How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

There are some more opportunities to hear live Irish music this weekend. In this time, it’s more important than ever to support our local musicians. You’ll also have an opportunity to help commemorate Bloody Sunday.

Here’s what’s up:

Friday, February 26

Irish Mike Jordan will perform at Henry James Saloon from 6 to 9 p.m. You’ll find the saloon at 577 Jamestown Avenue in Philadelphia.

Saturday, February 27

Frank Daly, of Jamison Celtic Rock, will be at the Mifflin Tavern, 1843 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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Break Out the Crayons and Paint Brushes, Kids! It’s an Irish Art Contest

St. Patrick’s month will be a relatively subdued affair at The Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center (the Irish Center) in Mount Airy, which is usually jammed with people, young and old, making merry after the Philly parade and again on St. Patrick‘s Day itself. Not this year.

So what to do, what to do …

After giving it a bit of thought, the folks at the Irish Center came up with an idea: an art contest for wee ones up to high school age. The contest also has the advantage of continuing an initiative started before the pandemic, making the Irish Center a more attractive destination for the center’s next generation.

The subject of the art contest: “What Does Being Irish Mean to You?”

With the exception of very small gatherings and The Commodore, the center’s restaurant, the place is closed for business. “But when we were open, we were trying to come up with some ideas that would attract the younger generation, says Lisa Maloney, Irish Center board member and vice president. “We did that with a middle school dance. And we’ve actually had a number of high schoolers helping during this COVID period with the renovation of the library, helping us move books and things like that, because we’ve been wanting to engage them and have conversations with them, meaning the younger generation.”

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Food & Drink

Worth Repeating: Classic Carrot Cake

Ever since the early 1980s when I first discovered carrot cake, I’ve been intrigued by the many iterations the little sweetie assumes.

I thought about it again recently and dug out my carrot cake “file” filled with recipes shared by friends, neighbors, and chefs—no two were alike!  I found that the only ingredients in common in all of my carrot cake recipes were these: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs, nuts, raisins and, of course, carrots.

Most cakes use oil for shortening, some use butter, and one recipe in my file uses coconut oil. Reduced-fat recipes substitute yogurt, applesauce, low-fat buttermilk and egg whites for the shortening, but almost every recipe tops the cake with cream cheese frosting, full-fat or reduced. 

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

It’s a short week, but we do try to keep you entertained and in the loop. And look at it this way … there’s at least one chance to get the heck out of your house. 

Here’s what’s on:

Friday, February 19

Jamison Celtic Rock front man Frank Daly holds forth at Gaul & Co. Malt House, 704 Huntingdon Pike in Rockledge. The show runs from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight.

Friday, February 26

The Irish American Business Chamber & Network is sponsoring a virtual Global CEO Roundtable, with Joan O’Shaughnessy, chair of Tourism Ireland. O’Shaughnessy joins a discussion with Madeline Bell, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Liam Kelly, CEO of Teleflex Careers. Moderating will be Danny McCoy, CEO of IBEC. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. Details and registration here.

And looking ahead just a little bit:

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News, People

Providing Hope Over Pain: Former Blackthorn Guitarist Seamus Kelleher Joins Suicide Prevention Effort

Seamus Kelleher, the multitalented guitarist-singer-songwriter and alum of the celebrated band Blackthorn, has struggled with depression and anxiety for decades. When he was 20, he spent five weeks in a psychiatric hospital.

During that time, when he was living in his hometown of Galway, he recalls going into his kitchen, pulling out a bread knife and holding it to his wrist.

“This is a very clear memory,” he says, “I was incredibly depressed. I was suicidal. I had no intention of doing it then, right? None. But that was my insurance policy. If it didn’t get better, I could end it. And that was at 20 years of age. I had my whole life ahead of me, great rock and roll bands. On the surface, I had everything. But for me, if the pain got any worse, that was my exit strategy.”

Kelleher says he entertained thoughts of suicide again, about seven or eight years ago, but he was extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by people who recognized that he was in bad shape and steered him in the direction of the help he so badly needed. 

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Join a Virtual Town Hall for the Irish Community

How will Brexit affect U.S.-Irish relations? Are there any new insights into business ties between the States and Ireland? What issues are affecting the local Irish and Irish-American community?

These concerns and more are up for discussion Wednesday, February 17, in a virtual town hall meeting sponsored by the Irish Diaspora Center.

Ireland Consul General Ciarán Madden and U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5) will be on hand to answer questions in a discussion moderated by Professor Joseph Lennon of Villanova.

The town hall is an outgrowth of a conversation with Rep. Scanlon at last year’s open house for the Irish Diaspora Center in Havertown, according to center executive director Emily Norton Ashinhurst.

“We had our grand opening at the new center on March 1, and she came and joined us,” says Ashinhurst. “We talked about the potential for her getting a town hall going, to talk to the Irish community. She is part of the Friends of Ireland Caucus.”

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How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

More live tunes are in the offing this weekend … take advantage of it while you can and support our great local Irish musicians.

Here’s what’s up.

Saturday, February 13

Jamison Celtic Rock fiddler Alice Marie and Shaun Durnin play Haggerty’s Café, 2373 MacDade Boulevard in Holmes, from 7 to 11 p.m. A pretty nice start to your weekend.

If you’re shore-bound, Neil Mac Thiarnáin and Moira Fanning play the Anglesea Pub, 116 West 1st Avenue, North Wildwood, starting at around 9 p.m.

Sunday, February 14

Love is in the air—with a bit of Irish music as the Valentine’s Day soundtrack—as the Shantys take the stage at the Fainting Goat, 105 South MacDade Boulevard in Glenolden. The show starts at 5 p.m.

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

If you’re looking for live music, this is the week for it—or more to the point, the night for it. Here’s what’s happening: 

Friday, February 5

Jamison Celtic Rock takes the stage at Sweeney’s Station Saloon, 13639 Philmont Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia. The show starts at 7 p.m., running until 10:30 p.m. Capacity is limited. Reservations are preferred. There’s a $5 cover. (215) 677-3177.

Round Tower returns to Hanrahan’s Irish Pub for a rollicking (and extended) happy hour, starting at 6 p.m. You’ll find Hanrahan’s at 690 Burmont Road in Upper Darby.

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