Here follows a selection of what goes on at the New York Irish Center:
Saturday Senior Computer Club – ongoing
The Saturday Seniors Computer Club continued its growth in 2012. 10-14 Seniors come together every week to share and learn from each other in our cozy downstairs Library space. James McHugh has developed a unique program where friendly computer savvy volunteers guide the Seniors through the virtual world of social media, email, YouTube, Facebook, Skype and much more besides. This is a relaxed mixing of the generations where computer tips and stories of bygone times fill the air over a keyboard and a cup of tea. There are two courses every Saturday at 10am and 11.30am.
Visit www.nyirish.org for further details.
Wednesday Senior Lunch Program – ongoing
One of the Center’s longest running programs is The Wednesday Senior Lunch, held Every Wednesday The Center warms to the sound of Seniors enjoying each other’s company over lunch. The food is provided courtesy of an ever increasing roster of New York Irish Bars and Restaurants, many of whom have supported this program since its inception in 2006.
Story Corps - February 2012
Modelled on the highly successful NPR radio series, one of our interns, Rachel O’Donnell produced our very own “StoryCorps” recordings. This was a unique opportunity to capture some of the oral history of our Seniors. Conor Murphy of Verbatim Studios contributed his time and expertise Pro Bono, helping to ensure a high quality product. Five participants were recorded; Frank Gordon, John Houlihan, Tom McCluskey, Tony Lambe and Patrick Morgan. New York Irish Center Board Member and Volunteer Padraic Feeney conducted the interviews. The recordings can be enjoyed on our website at www.nyirish.org.
Children’s Programs -ongoing
Jane McCarter, Arts and Cultural Director, is heading up our Children’s Programs at the Center. In 2012, she produced three distinct programs, laying the groundwork for the future development of our Children’s programming.
Jane’s most ambitious, collaboration with Christel Rice, Niall O’Leary and Vera Doherty, a two week Summer program, the Tír na Nóg Children’s Festival.
The Festival was a unique blend of the arts; visual, musical and theatrical, celebrated via one of the richest veins of Irish mythical folklore, Tír na Nóg. Jane also produced Oíche Shamhna, where children learned about the Irish roots of Halloween, and the Children’s Christmas Party.
All of our 2012 Children’s events were a great success and Jane has exciting plans for 2013. Watch this monthly space for details, bookmark our website at www.nyirish.org or check us out on Facebook.
Irish Movie Night Program -ongoing
Chris Deignan created the Monthly Irish Movie in 2011 and continued it in to 2012. We like to think we offer a unique moviegoing experience where quality Irish film meets unmatched Irish hospitality. Doors open at 7.30pm and moviegoers are encouraged to mingle and enjoy our pre-show downstairs hospitality where they can enjoy FREE tea, coffee, snacks and popcorn and a discount bar, hosted by our friendly team of Movie night volunteers.
As in 2011, we continued our collaboration with the 1st Irish Theatre Festival, under the auspices of their Artistic Director, George Heslin. This year we enjoyed a first time collaboration with the Irish Rep’s Ciaran O’Reilly who performed the opening monologue of Dancing at Lughnasa before a screening of the movie of the same name. Our next Movie Night is on Friday Dec. 21, doors 7.30pm features John Huston’s “The Dead” and our short is an Irish original, “Cluck”. Tickets at www.nyirish.org
Live Music Program - ongoing
Chris also developed the Live Music Program. This is a very exciting program which attracts many new people to the Center. We have a wonderfully intimate space, highly conducive to the enjoyment of quality musical entertainment.
One of the highlights of the year was Grammy Award Winner Susan McKeown who was joined on stage by another major Irish talent, Michael Brunnock. Chris plans to expand the program in 2013.
Annual Fundraiser, June 2012
Our annual benefit was held on June 14th at Symphony Space, a prestigious 800-seat venue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This year represented a move away from the traditional Dinner Dance format and it proved to be a great success. Mark Fox, a member of our Executive Board produced the show, ably abetted by Jane McCarter as Stage Manager. The two stars of the show, both titan of Irish comedy, were Brendan Grace and Pat Shortt, with music provided by Colin Smith. All played to a packed house rung loud with laughter, inspiring us to reach even greater heights in 2013.
Genealogy Program - ongoing
Bridget Bray created the Genealogy Program which was held twice in 2012. The first course was in January and the second in October. Over 30 people attended each session. The talks/workshops focused on how to get started in tracing your family roots. Bridget’s enthusiasm and knowledge are infectious and impressive and it’s no wonder that she was also the driving force behind a very well attended two day Genealogy Event in Manhattan in October.