We posted nearly 30 videos in 2015. We’ve recorded concerts—lots of them–and done interviews. We were there to make a video record of all of the winners of this year’s Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame. We were also there to witness the presentation of the Delaware Valley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Lifetime Achievement Award to one of our all-time favorite people, Kevin McGillian.
Looking back on so much good stuff, it was tough to come up with favorites, but we tried.
Here’s a playlist of the best of Irish Philly videos 2015. Maybe they’ll bring back memories. (And if you want to take a gander at all of of our videos—there are hundreds—or subscribe to our YouTube channel, head over here.
To navigate through the playlist, click on the three little horizontal lines at upper left. (Next to: 1/7)
The Irish Immigration Center’s annual Christmas party had a bittersweet tinge to it on Thursday night. It’s the last party Siobhan Lyons will preside over as executive director.
The Dublin-born Lyons has taken a new job as CEO of Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia, an international relations organization that, among other things, runs international exchange programs for the federal government and the city of Philadelphia and matches leaders from other countries with their counterparts in the US. Their slogan: “Make friends. Make contacts. Make peace.” Continue Reading
It might be a stretch to say that poetry saved Liam Porter’s life, but the longtime newspaper reporter and editor thinks it might have helped turn his life around after he lost his job at The Inishowen Independent during Ireland’s drawn-out economic recession.
Poetry wasn’t the only light he saw in the darkness, but that was a good thing, because there was plenty of darkness.
“I was applying for jobs and going on interviews and not getting any positivity,” says Porter of Raphoe, County Donegal, who has about a dozen family members living in the Philadelphia area. “You begin to devalue your own self-worth. My wife was working, but it was hard to be home every day to see the postman coming and bringing another bill and knowing I couldn’t contribute. Our girls were going to dance classes and all of a sudden we had to say ‘You can’t go there. We don’t have the money.’ It came to the point where I was calculating that maybe they might be better off without me. Then you know you’re not in a good place.” Continue Reading
There’s the buildup to the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame Dinner. Nominations. Selections of honorees. Meetings. Jobs handed out. More meetings.
Finally, there’s the night itself, when all of the honorees gather together in the ballroom at the Philadelphia Irish Center to receive their awards and their richly deserved applause.
Honorees this year were Mary Frances Fogg, Dr. Denis Boyle, Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley, along with the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band, recipients of the Barry Award. Joe Tobin, pipe major emeritus, accepted on behalf of the band. Continue Reading
There are a few more brass plates on the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame plaque at the Irish Center this week.
Inducted at a gala dinner on Sunday night were Denis Boyle, MD, an Upper Darby doctor who cares for the homeless and undocumented; Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley, the musical duo who co-founded with friend Chris Brennan-Hagy, an organization that brings along young Irish traditional musicians; and Mary Frances Fogg, vice president of the association that runs the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, whose government savvy has helped the organization cut through red tape–and who has been known to organize a picket line or two whenever the Irish are maligned.
Every year, Emerald Society Pipe Band members “pipe in” the inductees and this year was no different. Except that they also had to pipe themselves in. The pipe band, which is headquartered at the Irish Center, was given the Commodore Barry Award for their service to the Irish community. Continue Reading
Leading the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade as grand marshal this March will be a man who understands the price of equality, justice, and freedom.
Paul Doris, a native of Coalisland, County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, was a young man working in Portadown in 1972, when British troops in the mainly Catholic Bogside region of Derry shot 26 unarmed people protesting the British introduction of internment without trial in response to sectarian violence across the six counties. The day became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Three days afterward, three men showed up at Doris’s door. One was armed. They ordered him to leave, telling him that Catholics would no longer have any work. Doris’s two younger brothers were subsequently imprisoned. One cousin was shot and killed and another wounded in two separate incidents. Continue Reading
It was just the thing that Jim McLaughlin would have loved. A big room filled with people he knew and a sprinkling of strangers he’d know by the end of the night, right on campus at his alma mater, St. Joseph’s University, his beloved Hawk Hill. There was music—provided by his young friend, fiddler Alex Weir, and his own brothers, Bob, who plays the flute, and Tom and his bluegrass band. And dancing. He loved to dance.
The Irish American Business Chamber and Network planned and executed a perfect Jim McLaughlin night on Thursday to honor its former president who died this year from a brain tumor at the age of 67. At his funeral mass in the chapel of St. Joe’s, the priest—a St. Joe’s professor and friend—called Jim McLaughlin “the most open, kind, and loveable” person he’d ever met. Continue Reading