How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

The big question is … how can you not be Irish in Philly this week?

This is the week of the big Philly parade, among other things. And that’s kind of the point: there are a lot of other things.

Take a deep breath. Here’s what to do.

We’ll start with Saturday:

  • Starting at 5 p.m. at the Irish Center (Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center), Colm Keegan of Celtic Thunder fame will present a program on the History of Ireland Through Music. Colm had a lot to say about it in our recent podcastbut think of it as a kind of TED Talk—only with one of the most talented Irish musicians you’re likely to hear. The Irish Center is located at 6815 Emlen Street (the corner of Carpenter and Emlen) in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. Ticket info and more details here.
  • AOH “Yellow Jack” Donohue Division 4 of Montgomery County hosts an Irish Night at St. Maria Goretti Parish, 1601 Derstine Road in Hatfield, starting at 7 p.m. For tickets—they’re $35 each—contact Tom Coughlin, Jr. at 215-450-9662 or email Reilly’s Daughter with Tommy Conwell provides the entertainment, along with Irish dancers and bagpipe music. There’s a full buffet, draft beer, wine and soda—and if you’re in the mood to buy some tchotchkes, Irish vendors will be on hand. Sounds like a big night.

Sunday’s a huge day of Irish-ness. Here’s what’s on:

  • The Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade is by far the main event. The parade starts at 16thand JFK, winding around City Hall, and then marches down Market Street toward Penn’s Landing. The reviewing stand is in front of the Constitution Center (5thand Market). The parade steps off at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. It all takes place rain or shine—and right now it’s looking like rain, so dress appropriately, but by all means, go. It’s a long and storied tradition. And remember, it’s Daylight Saving Time. So spring forward. The day also starts with a Commemorative Parade Mass at St. Patrick’s Church at 9 a.m., 20thand Locust Streets in Center City. Note: It’s also the last day of the Flower Show. Public transit just might be your best bet.
  • If you’re looking for an incredibly family-friendly way to celebrate on parade day, check out the Sober St. Patrick’s Day Party, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the High Point Bank Barn at St. Peter’s, 2475 St. Peter’s Road in Malvern. The party is no-alcohol, so it’s a great place to bring the kids—and yourself, for that matter. You’ll hear some of the finest Irish traditional musicians on the East Coast. There’ll be dancers, too, and kids’ activities, and plenty of nibblies, plus coffee, tea and soft drinks. Check out our story. Cost of admission is $20, $15 for seniors and students, and $10 for kids 10 and under.
  • Just in case the parade isn’t enough to satisfy the urge to celebrate your Irish-ness, there are after-parade parties all over the place, including (but by no means exclusively): The Irish Center in Mount Airy; Red Rooster Inn, 7960 Dungan Road in Northeast Philadelphia; New Deck Tavern near the Penn campus, 3410 Sansom Street (featuring Ray Coleman); The Market Tavern, 3000 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104; The Fainting Goat, 105 South MacDade Boulevard in Glenolden, Delaware County; and The American Pub, Centre Square Building Concourse, 1500 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19102. We’re sure there are many more we haven’t heard about, and new ones crop up all the time, so keep tabs on our calendar and our Facebook page.

Starting Wednesday and running through St. Patrick’s Day, the 9thAnnual Newtown Irish Festival is coming to The Green Parrot, 240 North Sycamore Street in Newtown, Bucks County. Featured bands and performers include Jamison Celtic Rock, Jim Milligan Band, Seamus Kelleher, Seamus McGroary Music and C.J., the busy Ray Coleman, and more. Details here.

Also Wednesday, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones will take the stage at The Plough & Stars, 2ndStreet, between Market and Chestnut, in Olde City. We did a podcast interview with Derek. You can listen here. Hear what all the fuss is about.

There’s an Irish Dance Team Showcase Thursday night at 6:30 at Villanova University in the Connelly Center Cinema, 800 Lancaster Avenue in Villanova. The show features the Villanova Irish Dance Team, who put their own unique spin (so to speak) on traditional Irish dance. A really talented group.

If you’re in a sporting mood, Thursday also features Irish Night at the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. We’d love to see Gritty dance a reel or a jig. For info, contact Shane Downey Jr. (sounds like a nice Irish fella) 215-952-5408 or

Friday is jam-packed with Irish stuff to do:

  • Check out the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at the Red Rooster Inn, 7960 Dungan Road in the Northeast. The celebration runs through St. Patrick’s Day and features No Irish Need Apply, the Hooligans, Jim Kelly, Irish dancers, and more. Details on their calendar. Lots of good Irish food and, we assume, a few brews.
  • Ashburner Inn, 8400 Torresdale Avenue, hosts its Annual Toast to St. Patrick, starting at noon and running through 3 p.m. Billed as “a festive and enlightening toast to our Patriarch.” Hosted by the Irish Society of Philadelphia.
  • The Seamus Egan Project rolls into town at World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street, in University City, starting at 8. (Doors open at 7.) Seamus is, of course, founding member and incredibly talented leader of the Irish supergroup Solas. Tickets and info here.
  • Kevin O’Shea is live at Marty Magee’s, a terrific watering hole at 1110 Lincoln Avenue in Prospect Park. Starts at 7 p.m.
  • It’s St. Patrick’s Fight Night at Temple’s Liacouras Center, featuring the undefeated John Joe Nevin, AOH Boxing Brother, Olympic Silver Medalist and Son of Ireland, and IBF and WBA champ Katie Taylor. Starts at 7 p.m. For tickets: 267-251-6109.
  • A little farther afield, it’s also the beginning of the Fáilte Festival 2019 St. Patrick’s Weekend Celebration at the Ice House, 56 River Street in Bethlehem. A solid weekend of Irish fun, featuring the inimitable Timlin & Kane with O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance, Seamus Kennedy (you need to see his act), Robert Watt, champion piper, and much, much more. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Details, full schedule and tickets here.

Our calendar is filling up for St. Patrick’s Day—about which, more next week—so keep an eye on it. You can submit your own Irish-related, Philly-area event here, of course.

That’s it for this week. See you next time, for the full St. Patrick’s Day HTBI.

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