How to Be Irish in Philly, Music

How to be Irish in Philly this Week

Hi, gang.

Here’s what’s what for the coming week as we head into a big month for local Irish (and Celts of all stripes).

Let’s start with Brittingham’s Irish Festival, Sunday starting at noon at Brittingham’s (of course) , 640 East Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill. Be prepared for the long haul. After 7:30, the party continues inside and continues on into the night. Look for Jamison, Oliver McElhone, Five Quid and Bare Knuckled Boxers. Food, drink, dance, and fun for the kiddies, too.

Wednesday at 7:30, two Irish musical stars, piper Cillian Vallely (of Lunasa) and his concertina-playing brother Niall, perform in a house concert sponsored by the Barn Star Concert Series. It’s a cozy little space on Bainbridge Street in Philly, and tickets are limited. Contact the organizer to reserve a space: More details on Barn Star’s Facebook page. Tickets are 20 bucks. You can bring drinks or goodies to share. You don’t have to, but it really adds to the fun.

Matt Ward

Matt Ward

Later this week (September 10-12), look for one of the annual high points of Irish traditional music, dance and culture—the three-day Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival at the Commodore Barry Club/Philadelphia Irish Center, Carpenter and Emlen in the Mount Airy section of Philly. (The Carpenter SEPTA station is right on the corner if you want to commute.)

It all kicks off  Thursday night with a singer’s night hosted by Teresa Kane and featuring John Byrne, Matt Ward, and the Jameson sisters, with a ceili dance featuring McGillian and Friends. If you’ve never gone, you must.

The following night, John McGillian presides over a Rambling House. Think of it as a party. Because that’s what it is! You’ll hear singers and players of all ages, with a bit of story-telling thrown in as well.

After the Rambling House, get a good night’s sleep. You’ll need it.



There are musical workshops on Saturday, taught by some of the top performers anywhere. If you can’t play an instrument, hey, most everybody can sing. There are singing workshops, too, in Irish and English.

If you’d rather just listen, there’s great Irish music all day long. You can also watch dance demonstrations by the McDade-Cara School of Irish Dance.

There are all kinds of fun activities for the kids, and food and drink for everybody.

But, wait! We’re not finished yet! Saturday’s 7 p.m. concert in the ballroom features the great young Irish supergroup, Girsa, and one of the best singers you’ll hear anywhere, Mary Courtney.

All details here at the Philadelphia Ceili Group website.

And hold on, we aren’t done yet.

Put up your dukes, pal.

Put up your dukes, pal.

On Friday night at the Canstatter’s Club, boxers from Belfast’s Holy Family Boxing Club meet up against our local Harrogate Boxing Club. This is always a really fun event. It starts at 7 p.m. Constatter’s is in the Northeast at 9130 Academy Road.

The following day and Sunday at the same location, the Northeast Philly Irish Festival gets underway, with music from Timlin & Kane, Irish country singer Deirdre Reilly, the Bogside Rogues, the Hooligans, Belfast Connection, Celtic Connection, and Oliver McElhone. Lot of vendors, food, and things for the kids to do.

Good luck to those of you trying to choose.

By the way, we’re aware that there’s been a problem for some of you trying to add events to our calendar. We’re working on it, and hope to have things resolved soon.

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