Happy 20th Anniversary to the Group: 20 years old in Jan 2011
Tue 1 Feb, 2-4pm, Shirebrook Library
Irish History in Literature
We read some poems and prose and the group discussed writers’ responses to key events in Irish history. This was a lively and well-informed group. The event was hosted by Derbyshire Scribes. Many thanks to Christine Plant and Paddy Fagan.
Wed 2 Feb: Farm Life in Irish writing.
A talk on farm life in fictions of Edna O’Brien, Mary Lavin, John McGahern and Sam Hanna Bell. Thanks to hosts Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, Birmingham Irish Centre. Thanks to Nicky Getgood for her video of the event.
March – Patrick’s Day Festival
Sat 12 March: Sherwood Library, Tales of Fionn and the Fianna. This had to be cancelled – library was closed due to faulty heating. We gave card-making materials and pictures to colour to children who turned up, and arranged another date: 7 May.
Wed 16 March: Angel Row library, 2pm. Reading and discussion: ‘Springtime in Irish poetry’ – seasonal poems from famous and some lesser-known Irish writers. A lovely responsive audience for this, and some new faces who had seen the ad in the library.
Thurs 17 March, Patrick’s Day, Irish folktales at Philip Neri School, Mansfield. Good fun – the children loved the dramatic death of Cullen’s dog at the hands of Setanta-Cúchulainn. Later, ‘Have a Go @ Gaeilge‘ @ Nottingham Irish Centre got an enthusiastic and fast-learning group. Some have now joined our ongoing Irish language group on alternate Weds at Nottingham Irish Centre. Tony Hawks’ Round Ireland with a Fridge @ Broadway brought light relief. We enjoyed the company of Tony McCullagh of Embassy of Ireland, and his wife Jo.
More details of Nottingham’s annual Irish Festival programme from http://www.stpatricksdayparadenottingham.co.uk;
Facebook page: Nottingham Patrick’s Day Festival;
Facebook group: East Midlands Irish Forum
Sat 19 March: ‘The Not-so-mad Women in the Attic Press: Irish Feminist Publishing‘. A talk at States of Independence, an independent press day @ de Montfort University, Leicester. Info:
A bit of a diversion to Carlow, Ireland, for Éigse Beag festival 30 Apr-1 May: Deirdre told Irish tales at Fair Green. Plans to tell tales at Éigse proper were scuppered due to foul weather, but she did get to carry the fuel for the fire-juggler in the opening parade .
May. Saturday 7 May @ Sherwood Library: storytelling for children and their minders. After a slow start, an attentive audience gathered to hear about Maeve, Deirdre, Fionn, Oisín & Niamh, Cúchulainn, and the Children of Lir.
July: Irish language students from NISG groups in Mansfield and Nottingham took part in the Coláiste na nGael Irish weekend in Vale of Evesham on 23-24 July.
NISG members enjoyed Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, performed by Lace Market Theatre 18-23 July, and The Commitments at Broadway on 31 July. We also saw The Pipe at Broadway on 16 August, and were shocked by the treatment of the people of Rossport in their fight against Shell. Apparently Shell is above the law. Five people from Rossport went to jail, but when Shell breaks the law, nothing happens.
We enjoyed new Irish movie The Guard at Broadway 19 Aug – 8 Sept. Info: http://www.broadway.org.uk
NISG members attended Mansfield Irish Association’s Autumn series of talks at Boothy’s Club. Deirdre O’Byrne gave a talk on St Patrick on 5 Sept, and Pat Murphy gave an excellent history of Michael Collins on 26 Sept. We also enjoyed the other events: Fran O’Boyle’s folktales of the Glens of Antrim, John Poulter on Irish commemoration of World War 1, and Alan Bairner on the GAA. Well done Nigel Scott for organising the series.
Deirdre ran a workshop on Irish poetry on 13 October in Nottingham Prison. We read a selection of Irish poems and talked about them. The participants enjoyed the readings and made interesting comments. The favourite poem was John Montague’s ‘The Trout’, which led to a fascinating discussion on fishing. Thanks to Gill Lewis for the invitation.
Sunderland University’s annual NEICN Irish Studies conference was enjoyable as always. This year’s theme was Barriers and Bonderlands. Deirdre gave a paper on Patrick MacGill’s Children of the Dead End, covering the Donegal man’s years working as a navvy in Scotland.
Irish language groups in Nottingham and Mansfield are going well, with some welcome new members.