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How to Be Irish in Philly

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How to be Irish in Philly this Week

Hi, gang.

Here’s what’s what for the coming week as we head into a big month for local Irish (and Celts of all stripes).

Let’s start with Brittingham’s Irish Festival, Sunday starting at noon at Brittingham’s (of course) , 640 East Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill. Be prepared for the long haul. After 7:30, the party continues inside and continues on into the night. Look for Jamison, Oliver McElhone, Five Quid and Bare Knuckled Boxers. Food, drink, dance, and fun for the kiddies, too.

Wednesday at 7:30, two Irish musical stars, piper Cillian Vallely (of Lunasa) and his concertina-playing brother Niall, perform in a house concert sponsored by the Barn Star Concert Series. It’s a cozy little space on Bainbridge Street in Philly, and tickets are limited. Contact the organizer to reserve a space: barnstarconcerts@gmail.com. More details on Barn Star’s Facebook page. Tickets are 20 bucks. You can bring drinks or goodies to share. You don’t have to, but it really adds to the fun. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Rob Dunleavy and Michael Boyce of Blackthorn doing a duet?

Rob Dunleavy and Michael Boyce of Blackthorn doing a duet?

We’re rich! We’re rich!

Rich in Irish entertainment that is. It all starts this weekend when Blackthorn, Galway Guild and the Shanty’s perform on the same stage—Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino in Chester—on Saturday night. They’re calling it “Irish Paradise,” and it sure sounds that way to me.

If you’re in Upper Darby on Saturday, stop in at Cawley’s Irish Pub at 9 PM and show your support for the Young Irelands Gaelic Football Club–regional champs!–by eating some beef and drinking some beer. Cawley’s is at 7919W. Chester Pike. Music will be provided by John Lefty Kelly. Proceeds from the benefit will help the Young Irelands get to Chicago for the national championships in which they’ll face Vancouver in the first round on Friday, September 4. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Paddy O'Brien and Nathan Gourley

Paddy O’Brien and Nathan Gourley

This Sunday, the annual Mass of the Golden Rose will be said at St. Patrick’s Church in King of Prussia, starting at noon. Irish Thunder Pipes and Drums, the AOH Notre Dame Div. 1 Color Guard, and St. Patrick’s Choir will take part. An Irish festival, with music, dancing, food and drink, will follow.

A ceili, featuring Tom McHugh and Jimmy and John McGillian, is scheduled for Saturday night at St Patrick’s–bring your dancing shoes. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Philly native, piper, and flute and whistle player Tim Britton will be at the Philly Folkfest on Sunday

Philly native, piper, and flute and whistle player Tim Britton will be at the Philly Folkfest on Sunday

The Philadelphia Folkfest is happening all weekend in Schwenksville and your favorite local Irish musician may be there, if not on stage then certainly in the audience or playing around the campfires at night.

The big time for Celtic music is on Sunday from noon to 3 PM when you can hear The John Byrne Band, Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, Tim Britton, The Old Ways, Sylvia Platypus, Mist Covered Mountains and Alan Carr. Wexford-born Irish Mythen is scheduled for Saturday at 11:20 PM. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Seamus Kennedy will be at Musikfest in Bethlehem.

Seamus Kennedy will be at Musikfest in Bethlehem.

Musikfest opens in Bethlehem this week (August 7), and while there aren’t loads of Celtic acts, it’s worth a visit for the nonstop music that goes on for two weeks in this pretty little city about an hour north of us. Headliners include Culture Club (I was reminded that lead singer Boy George is of Irish descent!), Reba McIntire, Duran Duran, Alice in Chains, ZZ Top, Snoop Dogg, and Jerry Seinfeld, who as far as I know isn’t singing or playing an instrument.

On the Celtic side, Seamus Kennedy will be performing on Tuesday afternoon and Fisher & Maher on Tuesday night, while Scythian, a Celtic-Gypsy-Balkan fusion band from DC, will be doing the Tuesday night concert at SteelStacks. Seamus Kennedy—who, while he’s a wonderful singer, is also quite a comic—will be back on Wednesday afternoon with one of the Lehigh Valley’s terrific Celtic bands, Blackwater, on Wednesday night.

Heads up for the Philly Folk Festival. It doesn’t start till Friday, August 14, but there are two Irish events you’ll want to catch: One is Wexford’s Irish Mythen on Saturday, August 14 at 11:20 PM, and Celtic Afternoon on August 16 starting at noon featuring the John Byrne Band, Sylvia Platypus, Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, Tim Britton, the Old Ways, Mist Covered Mountains, and Allan Carr. If you stick around at night, you’re also likely to encounter many local Irish musicians who will be camping out for the fest and singing and playing into the evening. I’d also go for Lyle Lovett with his Big Band. You won’t be sorry.

The Broken Shillelaghs will be playing on Saturday, August 8, at the Anglesea Pub in North Wildwood.

On Sunday, singer Diarmuid MacSuibhne (that’s McSweeney to you) will be substitute hosting the “Come West Along the Road” show on WTMR 800 AM while Marianne MacDonald is in Ireland. The show starts at noon. Call in and get him to sing and speak in Irish. He does both very well. Diarmuid will also be performing this Saturday at Laurita Winery in New Egypt, NJ.

And on Thursday, catch Blackthorn at Rosetree Park in Media.

Don’t say no one told you what was going on.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Raymond Coleman: The boy is back in town

Raymond Coleman: The boy is back in town

Have you seen our new calendar? I think it’s kind of pretty. And it’s very easy to use—you can put all your own events on it and you can add pictures. How cool is that?

