With the exception of a relatively brief break a few years back, we’ve been publishing irishphiladelphia.com since 2006. Hard for us to believe, too.
That amounts to hundreds upon hundreds of stories about Irish and Irish-American culture in the Philadelphia area, including more than 500 dispatches of our weekly column, How to Be Irish in Philly This Week. We’ve tallied up an incredible 22,126 photos, including hundreds of pictures from the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade and several other St. Pat’s parades throughout the area. In fact, pictures from the 2006 Mount Holly St. Patrick’s Day parade led off this long parade of photos. There are 327 videos, too.
In our time, we’ve shed light on everything from Gaelic athletics to festivals to ceremonies honoring the local heroes of the Irish revolution. We’ve taken in Irish dance competitions, county association banquets, traditional Irish music sessions, the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame, the Rose of Tralee, Mick Moloney’s annual fund-raiser for St. Malachy’s School, the poetry of Camden priest Michael Doyle, the Hibernian Hunger Project’s Irish stew cook-off, the senior luncheon, the Delco Gaels Dance Like a Star, and so much more. If it was Irish, we were there.
Patrick Gallagher’s new novel Prevalent Insanity tells the story of Kevin O’Donnell, a professor at a Philadelphia-area university in the 1980s, and his search for pictures that his Irish uncle may have taken just days before the earthquake that rocked San Francisco in 1906.
This story is quite the adventure and it has a large scope. Gallagher takes the reader on a gripping ride with comic elements and settings ranging from Philadelphia to places like Missouri, Donegal, Santa Fe and San Diego. The novel has been in the works for many years.
Gallagher started by writing short stories while he was in school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1966, but he began work on this book years later. “I started this book at the end of 1982. I wrote about three chapters a year for a bit and then I put it aside for 14 or 15 years, believe it or not,” Gallagher says.
Over this time, the novel naturally went through some changes. “My writing style is not to map everything out and then write it, I’m just getting into it and seeing where it goes,” says Gallagher. In those interim years, Gallagher visited Santa Fe, Pueblo and Saint Joseph, Missouri, three locations that play a large part in the novel.
Just in case you have any doubt what Mary Kay Mann’s musical interests might be, your first clue might be the tiny wooden figure of Mann playing a Celtic harp on the mailbox outside her home, down a narrow tree-lined street in Media.
Step inside the house and you’re greeted by Celtic harps in the living room, which she uses for teaching.
You’re also greeted by her cats, Muffin and Bob. Muffin isn’t allowed on the table, but she leaps up to greet me, anyway.
Mann teaches Celtic harp, but she also teaches tin whistle and Irish flute, both traditional instruments. She also sings. And hailing back to her musical origins, she also teaches classical flute. Mann also performs.
“I always wanted to play music since I was 2 years old or something,” says Mann. “When we moved to the public school district, I was around 10 and they had classical flute lessons for free so I started with that.”
This will be our last column for a while. We’ll be back, we hope. Technical issues, mostly, are an issue at the moment. Cross fingers.
Here’s what’s up:
Saturday, August 21
John Byrne performs solo at Paddy Whacks Pub, Welsh Road, starting at 3 p.m. Paddy Whacks is at 9241-43 Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philly, tucked into a little shopping center at the corner of the Boulevard and Welsh.
The multi-talented and well-traveled Sean Fleming brings his act to The Dubliner on the Delaware, 34 North Main Street in New Hope, starting at 7 p.m. As we suggest, Sean, who hails from Killarney, seems to have been everywhere, from the Robin Hood Dell to, oh, say, Carnegie Hall. Promises to be a great show.
Did you know August is National Goat Cheese Month? Frankly, I didn’t, but a friend who follows a “National Day Calendar” that celebrates foods on a monthly and daily basis reminded me to promote goat cheese before I’m too late.
No problem, as I’ve enjoyed goat cheese countless time during my visits to Ireland. I particularly love St. Tola, a luscious goat cheese made in County Clare, especially when it’s paired with roasted beets — multicolored preferred!
GOAT CHEESE & BEET SALAD
For the beets
2 to 3 medium beets
Olive oil, for roasting
Ground black pepper
It’s that time again! Time to get the skinny on all the Irish doings in and around Philly and the Shore.
Here we go.
Saturday, August 14
The great singer-raconteur and County Tyrone native son Gerry Timlin will perform at Dubliner on the Delaware, 34 North Main Street in New Hope, beginning at 7 p.m. A terrific venue, and anyone who has seen Gerry on stage knows it’s a guaranteed good time.
Also Saturday, starting at 9 p.m., Jamison Celtic Rock holds forth at a deck party at Avalon Yacht Club, 704 7th Street, Avalon, N.J.
Big doings this week for those of an Irish inclination. (You, that is.) There’s music, Gaelic games and, for those with a great thirst, a whiskey tasting.
Check it out.
Friday, August 6
Galway Guild performs at Marty Magee’s in the Beer Garden, starting at 7 p.m. Marty Magee’s is at 1110 Lincoln Avenue in Prospect Park. A good night for Irish tunes.
And the John Byrne Band holds forth at an usual but nonetheless cool venue, the rooftop at Kennett Square Parking Garage, 100 East Linden Street, beginning at 7 p.m. This is a rescheduled concert from Saturday, May 29. Bring your own chair, with socially distanced pod seating for groups. Masks are required. Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks allowed, no booze, no coolers. Tickets purchased for the earlier date will be honored at this event. Doors open at 6 p.m. Details here.
There’s plenty to keep you in an Irish frame of mind all this week and beyond.
Here’s what’s happening.
Friday, July 30
Fiddler Alice Marie accompanies Shaun Durnin at Catherine Rooney’s, Trolley Square, 1616 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington, starting at 7 p.m.
It’s the great singer-guitarist Gerry Timlin at Dubliner on the Delaware, with all his songs and stories—and you can always count on Gerry for the best and funniest of stories. Dubliner on the Delaware is at 34 Main Street in New Hope, Bucks County. The show begins at 7 p.m.
Paul Wiese and C.J. Mills perform at Fred’s Tavern, the landmark pub in Stone Harbor, N.J., 314 96th Street, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Catch their act in this lovely shore town. (Try the banana peanut butter ice cream at Springer’s for me before you go to the show. I haven’t been back to Stone Harbor at all this summer.)