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Jeff Meade

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Something new this week, and something else you’d have to have lived under a rock to have missed.

Let’s start with what you know—Celtic Woman. The troupe’s Ancient Land tour rolls into Lancaster Saturday night at the American Music Theatre, 2425 Lincoln Highway East. The show starts at 8 o’clock. So if you missed out on their Academy of Music show Thursday night—or if you just can’t get enough and you want to see them again—here’s your chance.

You can order your tickets here.

Also a reminder, we interviewed CW violinist Tara McNeill. You might want to give it a listen. Continue Reading


Celtic Woman Brings Them to Their Feet at the Academy

The standing ovation at the end said it all.

The talented performers of Celtic Woman—at this point in the troupe’s nearly 15-year history can it be called venerable?—once again swung through town and left well-satisfied Academy of Music audience members on their feet and wanting more.

Truth be told, if they didn’t have them from the very beginning—and it would have been hard to find skeptics in that audience—they certainly had them at “Danny Boy,” which most people seemed to expect. They’d no doubt heard it many times, but with the announcement that “Danny Boy”—talk about venerable—was next up, there were audible “awwwws” and unrestrained cheers and applause throughout the audience. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Welcome to a less frantic—well, less frantic than St. Patrick’s Week—but still culturally enriching, HTBI.

Let’s start with Saturday—which is plenty busy enough.

We wrote about this last week, but it bears repeating: The Irish Memorial is sponsoring “Hunger on Trial,” a mock trial with British landlords, the Anglican Church, the British government and Irish tenant farmers accused for their purported role in An Gorta Mór (Ireland’s Great Hunger).

The mock trial takes place Saturday morning, starting at 10:30, in Philadelphia City Hall, Courtroom 653, President Judge Patrick Dugan presiding.

The general public is invited to attend, as well as take part in the trial, which will begin with a brief overview of An Gorta Mór. Prosecutors and defense attorneys—they’re the real deal—will be introduced, a jury will be chosen, and everyone in attendance will be randomly selected into one of the four indicted groups.

It’s all an involving educational experience. Check it out.

There’s much more to do later on Saturday. Paul Byrom, he of Celtic Thunder, will take the stage at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center—otherwise known as the Irish Center—at 7 p.m. This promises to be a pretty great show. Byrom all by himself is thunderous enough. Sneak preview of some of the tunes he’ll be singing: “My Land,” “Danny Boy,” “You Raise Me Up” and songs from Broadway, such as “Bring Him Home,” “Stars,” “I Won’t Send Roses” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Think of it as a perfect ending to St. Patrick’s Month.

Tickets here. The Irish Center is at 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy.

Also Saturday, not one but twoBag Bingo fund-raisers. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

We trust you’ve recovered from St. Patrick’s Week. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that you can find something to keep you in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit most of the time in the Delaware Valley. And the month isn’t over.

Here’s what’s happening.

A quick reminder: Bucks County’s own Irish Music Award-winning band Runa is at the Sellersville Theater tonight. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the show starts at 8. This is the band’s 10thanniversary tour, and they just keep getting more and more creative. Info and tickets here.

(You might also be interested in reading our first Runa interview, by Lori Lander Murphy, from the very beginning.) Continue Reading


Ireland’s Great Hunger Gets Its Day in Court

History can seem, well, just like that: history. We might know about it intellectually but haven’t internalized emotionally. Whatever happened, it happened to someone else, a long time ago.

So it might well be with An Gorta Mór—the Great Hunger, often referred to simply as the potato famine. “Potato famine,” of course, doesn’t half cover it. It’s far more complicated than that. From the standpoint of many historians, the vast starvation of the Irish people in the middle of the 19th century amounts to nothing less than genocide perpetrated by the British.

How to tell that old story to make it real to high school students today? Continue Reading

Food & Drink, People

Behind the Bar: Bobby Callan of Hanrahan’s Irish Pub

Hanrahan’s bartender Bobby Callan has lived in the Drexel Hill area all of his 30 years. He has a house in Clifton Heights now, but he grew up three blocks from this bustling Irish bar on Burmont Road, catty-corner from the Aronimink Avenue SEPTA station.

Callan got into the bar business a few years ago when one of his best friends suggested that he join him in working at a dive bar. “He said to me, ‘This is easy. It’s great. You get to meet new people.” He took to bartending, but after a while he tired of the dive bar scene. Fortuitously, he played on a local softball team, and a Hanrahan’s employee who was on the team recruited him.

Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

If you thought last weekend was big, hold on to your shamrock deely bobbers. This is the really big St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Here’s what’s happening Saturday:

  • There are four St. Patrick’s Day parades, with Springfield, Delaware County, starting at West Springfield Road and Britton Road and ending at Saxer Avenue and Powell Road, beginning at 12 noon. Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 1 hosts the Montgomery County parade, beginning at 2 p.m., proceeding down Fayette Street in Conshohocken. Wilmington starts at 12 noon and runs through 1:45 p.m., stepping off from 4thand King Streets. If you’re in the Lehigh Valley area, the Parade of Shamrocks starts at 1 p.m. in downtown Bethlehem, stepping off from 10thAvenue and Broad Street, and continuing down Broad to Main, ending under the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. The weather looks great for all.
  • Following the Bethlehem parade, it’s the Fáilte Festival at the Charles A. Brown Ice House, featuring a day’s entertainment, including Timlin and Kane with O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance, the clown prince of Irish music Seamus Kennedy, and piper Robert Watt.(The festival continues Sunday.) Tickets here.
  • Tenor Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder Fame is on stage at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 North Lansdowne Avenue in Drexel Hill, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets here.
  • Michael Londra and the Celtic Fire—we interviewed him recently—appears with a big show of Irish music and dance at the Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street on the Penn campus. The show starts at 8 p.m. Info and tickets here.
  • Catch Galway Guild at Xfinity Live, 1100 Pattison Avenue in South Philly. The band plays from 2 to 6 p.m.
  • Starting at 2 p.m., the John Byrne Band takes the stage at Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main Street in scenic New Hope. It’s part of the Playhouse’s weekend Irish Music Festival. Tickets are 20 bucks. It’s a fabulous venue. Following that, Celtic-American band The River Drivers appear on the Playhouse stage starting at 8. Tickets are $25.
  • The 69thPennsylvania Irish Volunteers Band hosts at St. Patrick’s Performance at Crooked Eye Brewery, 13 East Montgomery Avenue in Hatboro. The performance is from 7 to 11 p.m.
  • Celtic Pride featuring Bill and Jim Monaghan and friends, plays the Washington Crossing Inn, 1295 General Washington Memorial Boulevard in Washington Crossing, at 8:30 p.m.
  • Shenanigans returns to Marty Magee’s, 1110 Lincoln Avenue in Prospect Park, starting at 9 p.m. and continuing through the wee hours.

Continue Reading

News, Photo Essays, Photos

Jeff’s Pics: Nearly 100 Photos from the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade

It’s been a few years since we covered the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I missed it. Aside from an opportunity to snag a lot of really fun photos, it’s also old home week, where I ran into old friends I might not have seen for a while. Missed them, too.

Without further ado … here are all the pictures I took. Hope you see yourself somewhere in the mix. Click on the arrows above.