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Jeff Meade

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

More live Irish tuneage this week, along with an opportunity to do good works for the environment. The Irish have diverse interests.

Check it out.

Friday, April 16

Jamison Celtic Rock takes the stage at the great sports bar, Nick’s Roast Beef, 4501 Woodhaven Road West in Northeast Philly. The show starts at 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 17

If you’re across the Delaware, join the Ancient Order of Hibernians Commodore John Barry Division 1 in National Park, N.J., for a big clean-up at Beach Hill, right along the river near the AOH clubhouse, the Fort Mercer Club. The cleanup begins at 9 a.m. The beach is littered with trash and debris, and the AOH plans on prettying things up. Meet at the Fort Mercer Club, 200 Columbia Boulevard in National Park. The more, the merrier, and a great cause.

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Music, People

Want to Keep Up with Irish Music? Join the Great Irish Songbook!

It’s where to go when Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones host a live online concert, where local Irish musicians publicize upcoming gigs—or post their availability for new ones—and where you can hear a vintage recording of the Chieftains playing “The Foggy Dew.”

And a whole lot more.

It’s The Great Irish Songbook, a group page on Facebook, and if you want to join in the fun, you can.

The page is the brainchild of Bill Donahue, Jr., front man for The Shantys—and who better? He’s been playing Irish music since 1999. He grew up in a household heavily influenced by the musical preferences of his Derry-born grandfather and his mother, from Dublin. He’s been hearing rebel tunes practically from the cradle.

He’s been a musician since 1999, starting in a Pogues cover band. At an early age, he started taking tin whistle lessons. They didn’t take at the time—he wasn’t very good at it, he admits—but later on in life he picked it up again, and now it’s one of his principal musical instruments.

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History, News

Easter Rising Commemoration 2021

A little rain—more like a downpour at the end—couldn’t stop the 2021 commemoration of the Easter Rising at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon on Sunday.

A few dozen marchers, led by the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band and the Pennsylvania 69th Irish Brigade, wound its way through the cemetery to visit the gravesites of local Irish patriots Luke Dillon, Danny Cahalane and Joseph McGarrity.

Members of those families laid wreaths of flowers, and a representative of the 69th Irish Brigade sprinkled Irish soil over each gravesite.

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Enjoy live tunes and honor Philly’s Irish patriots this week—and mark your calendars for a special event coming up.

Here’s what’s on tap:

Friday, April 9

Jamison Celtic Rock—the full band—will take their show to Delco tonight, at Tom N Jerry’s Sports Pub, 1006 MacDade Boulevard in Folsom. Tunes start at 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 10

Celtic folkies No Irish Need Apply are back, playing Paddy Whacks Irish Sports Pub, 9241-43 Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philly, from 3 to 7 p.m. Great band, super venue.

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People

Remembering Bill Whitman

When The Shantys take to the stage Sunday afternoon for a show at the Fainting Goat in Glenolden, Delaware County, they’ll be missing a longtime friend who tapped out the rhythm for all their tunes.

William E. “Bill” Whitman, Jr., of Ridley Park, who played a mean bodhrán—the traditional Irish frame drum—died at the age of 70 on Good Friday, sending shock waves throughout the Delaware Valley’s Irish community. Local musicians knew him. He sat in with all the bands. He made frequent appearances at traditional Irish music sessions. He was well-known throughout the pubs and clubs where that music was played, from Northeast Philly to the Jersey Shore.

But his influence and friendship extended well beyond the musical community. He was a longtime marshal for the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade, a member of Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 87 in Port Richmond, a volunteer for Irish festivals and many other events, a member of The Mayo Association of Philadelphia, and a frequent visitor to the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (the Irish Center). In 2020, Whitman was named a member of the parade’s Ring of Honor—and quite the honor it was for a truly humble man. 

Whitman grew up in the Swampoodle neighborhood, at one time an Irish hotbed in the city of North Philadelphia, and around here you can hardly be more pedigreed than that. He was a proud graduate of Roman Catholic High School.

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

It’s not a busy week, but—as has been the case recently—there are several chances to see and hear live music. And there’s more next weekend. So do take advantage.

Here’s what’s happening.

Friday, April 2

Round Tower makes an appearance at Hanrahan’s Irish Pub, 690 Burmont Road in Upper Darby, starting at 6 p.m. 

Jamison Celtic Rock front man Frank Daly and fiddler Alice Marie play at the Kensington Pub, 2116 East Tioga Street in Philly, starting at 8 p.m.

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Between now and Easter Sunday, you’ll have a few opportunities for live Irish music. As always, pandemic precautions apply, but it’s nice to have a chance to hear your favorite tunes from local Irish artists. Give them a listen and support your local Irish pubs and eateries.

Saturday, March 27

John O’Callaghan plays an acoustic set at Curley’s Pub, 8929 Krewstown Road, just a few blocks from Bustleton and Grant. He starts at 3 p.m.

Singer, actor and performer Danny Murphy, with special guests Leanne McGroary, Keira Bauer and Isabella Box, appears at the Kelly Center, 4 East Eagle Road in Havertown, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.  Online ticket sales close at 5 p.m. on the day of the show. You can also watch via live stream. All details and ticket info here.

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

St. Patrick’s Day is just past … but St. Patrick’s month is still here. The schedule isn’t as jam-packed as it was last week, but you can keep the celebration going.

Here’s what’s on.

Friday, March 19

Raymond Coleman, John McGillian and Tim Buchanan appear at Gaul & Co. Malthouse, 704 Huntingdon Pike in Rockledge, starting at 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 20

John Byrne and Maura Dwyer are scheduled to appear at Kelly Center, 4 East Eagle Road in Havertown, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door. Advance sales close 5 p.m. the day of the show. Details and tickets here.

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