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Jeff Meade

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philadelphia This Week

We’re just a week into May, and events are popping up all over. Listen to live music, catch a Facebook Live concert by one of the planet’s best bands, or put your own musical talents to the test.

Here’s what’s on:

Friday, May 7

Seamus McGroary takes the First Friday stage at Henry James Saloon, 577 Jamestown Avenue in Philadelphia, from 6 to 9 p.m.

It’s also First Friday for Neil Mac Thiarnáin & Moira at the New Deck Tavern, 3408 Sansom Street in University City, starting at 6:30 p.m.

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People

Remembering Frank Hollingsworth

Frank Hollingsworth has been described as an “activist extraordinaire.” He passed away following a brief illness at the age of 81.

To say he will be missed is pure understatement—and not just by the Irish community, but by the countless other organization with which he was involved, from his beloved Lincoln High School Alumni Association to the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame to the Glen Foerd on the Delaware historical site to the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame. Whatever his interest, Hollingsworth was in it all the way—always the inveterate volunteer.

That, says his life partner of 41 years Pat Smith, was just the way Frank Hollingsworth was built.

“He just always had an interest, the putting together of things, connecting to his history, to this person to that person to that place,” she says. “Finding people from his class, for example, he ran the reunion for his 50thclass reunion. He found so many people, it was unbelievable. They had an amazing turnout. And then there’s been groups of them that have gotten together here and there a couple of times of year ever since.”

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Music … you want it? We got it. Many of the area’s top Irish musicians are in action this week throughout the Delaware Valley.

Here’s what’s up.

Friday, April 30

Jamison Celtic Rock’s Frank Daly and fiddler Alice Marie are playing the Kensington Pub, starting at 8 p.m. The Kensington Pub is at 2116 East Tioga Street.

Saturday, May 1

Check out Paddy Whack’s Irish Sports Pub, 9241-43 Roosevelt Boulevard in the Northeast, for a show by the Bogside Rogues. They’ll be there from 3 to 7 p.m.

And John Byrne is back, this time at 118 North—that’s 118 North Wayne Avenue in Wayne. Take in dinner and a show—doesn’t that sound nice?—starting at 8:30 p.m. You need to reserve a table for indoor dining

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Music, People

Raymond Coleman Recording New Album … and You Can Help

It’s been six or seven years since Raymond Coleman, one of the Philadelphia area’s most popular Irish musicians, has recorded an album. The first was “Trouble (with a Capital T.)”

Now, he’s getting ready to work on the next one—as yet unnamed—and it promises to be a real crowd-pleaser. Best of all, proceeds benefit autism awareness.

The long pandemic-imposed break in live performances gave Coleman time to think about the sorts of tunes he wants to put on the CD, which he’ll be recording at Cove Island Productions, with multitalented local musician Gabriel Donohue producing.

“I’m just trying to get things organized,” he says. “People have been asking when I’d be doing the next recording, and every year I’ve said, ‘It’s coming’.”

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Quite a fun little week ahead, with lots of live musical listening opportunities—as well as an opportunity to get out and get physical with Philly’s vibrant Gaelic sports scene.

Here ya go:

Friday, April 23

Frank Daly will be performing at Eddington House, 2813 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem, tonight, starting at 8 p.m.

And Raymond Coleman appears at Dooney’s Pub, 154 NJ-73 in Voorhees, N,J., starting at 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 24

Na Toraidhe—the Philadelphia Hurling and Camogie Club—is looking for new players. Never heard of hurling or camogie? Not surprising. Lots of people haven’t. But trust us, both are some of the fastest moving games in all of sport, and they’re unique to Ireland. Find out more at registration night, 5 p.m. at Punch Buggy Brewing, 1445 N. American Street in Philly. The 2021 hurling and camogie season start soon.

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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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