The Philadelphia Ceili Group kicked off the 45th Annual Festival with its time-honored tradition of Singers Night. Hosted by Terry Kane (one half of the popular Jameson Sisters) and dedicated to the late Frank Malley, who was a driving force behind both Singers Night and the Festival itself, last night also brought poignant tributes to other beloved Irish Philadelphia musicians who have recently passed away.
The late Eugene O’Donnell, Kitty Kelly-Albrecht and Eugenia Brennan were all at the forefront throughout the evening, remembered in favorite songs and personal stories. Among the performers who took the stage were Ellen Tepper (the other half of the Jameson sisters) on the harp, Matt Ward, Rosaleen McGill, Jim McGill, Steve Stanislaw, John Handy, Kathleen Warren, Don Simon, Seamus Carmichael, Don Gill, Trish Callahan and Mike Albrecht.
Jeff took some photos and I got some videos. So, if you couldn’t be there in person, enjoy! And join us for the rest of the weekend; tonight’s Rambling House hosted by the River Drivers and the Ceili Dance with the McGillians & Friends starts at 8 p.m., and tomorrow’s day of concerts and activities begins at 11 a.m. and continues throughout the day and evening. For more information, check out the Philadelphia Ceili Group website.
As Eamon Murray pointed out from the stage in the Ballroom at the Irish Center last night, a lot has changed in the 10 years since Beoga last played here. But the most important thing hasn’t changed: Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Seán Óg Graham and Damien McKee are still Beoga and still know how to bewitch their audience.
It’s a pretty mean feat to bring 200 people out to listen to trad music on a Thursday night in mid-May with less than a month’s notice, but that is exactly what went down at the concert brought to you by the Philadelphia Ceili Group and the Commodore Barry Arts and Cultural Center last night.
They’ve come in rain, freezing rain and snow. Yesterday, on a chilly but sunny day, a large crowd of Irish and Irish-Americans joined together at Philadelphia’s iconic Irish Memorial for the annual commemoration of An Gorta Mór—the Great Hunger.
The centerpiece of the Memorial is the immense bronze statue created by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Standing 12 feet high, 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, it occupies a place of honor on the nearly two-acre park at South Front Street and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia’s Old City. The Memorial dramatizes both the Great Hunger and the vast migration of the Irish to America’s shores during those hard times. It has stood on that spot since its dedication 16 years ago.
It’s expected that the Memorial ceremony will be held in the same place next year, but after that, its next—albeit temporary—location is uncertain.
If you’re part of the Irish community in Philadelphia, you know Sean McMenamin from, well, everywhere. For over 50 years, he has been one of the most recognizable and beloved forces of nature in the community; somehow the man from Kildangan, County Mayo, manages to be both a behind-the-scenes presence at the same time that he is leading the charge.
And he will, quite literally, be at the head of the parade when he leads the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10, as this year’s Grand Marshal. It is particularly fitting that he does so the year the theme is “St. Patrick, Unite Us,” because this is a man who has been uniting people his entire life.
irishphiladelphia.com’s genealogy maven Lori Lander Murphy returns with another installment of Who’s Your Granny (with occasional editorial comment from her dog Daisy).
DNA testing is becoming more popular. There are many DNA testing services, and all employ different methods. Consequently, they may render different results. Some of them are more strongly focused on finding your family history, and some aren’t.
If you’re a genealogy beginner, what do you need to know?
You’ve just caught the Irish ancestry bug. But there’s so much to know before you start the search for where your people came from—isn’t there?
In the long run, yes, maybe. But if you’re a genealogy newbie, you can start digging up your ancestors—so to speak—with comparatively little knowledge. So says local genealogist Lori Lander Murphy, who is here to answer your questions.
Are we answering every question you could possibly have? Nope. With this audio podcast episode of “Who’s Your Granny,” we’re giving you just enough to begin to explore your roots. In future episodes, there will be more. But for now, sit back, settle in and listen to advice from our genealogy guru.
Editor’s note: All Irish Philly podcasts are now available on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and Spotify.
“Duffy’s Cut is both a place, and it’s a story. It’s a place about 20 miles west of Philadelphia along the railroad tracks so it’s a physical location, but Duffy’s Cut is also a story. And it’s the story of the death of 57 Irishmen in 1832.” ~ Frank Watson
“It could potentially be the worst mass murder in the history of Pennsylvania if all 57 of these workers died. But it is a mass murder scene whether seven died – whom we have excavated – or all 57 did. In which case if it’s 57, it’s the worst mass murder in Pennsylvania history.” ~ William Watson
In their new book, “Massacre at Duffy’s Cut,” William and Frank Watson detail their 15-year odyssey to reclaim the Irish laborers whose lives were cut short and their bodies buried under Mile 59 of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the summer of 1832. They sat down with Irish Philadelphia in the Duffy’s Cut Museum at Gabriele Library, Immaculata University, where they shared their behind-the-scenes account of not only what happened to the workers, but how their mission began when they became the keepers of a secret file inherited from their grandfather.
Watch the interview, and then come to the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (The Irish Center) in Mount Airy on Sunday, December 9, at 3 p.m. for a book signing that will follow a talk and update on what’s next for the dig site. For more information, go to the Facebook Events page here.
For more information on Duffy’s Cut, and to check out “Massacre at Duffy’s Cut,” visit their website.