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Denise Foley

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Put up your dukes! This Saturday quite a few people will be doing just that at the Young Irelands Gaelic Football Club’s “Fight Night” fundraiser at The Irish Center in Philadelphia. There will be a real ring, real referees and real fighters. And yes, real blood. It’s real boxing. It happens.

You’re a lover, not a fighter? Well, Jamison is The Red Rooster in Philly on Saturday night. You’ll love their brand of Celtic rock. They’re also the only band in Philly whose fiddler is sometimes airborne. Said fiddler CJ Mills will also be at Reedy’s on Frankford Avenue on Friday, April 15, as part of Slainte, with Frank Daly, his Jamison bandmate. Continue Reading

History, News

Gravesite Remarks by Monaghan Councillor Sean Conlon

Sinn Fein member Sean Conlon, who spent part of his childhood in Delaware County, graciously shared with irishphiladelphia.com the remarks he made at the grave of Luke Dillon at the Easter Rising Ceremony at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.

A chairde,
It is an honour for me to be here, on the occasion of the centenary year of the 1916 Easter Rising and stand with true friends of Ireland, and advocates for her liberation, to commemorate the contribution and sacrifices of Ireland’s patriot men and women associated with the Rising, and in all campaigns of resistance waged against the foreign occupation of our homeland. Today here at Holy Cross Cemetery, we invoke in particular, the memory of those who resided in the Philadelphia region, and that despite the distance of separation and communication, remained firm in dauntless spirit, and action, in supporting the efforts of their comrades in Ireland.
Since our last assembling here twelve months ago, we reflect on loved ones who have would regularly have attended events such as this commemoration or other opportunities to raise the flag for Ireland and her total independence. As a fellow activist who I recall in years when I lived in this area is the name of Tommy Flynn, along with the name of Sean Rocks, who as a member of the Breen family, is also especially missed today. Continue Reading

History, News, Photo Essays, Photos, Videos

Poignant Easter Rising Ceremony at Holy Cross Cemetery

The annual Easter Rising ceremony at Holy Cross Cemetery on April 3 took on special poignancy this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Dublin battle between Irish revolutionaries and British soldiers that played a pivotal role in the birth of the Irish Republic in 1922.

Members of the families of three prominent Irish freedom fighters who are buried in the Yeadon cemetery took part in the ceremonies, which included rifle salutes by the Pennslvania 69th Irish Volunteers re-enactors, speeches by Sinn Fein’s Sean Conlon, the Monaghan town councillor who spent part of his childhood in Delaware County; Judyann Gillespie McCarthy of the local 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration Committee, and Tyrone native and historian, Patsy Kelly. Continue Reading

News, People

“Darkness Into Light” Launches in Philadelphia

Jim Reardon of Havertown was there because of Christmas 1976, the day he returned to his Dublin home after visiting friends to learn that it wasn’t because of a card game—“we were a great house for cards,” he says—that the house was teeming with people in the middle of the night. Reardon’s father had been found dead. Laid off after 50 years at the same job, he committed suicide.

Siobhan Towey Regan of Glenside was there was there for her cousin, a young man in his 20s, who also killed himself.

Joan Freeman of Dublin was there because of her sister, Catherine. A 54-year-old mother of four, she too died by her own hand. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

You have two ways to celebrate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising this weekend and another mid-week.

On Saturday, Cherish the Ladies will be at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia playing tunes that celebrate this major event in Irish history. At least two local performers will be joining them onstage: Gabriel Donohue and Marian Makins, who produced a special song honoring one of the women of the revolution, Countess Constance Markievicz, which has been getting air time both in the US and Ireland.

On Sunday, the annual Easter Rising commemoration takes place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon at the graves of Joseph McGarrity, considered the financier of the rising, and Luke Dillon, who was part of a bombing campaign in England and Canada. This ceremony will be followed by an event at Oaks Ballroom in Glenolden with music by The Spirit of 16 and food and drink. Continue Reading

History, News, Photos

Philadelphia Remembers the Heroes of 1916—Including Its Own

Imagine, said Villanova History Professor Craig Bailey, PhD, that in 1776, the Revolutionary army under the command of General George Washington had lost to the British and “all our founding fathers were captured and executed.”

Although Bailey was preaching to the converted and well-versed this week at Villanova University’s Falvey Library—many in the audience were members of the region’s 1916 Easter Rising commemoration group—it was an apt way of putting the 1916 Irish rebellion into a perspective the average American could understand. It was the lost battle that eventually led to Ireland’s independence,

The Proclamation read on the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin by teacher and revolutionary Padraig Pearse, addressed to “Irish men and Irish women,” owes at least some of its sentiment to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence prose aimed at freeing American men and American women from the yoke of British colonialism. Continue Reading

News, People, Photos

Biggest Little Parade Around

The Conshohocken St. Patrick’s Day Parade may only stretch out for a mile, but it’s jam-packed with marchers, bands, dancers, and floats. The sidewalks in this small town are also jam-packed, and there seem to be more people every year. It’s become such a tradition, some families show up decked out in green with food, drink, lawn chairs and even tables!

The festivities started with a 5K race up and down Fayette Street a few times, an outing that also brought out families who were running together.

John Tobin was grand marshal.

You can see our photos of the parade and the 5K below. Continue Reading

Music, News, People, Photos

Dropkick Murphys Welcome Vets Backstage

The Dropkick Murphy’s front man Ken Casey doesn’t just give his name to his charity, The Claddagh Fund—he gives his all. When DKM blew into town last weekend for a sold-out concert, part of its 20th anniversary tour, at The Electric Factory, Casey and crew carried a banner in the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade promoting the band and the charity, which raises money to help underfunded nonprofits in Boston and Philadelphia.

One of the Boston-born Casey’s pet projects is any organization that serves military veterans, so he met with some from one of the Claddagh Fund’s grantees, Healing Ajax, backstage before the show, where they mingled with fans who made donations to the fund to get into the meet-and-greet.

Healing Ajax is a peer support program in which veterans help other veterans adjust from the battlefield to the homefront. Many of the vets are young men from the Iraq and Afghanistan fronts who may be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, or other mental health issues. Continue Reading