Irish Culture and Pride in the Neighborhood

Irish culture and pride are exhibited throughout the month of March in Beverly/Morgan Park. Here are some of the cultural activities being planned. 

South Side Irish Parade Steps Off on St. Pat’s Day 

The South Side Irish Parade will march down Western Ave. from 103rd St. to 115th St. on St. Patrick’s Day, Sun., Mar. 17 stepping off at 12 p.m. This year’s Grand Marshal is Honor Flight Chicago, an organization recognizing senior war veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War era, and flies them to Washington, D.C. to tour the memorials. The Special Honoree this year is Choose Kind, a movement dedicated to raising awareness about Apert syndrome and promoting kindness throughout the city. 

Honor Flight Chicago’s mission is to honor, thank and inspire.The nonprofit organization began flying World War II veterans to their memorial in 2008 before adding veterans of the Korean War era in 2016. This year, Honor Flight Chicago is expanding to Vietnam era veterans.  

Choose Kind helps to raise understanding and awareness about Apert syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the development of the skull, hands and feet. Children born with the condition suffer from a range of physical and cognitive impairments and face numerous surgeries over their lifetimes.  

When Choose Kind founders Kerry and Chris Lynch learned their daughter, Mary Cate, had been born with Apert syndrome, they pledged to use her diagnosis to make a difference. To date, Mary Cate and her mom Kerry have traveled to 125 schools, teaching thousands of students about what it’s like to look different and encouraging them to Choose Kind. 

 “The entire focus of the South Side Irish Parade is on family, community and Irish heritage and we could not think of two more deserving organizations to represent this year’s parade,” said Greg Kovak, co-chair of the South Side Irish Parade Committee.  

Parade attendees will enjoy watching as military vehicles honoring veterans will come down Western, as well as the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Memorial Squad, whose mission is to provide military honors for veterans being interred at the cemetery in Elwood, Ill.  

More than 15 bagpipe and marching bands will be providing music, and Irish dance schools will entertain with the traditional dancing. As always, keep an eye out for the original baby buggy parade float from the first South Side Irish Parade in 1979, as well as Paddy’s Irish Whiskey Barrel Bus and numerous floats and groups from local parishes, families, and community organizations. 


Parade Boosts Business 

Parade Committee co-chair Jim Smith leads the safety and security efforts, including coordinating between a privately hired security firm and the Chicago Police Department to ensure the day runs smoothly. Smith said that aside from the tradition and celebration associated with the parade, local businesses also benefit as neighbors prepare for their house parties and celebrate along the Western Avenue 

Many residents plan parties, buy groceries and corned beef, beverages and decorations. Local businesses selling these wares benefit greatly from the additional sales,” Smith said. “Other parade goers spend time at local restaurants and bars, celebrating the day and bringing additional revenue opportunities to local businesses on parade day and through the parade weekend.” 

Businesses also have the opportunity to promote their companies through the parade sponsorships, including purchasing a street pole banners. Smith even hears from local realtors who say that they get many phone calls from visitors inquiring about the homes in the area. “Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood residents open up their hearts and homes, often sprucing up prior to the big day that attracts thousands of visitors to our beautiful neighborhood,” Smith said. 

“The parade is the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade outside of Ireland. The annual march down Western brings together families, friends and neighbors for a celebration of the Irish heritage and culture,” Smith said. “It’s really an important event for the neighborhood, and we want to keep it strong. We are inclusive, and we want everyone in our neighborhood — regardless of Irish heritage — to come out and enjoy it.” 


South Side Irish Parade Film Fest 

BACinema and the South Side Irish Parade Committee co-host the 4th Annual South Side Irish Parade Film Fest, Sat., Mar. 2, Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St. There will be two screenings. The children’s matinee features the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Song of the Sea” at 3 p.m. The movie is about young siblings who set out to free the fairies and save the spirit world. “Black 47,” a riveting revenge thriller set during one of the darkest chapters in Irish history, will be screened at 7 p.m.  

