Ian Paisley as you ‘wood’ never envisage him !
The story of the late Ian Paisley, his family and their special links with the Connemara Gaeltacht with guest presenter, RTE’s Tommie Gorman.
The sculpture was built to the same height as the late Mr Paisley and was made from wood salvaged from a fallen tree in the garden of his home.
Charles Trevelyan not the only villain of Ireland’s famine but Charles Wood also.
Melvyn Bragg (BBC Radio 4) and guests discuss why the potato crop failures in the 1840s had such a catastrophic impact in Ireland. The programme and guests tease out the complications of the famine to be more than just simply no potatoes .
Cormac O’Grada Professor Emeritus in the School of Economics at University College Dublin Niamh Gallagher University Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History at the University of Cambridge And Enda Delaney Professor of Modern History and School Director of Research at the University of Edinburgh .
It is estimated that one million people died from disease or starvation after the blight and another two million left the country within the decade. There had been famines before, but not on this scale. What was it about the laws, attitudes and responses that made this one so devastating?
Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax by Anthony de Brie (Bree)
In the most green of English counties Nottingham goes the full 40 shades.
New play on daughter of James Joyce and Nora Barnacle ‘Letters to Lucia’ , her lives and loves and end of life spent in Northampton UK
At Nottingham St.Patrick’s Parade John O’Sullivan First Secretary (Consular & Corporate Services) from the Irish Embassy got a spontaneous applause when he reiterated the assurance on the status of Irish people under the Common Travel Area (CTA) in Britain post Brexit.
For the past 20 years Nottingham city has twinned with a County in Ireland as part of its annual parade and festival. This year Co. Down’s name came out of the bag. The role of Grand Marshal was duly given to Paul Curtis, family from Co. Down and long term volunteer in the organising committee of the parade.
Councillor Terry Andrews representing Newry Mourne and Down District Council presented a gift to the Lord Mayor of Nottingham,Councillor Liaqat Ali. They are flanked by other guests
Sherwood Forest, Nottingham City and County plan for Forty Shades of Green
Minister Cannon spoke this week in Dáil Éireann specifically on ongoing support to the Irish Diaspora in Britain
Ciaran said ” my speech gave me the opportunity to reassure members of our global Irish community in Britain that Brexit will not change our Government’s commitment to supporting each and everyone of them.”
Don Mescall takes you from London to visit his family in Waterford and sings with Mount Sion Choir ~ its a wrap lads !
Mary Kennedy meets Irish singer/songwriter Don Mescall to speak about his life, his music and his new CD Lighthouse Keeper, only the second he’s written for himself. We also meet The Mount Sion Choir, which is based in an all boys secondary school in the heart of Waterford city. What a joy to watch a story of happy Irish family life!
Follow the President of Ireland around the most Irish of British cities ~ Liverpool
Brendan agus Londain Thatch Ceile Band lauded ar…..
Gradam Ceoil returns for 2019, bringing together the finest traditional musicians from far and wide for one spectacular celebration.
“Leaving” & “Finding love in the UK” Competition Recordings now available ….
‘Leaving: Songs and Stories of Emigration’ last month at the Irish Centre in Camden. There were some great pieces from writers from all backgrounds and experience.
If you missed the event or would like to hear them again, you can listen to the pieces on your smartphone, tablet or computer recorded by the actors who performed them on the night. Click on this page from our website:
Now you listen here !!
Just scroll down the 14 entries to find your favourite. The winning entry, “Just Coming Home” by Rosanna McGlone is at the top.
You can also check out the winner and the runner up to our latest competition ‘Finding Love in the UK’ by clicking on:
Those of you interested in putting ‘pen to paper’ yourselves might be interested to know that Anne will be running another writers workshop on Saturday 9thMarch at the Irish Centre, Camden, London NW1 2XB.
The workshop runs from 10.30-4.30pm and is suitable for all levels of ability and experience. The atmosphere is extremely supportive and we always have a lot of fun. Places can be booked through Eventbrite and cost just £20 plus booking fee.
Here’s what someone said about our last workshop:
“Just to say I really enjoyed your class today, was never bored and met a great group and also learned so much”
Director, Green Curtain Theatre
Large Red squirrels found roaming in Dingle !
