A New Film About the Irish in New York – Filmmakers Need your Help!

April 11, 2011

Is there anyone out there who can help these folks with archival footage or old photographs of Irish family life in New York?

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and TG4 are responsible for making and airing high-quality films and television programs, and we would like to see the filmmakers get some help from the Irish-American community here.

Ardnawark, Barnesmore, Co, Donegal, Ireland.

Archive Film Footage and Stills

The Irish New Yorkers, an important new documentary film will tell the story of the Irish in New York. A two hour film that will bring audiences to the very heart of the Irish and Irish American community in New York and explore what it means to be Irish and Irish American. It will be a unique story of a people who fought hard to create the most successful Irish society abroad and those today with its future in their hands.

We need your help to tell that story. We are in search of New York’s unseen film footage that will take a fresh look at the social and cultural history of the Irish in New York. We are asking people and communities to delve into both their own and their grandparent’s attics, to dust down their old cine cans, Hi8 reels and VHS’s. Perhaps you may discover, and indeed rescue, little gems that will give us a treasure chest of history, offering us a unique and very real glimpse into life in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Also, any films or photographs you have of preparations for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We are looking for footage from the 1930s-1970s that will show life in an Irish American neighbourhood, footage of New York city, pictures or films of Irish immigrant families and the lives they led in the NYPD, the FDNY, sporting lives in the GAA and the Church. It may be a picture or home movie of your grandmother, old friend, or relative, or neighbours but all of these sources will help us to weave together the rich tapestry that is the history of the Irish in New York.

If you have any home movies or photos you would like to share with us please email:


Ciara Baker, BA (History)

Archive Researcher

Real Films

Award winning Irish documentary filmmakers Garry Keane and Aideen Kane have been awarded funding by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and TG4 to make The Irish New Yorkers. Twenty year veterans of documentary filmmaking their most recent film The Writing in The Sky was critically acclaimed and will soon be seen at film festivals worldwide.


The Highbridge Irish – A lecture by Kate Feighery

March 23, 2011

Saturday, March 26th 2011 at 2pm

Columbia University Law School,
Jerome Greene Auditorium, room 101
435 West 116th Street, NYC

The New York Irish History Roundtable is pleased to host a talk by Kate Feighery on the Irish community in the Highbridge section of the Bronx.

Highbridge, the neighborhood in the southwestern section of the Bronx, took its name from the massive stone bridge (spanning the Harlem River) constructed there in the 1840s to carry water to the island of Manhattan. The history of the Irish in Highbridge can be traced from the mid-nineteenth century, when homes of Irish immigrant workers building the Croton Reservoir first began to replace earlier farmlands and sprawling estates.

It wasn’t until a century later, however, that the true strength of Irish connections to the neighborhood reached its peak, a time when the neighborhood has been described by its former residents as made up of anywhere from seventy-five to ninety-nine percent Irish and Irish Americans. While the ethnic makeup of Highbridge has changed drastically since the late 1960s, remnants of the once-pervasive Irish community can still be found today; both in the physical sense, through the buildings and churches that stand as testaments and, more powerfully, in the memories of those individuals whose families were once a piece of this Irish community.

Utilizing archival, census, and church records, as well as oral histories and memoirs of former residents of the neighborhood, Feighery’s talk will focus mainly on the twentieth century Irish experience in Highbridge, and its connections to the larger Irish communities of the Bronx and other parts of New York City.

Kate Feighery holds a Master’s Degree in Irish and Irish American Studies from Glucksman Ireland House NYU. She currently works as a Project Editor in the College Department at W. W. Norton & Company, while continuing to pursue her interest in the history of the Irish in New York.

Suggested Donation for refreshments: $3

Saturday, March 19, More Irish Books and Music

March 16, 2011

Playwright Celtic Pub on Saturday, March 19 from 3 – 5pm 

732 8th Avenue, New York, NY   (212) 354-8404

Two Irish Born authors will read from their novels on Saturday afternoon:

Dublin-born author Honor Molloy will read from her new novel, Smarty Girl, a darkly comic portrait of Dublin in the 1960s.

