Michael Collins (1996) film screening

Monday 3rd February 2020, 7.30pm
Nottingham Irish Centre, 2-4 Wilford St, Nottingham NG2 1AA

Michael Collins (Neil Jordan 1996)

The Irish writer and filmmaker Neil Jordan tells the story of Ireland’s struggle for independence from 1916 to 1922 through the eyes of the republican leader Michael Collins. The film opens on the last day of the Easter Rising, in which Collins played a minor role, through his emergence as the formidable leader of a guerrilla army which eventually forced the British government to negotiations and resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Although Collins claimed the Treaty gave ‘Ireland the freedom to achieve freedom’, it split the republican forces and the country descended into civil war.

Although the film was criticised for fictionalising parts of the historical narrative, Michael Collins is a powerful and emotional experience that presents the complex history of this period in an accessible and exciting movie.

The film will be introduced by Dr Patrick Murphy and the screening will be followed by a discussion.

“This is Jordan’s most ambitious and satisfying movie, a thriller with a real sense of scale, pace, menace and moral import. With the exception of [Alan] Rickman’s awesomely mannered De Valéra, the performances are top notch (even [Julia] Roberts makes a decent stab at the romantic interest, incarnating the ideological fall-out between Collins and [Harry] Boland), while Chris Menges’ camerawork and Anthony Pratt’s designs perfectly evoke a country falling apart with no one, it seems, able to halt the tragedy.” Time Out
Free screening. Bar available.
Free parking at back of Irish Centre.
Free popcorn!

Nottingham Irish Centre is a registered charity. Charity number 1165907

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.

Help needed for Irish St Patrick's Festival

For the past few years, Nottingham Irish Studies Group have worked alongside St Patrick’s Day Committee, running literature/ 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 Festival. If you are interested, please contact Nottingham St Patrick’s Day Festival via Facebook or Twitter, or get in touch via our ‘Contact’ feature here.

Your Parade Needs You!

Irish storytelling for schools

We are once again planning to work with local schoolchildren in preparation for St Patrick’s Day Festival. Thanks to St Patrick’s Day Committee — all 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 St Bridget:  how she outwitted a king to get some land to build a monastery. 

Watch out for the children on Tuesday 17th March, at celebrations in 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!

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.

We are also planning a short series of Irish Studies events, including a reading by poet Ian Duhig, born in Ireland, based in Leeds. Details tbc. Watch this space, and follow us on Facebook/Twitter.

Film News


Nottingham screening of Unquiet Graves + Q&A

Canalhouse Bar, 48-52 Canal Street, NG1 7EH
Monday 4th March 7.30 – 9.30pm.
Tickets: £6 (+£1 booking fee) here
This event was not organised by our group, but we will join in welcoming award-winning director Seán Murray to Nottingham for a screening of his remarkable new film uncovering Britain’s secret war in Ireland. It examines collusion between the security forces and known sectarian murderers involved in the assassinations of over 120 farmers, shopkeepers, publicans and other innocent civilians. Now known as the Glenanne Gang, the killers rampaged through counties Tyrone and Armagh and across into the Irish Republic in a campaign that lasted from 1972 to 1978. The film offers an appreciation of these tragic events from the perspective of the bereaved families, and is narrated by actor Stephen Rea.

Directly after the film there will be a Q&A with director Seán Murray

Watch the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/269266157

“Outstanding documentary film-making combining in-depth research and personal testimony to expose the undeniable truth of state collusion and its fatal consequences”
Professor Phil Scraton, author of Hillsborough: The Truth

Unquiet Graves offered a gritting, enraging examination of the state collusion that accommodated (and sometimes actively drove) the murderous actions of the so-called Glenanne Gang. Vital, angry stuff.”
The Irish Times


Fri 5th Oct, the Irish film Jimmy’s Hall (dir. Ken Loach, 2014) was shown at Espresso Café and Gallery. Deirdre O’Byrne of Nottingham Irish Studies Group gave a brief introduction to the social and political background of the film, which is set in 1930s Ireland. Jimmy Gralton sets up a community hall in Co Leitrim, and runs into trouble with the controlling authority of the church.
The screening was followed by a Q&A discussion.
Venue: Espresso Café and Gallery, 568 Woodborough Road, Nottingham NG3 5FH

August – October 2018

Activities from last year:

In 2018, NISG ran a short series of Irish Studies talks, all at Five Leaves Bookshop

Tues 11 Sept 2018: Professor James Moran (University of Nottingham)
The Easter Rising – some connections to the English Midlands

Tues 18 Sept: Dr Chrissie Van Mierlo (Erewash Museum)
The Mixed Vocations of Irish novelist (Fr.) Gerald O’Donovan (1871–1942)

Tues 25 Sept: Dr Sinéad Mooney (De Montfort University)
An Introduction to Anne Enright, focusing on The Gathering (Man Booker Prize winner 2007).

