Event Schedule (2018)
3rd January: 'The Dubliner's Dublin'
1988, 51m. Dir. Ronnie Drew
In celebration of their then-25th anniversary, the legendary founder of The Dubliners, Ronnie Drew, takes you on a guided tour through his city, Dublin. A charming host, the inimitable Drew blends history and stories with great songs and rare interviews with the rest of the group.
7th February: 'Race, Discrimination, and the Irish in Post-War Birmingham: Before and After the Pub Bombings'
Professor Gavin Schaffer, University of Birmingham
Here Professor Schaffer explores two Birmingham histories: the Young Christian Workers’ Association’s report on the welfare of Irish migrants in 1951, and anti-Irish violence in the aftermath of the Birmingham Pub Bombings of 1974.
This is in order to reflect on Irish/Birmingham post-war history more broadly, questioning the ways in which Irish migrants fitted into models of British race relations and multiculturalism, and exploring the relationship between
Irish, and black and Asian, experiences of British racism.
At the heart of these stories is a personal history of West Bromwich MP, Maurice Foley. Foley authored the 1951 report
on Irish migrants and went on to become Harold Wilson’s minister for Immigration in 1965. To what extent, this paper asks, did Foley’s work on the Irish in the 1950s shape his understanding of British immigration issues writ large?
The presentation may be viewed in full below:
7th March: 'Irish Users of the Nineteenth-Century British Workhouse System'
Dr. Deirdre O'Byrne, Loughborough University
The Great Famine of the 1840s saw many Irish emigrants leaving Ireland for mainland Britain, where many ended
up in the workhouse system, classed as vagrants. Dr.
O'Byrne will discuss the hardships these people faced, the difficulties we now have in finding their records, and the parallels with the current refugee situation.
4th April: 'Timewatch: WWI - Aces Falling'
In conjunction with the centenary celebrations of the Royal Air Force, this documentary provides a fascinating look at the lives of two of Britain's greatest fighter aces in World War I, James McCudden VC and the Irish-born Edward 'Mick' Mannock VC. As their number of victories grew, so did their chances of dying in flames. This production tells the story of their battle to survive against the odds, and of the 90-year-old mystery surrounding the death of one of them.
2nd May: 'George Best: All By Himself'
2016, 90m. Dir. Daniel Gordon
He was football's first rock and roll star - a handsome, charismatic Belfast boy who could thrill and excite the crowds with every turn of the ball. But George Best was also the lead in his own Shakespearean tragedy, a flawed genius, brought down by drink, temptation and depression. This emotional documentary recounts the tale of this beloved but be-devilled superstar with riveting, evocative footage and testimony by those who knew him at his best - and worst.
6th June: 'Older Than Ireland'
2015, 78m. Dir. Alex Fegan
This highly acclaimed documentary tells the story of one hundred years of life as seen through the eyes of thirty Irish centenarians; from their birth at the dawn of Irish independence to their life in modern-day Ireland. From the oldest Irish person ever on record, 113-year-old Kathleen Snavely to Ireland's oldest man, 108-year-old Luke Dolan, we meet a colourful cast of characters from all walks of life whose extraordinary stories are our living history, captured beautifully and forever more in this unique film.
4th July: 'My Astonishing Self: Gabriel Byrne on
George Bernard Shaw'
2018, 60m. Dir. Gerry Hoban
Award-winning Irish actor Gabriel Byrne explores the life, works and passions of George Bernard Shaw, a giant of world literature, and - like Byrne - an emigrant Irishman with the outsider's ability to observe, needle and puncture. Byrne explores Shaw's radical and unapologetic political thinking, and his unwavering ability to charm and satirise the establishment that so adored him. It is the story of the most relevant thinker, artist and literary genius Ireland ever produced.
5th September: 'The Bodhrán: A History and Demonstration'
Musician Katie Garghan explores the fascinating history of the legendary Irish instrument, the bodhrán, providing demonstrations via musical performance, with support from Vince Jordan of the traditional group, Reel Note.
The presentation may be viewed in full below:
3rd October: 'J.M. Synge: Playwright of the Western World'
Jim Moran, Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama,
University of Nottingham
In the early twentieth century, the playwright John Millington Synge was one of the best known and most controversial of Irish dramatists. In this lecture, Professor Jim Moran explains the significance of Synge's work, including a discussion of how his playwriting caused a riot in Birmingham in 1917.
The presentation may be viewed below:
7th November: Birmingham Irish Community Update
Hosted by the Birmingham Irish Association at
St. Anne's Parish Centre, 45 Alcester Street, Birmingham
An evening of networking and catching up with other Irish community organisations, with briefings from the Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, the Birmingham Irish Association, St Patrick's Festival Birmingham, the West Midlands Irish Business Group, the Pat Benson Boxing Academy and more.
The event will be attended by Ruaidhri Dowling, First Secretary and Community and Cultural Affairs from The Embassy of Ireland.
10th December: Annual General Meeting / Festive Quiz
(prizes for first- and second-placed teams)
Risteárd Sinclair (chairman), Kate McManus (treasurer)
The group's Annual General Meeting allows members to air their thoughts and criticisms, with elections held for any new positions on the committee, together with the customary 'vote of confidence' for the current chair.
Following this brief meeting is our renowned annual Christmas quiz - the traditional fun-filled, fiendishly frustrating, frolicking 'feis-tive' function!