Many Irish Philadelphians of a certain age will remember dancing or singing to the music of Tommy Moffit, the Roscommon man who came to America as a 16-year-old in the 1950s, learned accordian, then started playing at every house party in Philadelphia by the time he was 18. For many years he played every Sunday night in the Fireside Room of the Irish Center then at Emmet’s Place—which closed this year—every weekend, pausing for an hour to do his own Irish radio show on Sunday.
There are a lot of Irish Philadelphians who know Jack McNamee too. They might have eaten at his Springfield restaurant, C.J. McGee’s, or know him from the many St. Patrick’s day parade events and other fundraisers he’s hosted to raise money for charity. They might not know about all the generosity he’s shown over the years to those charities and his alma mater, Cardinal Dougherty High School. McNamee is the community’s own “quiet man” who prefers his good deeds unsung.
And anyone who doen’t know Blackthorn, the high-energy Celtic rock band, has been in a coma for years. Blackthorn spells instant success when it’s booked for a benefit–as every Irish organization and charity in the Philadelphia region is aware. John McCroary, John and Michael Boyce, Michael O’Callaghan and Seamus Kelleher make up the band that has recorded five CDs and continues to pack them in wherever they appear.
On Sunday, May 3, AOH Joseph E. Montgomery Division 65 of Springfield honored these stalwarts of the Irish community at its third annual Fleadh an Earraigh event, held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Springfield, Delaware County.
McNamee, who is recovering from treatment for leukemia, was represented by his wife, Loretta.
We were there and took lots of photos.