How the Irish Saved Cape May

You expect events in Cape May to draw people to town. Events like Harbor-fest and Dragon Boat bring thousands of people. When an Irish band from Philadelphia rolls into town on a cold March night during what has been one of the craziest winters in recent memory, you may not be sure what to expect.

The John Byrne Band did not disappoint. After selling out the 800+ seats at the World Café in Philadelphia on Friday night, Congress Hall brought the Dublin born entertainer to town on Saturday. Hosted by Myra Vassian and with out cover charge the Boiler Room set the stage for the Philadelphia based Irish band.

Two things stood out about the night. The number of people from out-of-town that traveled to hear the band and the original song featured in the above YouTube video written right here in Cape May. John tells me that one February while staying at the Marquis de Lafayette mending from an ended relationship he penned the words to “Already Gone.” The opening lyric about our seaside town about to freeze was just too familiar.

I love to hear stories about how and why people visit our town. One gal named Susan, from Moorestown, New Jersey, specifically traveled to Cape May for the weekend to hear the John Byrne Band. Irish music does that to people, it’s addicting. Susan and her husband booked a room at the Carol Villa Hotel on Jackson Street, ate in area restaurants did some shopping and then topped off their weekend in the Boiler Room of Congress Hall listing to some fantastic Irish Music. I’m quite sure this story could be repeated in various ways and is not that unusual. People love to tell their stories about Cape May.

This was John’s third trip to play St Patrick’s weekend in Cape May. This year he seemed to keep with more traditionally know Irish melodies, reels and jigs. After of few of the hand clapping and foot stomping numbers, the band would treat the crowd to original numbers like “Already Gone.” To me anything that brings a crowd to Cape May is a plus. Irish music and the effort and expense by Congress Hall to bring the John Byrne Band on a holiday weekend is one way to chase the chill of a frigid winter. Thanks neighbor.


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