The 2019 Philadelphia Ceili Group Irish Traditional Music & Dance Festival is over, but what a packed, fun-filled festival it was.
We showed you the Thursday night singers night last week, but that was just the beginning of a long weekend of tunes, high stepping, and workshops on how to do everything from play tin whistle to learn a bit of the Irish language to plumb the depths of your Irish heritage.
There was a dance exhibition by the Temple University Dance Team (go Owls!), along with a small orchestra of musicians from the area’s many traditional Irish music sessions, and a superb, intimate concert by piper Ivan Goff and fiddler Katie Linnane. There was a children’s story time, St. Brigid’s cross making, face painting, a hall full of Celtic and Irish vendors, and the kitchen kept on cranking out chow that had people going back for more.
If you were up for a pint or two, that was there, too.
Then, of course, there was the Saturday night finale concert in the ballroom, featuring singer Donie Carroll and Tony DeMarco and his band, the Atlantic Wave.
We have plenty of pictures, courtesy of Denise Foley and Jeff Meade.
You couldn’t have asked for a better day for Philadelphia Gaelic Athletic Association action.
Sunday, in the shadow of the Limerick cooling towers, with bright sun, a gentle breeze and temperatures in the mid-80s, eight teams went at it for guts and glory in football and hurling. The crowd along the sidelines was big and enthusiastic.
We were there for a few of the games and shot a ton of photos. We also have scores:
In hurling, it was Allentown 5-22 over Philly’s NaToraidhe 3-14, and Jersey Shore 4-07 over the South Jersey Rebels 4-06—an exciting, hard-fought matchup.
In the junior football finals, it was Donegal 3-16 over the Delco Gaels 1-12. And in the senior finals, the Young Irelands topped Donegal 3-18 to 2-16.
Check out the pics!
The Gaelic Athletic Association’s 2019 Continental Youth Championships are over, drawing crowds of fans and players by the busloads to the Greater Chester Valley Sports Association Complex in Malvern for four days last week. Volunteers made sure everything ran smoothly for teams from throughout the country.
Not far from anyone’s mind was the late Liam Hegarty, well-known for his involvement in the Delaware County (Delco) Gaels and the GAA broadly.
Denise Foley and I attended the games on Saturday afternoon, and put together the above photo essay. It should give you a taste of what happened on the fields and off.
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.
It’s a cinch that more than a few lined the outfield railings of Citizen Bank Park Wednesday night to get a close-up view of the Phillies-Diamondbacks game. Probably just as well—the home team lost.
They were mostly proud parents with their cell phone cameras at the ready, as Irish dancers from several Philadelphia-area schools took to the warning track of CBP to put on a high-stepping pre-game exhibition.
The reason? It was the Phillies’ annual Irish Heritage Celebration.
The Irish traditional band Fig for a Kiss also put on a well-received exhibition of their own at Pass and Stow restaurant. (More cell-phone cameras.)
Not to be outdone, we had a camera of our own.
These photos are the result.
The 2019 Philadelphia Irish Festival at Penn’s Landing is history. A very good festival it was. With temperatures in the 80s and a nice breeze along the Delaware, it was picture-perfect most of the day.
Seamus McGroary, C.J. Mills and Joe Kirschen started playing just after noon, and the tunes flowed on into the afternoon, with the McLean Avenue Band of New York City and Philly band Jamison taking the stage later in the day, undaunted by occasionally threatening skies.
A good-sized crowd showed up to take in the tunes, buy Irish shirts and hats, slurp water ice, sip a brew, feast on funnel cake, or watch the Irish dancers. For the kids, there were balloon hats, face painting and a moon bounce.
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.
Non-stop music on three stages, dance, Irish and Celtic vendors, food and drink—it was all on display Saturday at Philly Fleadh 2019, held on the grounds at Pennsylvania Army National Guard Armory & Readiness Center in Northeast Philadelphia.
In a week during which rain seemed to be falling every day, the Fleadh’s organizers got lucky. It was bright and sunny, and the grounds had mostly dried out. People came with their lawn chairs and set up on the lawn to listen to tunes from such bands and performers such as Oakwyn, The Bogside Rogues, the John Byrne Band, Seamus and CJ, Ray Coleman.
We were there for a good part of the day and tried to capture some of the flavor of this big, exciting event.
The pictures are up top, and here’s a recording of the band Oakwyn playing “Come Out Ye Black and Tans.”
Editor’s note: All Irish Philly podcasts are now available on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and Spotify.