Wed 31st October 2018: Halloween and Irish Culture
Five Leaves Bookshop  7pm – 8.30pm
Halloween in Ireland is celebrated by traditional games which have their roots in pagan rituals. Dr Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University will lead a discussion of the feast’s place in Irish heritage, including a look at how Halloween is featured by writers such as James Joyce and Edna O’Brien. Halloween costume is encouraged (though not obligatory).
Discover why we duck for apples, eat barm brack hoping to find a ring, and play games like Five Saucers. 
inc refreshments. All welcome.

Venue:  Five Leaves Bookshop, 2018 winner of British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year.
The shop is down the alley opposite the Tourist Info Centre, off Market Square.
14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH.
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm
Admission: £3 including refreshments.
Please let us know you are coming by emailing: events@fiveleaves.co.uk

More info: http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/

Our summer included a return visit to Crawley Irish Festival, to tell old Irish tales. It’s a grand family day out. The festival was on Sunday 26 August 2018, 12 noon til about 6pm. Despite the wet weather, the welcome inside The Hawth was warm and friendly, and we had a keen audience for the old legends.
On Saturday 29 Sept, we participated in Inspire Poetry Festival by being part of the warm-up act for Maura Dooley’s Translations event at Beeston Library.
We read ‘Mise Raifteirí’, an old Irish poem, and the contemporary ‘Ceist na Teangan’ by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. It felt particularly good to read in front of Maura Dooley, whose parents are Irish, and has written some wonderful poems of the Irish diaspora.

Bloomsday 2018

Thurs 14 June: Pre-Bloomsday readings at Five Leaves Bookshop.
7pm – 8.30pm. £3, including refreshments.
Free if you dress in Edwardian costume (as readers will). 
Live Irish music from Ruadh Duggan of Nottingham Comhaltas.
Brian McCormack and Deirdre O’Byrne read some extracts from the works of James Joyce, in honour of Bloomsday, 16 June 1094, the day on which he set Ulysses, his most famous work. Joyce chose that date to commemorate the date of his first romantic assignment with his life partner, Nora Barnacle.

Here’s a link to an excellent audio recording of Ulysses, complete, by Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ). Treat yourself – Joyce’s words are a joy to listen to. 

Sat 16 June: Happy Bloomsday!
Some NISG members journeyed to Northampton for a short play, Letters to Lucia, written by Richard Rose and James Vollmar. It was performed outdoors at 2.30pm, at Kingsthorpe Cemetery, Northampton, where Lucia, daughter of James Joyce, is buried.

This was a Triskellion Theatre Company production.
Deirdre O’Byrne (of Notts Irish Studies Group) played the part of Nora Barnacle Joyce, the writer’s lifetime partner.
The performance had an enthusiastic audience, including Irish Embassy 
First Secretary (Irish Community & Cultural) Mr Ruaidhri Dowling.

Sat 30 June: Recent Irish writing, Lowdham Book Festival
As is now traditional, the famous Lowdham Last Saturday was free all day. Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University presented a talk on the new Irish writers: focusing mostly on the women, including Sally Rooney, Sara Baume, Louise O’Neill, and Eimear McBride, who have made a stir on the 21st-century literary scene.


St Patrick’s Day 2018 – activities

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
Tues 6 March 7pm – 8.30pm.
Alan Bairner of Loughborough University talked on the longstanding rivalry between Celtic and Rangers football clubs, and other manifestations of sectarianism in Scottish football. Alan is Professor of Sport and Social Theory, and has written widely on sporting culture and identity. A Scotsman, he spent several years working in the North of Ireland, and is a knowledgeable and engaging speaker. All welcome.

£3, including refreshments.
This event was part of St Patrick’s Day Festival 2018.

As part of the festival, Nottingham Irish Studies Group worked with the children of Holy Cross School, Hucknall. We told the story of The Salmon of Knowledge, and the children made banners based on the story, to carry in the parade on St Patrick’s Day.

We also did storytelling in St Philip Neri School in Mansfield.

Adults were not forgotten, as we told the tale of the King with Horse’s Ears at Beeston Tales. On the Open Day at Nottingham Women’s Centre, we told a selection of stories about remarkable women in Irish legends. 
On Wednesday 7th March, Deirdre O’Byrne gave a talk for Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, on Irish Famine immigrants using the British Welfare system.


Vagrant Irish Storytelling

“Christmas at the Workhouse event” @ Southwell
Spent the weekend of Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd December in character as a vagrant immigrant from Ireland. My character was a storyteller who was forced to leave home because of the famine. I was dressed in ragged clothes and told old Irish legends, interspersed with snippets of factual information, telling people a little about the history of the 1840s and Irish emigration to England. There are lots of parallels with current immigration and refugee stories.