New Jersey native Haley Richardson, a young fiddle player well-known within the Philadelphia traditional Irish music community, where her love of the genre first took root, joined the cast of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin this summer.
Often described as a “child prodigy,” at 17 Haley is no longer a child, and regardless of the honors and accolades thrown her way, remains a thoroughly grounded young lady.
Anyone who has ever heard her play—from her childhood playing an appropriately child-sized violin to her victories at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (the world championships of Irish music) and appearances on stage with the likes of The Chieftains—knows those honors and accolades are well-deserved.
We recently spoke with Haley about Riverdance, her upbringing in music, and thoughts on her future. Here’s what she had to say.
Here’s your weekly dose of Irish-ness. As always, an interesting mix of events, and you ought to be able to find something—or a few somethings—to pique your interest.
Also, we’ve had some requests to include dates along with days in our announcements, so we’ve changed the format a bit to make it easier for you to track what’s up and when.
Saturday, August 24
The John Byrne Band plays the music of Shane MacGowan and The Pogues at Kildare’s Irish Pub, 18 West Gay Street in West Chester. The show starts at 6 p.m. Recommend highly.
Driving around Ireland definitely makes you hungry—and sometimes forgetful—so after a day of touring around West Cork I arrived at The Fish Kitchen, a small-ish restaurant in Bantry situated, appropriately, above a fish market, without a reservation.
Call it the luck of the Irish, but proprietor Diarmaid Murphy managed to squeeze me and my friend in because of a cancellation.
Great luck, indeed, to grab a table in a place where they focus on three elements of serving fish: freshness, simplicity, and quality. Murphy says, “We do our best not to interfere with the fish, serving it simply skin side-up with a variety of simple butters or sauces on top or on the side … geographically we’re in an ideal location to keep the distance between the sea and the plate as short as possible,” an ethos not lost on the diners.
Here’s one of the standouts on the menu.
There’s plenty to keep you Irish peeps busy this week.
Let’s start with Saturday night. You’ll have an opportunity to hear two great local bands:
- The first event is Irish night at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, 9130 Academy Road in Northeast Philly. The biergarten opens at 5 p.m., and The Shanties take the stage at 7:30. Free admission!
- If you’re down the shore, take in the Bogside Rogues at Anglesea Pub, 116 West 1stAvenue in North Wildwood. The show starts at 9.
On Sunday, another truly fun-packed event, with an opportunity to help well-known local Irish musician Luke Jardel. Luke suffered a severe injury to his hand and required major surgery.
Tony DeMarco’s family story isn’t unusual for New York and other big Northeastern cities. He’s the offspring of that classic “Gaelic and garlic” heritage, a DeMarco on one side, and, on his mother’s side, Dempseys.
“I’m in a book that was all about the Irish-Italian condition in New York, called ‘An Unlikely Union’, written by Paul Moses,” says DeMarco. “He goes into the whole story about Italians and Irish in New York, and how they did and didn’t get along. My whole family consists of those kinds of relations and marriages.”
In many, if not most cases, the Catholic church was the common denominator. Italians and Irish were both Catholic, and they settled in the same neighborhoods. “So the dominant nationalities were Italian and Irish and they married a lot, and I’m a product of that,” DeMarco says. “So we had Irish music and good Italian food.” In DeMarco’s estimation, it was the best of both worlds.
You couldn’t have asked for a better day for Philadelphia Gaelic Athletic Association action.
Sunday, in the shadow of the Limerick cooling towers, with bright sun, a gentle breeze and temperatures in the mid-80s, eight teams went at it for guts and glory in football and hurling. The crowd along the sidelines was big and enthusiastic.
We were there for a few of the games and shot a ton of photos. We also have scores:
In hurling, it was Allentown 5-22 over Philly’s NaToraidhe 3-14, and Jersey Shore 4-07 over the South Jersey Rebels 4-06—an exciting, hard-fought matchup.
In the junior football finals, it was Donegal 3-16 over the Delco Gaels 1-12. And in the senior finals, the Young Irelands topped Donegal 3-18 to 2-16.
Check out the pics!
Welcome to HTBI, or as we like to think of it this week, party central.
Two events tonight:
First, it’s Parents’ Night Out, a Dine and Donate and Adults’ Night Out at Jerzee’s Sports Bar in Glenside, sponsored by the Glenside Gaelic Club. All you have to do (besides having fun) is mention Glenside Gaelic Club when ordering in (or ordering takeout), and 20 percent of the proceeds go to the club. It all starts at 5 p.m. Music by Raymond McGroary begins at 8:30. There’s a $10 charge at the door that will also support the club.
Hope you’re all having a great summer. You can add to the fun and relaxation this week with three Irish events.
If you’re a golfer, you’ll want to pay attention to this: St. Pat’s Donegal Gaelic Football Club is hosting its annual golf outing Saturday at Cobbs Creek Golf Course, with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Cobbs Creek is at 7400 Lansdowne Avenue in Philadelphia. For details, contact Gerard Bourke at 215-863-1775. Teams and sponsorship welcome.
We’ve mentioned Maggie’s Boots before. Always entertaining as a trio, you can catch them downsized as a duo Saturday at Pumphouse Plaza, Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road in Kennett Square. The duo includes Hollis Payer on fiddle, and Rob Curto on button accordion. The show starts at 6 p.m. and runs till 8.
And on Monday, be sure to take in Musikfest, 700 Old York Road in Bethlehem. The John Byrne Band takes the stage at 7 p.m.