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

Wednesday, March 22, 8:30PM
Set dance lessons with John Shields.

Friday, March 24, 8:00PM
A night to learn the Irish social dances – waltz, jive, and quick step, hosted by John Shields with several dance instructors available. There is no charge for the evening. This is an opportunity to learn or brush up your dance steps.

Friday, March 31, 8:30PM
The Irish Country Kings Dance Party in the Ballroom at 8:30. Direct from Ireland, the show stars Mick Flavin, John Hogan and Susan Corbett. Tickets in advance are $20, and $25 at the door.

Weekly Events

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


Screening of New Duffy’s Cut Documentary at Immaculata University.

On Saturday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m., Immaculata University will be the location of a screening for a new Duffy’s Cut documentary from Irish American Films entitled “The Cut: The Journey of the Men and Women of Duffy’s Cut,” produced by Joe Magee, Roger Bruce and Art Swanlund of Irish American Films and directed by Shawn Swords (Wages of Spin I and II, Charlie Gracie “Fabulous” National PBS) with William Watson, Ph.D., professor of History at Immaculata University, serving as historical consultant in addition to his role as director of the Duffy’s Cut Project. The screening will be held in the Green Room with a Q&A following the film.

“The Cut” The Journey of the Men and Women of Duffy’s Cut,” is a feature length documentary film about the 57 Irish railroad workers who arrived in Philadelphia to build mile 59 of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, and died within six to eight weeks of violence and cholera. The Irishmen were from Donegal, Tyrone and Derry in Ulster, with an average age of 22. A project, headed by Dr. Watson and his brother Rev. Frank Watson, has been underway since 2002 to locate the graves of these workers and properly rebury them. To date, the graves of seven workers have been excavated. Work is ongoing to recover the remaining fifty bodies.

“This documentary is the newest and most extensive coverage of the Duffy’s Cut story and it places the events at Duffy’s Cut in the context of other 1832-era deaths of Irish immigrant laborers elsewhere in Chester County,” stated Dr. Watson. The film discusses the possibility of the site being the location of the worst mass murder in Pennsylvania history.”;

Attendees are asked to donate a $5.00 contribution in support of the non-profit Duffy’s Cut Project. For more information on the screening, please contact Dr. Watson at 484-323-3491. Information on Irish American Film and “The Cut” can be found at http://irishamericanfilms.com/films/.


The Commodore Barry Club continues the process of transferring to our new entity, The Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center – a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Tax deductible contributions 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.