How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

This is going to be a terrific week for music, benefits and more.

We’ll start with a quick reminder: Jarlath Henderson, from County Armagh, Ireland, is the recipient of the BBC Young Folk Musician of the Year Award and is renowned as a balladeer and three-time winner of the All-Irelands on uilleann pipes. He also plays flute, whistle and cittern. In short: multi-talented. And tonight (May 3), he is appearing at the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center (a/k/a the Irish Center), 6815 Emlen Street in Philly’s Mount Airy neighborhood, together with Innes Watson.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Details here. Add this to your musical to-do list.

There’s also a Cash Bingo Night tonight to help the Irish Immigration Center’s Foróige Philadelphia group 11-day trip to Ireland in July. It takes place at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 1 West Ardmore Avenue in Ardmore, starting at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7. Tickets are $30 at the door.

Saturday night at 6, you can don your finest race day finery and attend a Kentucky Derby Night at the Races at the Irish Center. You could win a prize for best dressed or best hat. There’ll be fun things to do for the kiddies, and Derby drink specials. Highlight of the night: taped races to cheer on your favorite horses. Proceeds benefit the center’s capital Improvements fund. Five horses/sponsorship opportunities available.  Contact Julia Nolan at

Also Saturday starting at 6 p.m., there’s a beef and beer sponsored by Dennis Kelly Ancient Order of Hibernians at Hanrahan’s Irish Pub, 690 Burmont Road in Drexel Hill. It’s 40 bucks at the door. Buffet and domestic beers included—plus 50-50 raffles. For more information, contact Division President Tim Carroll at

It’s spring, which means that it’s time for your fancy to turn lightly to thoughts of trees and flowers—which means that on Sunday it’s time for Irish Day at the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum, 100 East Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. There’ll be Irish music and dance all day, rain or shine. You can also meet historians William E. and J. Francis Watson to learn a bit of history, about the infamous Duffy’s Cut tragedy.

The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is included in the price of admission, which is free, of course, to Arboretum members. For everybody else, it’s $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 an older, $10 ages 3-17, and free for kiddos under 3. A lot more details in our recent story.

Also Sunday: The annual Hunger Strikers of ’81 memorial Mass and reception sponsored by the National Park Ancient Order of Hibernians in National Park, N.J. The Mass is at 2 p.m. at St. Mathew’s Church Holy Angels Parish, 307 Wesley Ave. in National Park. Refreshments will be provided afterward at Gloucester County AOH/Richard Rossiter Memorial Hall, 200 Columbia Boulevard in National Park.

Keep next Saturday, May 11, free for the Philadelphia Fleadh, to be held at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory, Southampton Road and Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. It’s a great full day of Irish and Celtic music on three stages from well-known Irish bands and performers, including the Paul Moore Band, the Bogside Rogues, the John Byrne Band, the Shantys, Birmingham Six, Nor Irish Need Apply, Shenanigans, Kilted Rogues, Oakwyn, Ray Coleman, and many more.

If you’re a musician yourself, you can bring your fiddle, bodhran, banjo, accordion or whatever to the Fleadh’s Trad section for a terrific session. (Or you can just go and listen, of course.) Celtic Flame School of Irish Dance will host the Feis at The Fleadh—an Irish dance competition—all day long.

There will be plenty of vendors, food and drink—and we’re really not doing it justice, because there’s a heck of a lot going on. Information and a link to tickets here.

If you can’t find something Irish to do here, you just aren’t trying.

And that’s it for this week. See you next time.

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