How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

We’ll start with a past Philly St. Patrick’s Day parade picture to remind us that happy days will be here again.

But for now, coronavirus has changed many St. Patrick’s plans significantly, so we’re going to have to break with our longstanding upbeat tradition and start by telling you what isn’t happening.

Probably the most visible celebration of St. Patrick in the Philly area is the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade, which this year would have celebrated its 250th anniversary on Sunday. “Would have,” as in “not happening.”

Many of you probably have already heard the unhappy news by now, but for those of you who haven’t, parade organizers characterized their decision as difficult but necessary in the interest of public safety.

This, from the parade committee:

“After heartfelt consideration and serious conversation with officials from the City of Philadelphia, the St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association has decided to cancel the parade and all events related to the 2020 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This decision was made with significant input from civic and parade participants. While this decision is disappointing, we acted with a general concern for the well-being of everyone. In days to come, we will continue with great enthusiasm to plan the 250th Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on March 14, 2021, celebrating Saint Patrick, our Grand Marshal Michael J. Bradley, Jr., and the distinguished members of the Ring of Honor.”

In addition:

  • The Montgomery County St. Patrick’s Day parade in Conshohocken, scheduled for Saturday (March 14), has been canceled. There also would have been an after-parade party at the Division Hall, but that, too, is canceled.
  • The Saturday Springfield (Delco) parade was canceled earlier this week.
  • The Saturday Bucks County parade and all events centered around it have also been canceled.
  • On Thursday morning, the Wilmington parade, which had been scheduled for Saturday, also canceled.
  • The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick typically host their annual gala the night before the Philadelphia parade, but this year it has been postponed until September 18.
  • North Wildwood’s St. Patrick’s Day ceremony and parade, scheduled for Saturday, are canceled.
  • And from the Philadelphia Ceili Group, which had planned its St. Patrick’s Day Ceili Mor for tonight (March 13) at the Irish Center in Mount Airy, that event, too, is canceled.
  • One other quick note: John Finucane, the newly elected MP from North Belfast, was scheduled to speak at the Irish Center tonight, but now will not be making an appearance. He has been advised not to travel due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Tonight’s opening reception for “Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers,” local photographer Robin Hiteshew’s exhibit at the Villanova Art Gallery, is canceled. It will be rescheduled.
  • Saturday’s Erin Express is canceled and rescheduled, according to the Inquirer. All participating bars remain open.
  • Brittingham’s in Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County, a longtime favorite for St. Patrick’s Day, will close between today and March 27, with plans to reschedule their St. Patrick’s Day celebration to April 17.
  • One concert a lot of Irish traditional music fans were looking forward to, Danú at Annenberg Center, scheduled for Saturday the 14th, has been postponed. Also at Annenberg, the Trinity Irish Dance Company, scheduled for March 27, is postponed.
  • All events at the Irish Center are canceled, including the March 15 parade party. The McPeake concert on March 21 is also canceled, as of this morning. We hope you’ll continue to support them with your membership here.
  • The Saturday, March 14, Emmet Cahill concert at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is postponed. New date to be announced.
  • The Jameson Sisters’ Sophisticated St. Patrick’s Day concert, which had been scheduled for tonight (Friday) at the church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal in Harleysville is now rescheduled to April 24.
  • The St. Malachy’s College Irish Traditional Group Concert was scheduled for Monday, March 16, at Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School, but that event is now canceled.
  • Bethlehem’s Third Annual Fáilte Festival, March 13-15, is canceled.
  • Note that all non-essential activities at the Irish Diaspora Center are suspended until further notice.
  • The Chester County Ancient Order of Hibernians Wolfe Tone Division’s 45th annual Irish program, scheduled for Saturday, is now canceled.
  • The Cummins Irish Dance School had planned a St. Patrick’s Day Party at VFW Post 676, Glenside, on Sunday, March 15, but it is now postponed until Sunday, April 26.
  • The McHugh School St. Patrick’s Day party, “Celebrate Our Irish Heritage,” scheduled for Sunday, March 15, is now canceled.
  • The Thursday, March 19, concert by the High Kings at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville is postponed. Details here. As with many entertainment venues, the Colonial requires your continued support during this time. Join or renew here.

Some events scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), have also been affected by coronavirus concerns:

  • The annual St. Patrick’s Day Commemoration at the Irish Memorial, Front and Chestnut, is canceled.
  • The St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast for the Patrick Kerr Scholarship at the Malt House in Rockledge has been postponed but will reschedule.
  • A St. Patrick’s Day party at the MacSwiney Club in Jenkintown is canceled.
  • Judge James Murray Lynn’s annual charity breakfast at the Plough and Stars is off, as the Plough is now temporarily closed.

Some places are still open for St. Patrick’s Day … but that’s absolutely not the best idea under the circumstances. It’s more or less the opposite of social distancing.

Bear in mind this advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), designed to keep yourself and others safe:

Wish we had better news for you, but we’re sure you understand that all the venues and organizations are erring on the side of caution.

For now, stay safe and see you next week.

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