Pass through the village of Llangefni and you could easily miss the Dingle (Nant y Pandy) Nature Reserve. This blissful woodland appears to be hidden at first, but it offers an enticing escape into a landscape that is alive with wildlife. The park also hosts several sculptures that reflect the character of the nature reserve. Bring your camera for photos of this peaceful corner of Anglesey and take your time to explore the area.
A raised and fenced wooden boardwalk was one of several 21st-century developments in the nature reserve. Find the start of the trail then set off to explore the area with ease, on foot or by wheelchair or stroller. The paths run beneath a canopy of oak and ash trees. Come in spring to witness the undergrowth explode with the colour of bluebells.
Look for the artworks that decorate the parkland as you walk around the trail. Sculptures include a giant dragonfly, seed pods and split timbers with a poem engraved on the inside. The park also includes sculpted benches and picnic tables, making it an ideal place to take a break.
Follow the trail in a circular route. The whole trail is about 1.5 miles (roughly 2 kilometers) long. At a gentle pace you should finish the circuit in around an hour. To explore some more, keep going to find the Cefni Reservoir on a 6-mile (10-kilometer) round trip.
Take binoculars to Nant y Pandy to spot the wildlife that lives here. Red squirrels are rare elsewhere in the country, but have been reintroduced to parts of Anglesey, including this reserve.
Frogs, newts, adders and lizards make up the reptile population, while a wide variety of birds call the reserve home. Watch the water’s edge for a glimpse of a kingfisher’s iridescent colors.
The Dingle (Nant y Pandy) Nature Reserve is free to enter and open throughout the year. Drive to the Church of St. Cygnar and park nearby, then head out onto the trails on foot. The wooden boardwalk does not require special footwear or hiking experience.
Derby Irish Festival Programme Announced!
Gerry Molumby photographer
Irish Cabaret returns to the home of dramatist W.S. Gilbert (as in Sullivan !) on Friday February 8th
special guest current world champion dancer Joe McGeown
The Prince of Wales will make his first visit to the University of Liverpool, alongside Honorary Graduate and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, to formally cement their roles as joint patrons of the University’s Institute of Irish Studies.
The visit takes place on February 12 2019. The Institute of Irish Studiescontributes to greater understanding between these islands.
University of Liverpool Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Beer said: “We are both honoured and delighted to welcome the joint patrons of our Institute of Irish Studies, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, to our campus.
“The Institute of Irish Studies plays a huge role in shaping the relationship between our islands, through its research, events, student programmes and expertise. This visit provides an excellent opportunity for us to showcase this important work.”
The Prince of Wales will arrive with The Duchess of Cornwall and meet the President and Sabina Higgins at the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M). The party will then meet Institute of Irish Studies staff, students and academics; including Director of the Institute of Irish Studies, Professor Peter Shirlow FaCSS and Head of Department, Professor Lauren Arrington.
Professor Dame Janet Beer will formally welcome the party, before Professor Peter Shirlow delivers a speech to mark the occasion and Professor Frank Shovlin reads poetry by Irish literary icon, Seamus Heaney.
The patrons will meet with representatives from Liverpool Irish Centre, Irish Community Care (Merseyside), Liverpool Irish Festival and Irish businesses, as well as Irish Special Needs teachers working in the region, and donors, friends and alumni of the Institute.
Following this, The Prince of Wales and President Higgins will sign the joint patronage agreement.
Professor Peter Shirlow said: “The joint patronage of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is an indication of the Institute’s role in Liverpool and further afield.
“The visit highlights the importance of the linkage and mutually enriching relationships that today frame the culture and development of these two intertwined nations.
“In coming to the University and the city and in meeting various Irish groups and others, The Prince of Wales and President of Ireland continue their vision of constructive relationships between these islands that preserves our unique character, but also recognises the richness of our interdependence.
“This is a truly important visit that recognises that the Irish community in Britain makes a vitally important contribution through learning, character and trade.
“The Irish have been the largest source of in-migration to Britain for over two centuries and as many as six and a half million people in the UK are estimated to have at least one Irish grandparent.
“The Irish in Britain have undertaken a mutually rich journey through British life and in so doing have influenced and will continue to influence wider developments and identities.”
