Irish Elders Culture Office reflects on the achievements of its first year

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The Irish Elders Culture Office has now been open for a whole year – and my gosh what a year it has been!

Nora Mulready reflects on the work of the Irish Elders Culture Office in its first year. An article for the Irish World Newspaper

There was the success of the Nuns Chorus – a play written by Sally Mulready and performed by older Irish people to very high acclaim; The sold out night of older Irish Culture in Kilburn; The launch of Ceol agus Soul – an album of Irish poetry and song recorded by older Irish people in Britain in collaboration with the Irish Elderly Advice Network, Irish Elders Culture Office and generously funded by ESB. The CD includes poems written by some of the great Irish poets including Heaney, Yeats and Kavanagh as well as President Michael D. Higgins amongst others, it also includes recitations by Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, Dan Mulhall (CDs available to buy on 020 7428 0471 and soon to be available online at http://www.irisheldersadvice.org.uk). There was the sold out concert in the Haringey Irish Centre headlined by Sean Cannon (Dubliners) and which included performers aged between 7-90 (another concert with Sean Cannon is to take place in the London Irish Centre on the 18th December 2016 – for tickets call 0207 428 0471); and a now annual collaboration with Karen Ryan and the Return to Camden Town Festival to host an afternoon concert full of Irish music and song. And of course we can’t forget the success of Aine morrissey who came first in the Gealic Language category in the Gaelic voices Festival this year! We have also welcomed Natasha Lohan as the new choir leader for the Irish Pensioners Choir, she is doing an excellent job – we are very pleased to have her on board. Phew – what a year – and this is only some of the work we have been doing!

We’re not quite finished for the year yet – you can still get tickets for our concert with Sean Cannon on the 18th December and you can catch the Irish Pensioners Choir performing as part of the Irish Heritage Christmas Concert in St. George’s Church, Hanover Square on December 21st at 7pm. The concert also features Nora Connolly and Terry Wogan – tickets are £15 and can be purchased from http://www.irishheritage.co.uk

Next year we will be embarking on a project to film and record the childhood memories of older Irish people who grew up soon after 1916. This will be part of marking 100 years since 1916 and we are very grateful for the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs for their generous donation of £1000 to this project. If you have any memories of this time, we would love to hear from you. Please call 020 7428 0471 or email kathy@irishelders.org.uk to be involved.

We are also aiming to tour Nuns Chorus around the UK and possibly in Ireland; we are planning a 1916 commemoration trip to Cork (more details to follow if you are interested in being part of this); there are plenty of concerts  and performance from the Irish Pensioners Choir on the horizon; and of course we will be continuing our work helping older Irish people to apply for grants and funding to complete their own cultural projects. Please get in contact if you have a project that you would like to discuss or would like our help with.

Tom and choir

Irish Elders Culture Office and the Irish Elderly Advice Network would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the years and to the Department of Foreign Affairs Emigrant Support programme, Ireland fund of Great Britain and Camden Council amongst others for their generous funding.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here’s to a very successful 2015 and an even more successful 2016!

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