty, Tempest (they are wild and crazy and crazy good), the Gothard Sisters, The Fretless, The Rogue Diplomats, and Matt and Shannon Heaton.

Some local Philly talent will be there, including the talented and funny Timlin & Kane, Jamison Celtic Rock, one of the most high energy groups you’ll see and the only one with a fiddler who flies, No Irish Need Apply fronted by our pal Matthew McDonald play both original and cover songs and have a killer new singer, and Killen-Clark, the musical duo of remarkable singers Kim Killen and Gerry Clark.

But if the Pope wants to know where most of the Irish people from Philly are, the answer is probably going to be “at Irish Weekend” in North Wildwood, from September 24-27, featuring a parade, a fun run, miles of vendors, music coming out of every pub, a pipe band competition, and loads of music on stages up and down the street, including a concert with singer Cathy Maguire with 13-year-old fiddle phenom Haley Richardson at Wildwood Catholic High School. It’s a destination for Philly folks every year.

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