The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies’ foundations lie in the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement to encourage greater understanding and positively framed contact between the two islands. The Institute of Irish Studies was consequently established in 1988, and it is unique in terms of scholarship and outreach. Its internationally-recognised excellence in teaching, research and outreach beyond academia was recognised in 2007 by the Irish government through the creation of an endowed chair in Irish Studies.
The Prince of Wales’ and President Higgins’ joint patronage of the Institute was announced in September 2017, on a shared visit to Dumfries House, the Scottish estate His Royal Highness saved for the nation, in Ayrshire.
The Centenary Commemoration Of The First
David McCullagh and Aine Lawlor present live coverage of the Ceremonial Commemorative Sitting to mark the 100th anniversary of the first meeting of the first Dáil Éireann, featuring speeches from President Higgins, the Taoiseach and other party leaders.
Those in prison were described as being “imprisoned by the foreigners” (fé ghlas ag Gallaibh). Michael Collins and Harry Boland were marked in the roll as i láthair (present), but the record was later amended to show that they were as láthair (absent). At the time, they were in England planning the escape of Éamon de Valera from Lincoln Prison, and did not wish to draw attention to their absence.
Bridgeen King (niece of Joseph O’Doherty TD First Dáil ) who visited the Oireachtas with group of older people from Nottingham 2009
Four cakes, a key moulded from candle grease, a file and Michael Collins and Harry Boland waiting for you outside. Eamon De Valera’s ‘great escape’ from Lincoln Gaol
3rd February 1919
Erik Grigg heralds in this documentary one of the ‘great escape’ stories in Irish and British history ; as part of the Centenary Commemoration event taking place in Lincoln on the eve of this historic day.
I will be there covering the event for
So near into the New Year and 2 more significant Irish Diaspora stories/events
- Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025 – read it here
2. CONCERT: ‘A Celebration of Irish music, theatre, poetry and dancing in the week of St Brigid’ hosted by the Irish Chaplaincy at St James’ Church Piccadilly. January 30th 2019 at 7pm
Tickets available via
St. Brigid’s Festival back in London with very varied themes and venues
Following on from last years wonderful day of celebrating the creativity of “Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland)” ~ the poster below gives you a list of venues and events.
I would book now not to be disappointed. Check details on the venue’s websites.
Pictures of last year’s event
Yorkshire/Bradford Irish Society invite you to the launch of the ‘self help funding’ lottery .
As you may have heard in the news, Bradford Irish Society in partnership with the lottery management company Gatherwell, are launching a new online lottery called the Celtic Community Lottery. We are initiating the lottery as we recognise that over the past few years funding is becoming harder to source.
The capital investment by Bradford has enabled other Celtic organisations to benefit without having to pay any set up fees, and therefore free of charge.
Up to 40p from every £1 ticket of Celtic Community Lottery will go direct to your organisation, players of the lottery can win a £25,000 jackpot, plus smaller prizes.
There are two parts to the Celtic Community Lottery scheme – good causes, , will be able to have your own lottery page created, and 40p in every pound spent by players using your webpage will be retained by you. A further 5p in every pound will go into a general Celtic Lottery good causes fund, with the remainder being put towards prizes, operating costs and VAT.
To get the most from the event, we invite you to attend the ‘Good Causes’ launch for the Celtic Community Lottery on Saturday 12th January with key members of organisations. You will be able to hear all about the new lottery, how it works and how your organisation can directly benefit from participating. The general Celtic Community Lottery fund will eventually start to award grants to the community.
The launch will take place at Batley Irish National Club at 12.00 midday where you will be joined by a specially selected number of other Celtic organisations.
Batley Irish Democratic League Club
There will be a short presentation by Ben Speare who is the Managing director of Gatherwell Ltd. followed by refreshments and entertainment. There will be lots of people on hand to provide advice and guidance on what you have to do and the next steps. You can sign up on the day and be one of the first Irish organisations to benefit from the Celtic Community Lottery.
Please let us know if you would care to join us, a response would be great if it could get to us by the 5th of January 2019 with the names of those attending. We are looking forward to your positive response.
The Board of Bradford Irish Society Ltd.
Please RSVP email@example.com
or directly with John Cradwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that a light lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please let us know of any special dietary requirements.
