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.) Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
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? Continue Reading
There’s the buildup to the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame Dinner. Nominations. Selections of honorees. Meetings. Jobs handed out. More meetings.
Finally, there’s the night itself, when all of the honorees gather together in the ballroom at the Philadelphia Irish Center to receive their awards and their richly deserved applause.
Honorees this year were Mary Frances Fogg, Dr. Denis Boyle, Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley, along with the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band, recipients of the Barry Award. Joe Tobin, pipe major emeritus, accepted on behalf of the band. Continue Reading
“Ed Reavy was an Irish-American musician, composer of numerous traditional Irish dance tunes. Born in Barnagrove, County Cavan, he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1912 where he settled in the Irish-American enclave of Corktown.”
Or you can just get out of Wikipedia altogether and listen to some of the finest traditional Irish musicians play Reavy’s music. We recommend the latter. One note is worth a thousand words.
Mick Moloney and friends, playing at the 28th annual Irish Concert at St. Malachy Church last Sunday, ripped through a bunch of Reavy tunes as their last full set. We have the video here. You’ll be listening to Mick, uilleann piper Jerry O’Sullivan, accordion player Billy McComiskey, local fiddle phenom Alexander Weir, four-time All-Ireland fiddler Dylan Foley, concertina great Brenda Castles, and fiddler Liz Hanley. Continue Reading
It started out as a police and fire band—only there weren’t really enough cops and firefighters to fill out an entire band. So membership in the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band was opened up to civilians.
From that point on, the band has moved from its humble beginnings in an American Legion hall, marching in parades throughout the Delaware Valley, to its longtime practice hall in the ballroom at the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club. After that move, the band became an integral part of the Irish community, playing for everything from county banquets to the annual Joe McGarrity memorial in Holy Cross Cemetery to—of course—the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade. Continue Reading
When the Delaware Valley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) presented County Tyrone-born accordion player Kevin McGillian with its Lifetime Achievement Award, we captured video of his big moment.
CCE Chairperson Katherine Ball-Weir presented opening comments, and led the tribute.