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Jeff Meade

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Welcome to another compelling episode of “As the Irish Philly World Turns.”

Here’s how it turns this week.

Saturday, November 23

It’s “Tara Gael Night with the Hooligans” at St. Dominic’s Marian Hall, 8532 Frankford Avenue in Philly.

Join the Tara Gael Dancers as they host a fun-filled night with great music, starting at 7 p.m. The event is a benefit for the Tara Gael Dancers to help them go dancing in the streets in the 2020 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Tickets are $35 per person, including beer, wine, soda and buffet. BYOB for additional drinks.
If you would like to pay via Venmo @Danielle-Pastella. Continue Reading

News

All Are Welcome to the Irish Center’s Open House and Christmas Tree Lighting

The folks at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (also known as the Irish Center) want you to get to know what a singular contribution the venerable institution makes to the Philadelphia Irish community and to the surrounding neighborhood of Mount Airy—and what better time than at the beginning of the Christmas holiday season.

The Center will host its first Christmas Tree Lighting and Open House December 1 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. You can find the Center at 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy. Best of all, it’s free, although donations will be accepted.

“There will be something going on in every room of the Center,” says board member and vice president Lisa Maloney. “In the Fireside Room, there will be Irish music from noon ‘til 6. We have a number of Irish musicians already confirmed. From there you move into the Barry Room, where we’re hosting a Christmas market. We have about 12 or 13 vendors already confirmed. Bette Conway will have jewelry, and there will also be antique jewelry, and handmade candles made by Maureen Barry Connor. Bewley’s Tea will be there with tea and jam and other yummy treats. Continue Reading

Arts, Photo Essays, Photos

“Straight Out of Ireland” Draws an Enthusiastic Audience

Between 600 and 700 art lovers eager to savor the best of the Emerald Isle’s contemporary works visited the “Straight Out of Ireland” exhibition last weekend in Bryn Mawr.

Organized by the Philadelphia Irish Immigration Center in an ornate mansion on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy and pulled together by a dedicated crew of volunteers and committee members, the display showcased the work of 20 artists from Ireland and another dozen artists from the United States who have been influenced by the culture of Ireland. “Straight Out of Ireland” featured a range of contemporary art, including ceramics, glass, drawings, lace, jewelry, photography, paintings, fashion and more.

The event began with a grand gala Friday night, followed by a day of exhibits and informative panel discussions the next day, and a special family day on Sunday.

Immigration Center organizers were expecting 500 or so visitors, so the event exceeded expectations, says Emily Norton Ashinhurst, executive director of the center. Continue Reading

Music

A Dream Come True for Megan Ruby Walsh, Celtic Woman’s Newest Member

Like so many children of musicians, Megan Ruby Walsh, the newest member of the Celtic Woman cast, was destined to join the lyrically inclined ranks.

Both her parents were musicians. She was just 4 years old when her mother took her to a rehearsal of the local musical society. At that point, Walsh was hooked.

“Music just speaks to everyone,” Walsh said in a recent interview, “and I fell in love with it. I fell in love with singing. I fell in love with the feeling I got when I sang. I think that was because I grew up in a musical family where music was played every day, like when we were in the car, while mom was cooking, while dad was cooking—the music was playing all day. It just became such a big, big part of my life. I knew what I wanted to do when I was 4.”

And actually, to be more specific, Walsh’s first love was musical theater. She sang her first solo at age 7. It was “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie.”

From that point on, there was no looking back. Continue Reading

News, People, Photo Essays, Photos

A Look Back at the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame Dinner 2019

The Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame held its 2019 Dinner this past Sunday night, honoring four well-respected representatives of the local Irish community. They included: Judge Patrick Dugan and Sister Marguerite O’Beirne, OSF, with a Commodore John Barry Award presented to Russell W. Wylie. The beloved Liam Hegarty, of Gaelic Athletic Association Fame—and so much more—was honored posthumously.

About 400 friends and relatives of the honorees filled the Philadelphia Irish Center ballroom wall to wall. All told, one of the best DVIHOF celebrations ever. Standing O’s all-round. Continue Reading

Music, People

No Strings Attached: An Outpouring of Generosity for John Byrne Band Cellist Maura Dwyer

It was the first of November, the night the John Byrne Band hosted a release party for Byrne’s new CD, “A Shiver in the Sky,” at World Café Live.

Maura Dwyer, who plays both fiddle and cello for the band, had just gone offstage to the green room to warm up the violin. Before she did that, she had propped the cello up in a corner, which, she says, is usually a stable position. Suddenly, she heard the sound of guitarist Andy Keenan crying out in alarm onstage. That was followed by a resounding bang.

Long story short: Dwyer’s cello had tumbled off stage, breaking in two pieces.

John Byrne, who was also offstage, has a pretty fair idea how it happened.

“We were sound checking the drums,” Byrne explains. “I guess the vibrations from the kick drum (the bass drum) somehow did it. The cello went right off the stage. Nobody was even near it. None of us could believe it.” Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

This is absolutely one jam-packed week, starting with a weekend full of events you won’t want to miss.

Without further ado:

Friday, November 15-Sunday, November 17

Tickets are still on sale for The Straight Out of Ireland exhibit, presented by the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia, which kicks off tonight with a VIP reception and a preview of this stunning art show in a mansion on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy, 480 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bryn Mawr.

The exhibit showcases more than 20 artists from Ireland and another dozen artists from the United States who have been influenced by the culture of Ireland. Straight Out of Ireland features a range of contemporary art, including ceramics, glass, drawings, lace, jewelry, photography, paintings fashion and more.

The event continues through the weekend, with Saturday devoted to a celebration of the art, with panel discussions featuring the artists, and the opportunity to check out the exhibit at your leisure. Sunday is Family Day, featuring activities for the kids, including a puppet show, dance exhibition and presentation by the local Gaelic Athletic Association.

We previewed the event last week, ever hopeful that many of you would get tickets. If you didn’t, there’s still time, and here’s the link. We also presented a story on Straight Out of Ireland that will give you many more details.

Saturday, November 16

Out at Villanova, you can catch the university’s annual Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. The day is jam-packed with Irish dance routines presented by college and university Irish dance teams from throughout the country. We’ve been there a few times, and absolutely loved it. The event is hosted by Villanova University’s Irish Dance Team. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

There are two benefits this week, and another big one a little later on. Here’s what’s happening.

Saturday, November 9

It’s Cummins School of Irish Dance dine and donate night at Jerzee’s Sports Bar and Pizzeria, 2609 Mount Carmel Avenue in Glenside. The benefit starts at 5 p.m. Billy from Philly will provide the tunes, and there will be a visit from the newly crowned Miss Mayo 2020, Tara Regan. A portion of food sales from eat-in and take-out will benefit the Cummins School.

Friday, November 15-Sunday, November 17

The Straight Out of Ireland Exhibit, presented by the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia, kicks off with a private VIP reception and preview in a stunning mansion on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy 480 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bryn Mawr.

The unique exhibit showcases more than 20 artists from Ireland and another dozen artists from the United States who are influenced by Ireland. This is Ireland as you have never seen it before, featuring a range of contemporary art, including ceramics, glass, drawings, lace, jewelry, photography, paintings fashion and more. Continue Reading