Visit London Irish ~ Christmas 2018
Wednesday December 19th live on RTE tv at 7pm and all over Christmas on i player you can watch this special programme . Featuring the varied work of The Irish Chaplaincy now in their 61st year of service to older Irish, Travellers and people in prisons throughout the UK. Paul Raymond (Older Peoples Service Manager) said ” Over a few days in November we introduced some of our volunteers and service users who were delighted to tell their stories of being Irish in Britain and the ongoing support we endeavour to give”
Link to programme here https://www.rte.ie/player/gb/show/nationwide-21/
Mamie Williamson (from Limerick ) seated on L will feature in the RTE Nationwide Programme . She is pictured here with staff and volunteers from the Irish Chaplaincy at their 60th Anniversary in the Irish Embassy 2017 . Ambassador Adrian O’Neill on R.
Vince has the Power !
Danny from the Feis 2019 team has been in touch with a taster….and a great
Christmas Gift idea !!!!
The Godfather of Gigs, Vince Power brings his celebration of Irish music and culture back to Liverpool in 2019 on Saturday July 6.
After a memorable 2018 festival which saw performances from Van Morrison, Shane MacGowan and Imelda May amongst others, Liverpool Feis have released the first batch
You can view some of my pictures from 2018 here
Reflecting on a new republic ; in his inauguration speech the President calls for a generous reach of inclusiveness , a wide embrace, to include the Irish Abroad.
Full Speech: text and video
Campaigning amongst the Diaspora @ Lumen Cafe , London 2011
He did not set out to be, but when you heard Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin perform he was the pulse of Ireland and its Diaspora.
When I heard late last night (Nov 7th) of the death of Mícheál my mind was awash with sound bites and what a tribute to a man who spent his life making sounds. What his mentor Seán Ó Riada did for the Chieftains he did for the Riverdance generation.
About ten years ago at the Newcastle Irish Festival here in the UK I saw him gave a master class at the University there. He involved everyone in that music department they and we the audience entered into his ‘Irish World’. For when the music and musician you have chosen for your funeral dies (Eleanor Plunkett) …it stops you also in your tracks. For me he was to the Irish scale what Seamus Heaney was to its alphabet. If Heaney could create magic images recalling his mother peeling potatoes Mícheál the Máistir created for me something between ‘two worlds’ in his collaboration with the monks of Glenstall Abbey, his orchestra, the female voice of his wife Nóirín Ní Riain and Brian Kennedy to create Lumen (Light!)
Thank God for today we can go with Mícheál ‘Between Two Worlds’ via
Sarah Jane Hughes 100th birthday Wednesday November 7th 2018
100 today and still standing proud as an Irish women ” and my passport is still green“
Late last year I interviewed Sarah in her 99th year and my full interview is available below. Despite a fall a few months ago and a hip replacement Jane made a speedy recovery, responded to physiotherapy and is now mobilising well. She was joined by her large extensive family on Nov 7th to celebrate this great milestone.
Sebastian Barry reveals some of the sacred secrets of his scriptures at Liverpool Irish Festival
Copy and pictures Gerry Molumby
Institute of Irish Studies launches MA in Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool’s London Campus …and Bertie Ahern returning to deliver the John Kennedy Lecture on November 22nd
A new London-based Master’s in Irish Studies was launched by the Ambassador of Ireland to the United Kingdom, Adrian O’Neill, at the Irish Embassy on October 18 2018.
The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies is offering the interdisciplinary MA programme at the University’s London campus in Finsbury Square, building on the Institute’s reputation for delivering research-led teaching of the highest standard.
Adrian O’Neill, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Kingdom, said: “I am delighted to launch this new Master’s Programme in Irish Studies. The histories of our two islands have always been, and will continue to be closely connected, intertwined and interdependent. Programmes such as this MA serve to increase knowledge and awareness of Irish history, politics and culture and, in the broader context, will contribute to increased shared understandings and ever-stronger relations between Ireland and Britain.”
The MA in Irish Studies provides students with the opportunity to explore major issues of global concern: peace and conflict transformation, women’s studies, migration, history, literature and politics.
London’s history and demography make it the fourth largest ‘Irish’ city in the world, and its contemporary economic, political and cultural connections mean it is an ideal location for Irish Studies. Students will also be offered the chance to experience cultural activities at no extra cost.
Professor Pete Shirlow, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies, said: “The MA in central London is a major opportunity for people who wish to develop their career, move onto a PhD or study for the love of learning. Our MA programme merges modern and contemporary Ireland into a series of modules that promotes skills in analysis.
“As this programme of study highlights Ireland in cultural, economic, political and social terms, it is a unique and prominent site to develop our wider cultural understanding of the past and the present.”
For questions about the MA, contact email@example.com and visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/london/programmes/finance-accounting-business-and-communication/ma-irish-studies/
Follow us on Twitter @IrishInstitute and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/irishstudieslivuni/
Bertie Ahern to speak on negotiating The Good Friday Agreement
To register your space(s) please go to.
Irish Chaplaincy charity in Britain , now in its 61st year tells is updated story in latest newsletter.
The Ceiliúradh Londain 2018 was a magical event, an amazing evening, with an array of local Irish talent.
Larry O’Leary has written a wonderful review on .
Irish at home equally disappointed at London Late Late Show
Gerry Molumby who has been producing Irish plays and concerts in the UK for 25 years said…
Did RTE Nationwide get it better than the Late Late Show, in telling part of the Irish in Britain story on visit to London the same day ?
Liverpool Irishman Damien Brickland hosts an annual golf tournament for Hope House in Cheshire.
Why have we heard so little about Ireland’s martyred Priests of ‘the troubles?
This TG4 documentary might ‘shed some blood’ on the background to them.
Was Bing (Harry) Crosby the original Irish-American Sean-nós professional performer?
Watch out for the great Dermot O’Brien and Milo O’Shea crooning with Bing !
I watched the first presidential debate on RTE News at One 27/9/18. Here are my thoughts !
The pending presidential election, although an exercise in democracy, will be a ‘going through the motions’ of re-electing Michael D Higgins as Uachtarán na hÉireann. I predict he will be re-elected not only because of the calibre of those standing against him; but by the names of those not going up against him seeking the national mandate. Where is Bertie Ahern, Enda Kenny or Michael McDowell, a grandson of Irish revolutionary and Gaelic scholar Eoin MacNeill. The main political parties are not nominating a candidate, so they are keeping their powder dry! fully conscious of Michael’s popularity and therefore waiting for next time.
Joan Freeman – well meaning and great opportunity to promote Pieta House
Liadh Ní Riada – Sinn Féin and a nation once again candidate out and out.
Peter Casey – well meaning but verbally indecisive
Gavin Duffy – if job at the Aras in public relations – he is your man, but keep him away from the seal of office !
Seán Gallagher – has been!. Or where has he been the past 7 years ? (He appears to not have got over the ‘Siege of Derry’ 2011 by Martin Mc Guinness RIP)
President of Ireland ? – ‘Miggledy Higgins’ (ceist answer child of 7!)
Ceiliúradh Londáin October 13th
Presented by The Council of Irish County Associations in collaboration with the London Irish Centre.
The Gaelic Games, Drama, Music Song and Dance communities in London have got together to present this Showcase from 8pm on Saturday October 13.
I have been asked to work with the team and be MC on the night. The final programme is near completion and further details to follow.
Crawley Irish Festival – as seen on Irish tv with Martin and Annette Logan.
and more next week !
– another great Irish family day out .
Pictorial chronicle on my flickr screen below
95 and still going …..to the Crawley Irish Festival
Main man – organiser John Nolan
John Mc Nicholl and Mary Byrne duet – Ireland’s got talent !!
family day out
Fergal Keane BBC
History of Ireland
A new five-part landmark series, written and presented by BBC Special Correspondent Fergal Keane, The Story of Ireland is a clear-eyed and expansive view of the history of the island and its people from its earliest times to the present day. Far from being a remote European outpost, episode one charts the formation of Ireland’s DNA by successive ways of invaders and settlers. Along the way, Keane exposes the myth of Ireland’s Celtic identity – he travels to Norway and presents the Vikings as resourceful settlers and traders in Ireland rather than as the barbarous marauders of popular belief. He also follows the trail of the early Iris monks as they bring their literature and learning through Europe to re-energise the Christian world, in the early Middle Ages.
