Irish in Britain Archives

We are collecting newspaper cuttings, brochures and other material relating to the activities of the Irish community in Nottingham, to donate to the Irish in Britain Archives in London Metropolitan University. It is important to acknowledge and record the contribution made by our very active Nottingham community. If you have any brochures or related material, please get in touch. You do not have to part with the originals if you don’t want to: we can scan or photocopy them for the archives.
If you would like to view some of the material collected so far, have a look at the Facebook page for Nottingham St Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley film screening

Nottingham Irish Centre Film Club will show The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006) on Monday 2nd Dec 7.30pm.

Free! and free popcorn!

Film screening in Members’ Bar, car parking at rear of building.

The four years from 1919 to 1923 witnessed a brutal war between Irish Republican forces and those of the British Crown including the infamous Black & Tans. Following the Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State but partitioned the country, a bitter civil war broke out between those who accepted the Treaty and this who wanted to fight to establish an Irish Republic for the whole country.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley, directed by the radical film director Ken Loach, recounts this period through the stories of the O’Donovan brothers (Cillian Murphy and Pádraig Delaney) who join the Irish Volunteers in West Cork to fight for Ireland’s freedom in 1919, but find themselves on opposite sides in the Civil War. This is one of Loach’s best films and won the prestigious Palme d’Or prize for best film at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

Nottingham Irish Centre is a registered charity. Charity number 1165907

For the past few years, Nottingham Irish Studies Group have been working alongside St Patrick’s Day Committee, for example by running literature and history events, and storytelling and craft activities for children as part of the annual March Irish festival. The Nottingham St Patrick’s Day Committee is now in urgent need of people from the Nottingham Irish community who are willing to donate their time to organise next year’s parade.

It is the outgoing Committee’s sincere hope that volunteers will come forward and help to continue the parade into 2020 and the future.

A meeting will be held at Nottingham Irish Centre, Wilford St., on Sunday 1st December at 2.30pm. Please attend if interested.

Your Parade Needs You!

Anne Enright in Loughborough

Acclaimed Irish author Anne Enright is coming to Loughborough University on 30 October. This is a free event, but you need to book in advance via this link. The discussion will focus on Enright’s novel The Gathering, which won the Booker Prize in 2007.

Hear Enright in interview here.

This is part of The Big Booker Read, organised by Dr Clare Hutton, English and Drama Department, Loughborough University.

The Big Booker Read – Free Novel Giveaway

A new scheme – in partnership with leading literary award The Booker Prize – offers all 1st year Loughborough University students a FREE copy of Anne Enright’s The Gathering, plus the opportunity to meet the author on campus at the end of October.

Autumn news

Forthcoming Irish activities in Nottingham and East Midlands

Sunday 22 September: Irish poems about health and wellbeing.

Discussion led by Deirdre O’Byrne of Nottingham Irish Studies Group.
12 – 1pm, Southwell Workhouse NG25 0PT
Free session, but usual admission rates apply to the Workhouse.
This is part of Workhouse Poetry Festival 2019.

Saturday 28 September
Irish poet Colette Bryce will read with Nafeesa Hamid at West Bridgford Library, as part of Inspire Poetry Festival
7.30 – 9.30pm, £10

Thursday 3 October
There’s an Irish segment included in the next Sockful of Porridge event, @ The Barley Twist pub on Carrington Street – storyteller Deirdre will tell an old Irish tale or two.
This gig is in aid of charity, raising funds for the Woodland Trust

Tuesday 15 October
Roddy Doyle in conversation with Jon McGregor (University of Nottingham)
Roddy Doyle, from Dublin, has won the Booker and several other awards for his writing.
Peggy’s Skylight, 3 George Street, Nottingham, NG1 3BH.
£7, interview only.
Stage event 8pm.
Seated dining from 6pm (see ticket + food deal £15)
Check here for further details.

Monday 4 November
Nottingham Irish Centre 7.30pm

The Commitments, based on Roddy Doyle’s novel and directed by Alan Parker, is one of the most popular and successful Irish-themed films of the last thirty years and has achieved cult status. Nominated for an Academy Award, it tells the story of a group of young working-class Dubliners who try to break into the music business by forming a band, The Commitments.

