Every year someone says it, and every year it seems true: “This is the biggest crowd ever.”
Since virtually every pew in St. Malachy’s Church, the historically Irish church in North Philadelphia, was full, and there were people standing in the back, you can take it as read.
Also present in spirit, was Sister Cecile Anne Reiley, SSJ, a force of nature who did so much for so many years for the parish and its highly regarded school. One of her many labors of love was organizing the annual Irish concert. This year’s event was dedicated to her. Continue Reading
It started out as a police and fire band—only there weren’t really enough cops and firefighters to fill out an entire band. So membership in the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band was opened up to civilians.
From that point on, the band has moved from its humble beginnings in an American Legion hall, marching in parades throughout the Delaware Valley, to its longtime practice hall in the ballroom at the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club. After that move, the band became an integral part of the Irish community, playing for everything from county banquets to the annual Joe McGarrity memorial in Holy Cross Cemetery to—of course—the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade. Continue Reading
When the Delaware Valley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) presented County Tyrone-born accordion player Kevin McGillian with its Lifetime Achievement Award, we captured video of his big moment.
CCE Chairperson Katherine Ball-Weir presented opening comments, and led the tribute.
Sean O’Casey’s “Juno and the Paycock” is a staple of Irish theatre. Of all the plays of that genre that could possibly be presented onstage, it is one of the most difficult.
Compared to the Irish Heritage Theatre’s recent production of O’Casey’s “The Shadow of a Gunman,” “Juno and the Paycock”—the second play in O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy—is a very different play, says producer, playwright and actor Armen Pandola.
For one thing, “there are a lot of different characters,” Pandola explained one night earlier this week as he awaited the start of a rehearsal at Plays and Players Theatre, where “Juno” is now playing through October 31. “Nobody wants to do plays with 14 characters. This is a very communal effort. It sounds cliché, but those chains are only as strong as their weakest link.” Continue Reading
The Philadelphia Irish Center wants you … to visit!
It’s time for the annual Irish Center Gathering on Sunday. If you have difficulty knowing how to be Irish—frankly that’s hard to believe, given these handy weekly instructions—consider the Gathering a one-day total immersion class. Not the school kind of class, with Sister Frances Joseph slapping you on the hand with a ruler and calling you a brazen article—this is the fun kind.
By “fun”we mean lots of music, including an appearance by incredible local songstress Leanne McGrory, Irish dance, tunes from the Philadelphia Emerald Pipe Band, a live broadcast of Vince Gallagher’s Sunday Irish radio show, plenty of activities for the kiddies, vendors, food and drink, and more. Continue Reading
The papal visit is upon us at last! If you’re going downtown, go with our good wishes. It’s been so easy to get caught up in all of the pope-ageddon hoopla. You can’t so much as stop for bag of chips at a 7-11 without seeing Pope Francis bobble-head dolls for sale on the counter. But let’s set all of that nonsense aside for now. This truly is a meaningful moment for Philadelphia.
There’s really no smooth way to segue from that particularly historic moment to the other big weekend event.
We’re talking about the Irish Fall Festival down in North Wildwood. Irish people from Philadelphia have been migrating down to the shore every year to close out their summer with one big last celebration. If you’ve never been, the whole Wildwood resort area is awash, so to speak, in Irish things to do. Continue Reading
At a Mass at beautiful St. Anne’s Church on East Lehigh Avenue in Port Richmond Wednesday night, the Irish delegation to the World Meeting of Families got to witness brotherly love in all its glory.
The church was packed—you couldn’t find a parking space for blocks—and the fans couldn’t do much to lower the temperature inside. But no one seemed to mind—certainly not the Most Reverend Liam S. MacDaid DD, Bishop of Clogher, Council for Marriage and the Family, Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, or any of his traveling companions.
With St. Anne’s Pastor Father Ed Brady serving as host, representatives of many of Philadelphia’s Irish organizations were well represented. There was an honor guard from the 69th PA Irish Volunteers, a dance performance by the Rince Ri school, and tunes by the Second Street Irish Society Pipe Band.
Also attending with the Irish delegation:
The Most Reverend Donal Murray DD, Bishop Emeritus of Limerick, Council for Marriage and the Family, Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Reverend Peter Murphy DD, Executive Secretary, Commission for Pastoral Care and the Council for Marriage and the Family, Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Reverend Eamon Kelly LC, Vice Chargé at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem