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The full programme, A big Irish knees-up

James Joyce, Mary Coughlan and whiskey galore as festival enters 10th year

Published on September 26th 2012.

The full programme, A big Irish knees-up

Liverpool Irish Festival

Ten years of celebrating the links between Liverpool and Ireland

 11th - 21st October 2012

Festival Hotline: 07804 286 145. Website here



Thursday 11th October, 7.30pm, The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, Hanover Street, Liverpool L1 3DY

Tickets £13.50 in advance, £15 on the door

Box office 0151 7093789

County Sligo’s finest export, Dervish are one of the premier line-ups in Irish traditional music. Fronted as ever by singer Cathy Jordan, regarded by many as the most distinctive voice and finest frontwoman in Irish music today, the line-up of fiddle, flute, bouzouki, mandola, bodhran & accordion draw from seemingly limitless depths of finesse, subtlety and talent.


Munnelly / Conneely / Molloy + support

Friday 12th October, 7.30pm

Sefton Park Palm House

Tickets £15 Box office 0151 7093789

David Munnelly is the featured musician of Liverpool Irish Festival and is part of the very spine of Liverpool’s annual Irish Sea Sessions. We are delighted to welcome him this year also to mark the release of a duo CD with Mick Conneely, “’Tis What It Is.”


Searching for the Stories

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October,

11am onwards

Albert Dock, Liverpool


If you go down to the Albert Dock this weekend, you could be in for a big surprise!

Giants and little people, spirits and magic folk will be out there, searching high and low for Their People, the millions forced to leave their home country in search of a better life – yes, the Myths and Legends of Ireland have come to have their stories told.

As well as the mythical creatures, giants and (very) little people this Family Event will feature musicians popping up all over the dock and dancers performing in the squares and open spaces - and don’t miss the storytellers – they’ve got a tale to tell!

Over 100 actors, dancers and musicians, many from the local Irish community, will take part in the weekends festivities, in particular the Bolger Cunningham Dance School and Liverpool School of Irish Dancing, musicians from Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann based at St Michaels Irish Centre and actors from Liverpool John Moores University Drama Department, all under the direction of our partners, Hope Street Ltd.


A Liverpool Irish Celebration

Saturday 13 October, 10am to 4pm

Museum of Liverpool

Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1DG


Liverpool Irish Festival brings a day of activities to the Museum of Liverpool to celebrate the unique Irish heritage of Liverpool. Musicians will serenade you in the Atrium, and you can watch traditional dancers show off their steps or listen to the storytellers as they spin their tales.

You can join a whistle-stop tour of the many Museum exhibits associated with Liverpool’s Irish heritage, drop in on a fascinating talk about the Irish language arriving in our city or watch the children of St. Patrick’s Primary School perform ‘The Children of Lir’ - there are still more events to be announced, and we are sure they will include a ceili for all the family!


Traditional Music Sessions

Saturday 13th October,


Peter Kavanagh’s

2-6 Egerton Street, L8 7LY


Part of Liverpool CAMRA’s Pubs Festival


Monday 15th October,


The Edinburgh

4 Sandown Lane, L15 8HY


Saturday 20th October, 10.30pm

The Comhaltas Session

St. Michael’s Irish Centre

6 Boundary Lane,

West Derby Rd, L6 5JG


All the sessions are free, just turn up and join in!



Liverpool Irish Heritage Walking Tours

Saturday 13th October, 2pm

South City Centre

Tickets £7/£4 concessions

Booking essential - call 07854 415721


Nuns, knaves and nurses

This walk takes you on a journey into the city’s past, revealing the story behind familiar buildings, exploring some of them and calling well known characters back to life.


Sunday 14th October, 2pm

Scotland Road

Tickets £7/£4 concessions

Booking essential - call 07854 415721


Tracing The Past

What traces are left of this world famous dockland community, its Irish character and unique heritage? Whether you have roots in the area, or just want to hear an enthralling story, join this walk. And be surprised.


Love history present: Irish Liverpool

Saturday 13th October, 4pm

St. Luke’s ‘Bombed Out’ Church,

Corner Leece St and Berry St,

Liverpool L1 2TR

Tickets £7 / £4 concessions

To book call: 0151 546 5514 / 07714 402141

The promenade performance will take place in and around the grounds of St Luke’s Church, beginning at the Great Famine memorial.

This thoughtful dramatisation will take you on a journey through the passages of Liverpool’s Irish ancestry, You will hear tales from an Irish immigrant woman who describes her heart breaking journey from Ireland, a Liverpool merchant debating the problem of the Irish and an activist who fought for better living conditions for those escaping the famine that destroyed thousands of lives.

Joyce Day - Aspects of James Joyce, the man and his work

Sunday 14 October,

Doors 2.30pm

The Bluecoat,

School Lane, Liverpool L13BX

FREE: However places will be limited. Tickets for the film, £6.

To book tickets please contact Tickets and Information at the Bluecoat on 0151 702 5324

To book a seat for the film at FACT please contact 08717 042063


‘James Joyce and the Golden Age of English Murder’

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman

Though Ulysses is rarely thought of as a murder story, or even a story with murders in it, there are in fact plenty of them. These range from causes célèbres of contemporary Dublin, to obscure claims which for some reason caught Joyce’s eye.

Many of the cases seem to be included to give the texture of the Dublin of the day: others appear because they seem to engage with one or other of Joyce’s preoccupations: how can one ever know the detail of past events? Are those condemned by the law invariably the villains? And many others. Dublin Supreme Court Judge, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman discusses this fascinating take on Ulysses.

“James Joyce and the Golden Age of English Murder’ is the first in a new series of lectures hosted by Liverpool Hope University exploring the fascinating and dynamic relationship between literature, history, politics and culture in Irish writing throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”


The Humour of Joyce, with Joyce aficianado Racker Donnelly

Former UK Slam Champion Poet, Irish Times Speaker of the Year & Grand Marshal of the Dublin Riviera.

“James Joyce himself would have loved this. Clever, humorous, articulate, marvellous.”

Sunday Tribune

“Brilliant. Genius. Lovely stuff.”

BBC Radio 4


Concert, selections from the album ‘James Joyce’s Chamber Music: Folkish settings of the 36 Lyrics’

Composed and performed by Gerry McGowan and Esther Smyth.

Selections from a new musical version of James Joyce’s Chamber Music – a collection of 36 Elizabethan-style love lyrics written during the author’s early career .



John Houston’s ‘The Dead’

Then a short walk from the Bluecoat to Picturehouse at FACT for a screening of John Houston’s ‘The Dead’ , based on a story from ‘The Dubliners’ this is reckoned to be the best adaptation of one of Joyces stories.

Racker Donnelly will introduce the film and discuss the motivations behind both the story and the film, and the difference between their approaches.

The Ian Prowse Monday Club - Irish Edition

Monday 15th October, 8pm-11pm

The Cavern Pub,

Mathew Street, Liverpool


 The Monday Club is now part of the weekly musical map in Liverpool. Irish Sea Sessions member Ian Prowse presides over an evening of song, be it bands or solo artists, the only strict rule is no cover versions. Many of Liverpool’s resident Irish singer songwriters will be along as well as those in town especially for the festival.

‘Titanic Talks’

A pair of lectures presented by The Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool

Tuesday 16th October, 6pm

The Eleanor Rathbone Theatre,

Eleanor Rathbone Building

off Abercromby Square, Liverpool 7


Titanic: History or Heritage?

Professor John Wilson Foster, Honorary Research Fellow, Queen’s University Belfast and Freelance Writer.

Titanic Liverpool: The city and the ship

Ian Murphy, Curator of Maritime History and Deputy Head National Museums Liverpool.

John O’Connell

Sunday 14th October,


O’Neill’s, 68 Hanover Street, L1 4AG


John O’Connell, co-founder of former Liverpool cult band Groundpig celebrates his roots – his family left Galway for Liverpool in 1859 - with an an eclectic mix of music including songs by Christy Moore, The Pogues, Paddy Casey, Waterboys, Saw Doctors and U2 plus some ballads and traditional jigs.

“John is a very talented singer songwriter who travelled with me on tour. He captivated audiences with his excellent voice and guitar playing…”

Stephen Bishop

Liverpool Irish Festival and Unity Theatre present

Gare St. Lazare Players in Moby Dick

Directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett

Performed by Conor Lovett

with Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh (fiddle)

Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th October, 8pm

Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Place, Liverpool L1 9BG

Tickets £12/10 (concessions)

Box Office tel. 0844 873 2888

Thar she blows! After last year’s bravura productions of Beckett’s First Love and The End, Ireland’s Gare St. Lazare Players return to the Unity Theatre with their unique adaptation of the Melville classic.

From the moment that Conor Lovett utters the words ‘Call me Ishmael’ you are under his spell.

Accompanied by the haunting fiddle of Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh time seems to stand still as you follow Ahab and his crew in their pursuit of the Great White Whale.

Liverpool Irish Heritage Walking Tours

Wednesday 17th October, 2pm

South City Centre

Tickets £7 / £4 concessions

Booking essential, call. 07854 415721

 Nuns, knaves and nurses

This walk takes you on a journey into the city’s past, revealing the story behind familiar buildings, exploring some of them and calling well known characters backto life.



Writing on the Wall present

Derry /Londonderry – So Good They Named it Twice

Tuesday 16th October, 7.30pm

The Rodewald Suite

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Hope Street, Liverpool 1

Tickets £12 advance from 0151 709 3789 or online www.liverpoolphil.com 

Derry / Londonderry will be the UK Capital of Culture in 2013 - a controversial award in some quarters.

Join writer Dave Duggan, poet Gerard McKeown and singer / songwriter Alan Burke, for a night of drama,  poetry and song, in an exploration and celebration of the city’s future.

From the Margins of the Celtic Tiger

A short film series presented and introduced by Dr. Gerry Smyth, reader in Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University

Ireland enjoyed unprecedented economic success in the two decades or so before the 2008 crash. Amongst all the conspicuous consumption and the financial frenzy of those years, however, some of the fundamental inequalities of Irish life remained intact. This short series features three perspectives ‘from the margins of the Celtic Tiger’, dramatising the lives of some of those who, for whatever reason, missed the party.

Picturehouse at FACT,

88 Wood Street L1DG

£6, bookings 08717 042063


(John Crowley, 2003, 105 mins)

Monday 15th October, 6.30pm

By turns funny, shocking and moving, Intermission draws great performances from its ensemble cast, as we watch a chain of events spiral out of control.


(Lenny Abrahamson, 2007, 81 mins.)

Tuesday 16th October, 6.30pm

Abrahamson’s sophomore effort features

a stunning performance from comic actor Pat Shortt in the role of Josie, the lonely pump attendant who provides a rural Irish take on the notion of ‘quiet desperation’.

The Eclipse

(Conor McPherson, 2009, 88mins.)

Wednesday 17th October,6.30pm

Written and directed by award-winning playwright Conor MacPherson, and starring the always-excellent Ciaran Hinds, the film offers a compelling image of a country which is most certainly not ‘at home’ with itself.


Cork Film Festival at FACT

Irish Short Film Programmes,with a focus on short films made in Cork.

Thursday 18th October, 6.30pm

Friday 19th October, 6.30pm

Picturehouse at FACT,

88 Wood Street, L1 4DQ

Tickets £6, bookings 08717 042063 

Cork Film Festival is delighted to return to the Liverpool Irish Festival for a third year, with two new programmes of the best, most creative short films made in Ireland, some of these films screen in Liverpool even before their Irish debut.

In these two programmes we present documentaries, fiction, narrative and animation films amongst other genres. Some of these films have achieved international success on the festival circuit, but others we have included for the new and unusual voices to be heard or their particular slant on Ireland.

Mary Coughlan

Plus special guest Graham Robins

Thursday 18 October, 7.30pm

St George’s Hall Concert Room

Tickets £16.50 from 0151 709 3789

 Mary Coughlan is musical royalty in Ireland. Throughout over 25 years of her extraordinary career Mary has drawn heavily from her legendary heroes: Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Van Morrison, Edith Piaf, with her smoky, bluesy drawl and marrying of sardonic wit and visceral rage, she makes each song her own.

‘Tom Waits has met his Irish match’

The Guardian

The Irish Sea Sessions 2012

Friday 19th October, 7.30pm

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Tickets £17.50/ £18.50/ £21/ £28.50 VIPs (inc. entrance to Aftershow)

Aftershow £5 adv (£10 on door)

 Now in its third year the groundbreaking, part supergroup part sessions project returns with a new line up of the most talented musicians in their field.

Featuring new faces and some you’ll recognise, the 14 hand-picked multi-instrumentalists and singers drawn from traditional and contemporary music backgrounds, and from both sides of the Irish Sea, come together with the audience for another night of impassioned exposition of the shared music and the special bond between Liverpool and Ireland.

This year’s line-up includes:

Pauline Scanlon - Vocal

Frank Kilkelly - Guitar

Alan Burke - Guitar, Vocal

David Munnelly - Button Accordion, piano

Terry Clarke-Coyne - Flute, Whistles

Damien Dempsey - Guitar, Vocal

Lizzie Nunnery - Guitar, Vocal

Ian Prowse - Guitar, Vocal

Stevie Dunne - Tenor Banjo

Bernard O’Neill - Double bass

John McSherry - Uillean Pipes, Whistles

Méabh O’Hare - Fiddle

Gino Lupari - Bodhran, Vocal, Percussion

Shadow Dancer (15)

(James Marsh, 2012, 102 mins)

 Thursday 18th October, 7.30pm

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Tickets £6, £7 from www.liverpoolphil.com or 0151 709 3789

Contains strong language and violence

Starring Clive Owen, Gillian Anderson, Aiden Gillen, Andrea Riseborough

When a young IRA member is forced to turn informant for MI5, nobody expects the disastrous chain of events that is about to unfold. This outstanding thriller boasts central performances from Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough as the main protagonists caught in a complex web of political intrigue, set against a deeply insightful depiction of pre peace process Belfast.

‘The Return to the People’:

The Politics of Lady Augusta Gregory’s Plays

A talk by Anna Pilz

Saturday 20th October, 10am

Institute of Irish Studies

Abercromby Square, Liverpool 7



Liverpool Irish Heritage Walking Tours

Saturday 20th October, 2pm

Scotland Road

Tickets £7 / £4 concessions

Booking essential, call. 07854 415721

Tracing the past

What traces are left of this world famous dockland community, its Irish character and unique heritage? Whether you have roots in the area, or just want to hear an enthralling story, join this walk. And be surprised.

Saturday 20th October, 2pm

North City Centre

Tickets £7 / £4 concessions

Booking essential, call. 07854 415721


 Priests, paupers and politics

From St. Luke’s to Holy Cross you will encounter a story of priests paupers and politics, crossing Lime Street, and William Brown Street to find the back alleys where Liverpool’s 19th century poverty was at its most extreme.

‘I, Kavanagh’

Saturday 20th October, 6.30pm,

and Sunday 21st October, 1.30pm

The Fly in the Loaf Hardman Street, L1 9AS

Tickets £5 on the door

 Acclaimed Belfast-based actor Noel McGee presents his one man show on the life of Patrick Kavanagh. McGee paints a picture that is sad, touching and at times funny as he traces Kavanagh’s life from his childhood in Monaghan to his moves to Dublin and London, his successes and failures, his relationships and his battles with the Church and Press.

Bram Stoker and Dracula

A talk by Darryl Jones,

Head of the School of English, Trinity College, Dublin

Saturday 20th October, 3pm

The Bluecoat

School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX

FREE: However places will be limited.

To book tickets please contact Tickets and Information at the Bluecoat on 0151 702 5324

Although Bram Stoker’s vampire Count Dracula is one of the world’s most interesting literary figures, little is known about the literary and cultural influences that shaped the world-famous Irish novel Dracula (1897).

To mark the centenary year of Bram Stoker’s death, Darryl Jones will examine Stoker’s influences and legacy, focusing on of the vampire’s significance not only for its original nineteenth-century audience, but on Dracula’s continued cultural resonances in contemporary popular culture. This talk is part of a series hosted by Liverpool Hope University.

Liverpool Irish Heritage Coach Tour

Sunday 21st October, 2pm

Tickets £10, no concessions

Booking essential, call. 07854 415721

 This ever popular tour visits the important sites associated with the city’s Irish community, including St Patrick’s church, Clarence Dock gates and the Larkin mural.

Comhaltas present

John Spillane + Support

Saturday 20th October, 7.30pm

St. Michael’s Irish Centre,

6 Boundary Lane, L6 5JG

Concert tickets £10

from St Michael’s 0151 263 1808

or Liverpool Philharmonic 0151 7093789

Seating is cabaret style.

