Anne Enright , Laureate for Irish Fiction, coming to London on eve of St.Patrick’s Day .
Organised by Cathy Galvin who told me ” I founded Word Factory five years ago to provide new platforms for short story writers and promote excellence in the form, having also founded the Sunday Times EFG short story award when I was working there. (Anne Enright was a judge for that prize last year). I’m absolutely delighted that Anne is joining us on the eve of St Patrick’s Day. Our event will be part reading from her work, and part interview – as we allow time for Q and A. This is the second event in a year-long programme which is exploring writers who are pushing the boundaries of the short story form. Ireland has, of course, a world-renowned reputation for short story writing and Anne is one of the best practitioners in the form. I will host the event as director, and my associate director Paul McVeigh will conduct the interview. His debut novel, The Good Son, set in his home-city of Belfast during the Troubles, was published in 2016 to acclaim. I felt the combination of literary perspectives from both the sides of the border would be timely. I also have an Irish background and dual citizenship and, in addition to running the Word Factory, will be starting a poetry PhD based on the sean nos in south Connemara .”
Cathy Galvin read from her own poetry at Nottingham Irish Festival 2017 (Gerry Molumby Photographer)
Fri 16 March 2018
19:00 – 20:30 GMT
What does the Irish Government do through its overseas embassies. RTE profiles their role in advancing Irish culture, interests and values.
Drama @ 60th Anniversary of the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain 2016
Fourteen year old Liverpool Irish boy adopted by the father of the Irish Nation ~ Michael Collins.
Below is the picture you have long known, now hear and see the extraordinary story :
When they make the film of ‘the young Michael Collins Paul O’Donovan ‘is your man’ and I told him so.
Irish Post Awards London 2017
President Higgins affirms Mná na hÉireann at home and abroad at London’s inaugural Lá Fhéile Bríde
Ambassador Adrian O’Neill hosted his vision of the enormous contribution and talent of Irish women in such diverse fields as music, film, comedy, architecture, poetry, literature, fashion, art, theatre, craft, business and entrepreneurship, science and technology. The ‘surprise’ guests of honour was President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins .Pauline McGlynn went into ‘Mrs Doyle mode’ as she tried to contain her excitement ,which was picked up and added to by all who attended ,with a palpable joy of being with, for the afternoon and evening , Uachtarán na hÉireann.
Camille O’Sullivan entertained with her uniquely-talented voice ‘to tell a song’.
Sebina Higgins attends the workshop on Irish Women in Science and Technology
Fiona Mitchell chairs the workshop on Women in Political Journalism attended by President Higgins and Ambassador O’Neill
Opportunity Knocks to be part of designing some brand new stamps to record the vast and varied contribution of the Irish Diaspora.
An Post, Ireland’s national postal service, is currently preparing a list of subjects from which the 2020 Programme of Special and Commemorative postage stamps will be chosen.
Each year An Post produces a programme of special and commemorative stamps on behalf of the Irish Government. The programme comprises of around 30 such stamps covering up to 13 different topics.
A proposal for the 2020 programme is the production of a set of stamps celebrating Ireland’s diaspora.
So Who Does Represent The Irish in Britain ?
As an active participant with Irish events in Britain I feel the need to ask this question? Who represents the Irish in Britain? I fear that the organisation Irish in Britain may need to reclaim its mandate. I know from personal experience its history of being firstly a federation of Irish Clubs throughout Britain and its development and track record in health, welfare, political lobbying and culture. As a member organisation it appears to me to have lost direction, I have no knowledge of regular regional meetings. More importantly I am concerned that pro rata to organisations in Britain how many are actively affiliated to Irish in Britain and those that are – what benefit does it bring them?
Does Irish in Britain need to review its purpose and become ‘a think tank’? And to just carry out research and advocacy concerning the topics listed above.
Uachtarán na hÉireann being greeted by some of the Irish in Britain on his arrival at Palace of Westminster during the State Visit April 2014. Gerry Molumby Photographer .
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
Ambassador O’Neill heralds a great future for Irish music, song and dance in Britain.
Seasca bliain ag fás!
Speaking at the Irish Embassy London on Monday October 16th Aiden O’Neill complimented the young British born people who have maintained a “connectivity to their home culture” by learning Irish music and dance from Comhaltas branches throughout Britain and he heralded them as being “ vital to the success of Comhaltas today”. He also traced the history of Comhaltas in Britain from its foundations in Glasgow 60 years ago and is rapid spread to the conurbations where Irish people settled.
This theme was taken up by guest of honour Labhrás Ó Murchú, who travelled from Cashel, Co Tipperary for the night. Labhrás, the Ardstiúrthóir (Head) of Comhaltas worldwide and a retired member of Seanad Éireann; when he acknowledged that the expansion of Comhaltas throughout Britain is central to the story of Ireland at home and abroad maintaining its culture for future generations. Reflecting on the Fleadh in Derry a few years ago he regaled the audience with an anecdote that as Irish people throughout the Island it is sometimes just flags that divide us but Irish people from different historic backgrounds share many of the same tunes and dances.
Gerry Molumby (Triskellion Theatre) Patrick Morrison (Comhaltas UK) seamus Brogan (comhaltas UK) Labhrás Ó Murchú (Comhaltas Ireland) and Seamus McGarry (Hammersmith Irish Centre)
Focusing on the local stories of success in Britain Michael Nevin (Cathaoirleach, Comhairle na Breataine) reminded the large audience/guests that in recent years three of the Presidents of Comhaltas Worldwide came from branches in Manchester, Luton and Birmingham. He made a profound point that people involved in promoting Irish traditional music in Britain are “ordinary people” and in reference to the young musicians from all over the UK who performed music and dance at the embassy, he described them to audience approval “as truly brilliant musicians”
Another highlight of the night was the launch of Pete Fawcett’s photographical chronicle of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann over 40 years. From a simple hearing of The Dubliners on Radio Caroline this self-deprecating ‘gurt lummox’ of a Yorkshire man has travelled to many a Fleadh in Ireland and Britain and now we have a permanent record of those days. With stories of the improvement in Irish Ferries services (to which we all concur) to escapades with his ‘banger’ of a Ford Anglia (we had one of those!) this book is a beautiful pictorial record and told by Peter in a witty and concise way . As a true photographer he introduces briefly in words and make space in his book to let the pictures tell the story.
Ambassador O’Neill being presented with Fleadh by Peter Fawcett
Well done Peter.
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)