How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Big doin’s this weekend!

Tomorrow, Saturday, you can get a total immersion sneak preview of the Irish language at the Commodore Barry Arts and Cultural Center (the Irish Center).

It’s called Satharn na nGael. Although about a third of the attendees are expected to be Irish language newbies, there will also be intermediate and advanced classes.

In addition to language, there will be a focus on Irish folklore, customs, music and poetry.

The language classes take place in the morning and afternoon. You’ll also get a chance to try your hand (or foot) at Irish dance.

It’s all expected to be pretty informal, with lunch provided, and a traditional music session (seisiún) at the end of the day. You’re invited to bring snacks. The cost of admission is $50. The event is sponsored by Daltaí na Gaeilge (Students of the Irish Language).

For details, call Aengus Lawlor at 484-854-1040. Visit the Daltai website to register.

The Irish Center is at 6815 Emlen in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Next up:

If you’ve never been to the Philadelphia Irish Festival at Penn’s Landing, here’s your opportunity. (And if you have been before, you already know what to expect—and why it’s a guaranteed great time.)

The festival kicks off Sunday at noon on the waterfront below Front and Chestnut, and runs through 7 p.m. Throughout the day, you’ll be treated to Irish rock on the main stage—local bands and performers Jamison, and CJ Mills, Seamus McGroary and Joe Kirschen, along with first-timers from New York City, the McLean Avenue Band. And throughout the venue, you’ll find plenty of food and drink, and vendors selling Irish tchotchkes all over the darn place. If you dig Irish dance, you’ll be able to take in a good deal of high stepping, too.

You’ll also find activities for the kiddos.

Best of all, people—it’s all free of charge.

More on the festival here.

Also Sunday, Mark McGovern, author of “Counterinsurgency and Collusion in Northern Ireland,” and Relatives for Justice CEO Mark Thompson will be at the MacSwiney Club in Jenkintown, Montgomery County, for a book launch, starting at 1:30 p.m. The book is an expose focusing on the Britain forces’ claim that they were responsible for only about 10 percent of the killings in Northern Ireland and shows how the Brits were also responsible for arming and shielding loyalists, who themselves were responsible for hundreds of killings.

The MacSwiney Club is a cozy venue at 510 Greenwood Avenue in Jenkintown Borough.

Later in the week, Thursday, Shaun Dernin is scheduled to appear at Saxers Pub, 148 Saxer Avenue, Springfield Township, Delaware County. The tunes start at 8 p.m.

Coming Friday and the following day, Saturday … it’s Kiltfest, an all-day celebration of Celtic culture, held for the first time in Pennsylvania, at the Trifecta Sporting Club, 4666 East Bristol Road, in Feasterville-Trevose.

Music includes bands like na Bodach and the Kilted Rogues, together with well-known entertainers like C.J. Mills and Seamus McGroary. As with the Philadelphia Irish Festival, there’s also food and drink, and lots of vendors. Kilts are optional (except for the Kilted Fun Run Saturday morning).

Kiltfest runs from 6 p.m. to midnight on the 7th, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the 8th.

Plenty more information in our comprehensive story.

And that’s it for this week. Maybe we’ll catch you at a festival. Stay cool.

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