 “ … some of the most skillfully crafted, vividly realised songs anyone has written in Ireland over the past dozen years.”

Earle Hitchner, premier writer/reviewer for Irish Echo and The Wall Street Journal.

Before the concert there will be a workshop from 2-4pm on the Irish language with John Spillane. John is a fluent Gaelic speaker with a deep love of the language. His laid back style and gentle humor make him an entertaining and inspirational teacher.

The first part of the session will cover a basic introduction to the language. The second part will involve John teaching participants a song “as Gaeilge” (in Irish)”.

The Workshop is free for those who have prepaid for a concert ticket otherwise the workshop is £5 - it is not necessary to book the workshop in advance. The workshop will be split with the first hour on the Irish language and the second hour on singing.

Dan Regan, Founder, Kansas City Irish Festival.

Sunday at the Palm House

Young People’s Concert

Sunday 21st October, 2.30pm


The young musicians and singers of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann return to the Palm House with a programme of music that shows off their skills and hard work, solos, duos, small groups

and full ensembles will showcase Irish traditional music at its finest.

Family Ceili

Sunday 21st October, 4pm

Tickets £5 / £2 children under 16

Last year’s Family Ceili was a hoot! With music provided by musicians from St. Michael’s and Comhaltas and an experienced caller taking the lead, this is a ceili for all the family, no expertise required just energy, enthusiasm and a pair of feet!

Máire Ní Chathasaigh & Chris Newman

plus support

Sunday 21st October 7.30pm

Sefton Park Palm House

Tickets £10 Box office 0151 709 3789

The brilliant, innovative harping of Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Irish Traditional Musician of the Year 2001, and the astonishing virtuosity and versatility of English guitar wizard Chris Newman, has been heard all over the world.



 Portfolio Exchange

 11th - 20th October 2012

16 Cook Street, Liverpool, L2 9RF

9.30am - 5.30pm Monday - Friday

11am - 4pm on Saturdays - closed Sunday 

An exhibition of contemporary printmaking from artists who are members of Cork Printworkshop, Limerick Printworkshop, Lorg Printmakers Galway, Black Church Print Studio Dublin, Seacourt Print Workshop Bangor, Belfast Print Workshop.

The exhibition aims to provide an alternative visualisation of Ireland from the unique perspective of the print maker.

The Fifth Province

A photographic exhibition by Tadhg Devlin

 29th September – 21st October

Upstairs at the Bluecoat

School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX

Ireland is made up of four provinces; the fifth is wherever the Irish diaspora reside. The exhibition is a study of contemporary Ireland through the eyes of the returned emigrant. As the artist says: “I moved over to the UK in 1993, before the IRA ceasefire and before the term ‘Celtic Tiger’ had been invented. The country has changed dramatically. The boom of the 1990s has brought about a radical shift in values and a new confidence has emerged among the next generation.’

Comprising over 20 colour photographs, The Fifth Province figures ‘Ireland’ as a place open to interpretation, layered with myths, convenient fictions and unacknowledged realities.

Tadhg Devlin will give a talk about the exhibition on Saturday 20th October, 1.30pm.

Other events during the Festival:

Record Launch: ‘The Poet and the Parrot’

Friday 12th October, 8pm

The Casa, Hope Street


Stay away from this gig if you don’t want a laugh. An informal evening of music, songs and comedy to launch Greg Quiery’s long awaited album –‘The Poet and the Parrot.’ Enjoy the craic, and hear the Ulsterman’s unique take on life’s ups and downs...

By the way, have you heard the one about...

Book Launch:

‘Scouse: A Social and Cultural History’’

by Tony Crowley

Tuesday 16th October, 6.30pm

Museum of Liverpool


The author Tony Crowley will be giving a talk on his new book Scouse: A Social and Cultural History (Liverpool University Press, October 2012), the talk will propose a new history of language in Liverpool, one which revises the standard account and shows how the city’s multicultural past (including successive waves of Irish immigration) created the distinctive dialect spoken by today’s Scousers’.


Thursday 18th October, 7pm

The Bridewell, Liverpool ONE

Admission £3 (Includes free drink) 

Author Tony Crowley will discuss his new book Scouse: A Social and Cultural History with Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

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