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.
Here’s our last and final batch of photos from the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, shot by freelance photographer Gwyneth MacArthur.
Freelance photographer Gwyneth MacArthur also joined us Sunday at the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Here’s a batch of images she captured along the parade route. Thanks to Gwyneth!
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.
The Philadelphia-Delaware Valley chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (translation: Gathering of Musicians in Ireland) carried on a long tradition Wednesday night, holding its 19th annual Wren Party.
The event commemorates the Irish custom of the Wren Boys—ragtag bands of townsmen in motley attire who went door to door playing tunes, dancing and singing songs, all in hopes of collecting money for a community party or dance.
In the early days, they mounted a dead wren on a stick. December 26 is the feast of early Christian martyr St. Stephen, whose hiding place in a bush was given away by the chattering of a wren. Or so legend has it. Hence, the sacrifice of one of those small birds.
That grisly last part of the tradition faded away—thank goodness—a long time ago.
The local Comhaltas chapter commemorated the feast of St. Stephen with a big party at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Glenside, with lots of traditional Irish music, dance, holiday treats—and a wren hat parade.
We have pictures from the night’s merriment. Check them out.