Skip to main content

Pittsburghers Celebrate Irish Roots on St. Patrick’s Day

Feb 27, 2015 06:36PM ● Published by Larry Richert

 This is the month of the Irish! Pittsburgh’s largest parade of the year will be held on Saturday, March 15 and is the kick-off to three days of celebrations that allow everyone to play along if they choose.


My link to the Emerald Isle is my grandmother on my father’s side, whose maiden name was Dooley; her family came to Pittsburgh from County Cork in Ireland at the turn of the last century. I remember that St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal growing up.

This region is rich in Irish tradition because so many immigrants came here to find work. Although there was a time when ‘Irish need not apply,’ those discriminatory days vanished many years ago, but should not be forgotten. That said, as a stereotype, the Irish have a great sense of humor and welcome everyone to share in the fun.

I had the privilege of visiting Ireland with my father and sister in 2008. We went to County Cork and ventured inside a 200-year-old thatched roof pub called Murphy’s, where we listened to Irish songs performed by a family who explained the meaning behind some favorite tunes, like Danny Boy. Now I know why this song brings people to tears! I also kissed the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle. After the locals told us what happens after the tourists leave each day, (ugh) I was sorry I did! Both of these stories are worth a Google!

Our KDKA Radio Morning Show producer, Andy Limberg, has a rich Irish heritage and introduced us several years ago to his uncle, Mike Gallagher. Gallagher is well known around town as a singer, songwriter and keeper of Irish traditions. Mike is the seventh of eight children who grew up in Sheridan; his grandparents were originally from Ireland. I had a conversation with him about his recollections of growing up Irish in Pittsburgh.

According to Mike, performing is in the Gallagher blood. His grandfather, John, was a regular entertainer on the radio in the 1930s. Mike was also quick to add, with a wink, that his grandfather never made much money doing it, and that he is just carrying on that family tradition now.

Mike has memories of his mother making corned beef and cabbage, but says that the food isn’t what he remembers most—that would be the family shows. His brothers and sisters would put on a show in the living room, and the neighbors and even the parish priest from Holy Innocents Church across the street would provide the audience.

This St. Patrick’s Day, Mike says that he’ll be taking part in the tradition of singing Mass at—where else— St. Patrick’s Church in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Then it’s off to the Harp & Fiddle and then The Grove in Ross Township. You can usually find him playing his guitar and singing at Riley’s Pour House on Main Street in Carnegie, but if you miss him, check out his website (www.mike-gallagher.com) for some Irish melodies on CDs including The Green Album: The Love of My Life and Saints and Scholars.

I, by the way, am still hoping for the luck of the Irish to help me hit the Powerball!


St. Patrick's Day Pittsburgh Irish Pittsburgh holidays
  • 2018 Lucky Number

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM

    The Sisters of Divine Providence are pleased to announce the availability of the 2018 Lucky Numbe...


  • Family Volunteer Days

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based humanitarian aid organization, has always valued children as cap...


  • Orchard Hill Church December events

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 10:00PM

    North Happenings: Christmas Eve at Orchard Hill Be a part of this wonderful family celebratio...


  • Phipps’ Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden is magical, bigger and better than eve...


  • A limited run of the National Aviary’s new free-flight bird show Bird Brains opened with a stella...


  • I Made It! Market

    12/16/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    — I Made It! Market, Pittsburgh’s nomadic indie craft marketplace, is traveling to the North Hill...


  • Ring Pittsburgh concerts

    12/16/2017
    03:00PM

    Ring Pittsburgh, your community handbell choir, cordially invites you to join us at our holiday p...


  • Saturdays Singles Dance

    12/16/2017
    07:00PM — 12:00AM

    For ages 40+. Saturday, December 2nd, Free Speed Dating & Free Nacho Bar! Free, optional ice-br...


IN THIS ISSUE

 


 


 

COMMUNITY EVENTS

NEW & NOTABLE

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Receive a digital edition of NHM in your inbox every month. Sign up by sending a request to mmfisher@northhillsmonthly.com.