Ireland's Tourism and Culture Minister Catherine Martin was in New York last week for a number of engagements, including a visit to the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers where she enjoyed a musical performance from the center’s Musical Munchkins.

According to a press release from the Irish Consulate, Martin said, “I am so happy to see the many programs for children offered here at the Aisling Center, keeping Irish culture and heritage alive. Engaging the next generation of Irish America, for whom Irish identity may be less central, is so important.

“It’s also equally important to continue to support our seniors and the most vulnerable in our community. I know the Aisling Irish Center fulfills both these functions.”

.@Aisling_Irish is a vital facility for the Irish diaspora in #NY on the Emerald Mile #Yonkers

So many programmes for children and adults to develop Irish traditions, music and language 💚

Delighted to visit them today, such talent. Maith sibh! @helenajuly

— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) October 22, 2022

The press release added, “Over the course of her visit to New York, the minister – whose brief covers tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport, and media – met with key cultural, community, and media partners.

“On Thursday evening, the minister addressed the Spirit of Ireland Gala at Chelsea Piers, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Irish Arts Center, and honoring musician Ed Sheeran and Thomas McInerney, president and CEO of insurance company Genworth. 

“In her capacity as tourism minister, she joined a roundtable discussion with key travel trade, carrier, and tourism media contacts based in the New York tri-state area, accompanied by Alison Metcalfe and Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland.

In 2019, we welcomed 1.7m American visitors to the island of Ireland

Feedback from tour operators is positive as Americans plan holidays

Great to meet the @TourismIreland #NYC team and key agents & stakeholders

— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) October 21, 2022

“Minister Martin, who also oversees media, made a visit to The New York Times where she met Limerick-born Malachy Browne, who leads the Times’ Visual Investigations Team and was able to update the minister on the latest investigative techniques and reader trends.

Limerick-born @malachybrowne is a senior producer on the Pulitzer-Prize winning Visual Investigations Team @nytimes

Delighted to meet him and hear about cutting-edge investigative journalism methods @nytimes + insights into the reader's changing interests

— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) October 21, 2022

“Before her departure, the minister visited the Irish Arts Center to meet with the center’s leadership and staff and to see the new visual exhibition by Maud Cotter.”

Many thanks to the @IrishArtsCenter team for the meeting and tour today

Great to hear all about the centre's operations and see the performance & exhibition spaces

Maud Cotter's exhibition is truly thought-provoking 💚

— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) October 23, 2022

*This column first appeared in the October 26 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.