Dozens of people crammed into the tiny MacSwiney Club last Saturday night to pay tribute to Kevin McGillian, who has been playing Irish music on his button accordion at ceilis far and wide since he arrived from Tyrone in the 1950s.
The Comhaltas Ceoltiori Eireann Philadelphia-Delaware Valley Division gave McGillian its lifetime achievement award, appropriately during a break in a ceili at the Jenkintown club. Playing button accordion in the ceili band was Billy McComiskey, a four-time all-Ireland champion who drive up from Baltimore to be part of the event. Later in the evening, he gave McGillian his accordion to hold and the octogenarian, who has been battling cancer, coaxed a tune out of it. McGillians sons, Jimmy and John, also joined in the music making.
See the video below from McGillian’s niece, Karen Boyce McCollum, along with photos from the evening.