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News, People, Sports

Update on Local Gaelic Athlete Injured in Kelly Drive Accident

Paddy McStravog, 26, a member of Na Toraidhe Hurling Club and the Kevin Barry Gaelic Football Club, is awaiting a third surgery on his badly injured left leg following a motor vehicle accident on Kelly Drive near Falls Bridge on December 30. McStravog, who resides in Manayunk, is from Dungannon, County Tyrone. He arrived in the United States in March 2019.

Driver Paul Young, 35, of Mitchelstown, County Cork, and passenger Scott Ball, 36, did not survive the crash.

McStravog, a bricklayer by trade, is in Penn Presbyterian Hospital. He underwent 10 hours of surgery to repair injuries to his ankle and lower leg immediately following the accident. “He had gone in for a second surgery, but they didn’t complete that because his leg was too swollen,” says Katrina Terry, club secretary for Na Toraidhe. 

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News, People

Philly St. Patrick’s Parade Marches On … Next Year

With COVID-19 still very much an issue and a city moratorium on large gatherings in effect, the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day 250th parade is postponed until next March.

But fear not—you’ll probably be able to get your parade fix, at least in a little way.

The Philly parade was the first major event to be canceled in the city last year when the pandemic first started to take root. It was a major disappointment, but completely understandable. Making the same call this year also made sense, says Michael J. Bradley, Jr., a member of the St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association’s executive committee and parade director from 2002 to 2019.

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Music, News

Up the Celts: A Benefit Irish Rock Band Festival on CD

Twenty years ago, seven of Philly’s top Irish rock musicians and bands helped raise money for the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Philadelphia by contributing tunes to a benefit CD called “Up the Celts.”

Now, a new CD is on the streets—Up the Celts Volume 2—with 15 contributors this time around, including Jamison, Raymond Coleman, The Shantys, the Birmingham Six, the Bogside Rogues, the John Byrne Band, and more.

As with so many projects and initiatives, this one was held up by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We started off this project in February,” says Brian Coleman, AOH Philadelphia County Board president. “We had all the bands on board right at the beginning of March—and then, you know what happened.”

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News, People

Looking After Their Own: Irish Community Rallies to Support Sean Hughes and Family

Grange, County Armagh, native Sean Hughes is in a medically induced coma in a Delaware hospital after suffering a severe head injury in a job site accident.

Hughes, a resident of Drexel Hill for the past five years, is a member and player of the Young Irelands Gaelic Football Club. Now, members of that tightknit community—and for that matter, hundreds of people from literally everywhere—are coming to the aid of Hughes, his wife Emily O’Neill and son Sean, 2 years old.

An online fund drive sponsored by the Young Irelands thus far has raised close to $70,000 in financial assistance for the family in just a few days.

No one expected the campaign to have a global reach.

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History, News

St. Stephen’s Day Wren Hat Competition!

December 26 is the feast day of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. 

Legend has it that St. Stephen’s hiding place was betrayed by the chattering of a wren.For centuries, the feast day has been recalled in Ireland by the “Wren boys,” who dress in motley clothing, marching from house to house to collect money for a party for the whole town or village, and sometimes to support a charity. 

Traditionally, they exacted their vengeance on the unfortunate bird by carrying a wren aloft on a stick—hunted down in the old days, but for years (mercifully) a toy bird.

One way to celebrate the day is by creating a colorful wren hat. Shannon Lambert-Ryan, with help from her eager assistant Liam de Barra, show you how in this video, a special edition of their Baking with Babies series. (Hint: It’s not just for babies!)

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News

An American Celtic Christmas: This Year, Jamison’s Holiday Spectacle Comes to You

About right now, Frank Daly and his band Jamison Celtic Rock probably would have been in the midst of a big, multi-city breakout tour for their annual American Celtic Christmas show, a glittery seasonal spectacle Jamison has been presenting since 2012. 

“Last year, we took a risk and moved it to the Keswick Theater (in Glenside),” says Daly. “I lost a lot of sleep over that, worrying whether it was the right decision, but the show went over really well there. Afterward, Keswick’s parent company approached us and said they wanted to do the show in multiple cities, which was like a dream come true. We were in talks to do the show in Detroit, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, North Jersey, and then back to the Keswick.”

Those plans went out the window when the coronavirus pandemic hit—a huge disappointment. The parent company made the decision to close all of its venues for the duration.

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History, News, People

SJU Program Explores John Hume and the Northern Irish Peace Process

Former President Bill Clinton described the late John Hume as “the Irish conflict’s Martin Luther King.”

A native of Derry, a founder of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and co-recipient with David Trimble of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, Hume is remembered as a determined driving force behind the Northern Ireland peace process, leading up to the Good Friday Agreement.

Hume died August 3. His contribution to the cause of peace in Northern Ireland will be commemorated October 22 in a Zoom-based event sponsored by St. Joseph’s University’s Irish Studies and the English Department. The presentation features a screening of “John Hume in America,” followed by a Q and A with the film’s director, Maurice Fitzpatrick, with an introductory lecture by Nicole McClure, Ph.D. of Kutztown University, “Visualizing Truth, Seeing Empathy: Documentary Films, the Troubles and the Peace Process.”

The first official event for the fledgling Irish Studies program, it was scheduled to take place in early April. Then the pandemic hit and the event was canceled, necessitating the move to online later on.

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News

Are You an Ambitious Female Entrepreneur with Donegal Links? Apply Here

In Ireland’s County Donegal, only 12 percent of the businesses supported by the county Local Enterprise Office (LEO) are led by women.

That, says Brenda Hegarty, assistant head of enterprise for LEO, is common not just throughout Donegal and Ireland, but worldwide. Her organization, together with NDRC, formerly the National Digital Research Centre, is trying to increase that percentage—not just within Donegal, but throughout the worldwide Donegal diaspora.

They’re doing so through a program called “Ambition,” a new pre-accelerator program focusing on early-stage female entrepreneurs, with a suitably ambitious goal.

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