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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

Dance, Food & Drink, Music, News

A Little Bit of Ireland on the Waterfront

People have been celebrating their Irish heritage by taking in The Philadelphia Irish Festival at Penns Landing for more than 20 years. That translates to thousands of Irish or those who just want to be Irish for the day. You can add to those impressive stats. The festival is coming up again on June 2. Best of all—it’s free.

Part of the PECO Multicultural Series, the festival offers a day of great Irish tunes, dance, food and drink, vendors, and plenty of activities for the kiddies.

“It’s a family-friendly event,” says organizer Michael Bradley. “It attracts everybody from newborns to people in their 90s. Everybody’s welcome. It’s a nice way to get your family out and to keep the Irish tradition alive, at a beautiful location along the river. It’s just a really neat place to be.”

Free admission means people who might be struggling financially can come out and enjoy the music, the vendors and all the rest. “It’s not a price-conscious thing,” Bradley says. “You don’t see free admission too much anymore.” Continue Reading

Music, News, Videos

Scenes from the Jarlath Henderson Concert (And a Preview of Some Upcoming Ceili Group Events)

Last Friday, the Philadelphia Ceili Group brought multi-instrumentalist and award-winning folk singer Jarlath Henderson to a very appreciative Delaware Valley audience (with some driving from as far away as Reading in rush hour traffic to attend). And with a crowd of nearly 50 people in attendance at the Fireside Room of the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (AKA The Irish Center) in Mount Airy, the evening was one of brilliant tunes and songs, with Jarlath stunning on pipes (both uilleann and vocal) and accompanied by the talented Glasgow-born Innes Watson on guitar (one audience member was overheard exclaiming “He makes that guitar talk!”). To check out where you can see them perform as they continue their U.S. tour, and to order their CDs, check out Jarlath’s website.

This is just the kick-off to a number of upcoming concerts the Ceili Group is sponsoring, several as a co-production with the Irish Center. First up is next Thursday, May 16, when they bring Beoga to town. In case you haven’t heard, the self-described “new-wave trad” super-group recently shot into the stratosphere when they performed on two Ed Sheeran songs: “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan.”

Then, on Sunday, June 9, they will be presenting David Curley in concert. Dave is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, mandolin, banjo and bodhran, sings and does some Irish dancing as well. He is part of the band RUNA, as well as being a member of SLIDE. Continue Reading

News

Get Your Green On at Morris Arboretum’s Irish Day

It would be hard to imagine a place greener than the University of Pennsylvania’s sweeping 92-acre expanse of trees and spectacular plantings, Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill. So it’s only fitting that the arboretum should host a special Irish Day—a day chock full of Irish culture including music, dance, history, and even a sampling of beer.

Irish Day takes place on Sunday, May 5. All of the festivities are included in the price of admission.

“We did an abbreviated version last year,” says special events coordinator Michelle Conners. “We did it on a Monday, when not as many people were able to take part.” It was largely a special outing for the Irish Immigration Center’s senior luncheon group. Continue Reading

News

Irish Genealogy Group’s Expanding Roots

Aengus Lawlor’s Presentation on Griffith’s Valuation at the April 9th Meeting

 

For over eight years, the Irish Immigration Center in Upper Darby has been steadily and surely attracting a growing crowd of dedicated researchers to their monthly genealogy group. Meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, the gathering has been led by Pat Corey for the past few years. For many people, including myself, who have heard how helpful, valuable, worthwhile and welcoming this group is but are unable to attend the daytime meeting, the Immigration Center has come up with a solution: beginning Thursday, April 25, a second, evening group will be meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month.

“We get a lot of phone calls from people inquiring about the genealogy group. They want to attend, but because of work and other commitments, aren’t able to make a meeting held in the middle of the day,” Nicola Bell, the Center’s Community Programs and Communications Director, explained.

About a month ago, the Center’s Executive Director, Emily Norton Ashinhurst, and I also discussed this. She knew of my interest and experience in genealogy and the podcasts I had recently started recording for this website. She had several members of the current group who were on board to assist with facilitating a second, evening meeting, but didn’t necessarily want to lead it regularly. She asked if I would be interested. I thought about it for about two seconds, and answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Attending this month’s daytime meeting on Tuesday to get a sense of how the current group runs, I was struck by the genuine camaraderie and appreciation shown for each other’s research. With over 30 people in attendance (some meetings have seen as many as 60), everyone there came away with some new insight into how to further their own search for ancestors. Pat Corey has done a wonderful job of growing this group and providing guidance and leadership while making everyone feel like this is their meeting. I was also overwhelmed by how many people said that they plan on attending the evening meeting as well the daytime meeting from now on.

And that is what I envision the Thursday night group to be, a welcoming second place to come and share a love of all things genealogical. With current members Aengus Lawlor (who did an incredibly informative presentation on Griffith’s Valuation at Tuesday’s meeting) and Bill McCray on board to help facilitate, there will be a monthly topic to focus on, guest speakers, and lots of discussion.

Nicola Bell summed it up best when she relayed some of the comments and questions she gets from people enquiring about the meetings: “People will say, ‘I’m not Irish, can I join?’ And ‘I have no experience, can I come?’ And “I don’t know where to start, will I be welcome?’ I tell them all, ‘Of course. Everybody’s welcome.’”

“Everybody’s Welcome.” That will be the topic for the first evening meeting. Come out and join us at The Irish Immigration Center at 7 South Cedar Lane, Upper Darby, Pa., 19082, Thursday, April 25th at 7 p.m. For more information, check out the Immigration Center’s website and the Facebook Events page.

Can’t wait for the meeting? Listen to the “Who’s Your Granny” podcasts on “Tea with Irish Philly.

Podcast: A Beginner’s Guide to Irish Genealogy

Podcast: The Ins and Outs of DNA Testing

News

Celtic Woman Brings Them to Their Feet at the Academy

The standing ovation at the end said it all.

The talented performers of Celtic Woman—at this point in the troupe’s nearly 15-year history can it be called venerable?—once again swung through town and left well-satisfied Academy of Music audience members on their feet and wanting more.

Truth be told, if they didn’t have them from the very beginning—and it would have been hard to find skeptics in that audience—they certainly had them at “Danny Boy,” which most people seemed to expect. They’d no doubt heard it many times, but with the announcement that “Danny Boy”—talk about venerable—was next up, there were audible “awwwws” and unrestrained cheers and applause throughout the audience. Continue Reading

News

An Gorta Mór Commemoration 2019

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. Continue Reading

News, Photo Essays, Photos

Jeff’s Pics: Nearly 100 Photos from the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade

It’s been a few years since we covered the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I missed it. Aside from an opportunity to snag a lot of really fun photos, it’s also old home week, where I ran into old friends I might not have seen for a while. Missed them, too.

Without further ado … here are all the pictures I took. Hope you see yourself somewhere in the mix. Click on the arrows above.