History, News, People

SJU Program Explores John Hume and the Northern Irish Peace Process

Former President Bill Clinton described the late John Hume as “the Irish conflict’s Martin Luther King.”

A native of Derry, a founder of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and co-recipient with David Trimble of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, Hume is remembered as a determined driving force behind the Northern Ireland peace process, leading up to the Good Friday Agreement.

Hume died August 3. His contribution to the cause of peace in Northern Ireland will be commemorated October 22 in a Zoom-based event sponsored by St. Joseph’s University’s Irish Studies and the English Department. The presentation features a screening of “John Hume in America,” followed by a Q and A with the film’s director, Maurice Fitzpatrick, with an introductory lecture by Nicole McClure, Ph.D. of Kutztown University, “Visualizing Truth, Seeing Empathy: Documentary Films, the Troubles and the Peace Process.”

The first official event for the fledgling Irish Studies program, it was scheduled to take place in early April. Then the pandemic hit and the event was canceled, necessitating the move to online later on. Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Apple Treats for October

If it’s October, it’s time to add apples to the menu. This recipe for an apple tea loaf is reminiscent of a traditional Irish apple cake.

The brandy adds a little kick and the nuts a bit of crunch.

I like to bake it in a stoneware tea loaf pan (12 x 4 x 2 1/2-inches) that creates smaller slices than a traditional full-sized loaf.

The tea loaf pan (I bought mine at kingarthurflour.com) holds the same amount as a 9 x 5-inch pan, so you can also use it to bake other quick breads or yeast breads.

Baking times will vary if you bake it in the smaller pan.

You’ll find other recipes like this in my cookbook Teatime in Ireland; signed copies available at irishcook.com Continue Reading


Are You an Ambitious Female Entrepreneur with Donegal Links? Apply Here

In Ireland’s County Donegal, only 12 percent of the businesses supported by the county Local Enterprise Office (LEO) are led by women.

That, says Brenda Hegarty, assistant head of enterprise for LEO, is common not just throughout Donegal and Ireland, but worldwide. Her organization, together with NDRC, formerly the National Digital Research Centre, is trying to increase that percentage—not just within Donegal, but throughout the worldwide Donegal diaspora.

They’re doing so through a program called “Ambition,” a new pre-accelerator program focusing on early-stage female entrepreneurs, with a suitably ambitious goal. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

It’s a big week for Philly’s Irish, with a fair amount of in-person activities—a welcome respite, we’re sure.

Here’s what’s up:

Friday, October 2

Two events tonight; one virtual, one not.

First, there’s the virtually famous Raymond Coleman, showing up at Dooney’s Pub & Restaurant, 154 NJ-73 in the Cedar Hill Shopping Center, Voorhees, N.J., starting at 6 p.m. A guaranteed good time.

On Facebook, check out the wonderful Irish singer Mary Courtney, also starting at 6 p.m. Tune in at https://www.facebook.com/MorningStarBand. Continue Reading


Friends of the Irish Center Come Through Big Time

Closed since March due to the pandemic, the Commodore Barry Arts and Cultural Center faced an uphill struggle. On the one hand, the Irish Center, as it is more commonly called, stood to lose tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. On the other, board members still had to meet monthly expenses for the rambling old building at Carpenter and Emlen Streets in Mount Airy.

The disruption couldn’t have come at a worse time. Fortunately, many of the center’s friends have come to the rescue.

This year was going to be a big one for the center, which had recently been granted 501c3 nonprofit status and had many old debts cleared up. The center makes most of its income from events, like wedding receptions, festivals, banquets and concerts. For 2020, the calendar was jam-packed with paying events—so much so that there was a waiting list.

“We were on such a good high from all the hard work that had been put into the Irish Center over the last number of years,” says board member and vice president Lisa Maloney. “We were getting on a profitable, albeit not a huge margin. We had some cushion in the bank because we had had so many shows (prior to the shutdown). We had some money saved by. All the hard work was paying off because we were booking events. We had solid schedules. The board was feeling good because were on a good plane … and then everyone got hit with it (the Covid pandemic).” Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

We don’t have a full week of events, but, hey, the weekend itself is packed with stuff to help you get into an Irish state of mind.

Here’s what’s on.

Friday, September 25

Maggie’s Boots—the talented trio of fiddler Hollis Payer, accordionist Rob Curto and cellist Melissa Brun—will host an online concert, starting at 7 p.m. Donations via PayPal and Venmo happily accepted. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/MaggiesBoots/live_videos

Also tonight, Country Dance New York hosts “The Queens of Harps,” a special Zoom concert featuring Tomoko Sugawara and Philly own Ellen Tepper, who will showcase harp music “spanning centuries of repertoire, both familiar and exotic.” It all starts at 7 p.m. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2827792844130622 Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

By this point, you’re probably missing live concerts, ceili dances and most of all, at this time of year the Wildwood Irish Fall Festival.

Cheer up. We have plenty to keep you content—even though most of it is virtual—and we wouldn’t completely give up on Wildwood, as you’ll see.

Friday, September 18

The fabulous Mary Courtney streams live on Facebook, starting at 6 p.m. You can tune in here: https://www.facebook.com/MorningStarBand She’s one of our very favorite Irish singers. If you haven’t heard her, give her a listen. Tips will be accepted.

Saturday, September 19

Singer-guitarist Seamus Kelleher appears at Blueprint Brewing at 1571 Gehman Road in Harleysville. The show starts at 6 p.m.

Sunday, September 20

Shilelagh Law, billed as NYC’s Thirstiest Band, hosts its virtual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Sunday Funday Virtual Busking Extravaganza. It’s live on Facebook, and you can find it at https://www.facebook.com/SLNYC. The tunes start at 4 p.m. Sure, they’re New Yorkers, but given that it’s virtual, they could be pretty much anywhere.

Also Sunday, it’s time for cocktail hour with Philly-area native fiddler Caitlin Finley and flutist/uilleann piper Will Woodson, starting at 5 p.m. They’ll be streaming live on https://www.facebook.com/woodsonandfinley/live or on YouTube at youtube.com/c/willwoodson/live. We wrote a story about them recently if you want to learn more about this talented duo. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Big week ahead of us, starting tonight with the (virtual) Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival.

Let’s jump right into it:

Friday, September 11-Saturday, September 12

We mentioned this last week (see our story), but because of the pandemic, the Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival—normally held at the Irish Center in Mount Airy—just wasn’t in the cards. In person, that is. But the Ceili Group has come up with a thoroughly creative way to celebrate the festival on the web. It’s well worth checking out. They’ve put a ton of work into their plans, and it shows.

First of all, tonight … celebrate a Rambling House with host Hollis Payer. There’s also a dance workshop. The dance workshop is led by the great Kieran Jordan at 6 p.m. The Rambling House kicks in at 7. Learn more here, and they’ll send you the link.

Here’s who’s going to be at the Rambling House: The wonderful Mary Courtney (video below), Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley, piper Tim Hill and Autumn Rhodes, Rob Curto, Patch and Bob Glennan, Gabriel Donohue and Marian Makins, Donie Carroll, and many more. Continue Reading