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
There was a full house on Mischief Night at The Irish Center in Philadelphia for an evening of original, ghostly tales from five writers who composed them just for the event.
The authors, who came in costume, included Marita Krivda, author of the historical book, “Irish Philadelphia,” who also organized the evening’s entertainment; Marian Makins, PhD, who teaches critical writer at the University of Pennsylvania and is a singer; Thom Nickels, the author of 11 books, the latest of which is the soon-to-be published “Literary Philadelphia;” Gerry Sweeney, and Lori Lander Murphy, a librarian, genealogist, and writer and photographer for www.irishphiladelphia.com.
Lori agreed to share her story of young love and death with us so you can feel like you were part of the evening. Continue Reading
It started out as a police and fire band—only there weren’t really enough cops and firefighters to fill out an entire band. So membership in the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band was opened up to civilians.
From that point on, the band has moved from its humble beginnings in an American Legion hall, marching in parades throughout the Delaware Valley, to its longtime practice hall in the ballroom at the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club. After that move, the band became an integral part of the Irish community, playing for everything from county banquets to the annual Joe McGarrity memorial in Holy Cross Cemetery to—of course—the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade. Continue Reading
Jimmy Fallon, eat your heart out! You may have made lip syncing cool, but last Friday night the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia filled the ballroom of the Paxon Hollow Golf Club in Broomall with its Lip Sync Challenge. Over 300 people turned out to cheer on the ten acts who performed like the entertainers they were channeling.
And the theme of the night was FUN.
One of the most important missions of the Immigration Center is its work with the seniors in the community, including a monthly lunch at the Irish Center in Mt. Airy, so it was only fitting that two of the acts, The Jailbirds and Seniors in Sync, were composed of seniors. Proving age has no season, they brought the house down with their performances, including interpretations of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Continue Reading
Dozens of people crammed into the tiny MacSwiney Club last Saturday night to pay tribute to Kevin McGillian, who has been playing Irish music on his button accordion at ceilis far and wide since he arrived from Tyrone in the 1950s.
The Comhaltas Ceoltiori Eireann Philadelphia-Delaware Valley Division gave McGillian its lifetime achievement award, appropriately during a break in a ceili at the Jenkintown club. Playing button accordion in the ceili band was Billy McComiskey, a four-time all-Ireland champion who drive up from Baltimore to be part of the event. Later in the evening, he gave McGillian his accordion to hold and the octogenarian, who has been battling cancer, coaxed a tune out of it. McGillians sons, Jimmy and John, also joined in the music making. Continue Reading