If you’re part of the Irish community in Philadelphia, you know Sean McMenamin from, well, everywhere. For over 50 years, he has been one of the most recognizable and beloved forces of nature in the community; somehow the man from Kildangan, County Mayo, manages to be both a behind-the-scenes presence at the same time that he is leading the charge.
And he will, quite literally, be at the head of the parade when he leads the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10, as this year’s Grand Marshal. It is particularly fitting that he does so the year the theme is “St. Patrick, Unite Us,” because this is a man who has been uniting people his entire life.
Fil Campbell stars in one of our vids.
This was the year we really got into video big-time.
Oh, we’d dabbled in years past, but in 2010 we suddenly discovered our inner Cecil B. DeMille. And the good news: all of Irish Philly was ready for their close-up.
We caught the finale of the Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival, the Coyle Irish Dancers at the Brittingham’s Irish Festival, pipers at the Easter Rising Commemoration, marchers in the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Karen Boyce singing a song for Jim Kilgallen, and manic drumming by the memorable Celtic band Albannach at the Midwinter Scottish-Irish Festival.
Video really gives you a chance to relive the fun events of 2010. And if you weren’t there, you can see what all the fuss was about.
The crowd at The Annenberg Center was treated to a tuneful Christmas concert by innovative Irish group Slide on December 11, 2010. Onstage this tour were Daire Bracken on fiddle; Eamonn de Barra on flute, whistle, keyboards and bodhran; Mick Broderick on bouzouki; Colm Delaney on concertina; and Dave Curley on guitar, bodhran and providing some beautiful vocals.
Bracken’s energetic fiddling style (the “daireobics” of the evening) is always worth a special mention, and his performance at The Annenberg Center was no less than its usual dazzling ball of fire. Broderick’s bouzouki playing and Delaney’s head banging concertina style were an integral part of the consistently high energy of the evening, but Dave Curley, a more recent addition to the band, subtly seduced the audience with his “velvety vocals.”
And de Barra, in between switching from one incredibly played instrument to another, gave a special shout-out to his local connection in the audience: his brother Fionan is married to Philly girl Shannon Lambert-Ryan. Along with Cheryl Prashker, and occasionally Isaac Alderson, Fionan and Shannon are part of the up and coming band Runa.
We have some videos from the evening; make sure to catch Dave Curley’s solo rendition of The Pogues’ Christmas classic “Fairytale of New York.”
Little Coyle dancers get a bit of coaching.
If you love Irish dance, most of the major Delaware Valley-area dance schools take to their tappy little toes at the annual Penn’s Landing Irish Festival. The 2010 festival was no exception.
Irish dance schools such as McDade, Timoney, Rince Ri, Cara, Coyle,
McHugh, Cummins, Celtic Flame, Gibson, Campbell, 2nd Street, Emerald
Isle, and Christina Ryan-Kilcoyne performed in the music tent and at the
Some of the schools chose to wear the full regalia, flouncy wigs and all; others chose to dress for the weather … which was, of course, really hot.
Festival-goers just plain loved it all, either way.
Here are a few quick peeks at their performances.