 Laois-born author Gemma Whelan will read from her new novel, Fiona: Stolen Child, set in rural Ireland in the 1960’s, and in New York and Los Angeles.

Live music. Cash bar plus appetizers.

St. Patrick’s Day Events

March 6, 2011

 Drop off books  by Irish and Irish American authors  for distribution to New Yorkers for the inaugural Irish Arts Center Book Day,  by March 15. . Patrick’s Day.  If you have not had a chance to drop off your books we will continue to welcome your generous contributions until March 15. Click here for a list of drop off locations.

For information,  go to http://www.irishartscenter.org/



ST. AGNES CHURCH,  143 East 43rd Street,  between Third and Lexington Avenues

The Annual Mass in Irish at St. Agnes Church will be celebrated by Fr. Aidan O’ Driscoll of County Cork, Ireland.

 Fr. Richard Adams pastor of St. Agnes will deliver the homily in English. 

Readings in Irish: Marge Grennan, Maura Mulligan and Eileen Zurell.  

Singing in Irish:  Jim Crowley accompanied by Heather Bixler on the fiddle.  

 Bagpipe music before & after Mass: Tom Downs 



March 6, 2011

IRELAND AMERICA The Ties That Bind March 14 through August 13, 2011


Here are some excerpts from the NYPL press release about its new exhibition:

Irish culture and heritage will be celebrated throughout The New York Public Library in March, with over 100 events connected to Imagine Ireland, an initiative by Culture Ireland to promote Irish arts across the United States in 2011.

NYPL locations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island will offer 115 free programs for visitors of all ages, such as film screenings; staged performances of Irish folk tales and legends for children; cooking demonstrations; Irish language lessons; and a talk on how the Irish landscape influences teen fantasy fiction.  For adults, there are dramatic readings of plays by Oscar Wilde and live Irish traditional music with Don Meade.

In addition to the array of programs, the Library will also offer several education initiatives connected to Imagine Ireland, including professional development for teachers and a collaboration between students from New York City and Dublin. The Irish organization “Fighting Words” – which promotes writing – is working with kids from a Lower East Side school and from an NYPL literacy program for kids aged 16 to 21. The kids will work with Irish authors and artist – and then swap their writing with kids in Dublin. All of the work will eventually be published. 

The programming is being done in conjunction with the March 14 opening of the 4,000 sq. ft. exhibition Ireland America: The Ties That Bind at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which explores key aspects of Irish American performance history since 1800, and Hidden Ireland, a documentary film series drawn from the archives of the Irish Film Institute, starting on March 17. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House; the Film Series is in collaboration with the Irish Film Institute.

Ireland America: The Ties That Bind is curated by Professor Marion R. Casey, who teaches in New York University’s Masters of Irish and Irish American Studies program.  Hidden Ireland is curated by Sunniva O’Flynn of the Irish Film Institute and David Callahan of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Both exhibition and film series are part of Imagine Ireland, a year long season of Irish arts sponsored by Culture Ireland and taking place across the United States in 2011.  

 The exhibition includes rare scores, prompt books, posters, banners, costumes, photographs, original sound recordings, oral histories, as well as videotaped excerpts from Irish plays and other performances. Materials have been gathered from the various collections at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts as well as from the Archives of Irish America at Bobst Library, New York University.

Designed to be interactive, the exhibit – which contains material from both NYPL and NYU’s Archives of Irish America – will enable visitors to play music, dance a step, listen to songs and personal stories, as well as experience how records, radio and television made the home an incubator for Irish American creativity and cultural transmission in the Twentieth Century.

Ireland America: The Ties That Bind  will be on display from March 14, 2011, to August 13, 2011 in the Donald & Mary Oenslager Gallery at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza. Programming is free and open to the public.  Hours: Mon. & Thurs. 12pm-8pm, Tues.-Weds. & Fri.-Sat. 12pm-6pm.

