Pittsburgh Happenings: Hello iIrish Readers!
By Diane Byrnes
This is my first column for iIrish this season, which will prove to be a sought-after publication. My plans are to introduce you to some of the activities, events and news happening in the Pittsburgh region, along with a few personalities.
We are an active community, with music & dance and non-profit Irish organizations who work their magic by helping to ease many folks’ hardships. We have a few different Irish sports teams: Gaelic Football – men’s, juniors, and women’s, and Hurling. We have a world class Theatre Company. We also have Irish Pubs, Irish import shops, Irish language classes, an Irish Festival and a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We have a lot of community life here.
October is a time when many organizations begin their season. We have seven Ancient Order of Hibernian Divisions (AOH) that are situated in the four corners of Allegheny County, and one Division in Westmoreland / Indiana County. AOH Division 1 in the South Hills; AOH Division 4 in the North Hills; AOH Division 9 in Oakland; AOH Division 17 in Monroeville; AOH Division 21 in Garfield; AOH Division 23 in Lawrenceville and AOH Division 32 in Carnegie. Plus, there is the AOH Allegheny County Board that incorporates all of the divisions. No matter where a man lives there is an accessible AOH.
The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians has five Divisions plus a Junior Division at Division 23: there is Division 7 in Monroeville, Division 11 in Oakland, Division 21 in the South Hills, Division 23 in Lawrenceville and their Junior Division, Division 32 in Carnegie and Division 1 in Monongahela, Washington County. They are all very viable and active groups working together for the common good.
One event coming up is AOH St. Patrick Division 4 in the North Hills, hosting their annual Irish Heritage Golf Classic at Shadow Lakes Golf Club on Friday, October 1, 2021. Registration is at 7:30a.m., and a shotgun start at 9:00a.m.
Sponsors and golfers are welcome. For more information, contact the division at www.aohdiv4.org or call Bob Parry at 412.370.4262. The proceeds benefit tuition assistance to Catholic elementary schools in the North Side / North Hills.
PICT Classic Theatre
This year, PICT Classic Theatre will be celebrating 25 years of performing in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. PICT is an internationally recognized, non-profit theatre company committed to presenting the highest quality productions for the widest audience.
The productions feature innovative, minimalist design, and examine current social issues through the lens of classic text. With over 110 productions in a 25-year history, PICT continues to bring beloved works to the stage to approximately 10,000 patrons each season.
PICT is the resident theatre company of the Fred Roger’s Studio at WQED, the birthplace of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. PICT has received a variety of awards over the years, quite prestigious. The productions celebrate the artistry of classic text through the craft of modern performance and the employment of local talent.
All of the employees here are hired from the talent pool in Pittsburgh. Plus, PICT is in the local community, invested in partnerships, collaborations and business relationships.
They also present educational webinars every Friday at 2p.m. on YouTube and are archived on the website. These interactive webinars are hosted by Alan Stanford, Artistic and Executive Director, and guest artists. New for the 24thseason were two world-premier audio events: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. They were a huge success!
Beginning this month, the 25th Anniversary Season presents, As You Like It, adapted and directed by Alan Stanford. February 2022 PICT presents Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. There will be many more events sponsored by PICT and I will keep you informed. In the meantime, you can check out their website: www.picttheatre.org.
Pittsburgh Ceili Club
PCC begins their 2021-2022 Season with a Ceili at the Aspinwall American Legion Club, Post #15. The dancing begins at 7:30pm with the ‘Usual Suspects’. Members pay $5.00, non-Members pay $10. For additional information, contact President Bill Jamison at wj******@ao*.com. The Ceili Club has been operating since 1990 and continues to promote the Ceili dancing of Ireland with weekly Ceili’s at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, along with a variety of events throughout the year that always include a Ceili.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Because of Covid, Pittsburgh, like every other city, had to postpone our St. Patrick’s Day Parade the past two Marchs. However, we did have a Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Parade this past September. It was a wonderful sight! There were several marching bands, Irish dancers, other groups & organizations, and a host of Irish-heritage groups.
Pittsburgh’s Parade celebrates Pittsburgh’s Irish heritage and is normally attended by 200,000-plus people, all “Irish for the day.” The parade has occurred non-stop since 1950.
Many Pittsburghers remember that not even a blizzard in 1993 was able to keep Pittsburgh’s Irish from marching on. The parade is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the nation.
Echoes of Erin
The format for the radio show includes airing a wide variety of Irish, Scottish, and sometimes American music by an Irish artist. There is a live news segment, called The Ireland Report, where I call four different cities throughout the month, Donegal, Galway, Dublin, and Belfast. Each news correspondent offers a perspective of the happenings in Ireland from their ‘window’.
In the Top of the Hour Moment, we feature a cultural, historical, or motivational piece, then air a couple of songs. The final special segment is Dateline Irish, which is the calendar of events. These dates can go from today to several months out; the goal is to help you save the date and make plans in the future.
All of these segments are sponsored by a group, organization, business, or an individual, and they all help pay for the programming.
*Diane V. Byrnes is the Producer & Host of Echoes of Erin, in her 34th year. It airs on WEDO 810AM on Sundays at 12:30pm and is online at www.kdwradio.com on Wednesdays @ 1:30pm (then click on Listen Live). Email Diane at: di**********@ve*****.net