Remembering the 40th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike

On October 3, the Philadelphia Irish Community will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike, the culmination of a protest carried out by Irish republican prisoners after the British government withdrew their status as prisoners of war. By that point, The Troubles in Northern Ireland had taken its toll on the population and as hunger strikers began to die in 1981, it provoked even more outrage. 

October 3 marks the end of the hunger strike. It had gone on for five months. In all, 10 men died in the process, beginning with Bobby Sands on May 5. Within two years after the end of the hunger strike, all five of the prisoners’ demands were implemented.  

The Good Friday peace agreement in 1998 brought relative calm to Northern Ireland, but there are still plenty of people who want to keep the memory of the hunger strikers alive in America today. 

One of those is Bob Dougherty, whose interest in the Irish republican struggle began when he was a young man. 

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Get ready for the weekend. We have all the upcoming fun listed out for you. 

As before, there are more opportunities to hear live Irish tunes. But more than that … we’re starting a monthlong celebration of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” 

Here’s what’s happening.

Friday, June 4

Celebrate an extended happy hour with Round Tower at Hanrahan’s Irish Pub, 690 Burmont Road in Upper Darby, starting at 6 p.m.

Down the shore, Wee Neil Mac Thiarnáin and Moira will be playing tunes at the Anglesea Pub, 116 West 1stAvenue in North Wildwood, from 6 to 10 p.m. Drop by if you’re lucky enough to be at the beach.

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Inspirational Irish Women Portraits on Display at Irish Center

Eleven years ago, a small committee of friends of what was then known simply as the Irish Center put together an awards program to honor a very special group of 10 women, from a local TV meteorologist to a highly respected nun to a beloved princess. Proceeds of the hugely successful event benefited the Irish Center.

Now also known by its formal name, the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center, its home is a sprawling building at Carpenter and Emlen Streets in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. As with so many institutions, the Irish Center closed its doors for many months during the pandemic, but it is gradually coming back to life as more and more restrictions are lifted.

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, and it looks like one of the best places to be is at the Jersey shore. You’ll find music in a few other places, but the beach is the hot spot.

Friday, May 28

Starting at 7:30 p.m., Neil Mac Thiarnáin and Moira will perform at the Anglesea Pub, 116 West 1st Avenue in North Wildwood, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Jamison Celtic Rock appears at The Wharf, 708 West Burk Avenue in Wildwood, from 8 to 11 p.m. 

Saturday, May 29

It’s worth getting up a little early to hear one of the best in the business—County Kerry singer Mary Courtney, appearing on Facebook Live for the East Durham Irish Festival, presented by Irish Music Magazine. Her set begins at 9:39 a.m. All details here

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Food & Drink

Bake Up a Springtime Quiche

What’s not to love about spring vegetables? 

Everyone welcomes asparagus, spinach, and pencil-thin spring onions for salads, soups and side dishes, but I love them in cheese-filled tarts and quiche.

Make your own crust, use refrigerated or frozen pie crusts, prepared puff pastry, or make one with no crust at all.

All you need to complete your meal is a crisp salad, a great loaf of bread, and an equally great bottle of wine. Cheers! 

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How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly this Week

More live Irish tunes this week, and looking out into the not too distant future, one of the Jersey Shore’s great Irish events is back. 

Here’s what’s up:

Friday, May 21

Singer-guitarist Seamus Kelleher is performing at Bucks County Brewery and Hewn Spirits starting at 5:30 p.m. Bucks County Brewery is at 31 Appletree Lane in Pipersville. 

Jamison Celtic Rock takes the stage at Sweeney’s, 13639 Philmont Avenue in Philadelphia. It’ll be the last full band gig in Philly until the fall. The show starts at 7 p.m. Reservations recommended: (215) 677-3177.

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News, People

Irish Diaspora Center Hosts Mindfulness Event

It has been an incredibly difficult time for many, if not most of us. The covid-19 pandemic has triggered bouts of stress, anxiety and even depression for people who normally might not be subject to those mental health issues. 

As we begin to emerge from the worst of the pandemic, maybe now is a particularly good time to take a candid self-assessment and explore ways to give our emotional health a boost.

The Irish Diaspora Center, working through its CHAT committee—it stands for Community Help Awareness and Trust—is hosting “Mindful in May,” an open-air event providing a day of opportunities to do just that.

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Pour a Pint and Drink in Joyce’s “Ulysses”

Next year James Joyce’s iconic novel Ulysses will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its publication. It is a book that is notoriously difficult to read for some. Currently, artist and educator Robert Berry is gearing up to teach an 18-week course on the novel called “A Pint of Ulysses.” The name is derived from the fact that each class comes out to be about the same price as a pint of Guinness. 

“We intentionally made it just a very low cost, like 180 bucks for 18 weeks, and made it sort of the price of a couple of pints,” Berry says. 

Anyone interested in taking the course can expect to hear from a wide range of guests. 

“We want to extend that talk that we have in conversations in the classroom, out to a broader audience of people who are wondering about this book, but haven’t taken the class,” Berry says. “And to do that, I know a network of Joyce scholars and people who put on Bloomsday events, and just what I like to refer to as Joyce-heads, all over the world. And so I’ll have them in, in conversation with me in the class every Thursday.” 

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