Welcome to the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center

Céad Míle Fáilte

A lot of us claim Irish heritage, but even if you don’t, the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center opens its arms to you. Let us share our vibrant culture and take advantage of our many facilities—including our spacious and elegant ballroom. And join in the exciting activities sponsored by the many groups and organizations that make the Center their home. (Learn more about the Center’s new structure.)


Upcoming Events

Friday, July 21 at 8:00 PM

We have just booked Liam McLaughlin, from County Antrim, for a night of social dancing.

Friday, June 30, 8:00 PM

The Philip Maguire Band performs in concert in the Fireside Room, co-sponsored with the Philadelphia Ceili Group. A very lively, traditional family band, features Philip (their father), and children Aoife, Emma, and Sean. The family all plays concertina, uilleann pipes, fiddle, flute, bodhran, and guitar. Their website is maguireband.com. Tickets are available at www.philadelphiaceiligroup.org.

Tickets for the Philomena Begley dance are $25.

4th Friday of the month Ceili in the Fireside Room.


Tuesday Night Tune Learning Class at the Irish Center

Irish Tune Learning Class for All Instruments
4 Tuesday evenings, June 6 – June 27, 2017, 7:30 – 9:00 PM

It’s fun to learn tunes and build repertoire in a group. This class is open to all instruments, focusing on the melody in traditional Irish tunes. The class will learn 1 or 2 tunes per week, put together sets of tunes, and play them. Many times! For this summer class, we’ll learn a set of jigs, reels, and polkas, and a hornpipe.

The class is geared toward advanced beginners (not absolute), up to intermediate. Tunes will be learned by ear. I will post mp3s of the tunes on my class web page, and include additional examples for listening.
$100 for four classes and access to the class web page. Please don’t let lack of money prevent you from coming. Let me know if you’d like to attend. Please contact Hollis Payer to register for the class or if you have any questions.


Weekly Events

Every Wednesday at 7:30 PM

Set dance lessons in the air conditioned Fireside Room are held every Wednesday at 7:30PM. Ceili dances are held the second and fourth Fridays of the month.

Every Thursday at 7:30 PM

Contra Dance is held in the Ballroom every Thursday at 7:30 PM


Contributions to our Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center – a 501c-3 IRS tax exempt organization can be sent to:

The Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center
6815 Emlen Street, Philadelphia, PA 19119


Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center News

A local company, Character Productions, is now producing several Irish Themed Philadelphia based projects for Irish TV and Public Television . The producer/host of Character Productions is Bob Charger, formerly with CBS radio in Philadelphia. The company is producing several Irish themed documentaries and shows for Public Television (some national, some regional). They are currently in post production/editing of a highly anticipated and thoroughly entertaining Irish Philadelphia Feature Length documentary (18 months of production) and Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day TV Special. Both will be ready in early 2017. They are also shooting an Irish Themed TV Pilot for an episodic series ( 6 episodes) on The Irish Presence in The Delaware Valley and a TV special on Duffy’s Cut.

Character Productions has been to the Center on several occasions conducting interviews with members, in addition to the interviews that have taken place around the Delaware Valley.

Character Productions is hosting an information meeting this Sunday, December 4 at 11:00AM in the Center. The meeting is directed toward business, social, and civic organizations who can help to underwrite and support the efforts of Character Productions.

I have included a film trailer below that features comments from some of the people who have been interviewed.


2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

Congratulations to this year’s inductees to The Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame: John Egan, Seamus Boyle, Tom and Sarah Walsh, and Norbert McGettigan


The Philadelphia area is up to its eyebrows in O’Briens and Ryans and Sheehans and Meehans, and all manner of people with Irish last names. For that matter, a lot of us boast Irish heritage, even if our last names happen to be Fiore, Filipowski or Fenstermacher.

So here’s the point: if you have Irish in you, we here at the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center open its arms to you. Consider the Center your own little bit of Ireland here in Philly.

The Center serves as the home for any number of Irish organizations and societies, including the Philadelphia Ceili Group, Danny Browne AOH Division 80, and the Cummins School of Irish Dance. Lessons in Irish music and dance for adults and children are held weekly. A traditional Irish music session is held most Friday evenings. We even show broadcasts of Gaelic sports, live from Ireland.

No matter who you are, no matter where your people hail from, as they say in the Irish language: Céad míle fáilte—a hundred thousand welcomes.