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Irish Heritage Night at the Phillies

Photo Essays, Photos

Phillies Irish Heritage Night 2019

It’s a cinch that more than a few lined the outfield railings of Citizen Bank Park Wednesday night to get a close-up view of the Phillies-Diamondbacks game. Probably just as well—the home team lost.

They were mostly proud parents with their cell phone cameras at the ready, as Irish dancers from several Philadelphia-area schools took to the warning track of CBP to put on a high-stepping pre-game exhibition.

The reason? It was the Phillies’ annual Irish Heritage Celebration.

The Irish traditional band Fig for a Kiss also put on a well-received exhibition of their own at Pass and Stow restaurant. (More cell-phone cameras.)

Not to be outdone, we had a camera of our own.

These photos are the result.


Irish Heritage Night at the Phillies 2013

Brittany Killion and friend

Brittany Killion and friend

We already know how amazingly talented the local band Runa is. What we didn’t know is that they can put a spin on the National Anthem, the likes of which you probably haven’t heard before. And we mean that in a really good way—not in the Roseanne Barr sense of things. Syncopated yes, with drummer Cheryl Prashker setting the pace on her djembe, a tiny bit Celtic, a tiny bit rock. All in all, probably the best version we’ve heard. Bring them back.

Runa was on the field at Citizens Bank Park last week for Irish Heritage Night at the Phillies. Many of the regions’s Irish organizations joined in the pre-game festivities. It seemed like every local dance school was jigging and reeling along the  first and third base lines and the warning track. 2013 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Harry Marnie threw out the first pitch. (Good arm, possible middle relief. Sign him.) The Philly Phanatic smooched 2013 Rose of Tralee winner  Brittany Killion. You couldn’t get more Irish.

Did the Phillies win? We forget.

We snapped a few dozen photos of the evening’s proceedings.

News, Sports

Phillies Irish Heritage Night 2012

Johnny Doc and the Phillie Phanatic, who wears the green all the time.

Johnny Doc and the Phillie Phanatic, who wears the green all the time.

Let’s start with this welcome bit of news: The Phillies beat the Rockies 7-2.

On a steamy summer night when Irish Thunder Pipes and Drums, Philadelphia’s Mary From Dungloe Meghan Davis, Irish tenor Paul Byrom, and dozens of Irish dancers started the ball rolling in the pregame festivities, you can only attribute the Phillies’ unusual good fortune that night to the luck of the Irish.

(Maybe the fact that 2012 St. Patrick’s Day grand marshal and labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty tossed the first pitch had something to do with the Fightins’ good kharma, too.)

Would that it could be Phillies Irish Heritage Night every game through the end of the season. And the post-season, of course.

Sadly, it is only Irish Heritage night at Citizens Bank Park once a season. But we made the most of it. Check out our photos to see how much fun we had!


Play Ball! Irish Heritage Night at the Phillies 2011

Brian Boru's drum major on the largest Jumbotron in the National League.

Brian Boru's drum major on the largest Jumbotron in the National League.

It had to have been a thrill to be on the field at Citizens Bank Park. But what a kick it must have been to see Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco trot out onto the field to hang out with the Brian Boru pipe band, which had been playing in center field. (Polanco neglected to wear a kilt.)

All around the stadium, Phillies fans were treated to Irish music, from 5 Quid just outside the park to the Bogside Rogues and the Hooligans inside the park.

Just before the game, dancers from many of the area’s Irish dance schools lined up along the first and third base lines and out on the warning track to get jiggy. (And many proud dance parents got to see their kids displayed on the park’s super-size Jumbotron.)

But by far the biggest thrill of the night had to belong to John and Michael Boyce, the brothers of Blackthorn, who were tapped to sing the National Anthem.

Oh, yes, let’s not forget: Roy Halladay on the mound. Final score: Phillies 3, Rangers 2.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Uillean piper Paddy Keenan will be at Shanachie in Ambler this week.

Irish festival!

We love the sound of that. This time it’s in Phoenixville, one of our favorite places, and it’s free and on the street. You can hear local greats including Barleyjuice, The Brigade, Oliver McElhone, Charlie Zahm, the Ted the Fiddler Band, and the Irish Thunder Pipe Band. Also on tap, the New York Celtic Dancers and the Pride of Erin Irish Dancer. There will be vendors and there are plenty of places to enjoy a bite and a beer—Phoenixville is filled with Irish pubs and restaurants, and many others that aren’t Irish. Afterwards, head down to Gwynedd Friends Monthly Meeting for a concert by the Jameson Sisters, Teresa Kane and Ellen Tepper, two fabulous and funny musicians. That starts at 8 PM.

When you’re all festivalled out, go golfing with the girls. Specifically, the Mairead Farrell Senior Ladies footballers who are holding their third annual golf outing on Sunday afternoon at Edgemont Country Club in Newtown Square. It’s a fundraiser for the team, which edged out the competition in Chicago last year to become national ladies Gaelic foot ball champs! This year the championship games are in San Francisco—that’s some serious moola they’re going to be needing if they earn the right to compete.

I’ve seen these women play and a word to wise, ladies—no unnecessary roughness out on the links!

But before that, you can help a vet in need by contributing to the AOH/LAOH Div. 51’s seventh annual Spring Fill-a-Cart-Help-a-Vet-in-Need collection at Port Richamond Village Thriftway in Philly Friday and Saturday. Food, personal items, and gift cards will be gratefully accepted.

Also on Sunday, at Friends Center on Cherry Street, you can meet Roy Bourgeois, a former Maryknoll priest, who founded the human rights group, School of the Americas (SOA) Watch. A former Navy officer who was wounded in action in Vietnam, earning him the Purple Heart, Bourgeois spend many years in Bolivia as a Maryknoll missionary, ministering to the poor. He was excommunicated three years ago for publicly supporting the ordination of women. The event at Friends is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Catholic Peace Fellowship, and American Friends Service Committee.

On Thursday, May 18, the amazing Irish uillean piper Paddy Keenan will be playing in concert at the Shanachie Pub and Restaurant in Ambler. Keenan came from a travelling and musical family and was born in County Meath, though he grew up in Dublin. He was a member of the famous Bothy Band, founded in 1974, whose members over the year included fiddler Paddy Glackin, accordion player Tony McMahon, fiddlers Tommy Peoples and Kevin Burke, and guitarist-singer Micheal O Domhnaill.

This week’s the end of the line for Inis Nua Theatre Company’s brilliant production of “Dublin by Lamplight” at Broad Street Ministries—unless, by some good fortune, they extend the run. It’s also the beginning of the line for the Druid Theater of Galway’s version of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy (does he do any other kinds of comedies?), “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” at the Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Get yourself to the Phillies website or asap if you want to tickets to Irish Heritage Night at the Phillies on Friday, May 20, to see the Irish dancing, listen to the Irish music, and watch the Phils host the Texas Rangers and hopefully beat the pants off them. You can also meet the 2011 Philadelphia Rose of Tralee, the lovely Beth Keeley.

And get yourself to to buy tickets to this gala event on Sunday, May 22, at the Irish Center. Twelve local women of Irish descent whose lives serve as an inspiration to others will be honored. And if you’re a big WXPN Kids Corner fan—or were when you were a kid—you can meet Peabody Award-winning host, Kathy O’Connell, who is one of the winners.

Lots more coming up in the next few weeks, including the Penns Landing Irish Fest on June 5. More on that lineup later.

In the meantime, peruse the calendar at your leisure and pick a few things to do this week that will remind you that you’re Irish.