The annual Easter Rising ceremony at Holy Cross Cemetery on April 3 took on special poignancy this year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Dublin battle between Irish revolutionaries and British soldiers that played a pivotal role in the birth of the Irish Republic in 1922.
Members of the families of three prominent Irish freedom fighters who are buried in the Yeadon cemetery took part in the ceremonies, which included rifle salutes by the Pennslvania 69th Irish Volunteers re-enactors, speeches by Sinn Fein’s Sean Conlon, the Monaghan town councillor who spent part of his childhood in Delaware County; Judyann Gillespie McCarthy of the local 1916 Easter Rising Commemoration Committee, and Tyrone native and historian, Patsy Kelly.
How do you capture the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day in one video? You broadcast the whole thing live on television.
Guess what? We have one lonely guy with a small video camera, running back and forth, and also shooting stills.
So we did the next best thing. We shot what we could, with an emphasis on action. If it danced or played, we tried to get it. Obviously, we didn’t capture everything that moved. If your band or dance school isn’t there, it’s not because we don’t love you. (You know that we do!) What we did instead was try to put together a little sampler that captures the fun and excitement of the parade in a little over five minutes.
Getting an early start on St. Patrick’s Day, the Next Generation youth Irish music group, accompanied by dancers from the Broesler School, gave a crowd-pleasing performance at the Garden State Discovery Museum.
We captured some video from the concert—an old favorite called “Mairi’s Wedding.”
Chris Brennan Hagy, Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley lead the group—as they have with dedication for years.
For the first time in its 16-year history, the Philadelphia-based Irish American Business Chamber and Network gave its top award—the Ambassador’s Award—to a company founded in Northern Ireland. The ceremony took place on Friday, February 26, at The Union League in Philadelphia with more than 400 people in attendance
The IABCN honored Almac, a pharmaceutical and health care development company with North American headquarters in Souderton, where it employs more than 1,000 people. The company was founded by Sr. Alan McClay in Craigevon, Northern Ireland.
Also honored were IACBN founder, Bill McLaughlin and his wife, Natalie, who run McLaughlin & Morgan, a business and development firm in Philadelphia (the Taoiseach Award) and Msgr. Michael Doyle, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Camden whose work has led to many improvements in the city’s waterfront area.
Some old favorites–Albannach, Screaming Orphans, Timlin & Kane, Searson, the Brigadoons, Jamison, the Hooligans–were back, but there were some new acts at this year’s Mid-Winter Scottish & Irish Festival. We saw Gabriel Donohue with Vonnie Quinn, the Mudmen, McLean Avenue and, while Brother wasn’t there, Angus Richardson and Drew Reid were and they joined Albannach on stage to make it Albannach Plus 2.
We sampled Scottish barbecue (pork and peat!), fish and chips, McDougall’s Irish Victory Cakes, bacon chocolate (yes, you read that right–it was good), Guinness (thanks Sean Crossan!) and, for the umpteenth year in a row, did not have haggis. (We tasted some in Bethlehem at Celtic Fest–we don’t like liver.)
We posted nearly 30 videos in 2015. We’ve recorded concerts—lots of them–and done interviews. We were there to make a video record of all of the winners of this year’s Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame. We were also there to witness the presentation of the Delaware Valley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Lifetime Achievement Award to one of our all-time favorite people, Kevin McGillian.
Looking back on so much good stuff, it was tough to come up with favorites, but we tried.
Here’s a playlist of the best of Irish Philly videos 2015. Maybe they’ll bring back memories. (And if you want to take a gander at all of of our videos—there are hundreds—or subscribe to our YouTube channel, head over here.
To navigate through the playlist, click on the three little horizontal lines at upper left. (Next to: 1/7)
This past week saw more than a few Irish holiday-oriented events, and we have souvenirs from three.
On Sunday, the Divine Providence Village Rainbow Irish Step Dancers joined the Tara Gael Dancers at the Irish Center for a memorable Christmas show. The Rainbow dancers are a group of developmentally disabled women taught by local Irish step dancer Kathy Madigan. They live at the archdiocesan home in Delaware County.
They never fail to inspire, and their most recent holiday performance was no exception.
I’ve always wondered how they got that huge Christmas tree into the Plough & the Stars.
And make no mistake—every year, the Plough, at 2nd and Chestnut, manages to wedge a fir tree that stands over 20 feet into a corner or the restaurant, not far from the fireplace. (Not too close, though.)
I had heard rumors that it was lowered into place through trap door just an arm’s length from the restaurant’s second level. I Never quite believed it, but still … how else?