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Arts, News

It’s Art, It’s Unique and Contemporary, and it’s Straight Out of Ireland

Talk about Ireland, and most people envision green, rolling hills, pastures dotted with sheep, thatched cottages, quaint little villages, sprawling beaches and high, craggy cliffs. And make no mistake, Ireland is all of those things and more. Chances are pretty good that you’ve seen paintings, photography, crafts, knitwear, glassware and other works of art that depict all of the above.

Maybe you haven’t seen everything, even if you think you have. The folks at the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia believe there are more and unique ways of capturing the essence of Ireland. And they’re presenting a sweeping three-day event called “Straight Out of Ireland” that displays a wide variety of art that captures new and distinctive ways of seeing the Emerald Isle.

The works of more than 25 Irish artists, and a dozen American artists who have been influenced by Ireland will present their works in an Immigration Center benefit from November 15th through the 17th at Sacred Heart Academy (480 South Bryn Mawr Ave, in Bryn Mawr. Many types of art will be showcased, including exquisite paintings, glassware, needlework, sculpture, fabrics, and much more. You’ll also have a chance to meet the artists.

“We really wanted to showcase contemporary Ireland,” explains Emily Norton Ashinhurst, executive director of the Immigration Center, who hopes that “Straight Out of Ireland” will become the Center’s signature fund-raiser. “I think that while we all love the traditional Celtic art we’ve grown up with, I think sometimes we tend to forget that there is a great deal of work being done currently. Ireland has such a rich history, but I don’t want to forget that it has a very rich current art scene. There’s a real mix of media—and that’s one of the cool things. We have some knitwear, we have some textiles, we have jewelers, we have painters, sculptures, photography and ceramics. We have a lace artist. It’s some really cool stuff. And from the local people, we have a furniture maker, somebody who does wooden bowls, and more. It’s just a wonderful showcase of work that is coming out of Ireland and inspired by Ireland.” Continue Reading

Arts, History, News, People

A Night at the Museum of the American Revolution

Two Portraits of Richard St. George

During a multi-day visit to Philadelphia, where most of the focus fell on the modern era politics of Brexit and the interest of the Irish diaspora, Ambassador Daniel Mulhall’s presence at the Museum of the American Revolution’s launch of their new exhibit “Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier” was an opportunity to talk history.

Ambassador Mulhall, along with Dr. Martin Mansergh, historian and former Irish political advisor who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement, gave context and insight into the influence of the American Revolution on Ireland’s own path to independence. In addition, Dr. Mansergh is a descendant of Richard St. George Mansergh-St. George (from here on referred to as Richard St. George, as he is in the Museum’s exhibit) who is the subject of the “Cost of Revolution” exhibition, providing a personal connection to the historical narrative.

The evening’s events were planned by an Honorary Event Committee including Honorary Chair, Governor Edward G. Rendell; State Representative Mike Driscoll; Charles E. Hopkins; Marita Krivda Poxon; Kevin Kent, Esquire; Honorable James Murray Lynn; Joseph S. Martz; Edward D. McBride and Kathleen M. Sullivan. The crowd was welcomed in by bagpipers William Watson, Frank Watson, Tom Conner and Lee Nolan, and then treated to traditional Irish music throughout the evening performed by musicians including Paddy O’Neill, John McGillian and Darin Kelly. Continue Reading

Arts

A Look at the Past and the Future at the Immigration Center

(Photo by Tom Reing)

Young people and those who’ve been around a lot longer have a lot to learn from each other, and a good deal to share with the rest of the world.

That’s the general idea behind “How I Got Here – Where I’m Going,” a series of monologues to be presented Monday night at 7:30 at the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia, 7 South Cedar Lane in Upper Darby.

The monologues will be presented by three actors from Philadelphia’s acclaimed Inis Nua Theatre Company, and the material is drawn from both the senior and youth programs at the Immigration Center.

Tom Reing, the theatre company’s founder, is directing the presentation.

“It’s an intergenerational piece where we have some immigrants who became Americans, and some first-generation people,” says Reing. “Then we have some young people who have connections to Ireland as well and are part of the youth group—they’re the next chapter of the story.” Continue Reading

Arts, Music, Videos

Dave Curley in Concert

There’s not much that can top the pleasure of spending a Sunday evening in early June listening to Dave Curley performing live for the Philadelphia Ceili Group. And the crowd gathered at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center last week got to bask in the experience firsthand. It won’t be the same as being there yourself, but Irish Philadelphia captured a few of Dave’s songs on video which we bring to you here.