 ” The Commitments is one of the most immersive, delightful, feelgood movies of all time.” Angela Clarke
Nottingham Irish Centre is a registered charity

8 and 9 November:

‘Feargus the Musical’, celebrating the life and times of Feargus O’Connor, Corkman, Chartist, and MP for Nottingham, is coming to Nottingham Arts Theatre, 8 & 9 November. See link for details.

Rebels and Friends

Coming to Nonsuch Theatre Nottingham on Tuesday 12 November 2019:

Rebels and Friends: A play about Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth
by Jacqueline Mulhallen, produced by Lynx Theatre and Poetry.
Con was a leader of the Easter Rising, the first woman elected
to the British Parliament, and Labour Minister in the Irish Dáil.
Her sister Eva was a pacifist and campaigner for women’s rights
and peace.
More information here.

Event organised by Stewart Halforty.

Walks, Books, & other stories

Monday 16 September
A Walk Through Ireland’s History
The Irish Centre hosted a talk by Mike Pinnock, author of Walk East Until I Die, detailing his walk across Ireland. 7pm. £3
More information about Mike here.

Thursday 27th June, 7pm in Five Leaves Bookshop, the open book group is discussing Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. If you have read the book, come along and join us.

On Saturday 29th June, as part of Lowdham Book Festival, there will be a talk by Deirdre O’Byrne on ‘Troubles’ fiction. After the success of Anna Burns’ Milkman, we will discuss how other novelists have depicted the war years in the North of Ireland. All welcome. 

Find us in the marquee behind Lowdham Village Hall, 3.30 – 4.30pm. 

Free events all day, for Lowdham Last Saturday. Details:

2nd-Generation Irish in Britain – book launch

I Wouldn’t Start from Here: the Second Generation Irish in Britain

Editors Ray French, Moy McCrory and Kath McKay will be reading from their book of essays, fiction and poetry by second generation Irish writers in Britain , whose contributors attempt to capture the diverse experience of a group of people largely rendered invisible.

The sections touch upon what it is to be authentic, what’s new about the experience of ‘diaspora’, what evolves and what changes. Many of the contributors acknowledge that anti-Irish racism has been part of their lives and the work reflects the tensions of not belonging but of ploughing on.

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
7pm. £3 inc refreshments. All welcome – Fáilte

Irish storytelling for schools

We are busy working with local schoolchildren in preparation for St Patrick’s Day Parade. Thanks to St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee’s funding — all raised by volunteers — , we provide a storyteller and artist to help the children make props for the parade.
This year’s theme story is the tale of Patrick himself:  how he was captured by pirates and brought to Ireland. He was sold as a slave and worked on Sliabh Mish. More about Patrick’s story here.
Follow this link to our Story of Patrick poem  written specially for this year’s workshops.

You might even spot us on BBC East Midlands today.

Watch out for the children in the parade on Sunday 17th March. (The parade sets off around 12.00 from Hockley to Market Square.) Give them a cheer when you see them. They have worked hard on making costumes, props and banners.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade!


If your school would like an Irish story and craft session, get in touch. We tell traditional Irish tales. We can provide extension literacy handouts and colouring pages if needed.



Irish Cursing: A Magical History, with Thomas Waters

Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
Wednesday 13 March 7pm – 8.30pm
£3 inc refreshments.
Email bookshop to book a place:

Historian Thomas Waters explores the weird world of Irish maledictions and curses. He shows that Irish folklore went well beyond fairies, banshees, apparitions and holy wells.
   Cursing was a righteous supernatural attack, which used clever wordplay and special rituals to smite evildoers. With roots in ancient times, this type of cursing remained extremely widespread during the modern era, as Ireland’s people fought over food, land, religion and politics. Although it’s declined recently, even today some people still throw angry maledictions.
   In this talk, Dr. Waters introduces the history and principles of cursing, and explains why the Irish were so good at it. If you think ordinary swearing is handy for letting off steam, you’ve seen nothing yet.
   ‘May you wither up by the fire of hell soon and sudden, may the flesh rot off your bones and fall away putrid before your eyes, and may the consolation of eternal flames come to be your consolation in your last illness, and the hearthstone of hell be your pillow for ever.’ – from a letter sent to a Limerick landlord, in 1886.

Thomas Waters lives locally, in Beeston. He’s a lecturer in history at Imperial College London and author of Cursed Britain: A History of Evil Magic in Modern Times, due to be published in August by Yale University Press.

This event is part of Nottingham St Patrick’s Day Festival 2019. More info here .