Music

Exploring “Lore” … Interview with Orla Fallon

Best known as a founding member of Celtic Woman, Orla Fallon has long forged her own musical path. An accomplished singer and harpist, Fallon is out with a new collection of familiar tunes—tunes she has chosen both because they have meant something in her life and because they are likely to resonate with her fans.

The new CD, “Lore,” was released in late July. We recently chatted—about as socially distanced as you can possibly be, with the interviewer in Philly and the interviewee across the Atlantic in Ireland. And we discussed the new recording and the thought that went into it.

We also talked about the pandemic, and how “Lore” is likely to ease those Covid-19 anxieties.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

The summer fun just keeps on coming, close to home and down at the beach—and, of course, virtually.

Here’s what’s what:

Friday, July 31

You can catch the glorious Mary Courtney live on Facebook again this week at 6 p.m. She’s a veritable treasure trove of tunes and one of the most stirring voices in Irish music today.

Also at 6 p.m.—you’ll have to make a touch decision here—flutist Will Woodson and fiddler Caitlin Finley, who hails from Philly, host a cocktail hour (and a half) live on Facebook. Catch their act here. (Video below.)

Saturday, August 1

Hard to believe we’re heading into August already. We have one event you can watch from the comfort of your own air-conditioned home. Barleyjuice appears on the lineup for a concert from this year’s virtual Dublin Irish Festival. The show starts at 2 p.m. on Facebook.

Later in the day, Philly’s very own Jamison unPlugged hits the stage at the North Shore Bar & Kitchen, 301-303 New York Avenue in North Wildwood, starting at 5 p.m. Contact North Shore for reservations. Outdoor seating is limited. 609-551-4112.

One quick note: A drive-in concert for Saturday night, featuring The John Byrne Band at People’s Light in Malvern, is sold out. Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Try This “Foolproof” Summer Dessert

A fruit “fool”—the word supposedly derives from the French fouler, meaning “to crush”—calls for combining puréed fruit with beaten eggs and sugar, whipped cream, sour cream, or yogurt for a virtually “foolproof” dessert.

This recipe, which pays homage to the fraughan (also known as bilberry and wild blueberry), combines the berries with layers of whipped cream and crushed biscuits.

You’ll find similar recipes in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland with suggestions to serve the fool in small 2 to 3-ounce glasses for the “sweets course.”

To order signed copies (Buy One Get One Free during the SUMMER SPECIAL), visit irishcook.com. Continue Reading

Arts, Genealogy, History

The Galvin Girls: A Tale of Irish Sisters

Emily Schmidt

In some ways, viewed from the standpoint of so many immigrant stories, this one is unremarkable.

Five sisters, all from the Galvin family, from a dairy farm in the little town Clounmacon, five miles outside Listowel, County Kerry, emigrated to the United States—Philadelphia, to be specific. They sought new lives in what likely seemed by comparison to their desperately poor homeland like the land of plenty.

The Galvin girls followed the usual practice: One sister moved to the U.S., saved her money, and sent for the next—and so on until they were all ensconced in Philadelphia, four of them working 10 hours a day, five hard days a week, in the Apex Hosiery Factory at 5th and Luzerne, the fifth a hairdresser.

But everything changed not long after Bridie Galvin moved to the city. A few weeks after her arrival, the Stock Market crashed. The oldest sister, Anna, had been investing—wisely, it seemed at the time—but after the crash, the sisters’ fortunes changed.

As with so many Irish immigrant stories, the details of the sisters’ lives from that challenging time weren’t discussed from one generation to the next. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

For the first time in a long time, we have quite the full slate for you. A bit of it is virtual, all of it is appropriately distanced.

We’ll start with a virtual concert that you are going to want to watch tonight (Friday, July 24): the fabulous Mary Courtney. You can catch her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MorningStarBand

You can tip her during the performance via Venmo and PayPal. (Please do. Support our Irish musicians! Details during the show.) Starts at 6 p.m. Video at the end of the story so you can see why we’re crazy about her.

Also tonight, see The Rollers live at Sweeney’s Philly, 13639 Philmont Avenue in Philadelphia. They’ll be playing decades of your favorite tunes. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Sweet, Delicious Summer Pudding

What could be sweeter (and easier) than a big bowl or fresh berries for a summer dessert? A trifle, perhaps? A cobbler? A summer pudding?

A bit more effort, I agree, but the rewards are greater too.

You’ll find other sweet summer recipes in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland. Order a signed copy at www.irishcook.com and get one FREE with my “Christmas in July” special offer.

SUMMER PUDDING

SERVES 6

Some attribute this deliciously simple dessert to the English, but it’s equally popular in Ireland. As its name indicates, summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are the main ingredients. But don’t be fooled by the word “pudding” in its name, since the dessert is actually made with white bread or brioche!

After the fruit and bread have mingled overnight, the result is a colorful and unusual dessert that almost looks too pretty to eat.

I’ve been a fan since 1999 when the recipe first appeared in my Irish Heritage Cookbook. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Because there’s not as much happening as in pre-Covid times, we’re looking forward a bit.

First up—and this is a don’t miss—the John Byrne Band is taking the stage for a socially distanced drive-in concert Saturday, August 1, in the People’s Light parking lot, 39 Conestoga Road in Malvern. John and the band are always a guaranteed good time. If you can, go.

Coming up sooner:

On Facebook Saturday, July 18, at 8 p.m. Irish time, 3 p.m. Eastern, our own Raymond Coleman is part of a huge cast of musicians worldwide playing for an NHS Fundraiser Gig. Check it out here. Donate here: https://gf.me/u/yfjb55

Jamison Celtic Rock will present its acoustic act Sunday, July 19, at Keenan’s Irish Pub, 113 Olde New Jersey Avenue in North Wildwood. The tunes begin at 6 p.m. Continue Reading

Arts, History, Music

Medieval Modern Magical Music: Anakronos’ “The Red Book of Ossory”

Anakronos: Caitríona O’Leary, Deirdre O’Leary, Nick Roth, and Francesco Turrisi (photograph by Tara Slye)

It’s been almost 700 years since Kilkenny’s discordant 14th century Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede, held sway over the souls of his parishioners, but 17 of his medieval poems are on track to reach the listening ears of a 21st century audience on the newly released CD, “The Red Book of Ossory.” And thanks to Caitriona O’Leary and the group Anakronos, what an innovative and exalted musical experience it has been transformed into.

But in order to wax properly eloquent on the newly released CD, there first needs to be some background on the origins of the Red Book of Ossory itself.

Richard de Ledrede was a man of massive contradictions. English-born, and a student of the Franciscan order, he was appointed Bishop of Ossory in 1317 by the Papal Court in Avignon. Immediately after his arrival in Kilkenny, he set about doing things his way, and his way meant a strict adherence to the Church laws and beliefs as he saw them. He set a high bar where morality was concerned and that included a moratorium on the singing of “bawdy” secular songs. He composed 60 poems that are included in the Red Book of Ossory (the original manuscript is housed at St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny) with the instructions: “for the vicars of the cathedral of the church, for the priests and for his clerks, to be sung on important holidays and at celebrations in order that their throats and mouths, consecrated to God, may not be polluted by songs which are lewd, secular and associated with revelry and since they are trained singers let them provide themselves with suitable tunes according to what these sets of words require.” Poetry that Caitriona O’ Leary describes as “beautiful, esoteric and richly imagistic.” Continue Reading