The series starts with a very special Gala screening of the 1935 silent film The Seasons, an intimate portrayal of life in the small village of Kilkelly, Co Mayo, with live musical accompaniment by renowned Irish musicians from Kíla and harpist Cormac de Barra.

Screenings will take place on Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM. and on selected Saturdays at 6:30 PM beginning March 17 through May 19, 2011, many of them introduced by Glucksman Ireland House faculty.  Some screenings of note include The Emigrant Chaplain, introduced by the film’s lead subject, Father Colm Campbell of Holy Trinity R. C. Church in Manhattan on Thursday, April 28.  On Thursday, March 17, there will be a rare screening of The Ed Sullivan Show filmed in Ireland in 1959. And on Saturday, April 9, there will be a screening of the documentary From Shore to Shore: Irish Traditional Music in New York City that will feature an introduction by the filmmaker Patrick Mullins of the University of Texas, El Paso. To get the full schedule of films being shown please visit www.nypl.org 

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will also present throughout the course of the exhibition several poetry readings, musical performances, staged readings and panel discussions. A series of case exhibitions on American avant-garde theater, dance and music inspired by James Joyce can be seen in the 3rd floor reading room. Rare artifacts from The Library’s archival collections include Zero Mostel’s annotated script for Ulysses in Nighttown (Off-Broadway, 1958) and John Cage scores. For more information about these programs please go to www.nypl.org  

In conjunction with The Library’s exhibition and film festival, New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House presents a lecture by Professor Stephen Rohs of Michigan State University on March 24th at 7pm.  Rohs is the author of Eccentric Nation: Irish Performance in Nineteenth Century New York City.  For more information about this program please go to http://irelandhouse.fas.nyu.edu. 

Irish-Language Mass at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral

February 25, 2011


An historic drawing of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral.

presented by:
the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral,
in association with
the New York Irish History Roundtable,
Sir Patrick Charities, and Glucksman Ireland House – NYU

On Saturday, March 12, 2011, at noon, on Mott Street between Prince and Houston streets, for the fourth consecutive year, the New York Irish History Roundtable, Sir Patrick Charities, Glucksman Ireland House-NYU, and the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral will celebrate an Irish-language Mass.

The Mass will be concelebrated by Fr. Aidan O’Driscoll of County Cork. There will be Irish liturgical music by Cantor Paddy Connolly with accompaniment by Jared Lamenzo on the Cathedral’s historic 1868 Erben organ. There will be readings in Irish by New York University’s Pádraig Ó Cearúill and Clare Curtin, longtime member and former trustee of the New York Irish History Roundtable.

Following the Mass, the Washington Square Harp & Shamrock Orchestra will entertain the crowd with live ceili music. We will have the Ridgewood (New Jersey) Irish Dance Troupe with us again this year. And, last but not least – with thanks to Patrick Allen, KHS – Da Nico Ristorante of Little Italy provided a buffet at last year’s celebration and we hope to have them with us again this year. 

So, we will enjoy the Mass, followed by ceili (great music), craic (great conversation), dancing, Irish soda bread, food, and beverages. Come and join us to celebrate the Feast of Saint Patrick!

There is absolutely no charge to attend. Free-will contributions will be gratefully accepted.

Tenement Museum Talk about Governor Hugh Carey

January 25, 2011

January. 31 at 6:30 PM

The Man Who Saved New York: Hugh Carey and the Great Fiscal Crisis of 1975 with Robert Polner and Seymour P. Lachman

Are there similarities between the times Carey faced and today? Is that why Cuomo sent this book to union leaders and to his staff? Tonight’s conversation with Tom Robbins and Kevin Baker unravels the issues behind these questions.

Tenement Talks are free and held at the Museum Shop at
108 Orchard unless otherwise noted. RSVP to events@tenement.org

RSVPs are appreciated to help us gauge attendance and besaccommodate our guests, but they do not guarantee seating. Purchase a copy of the night’s book at 212.431.0233 ext 259
and we’ll reserve a seat for you.