I’d love to see more events on it. I put them on when I can, but it would sure be helpful if everyone pitched in. We’re a volunteer organization and could use more volunteers. Some of us aren’t getting any younger.

This Saturday, Raymond Coleman will be playing at Paddy Whacks on Welsh Road in the afternoon, then at the Ashburner Inn on Sunday afternoon. We’re happy he brought his wonderful voice back to Philly.

While Frances Black is appearing in a house concert on Saturday with her kids, Aoife an Eoghan Scott, there are sadly no more seats left. The best you can hope for is that Marianne MacDonald will play some of Frances’ songs on her radio show on Sunday at WTMR 800AM, starting at noon.

Paul Moore and his band will back at their usual haunt, Brittingham’s in Lafayette Hill, on Friday night for first Friday.

Next week and beyond, we’ve added the few Irish acts that are playing at Musikfest in Bethlehem to our calendar. But don’t just go for the Irish acts. Jerry Seinfeld is performing (comedy—he doesn’t sing), along with Reba McIntyre, Duran Duran, Alice in Chains, Culture Club (I loved Culture Club back in the day!), ZZ Top, and Snoop Dogg. How’s that for eclectic?

Summer is the slow season for Irish restaurants and pubs, unless they’re downashore. So if you have some time this week, stop in at your local and give them your business. It’s our community—let’s keep it alive!

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Frances Black and her kids, Aoife and Eoghan Scott.

Frances Black and her kids, Aoife and Eoghan Scott.

Frances Black’s sister, famed Irish singer Mary Black, made her farewell tour last year accompanied by her ultra-talented daughter, Roisin O. And this year. Frances, herself an acclaimed singer, is returning to the US for the first time in 20 years to tour with her two musically talented children, Aoife and Eoghan Scott. It’s a family thing.

They’re at the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival this weekend, then performing in Massachusetts, upstate New York, and at the New York Irish Center in Queens. But they’ll also make a stopover for a house concert in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 1 at the home of singers Gabriel Donohue and Marian Makins.

In interviews, Frances Black, the youngest in a family of five musical children, says she never thought she’d become a singer. “It was never expected of me,” she told the Belfast Telegraph in January. “Everyone expected it of Mary, because she was singing from a very young age. But I didn’t think I was a very good singer.”

Many others would disagree. Singer Nanci Griffith once described Black’s voice as “the sweetest in Ireland.” Black produced her first album, Talk to Me, in 1994 and the awards and accolades followed.

Her daughter, Aoife Scott, is a singer-songwriter as well as a song collector whose interest is in the Irish language—she lives in the Gaeltacht and has made frequent appearances on Irish language TV shows. Son Eoghan Scott is also a singer-songwriter whose recently released EP has garnered positive reviews. He’s played guitar on stage for his Aunt Mary as well as other leading lights, including Sharon Shannon, Paddy Keenan, Mary Coughlan, Tommy Fleming, and with the Irishband, Slide. He’s also playing on his sister’s upcoming release.

Since this is a house concert, seats are limited but there are still a few open. Price of admission is $20, all of which goes to the performers. Email barnstarconcerts@gmail.com to reserve your seat for this one-of-a-kind, very intimate performance.

This Saturday, you downashore people can hear Jamison perform at Casey’s in North Wildwood. Those of you on your way home from the shore on Sunday should stop in at Ashburner’s Inn in Philly to hear McHugh and O’Neill. The Irish duo will be on stage from 4 Pm to 8 PM.

If you come home earlier from the shore and want some good craic, join the 2nd Street Plough Bhoys as they launch the beginning of the Celtic FC season at the Plough and the Stars, with music, football talk, and some of the young coaches from the Glasgow team (which is Irish—and they’ll be happy to explain that all to you over drinks). That starts at 2 PM. And we hear Raymond Coleman may be back in his old haunt singing some songs.

If you’re home all weekend, head up to Limerick to watch some football and hurling. The Notre Dame Ladies GFC will be playing at 11 on Saturday, with the men taking over the field later and on Sunday.

Jamison will be back at the shore on Thursday, playing at The Wharf in Wildwood.

Then on Friday, Sean Wilson will be getting dancers on their feet at another on the Roy Lynch Nights of Music and Dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Newtown Square.

We’re putting the Celtic lineup for Bethlehem’s annual Musikfest on our calendar. It runs from August 7 to August 16. Look for that right here next week.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How To Be Irish in Philly This Week

Timlin and Kane: in Gettysburg this weekend.

Timlin and Kane: in Gettysburg this weekend.

Combine an historical excursion with some Irish music on Saturday by heading to the Adams County Irish Festival near Gettysburg. Local duo, the popular Timlin and Kane, will be performing, along with the Kilmaine Saints, Irishtown Road, and Across the Pond. You can also see the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers re-enactors and head to the battlefields where the original 69th fought like the wild Irish legends they were.

If you’re in Wildwood, and we know so many of you are, catch Blackthorn at Fox Park on Saturday night.

Next Friday, The Shantys will be at Tir na NOg in Trenton with special guest Diarmuid McSweeney on banjo.

If you’re a Celtic supporter—the Celtic football team from Glasgow—and even if you’re not, there’s a kickoff party for the season on Sunday, July 26, hosted by the 2nd Street Plough Boys at The Plough and the Stars in Philly. Tim Mac Mathuna will be performing (then there’s a session afterward) and you can meet Celtic FC Youth Academy coaches Mick McCahill, Ross Hester, Liam Murphy, and Dylan Johnston.