Dr. Andrew McCormick
What happens next with Brexit is far from clear. The outcome is a moving target.
It’s one man’s job to take the long view, to inform Northern Irish government officials of the range of possibilities, depending on that eventual outcome.
Dr. Andrew McCormick, director of general international relations, is Northern Ireland’s senior civil servant. He spoke before the Irish American Business Chamber & Network in Philadelphia recently to share what he knows—about Brexit’s potential impact on the peace process and how the lingering political uncertainties might affect the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, along with the impact on the economy and U.S. businesses that have headquarters or operations in the north.
In a conversation before the roundtable, McCormick explained his mission during his stateside tour of Irish organizations.
You have one busy week ahead of you—and actually most of the area’s Irish activities are crammed into just this one weekend.
Here’s what’s happening:
Saturday, September 14
It’s the final day of the Philadelphia Ceili Group Traditional Irish Music & Dance Festival, one of the premier events in Philly’s Irish social calendar. If you like Irish music and dance, you’ll find it all day and into the night, capped off by a big concert headlined by Tony DeMarco and Atlantic Wave. There will also be workshops all day, focusing on everything from genealogy to tin whistle to the Irish language. There are kid-friendly activities, Celtic vendors and lots more.
If you want to know more, we have the complete rundown here.
Welcome back to HTBI, your weekly Irish fix.
We’re roughly halfway to St. Patrick’s Day, and you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate.
Sunday, September 8
It’s monthly Children’s Story Time at the Irish Immigration Center, 7 South Cedar Lane in Upper Darby, from 3 to 4 p.m. This week’s classic tale: the story of Brian Boru. Stories are followed by arts and crafts activities, supervised by Immigration Center staff and members of the center’s Foróige youth group.
Potty-trained kiddies between 3 and 9 years of age are welcome.
For details, call Ciaran at 610-789-6355 extension 3201 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Rosaleen McGill has been volunteering for the Philadelphia Ceili Group Traditional Music & Dance Festival since she was 8 or 9 years old. “It was a great tradition in which to grow up. It felt like being raised by a village. And people were always excited to tell me about their instrument or try to teach me a few words of Gaelic or how to make a St. Brigid’s Cross. There was always so much to get involved in and a beautiful range of ages.”
Now, here she is in her early 30s, and it never gets tired. Obviously not, because she’s on the board of the Ceili Group.
Just as obviously, the festival holds an incredible amount of appeal for her—and, she suggests, that’s as it should be, not just for her, but for anyone even the least bit interested in their Irish heritage and culture.
This year’s festival is certainly no exception.
“It’s a unique showcase of Irish culture,” McGill says. “It’s nice to have a culture all your own to dive deep into and examine the traditions and language and stories and the instruments that we have created, and not just celebrate the history, but all facets.”
Welcome to the unofficial end of summer. (Cue the copious weeping.)
Fear not, there’s much to keep you occupied as we enter the Labor Day weekend and beyond.
Here’s how things shake out:
Sunday, September 1
If you’ve never been to Brittingham’s annual Irish festival, we’ve been there, and we recommend it. The weather is supposed to be picture perfect and you’ll find plenty to occupy your time in an Irish-y sort of way.
You’ll get to hear tunes from the Paul Moore Band and the Flip-N-Mickeys, plus there will be food and drink specials, raffles and giveaways. Proceeds of the event benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research. In other words, a good time for a very good cause.
You’ll find Brittingham’s at 640 Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill (right at the curve, across from the Barren Hill Fire Company). It starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs for hours and hours.
New Jersey native Haley Richardson, a young fiddle player well-known within the Philadelphia traditional Irish music community, where her love of the genre first took root, joined the cast of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin this summer.
Often described as a “child prodigy,” at 17 Haley is no longer a child, and regardless of the honors and accolades thrown her way, remains a thoroughly grounded young lady.
Anyone who has ever heard her play—from her childhood playing an appropriately child-sized violin to her victories at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (the world championships of Irish music) and appearances on stage with the likes of The Chieftains—knows those honors and accolades are well-deserved.
We recently spoke with Haley about Riverdance, her upbringing in music, and thoughts on her future. Here’s what she had to say.
Here’s your weekly dose of Irish-ness. As always, an interesting mix of events, and you ought to be able to find something—or a few somethings—to pique your interest.
Also, we’ve had some requests to include dates along with days in our announcements, so we’ve changed the format a bit to make it easier for you to track what’s up and when.
Saturday, August 24
The John Byrne Band plays the music of Shane MacGowan and The Pogues at Kildare’s Irish Pub, 18 West Gay Street in West Chester. The show starts at 6 p.m. Recommend highly.
There’s plenty to keep you Irish peeps busy this week.
Let’s start with Saturday night. You’ll have an opportunity to hear two great local bands:
- The first event is Irish night at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, 9130 Academy Road in Northeast Philly. The biergarten opens at 5 p.m., and The Shanties take the stage at 7:30. Free admission!
- If you’re down the shore, take in the Bogside Rogues at Anglesea Pub, 116 West 1stAvenue in North Wildwood. The show starts at 9.
On Sunday, another truly fun-packed event, with an opportunity to help well-known local Irish musician Luke Jardel. Luke suffered a severe injury to his hand and required major surgery.