I have been following with interest the developing narrative since President Higgins made public his intention to seek the nomination for a second term.
If challenged in an election, I feel he will, rightly, be re-elected. MD has served the Irish at home and abroad well .With the pending referendum of giving the vote in the presidency to the Irish abroad, the election will be good for the fast changing pertinent political and ethical Irish priorities.
Other than one resignation and death in office we have had at least two fourteen year terms being unopposed, as though the office was the prerogative of the Fianna Fáil party .I am old enough to remember 1966 ,when Judge Tom O’Higgins had the ‘nerve’ to challenge Éamon de Valera, but remember he only lost by 1%. Incidentally he stood again against Erskine Childers and only lost by only 4%.
An election can be a tough arena as Seán Gallagher knows well, and he appears to be showing interest. He was tripped up by in the 2011 presidential tv debate by Martin McGuiness. He was running favourite and I feel that McGuiness felt he himself was not likely to win but was not going to give Seán a continued lead. No disrespect, but a tv dragon’s den presenter may not have the breadth of experience and knowledge to be president. In many ways the late Martin may have done the country a favour. Since the presidency of ‘the two Marys’, the office is more demanding and has a raised worldwide reputation and not only with the Diaspora. The office of Uachtarán na hÉireann is in essence a popularity constant and to date the Irish electorate have been astute to elect people capable of representing us at the United Nations and feel the pulse of the nation in crisis. Look at what Mary McAleese did for peace in our time. I do hope that discerning instinct is maintained in this era of social media news and fake news!
Vince has the Power and he gave Liverpool his finest hour.
I have known from personal experience the contribution Vince Power has made to culture in Britain. I regularly attended the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden to see Christy Moore and The Dubliners and his fleadh’s at Finsbury Park. He has gone on to be central in the great festivals of Glastonbury, and Reading. One of the stars Imelda May told the audience ” Vince booked me when nobody else would, gave me good food…and money ” and she acclaimed him for what he has done for musical culture in UK.
I am going to let my pictures tell the story of
Opening Act but future headliner….Great band to beat the band !. Clare Sands from Co.Cork.
Dubliner Legends on main stage
Finbar in full audience Furey
Two local dance school and Ceili Band entertained on stage 3
Local lad Nathan Carter
Chieftains and guests
Foy Vance fine tunes his sound check
Irish girls know how to party !
Van the man!
Finbar Furey made a point to come and watch and support Damien Dempsey
Imelda engaged greatly with the audience.
Vince mingling with the audience
Shane Mac Gowen led the rousing finale
The Irish Times heralds people to Northampton, in its Bloomsday 2018 edition .
Edna O’Brien writes Bloomsday Greeting
A history of the Irish Dancing ‘at home ‘ and in the clubs of Emigrant London . (free to read on line)
London Irish Dancer Maurice O’Connell’s Ireland and World Champion medals .
Different days…. but he was the Michael Flatley of his time worldwide .
Patrick O’Connell OBE (son of Maurice O’Connell) with John Cullinane,an authority on Irish Dancing ‘at home and abroad’ attended the Worldwide Irish Dancing Championship’s reception, Embassy of Ireland , London 2012.
Gerry Molumby’s picture wins place in New York photographic exhibition
Aptly titled Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses , the picture was taken in August 2012 while Gerry and family visited New York on route to stay with his brother John ,permanently living in California.
The exhibition will be hosted by Aisling Irish Community and Cultural Centre (990 McLean Ave, Yonkers, NY 1070). Out of nearly 1000 submissions , the exhibition will host 50, there will be a further 12 finalists to be included in their 2018 calendar. The only thing that ‘gives the picture away’ from being circa 1890 are the modern day cranes in the centre.
Gerry said ” having just seen some of the other exhibition pictures there is an obvious high standard. Like most people I take scenic pictures but that day in New York harbour this sailing tourist ship came into view and I was reminded of all the Irish Emigrants who entered USA via Ellis Island. The narrative by Emma Lazarus came to mind ”
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
“Then I knew I did not just have a picture ,but a story ”
Your Irish Passport is a work of art, let’s look at it again.
