People

Behind the Bar: JohnJoe Devlin

We met up with JohnJoe Devlin, pretty much a fixture at Plough & Stars, a busy, well-known gastropub on Second Street between Market and Chestnut in Old City Philadelphia. If you’re looking for a friendly face and a charming accent behind the bar—he’s from Scotland but from Irish stock, he says—Devlin fits that description to a T.

We asked him a few questions about his day-to-day. Here’s what he had to say. Continue Reading

Audio, News

Podcast: An Interview with Radio Host Marianne MacDonald

Listeners throughout the country tune in to hear Marianne MacDonald every Sunday at noon as she hosts “Come West Along the Road” on WTMR 800 AM. The show features traditional Irish music and interviews, along with local concert and event news.

She’s been hosting the show for many years, and for her, clearly, it’s a labor of love. “It’s a highlight of my week,” she says, “and I really look forward to hearing from my listeners.”

It would have to be a labor of love. The show takes a lot of preparation, and costs thousands of dollars to produce.

You can help out. An on-air two-hour pledge drive will take place this Sunday, December 2. Listeners can phone in their pledges and donations of any size at 856-962-8000. Continue Reading

Music, Videos

Sneak Preview: “The Christmas Letter,” With Cherish the Ladies and Don Stiffe

On Saturday, December 1, Cherish the Ladies with Don Stiffe take the stage at the Commodore Barry Arts & Cultural Center (the Irish Center) to present their amazing Celtic Christmas show. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets here.

One of the seasonal songs to be presented will be the poignant “The Christmas Letter,” with lead vocals performed by Stiffe. As the YouTube promo explains: “The song tells the sad story of forced immigration due to starvation and unemployment and a mother’s broken heart lamenting over the loneliness of a Christmas morning knowing that her family is forever torn apart and the only contact she’ll ever have is the letters that arrive for Christmas.”

Try listening to it without developing a little tremble in the lips and forming a few tears. Heart-breaking and lovely.

Here’s a sneak preview.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

We’re publishing early this week on the theory that a lot of us are still recovering from Turkey Day. I don’t know about you, but a long nap might be in order. Opening emails might be the last thing you do on Friday.

Besides, there’s a lot going on, and for some of it, the sooner you hear about it, the better.

So here we go. Take a deep breath. Continue Reading

Audio, Music

Podcast: Interview with Derek Warfield

Derek Warfield, leader of the Young Wolfe Tones, continues his illustrious musical career, now exceeding the 50-year mark. We recently interviewed him, and he looked back on those 50 years—his life, musical upbringing, career, and hopes for the future of the Irish musical tradition. Continue Reading

Audio, Music

Podcast: Interview with Joanie Madden

Joanie Madden brings her band Cherish the Ladies to the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (The Irish Center) Saturday, December 1, for the first stop of the Celtic Christmas tour. Tickets here.

Joanie, who recently won the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish-American Writers and Artists, recently took time for a chat about the award, the band, her career, and the new Christmas music tour.

Jeff: So I guess I’ll just jump right into it. You recently received the Eugene O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish-American Writers and Artists. That had to be gratifying after so many years of performing.

Joanie: Well, you know, Jeff, first off it’s great to speak to you again, and secondly, you know, it’s always nice to receive awards and honors and we had a great night. It was actually Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas presented me with the award, and it was great to join this illustrious list of names of people that have won it previously. But it was a great night. What was great about it for me, more importantly, was that so many of the musicians in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut came out. You know, all my great friends in the music business, so it was wonderful to see them all there for that. Continue Reading

Photos

Photos! Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame 2018

There was a whole lot of love in the ballroom of the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center Sunday night. A full house of friends and family members joined in honoring the 2018 Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame awardees Sunday night.

Honorees included irishphiladelphia.com co-founder Denise Foley, Pearse Kerr, whose lifetime experience included a stint in British custody during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and Sister Frances Kirk, SSJ, renowned as the Delaware Valley chairperson and organizer of Project Children, a program that provided a summer holiday in the United States. away from those aforementioned Troubles for literals thousands of Catholic and Protestant kids. Continue Reading