The Film Fest includes a reception with traditional Irish music with Pat Finnegan on the flute and Brendan Bulger on the fiddle, and a post movie party with dancing and music by A Week Back. Admission to the matinee is $6; admission to the evening screening and events is $18. Get details and tickets at 773-445-3838 or 

Liz Carroll Performs Early St. Patrick’s Day Concert  

Fresh off the release of their new album, “Half Day Road,” fiddler and composer Liz Carroll performs with Jake Charron in their only Chicago appearance during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day season on Sat., Mar. 9, 8 p.m., Beverly Arts Center.   

Rooted in the Irish tradition of music and recognized across America and Ireland for her talent in and influence on that genre, Carroll will play traditional and original Irish music with award-winning guitarist Jake Charron. Also performing are renowned guitarist Dáithí Sproule and the Cross Keys School of Irish Dance. 

Raised on Chicago’s South Side (Visitation parish), Liz Carroll has spent a lifetime embraced by the culture of Irish music and dance. Playing and composing since she was a little girl, Carroll astounded the music world by winning the senior All-Ireland Fiddle Championship when she was just 18 years old. Since then, she has been performing around the world.  

Recognized as one of world’s great Irish fiddlers, Carroll was honored with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for contributions to Irish music in America (1994). In 2010 she became the first Irish-American musician nominated for a Grammy, and the following year became the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadóir TG4, Ireland’s most significant traditional music prize.  

A touring and recording musician, pianist and guitarist, Charron performs and collaborates with award-winning musicians around the world. He plays and records traditional Canadian-Celtic music with The East Pointers, winners of three PEI Music Awards (2015). This past year, Jake was also nominated for a Canadian Folk Music award for his duo album with Shane Cook called “Head to Head.”  

Carroll and Charron’s first full-length collaborative album, “Half Day Road,” parallels the energy and drive the musicians’ live performances. Rooted firmly in the Irish traditional style, the music is composed and interpreted by two uniquely North American artists shaped by Irish musical tradition and how to work as contemporary artists within a traditional form. 

Dáithí Sproule is one of Irish music’s most respected guitar accompanists. His song, “The Death of Queen Jane,” was featured in the 2013 Coen brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.” 

Cross Keys School of Irish Dance has been providing students with top quality instruction in competitive Irish dance for more than 30 years. Their students compete, place and win at regional, national and international competitions. 

Tickets are $25 and available at 773-445-3838 or 


Féile at Barney Callaghan’s Pub  

For the first time ever, Barney Callaghan’s Pub, 10618 S. Western, will host Féile (pronounced FAY-la; Irish for ‘Fest’), a two-day Irish cultural event on Sat., Mar. 9 and Sun., Mar. 10.  

Pub owners Bernard and Mary Callaghan are spearheading the event, along with Quin Cunningham, a local musician. “There’s so much to offer when it comes to Irish entertainment and culture. We will have workshops, music, Irish dancers, and an Irish language class,” said Mary Callaghan. “We hope this is a destination event that brings people from outside of Beverly to see how cool our neighborhood is and what we have to offer. There are great things happening here, and we hope the Féile contributes to that. 

Attendees have a lot of activities to choose from, and non-drinkers will find plenty to do (although there are no kid-friendly activities . . . it is a bar, after all). The parking lot adjacent to the pub will be tented, allowing patrons to spread out and enjoy the music and entertainment. Over the course of the two-day fest, listen to Kieran Byrne, CPD Pipes and Drums, Far Too Close, Dirty Wellies, Shane Farrell, Eimaer Arkins, Kevin Buckley, Larkin & Moran Bros., Chicago Reel, Larry Nugent, and Spitzer Space Telescope.  

Enjoy Irish dancing performances by Dennehy School of Irish Dance and Cross Keys School of Irish Dance. Learn something new with workshops teaching the fiddle, banjo, Celtic guitar or Celtic calligraphy. The full-immersion Irish language class, known as a Gaeltacht, is normally hosted by Barney Callaghan’s every Thurs. night, but will have a pop-up workshop at the Féile. 

Don’t forget to feast! Calabria’s food truck will be parked outside, offering Irish dishes like shepherd’s pie, corned beef sandwiches and soda bread. 

Admission is $20 on Sat. and $10 on Sun., or buy a two-day pass for $25; workshops are an additional $10 for each session 



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