Hailing from Corofin in County Galway, Dave is a triple threat in the world of Irish music: a multi-instrumentalist, a singer and a dancer. For the past several years, he’s been touring with the groups SLIDE and RUNA, and more recently he’s been performing with fellow SLIDE bandmate, Mick Broderick (the duo released an acclaimed CD that can be found on his website).

But Dave Curley performing solo is a treat for the ears that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re able to be in the York County vicinity tomorrow, Saturday, June 15th, be sure to catch him at the Penn-Mar Irish Festival. At the very least, watch the videos and be sure not to miss him the next time he’s in the area!

Arts, Photo Essays, Photos

Irish Writers Photo Exhibit Makes Its Debut at Neumann

Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers, photographer Robin Hiteshew’s exhibition at Neumann University, drew an audience of many admirers for its opening reception Tuesday night.

It was an eye-opener for the visitors who dropped by to spend time with Hiteshew’s photos of writers and poets such as Seamus Heaney, Moya Cannon, Michael Longlay, Ann Enright, and Mike McCormack, author of Ireland’s Novel of the Year, “Solar Bones,” who was in attendance.

The work represents 39 years’ worth of work for Hiteshew, who most times found complete and generous cooperation from his subjects—and other times needed to nudge a little. It was all worthwhile, as his exhibition will attest. Continue Reading

Arts, News

Orbis Books and Villanova University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education Host Event Honoring Daniel Berrigan

NEWS RELEASE: Orbis Books, the publishing arm of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and Villanova University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education will host an event honoring the late Jesuit priest, poet, prophet and peace activist Daniel Berrigan on Sunday, June 9th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Driscoll Auditorium of Villanova University. The event is free and the public is invited.

James Carroll, former Catholic priest and award-winning author, will be the featured speaker at the event. Carroll, a fellow activist and former priest on the Catholic Left, was a close friend and spiritual brother of Father Berrigan.

The event will include the unveiling of a commissioned 4- by 5-foot oil portrait of  Father Berrigan by renowned artist Ruane Manning and a book signing and talk by Jim Forest, author of At Play in the Lion’s Den, a memoir and biography of Father Berrigan, followed by a reception and entertainment by Hollis Payer on fiddle and Rob Curto  on accordion. Continue Reading

Arts

“Photographs of Irish Writers” Opening Reception at Neumann University Rescheduled

NEWS RELEASE: Neumann University is hosting an exhibit of photographs by Robin Hiteshew. Entitled Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers, the free exhibition runs June 5th to June 23rd in the McNichol Art Gallery.

The opening reception, originally set for June 6, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, June 11, from 4-7 p.m.

Beyond the Words: Portraits of Irish Writers represents one of two long-term projects Hiteshew has worked on for more than 39 years. He first began taking photos of authors in 1969 and is still actively working to document the ongoing literary world. He has nearly one hundred authors represented in his collection of portraits, including Moya Cannon, Michael Longlay, Seamus Heaney and Ann Enright. The Donegal Association of Philadelphia sponsors the exhibit, which is funded in large part by an Irish Heritage grant through the Irish government’s Emigrant Assistance Programme. The aim of the grant is to connect with Irish citizens living in the United States. Continue Reading

Arts, Food & Drink, Music, Sports

Kilt Fest: An All-Inclusive Celtic Celebration

Yes, there are kilts—in at least one case, obligatory. Sure, there’s ax throwing, bagpipes, a kilted fun run, and highland games. But Kilt Fest, coming to Bucks County June 7 and 8, is really a mishmash of all Celtic culture.

Kilt Fest on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware is an offshoot of a festival by the same name held in New Jersey. This will be the first year here in the Philadelphia suburbs, at the Trifecta Sporting Club, 4666 East Bristol Road, Feasterville-Trevose.

“Ours is more of a Celtic festival. We have Irish and Scots,” says organizer Chris Beyer, owner of American Highlander Kilts. “A lot of it is Irish. It’s easier to get Irish involved in these things. We try to keep it where it’s a little more all-inclusive.” Continue Reading