~ and a Lancashire born Irish poet chosen to have her verse included …. ~
Story and pictures Gerry Molumby
At the Global Irish Civic Forum in Dublin (May 2017) there was a wonderful presentation on the work that went in to the renewal of the Irish Passport , incorporating the latest security technology, but also making it a piece of Irish art. So from notes and further research I have been on a voyage of discovery….come along with me. The first thing you will notice are the illustrations of Gaelic Sports and Music along with landmarks such as Croagh Patrick, Kylemore Abbey, Croke Park, the Cliffs of Moher and my native Rock of Cashel, which adorn the pages with the Brian Buru harp being the rightly expected watermark on each page.
Picture 1: Brian Buru harp being the rightly expected watermark on each page.
At the conference I was alerted to the inclusion, throughout the pages, to the full music score of Amhrán na bhFiann, the full text of Article 2 of the Irish Constitution, which appears alternately in Irish and in English.
It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.
The written and spoken word is fully included with verses by William Butler Yeats and James Orr and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaíll. Born in Lancashire, England in 1952, of Irish parents, Nuala moved to Ireland at the age of five, and was brought up in the Dingle Gaeltacht and in Nenagh, County Tipperary. A couple of Ní Dhomhnaíll’s lines written in Irish on page six are – Labhrann gach cuinne den leathinis seo liom ina teanga feinig, teanga a thuigim – loosely translated and with a nod towards the Irish abroad to mean – every corner of the land speaks to us.
Dedicated to the Irish language Nuala writes poetry exclusively in Irish and is quoted as saying “Irish is a language of beauty, historical significance, ancient roots and an immense propensity for poetic expression through its everyday use”, she currently lives near Dublin with her husband and four children and is a regular broadcaster on Irish radio and television.
Picture 2:On left the Verse by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaíll. Note the Bird Knot, (centre of left page) the intricate nature of these original designs makes replication very difficult. Note the seed in the bird’s beak to represent the ‘scattering’ of the Irish Abroad and part of the score from the national anthem on top left of each page in the passport.
Picture 3. The River Gods as seen under the Liffey Bridge are seen in all their glory when you bend two pages into each other.
Note also the Ogham characters (on lower left of the picture above) are printed in thermo-chromic ink, i.e. the colour of the character changes when heat is applied. The individual Ogham character and a hand drawn trace of a tree leaf, also lights up under ultra-violet inspection. Printed with shifting ink Spark technology, the image shimmers in the light. This is the first time this technology was used on an international travel document.
Ogham is an Early Medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language. There are a number of surviving orthodox inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland, mostly in southern Munster.
Picture 5. Newgrange Entrance Stone image. Again this is printed with shifting ink Spark technology behind the front page and as with the Ogham the image shimmers in the light.
“Be advised, my passport’s green” Seamus Heaney
What is the best piece of Irish Music ?
For me it is Eleanor Plunkett, by composer Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738).
Here are my favourite versions ;
Car park acoustics!
The Master himself
Following on from the Global Irish Civic Forum held at Dublin Castle in May…the Global Irish Diaspora Directory ….is now available in furthering the links that bind us together. A good piece of work by and from the Irish Government Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretariat.
Thomas Moore the bard of Ireland……….but , ” in a village of England your bones should have rest”
In a recent edition of the Irish World I read of the revived interest by Eleanor Mc Evoy on the works of Thomas Moore.
What readers may not know is that he joins the band of famous Irish people buried in the UK. His wife wanted him buried with his two children in the family vault in Bromham, Wiltshire.
The British Poet Laureate John Betjeman called him ” dear bard of my boyhood”, he was mine also as my dad used sing his songs and I became ‘ a ministral boy’.
” In the churchyard of Bromham the yews intertwine
O’er smooth granite cross of a Celtic design,
Looking quite our of place in surroundings like these
In a corner of Wilts’ twixt the chalk and the cheese.
I can but account you neglected and poor,
Dear bard of my boyhood, mellifluous Moore,
That far from the land which of all you loved best
In a village of England our bones should have rest .
Other famous Irish Abroad include George Bernard Shaw (Ayot St Lawrence, nr Welwyn), Percy French (Formby ‘across the mersey) and Sean O’ Casey (Golders Green)