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Liverpool Irish Festival rumbles to life

It's time to get stout and about again

Published on October 13th 2011.

Liverpool Irish Festival rumbles to life

COULD the mystery of why this is such a vibrant city be explained by the fact that the DNA from Celtic harp and pipe players courses through its veins?

Well it’s not quite that fanciful. Half a million impoverished Irish immigrants either passed through or chose Liverpool as their home during the first half of the 19th century. It didn’t get much easier for them once they got here, but they have left an indelible mark.

Damien_DempseyDamien DempseyPlastic Paddies on March 17 aside, it was a long time before all things emerald were officially celebrated here. Now, however, the Liverpool Irish Festival is in its ninth year – and the bodhrans are banging louder than ever.

It kicks off this weekend with traditional music sessions and lots more: see Damien Dempsey and Amsterdam at 02 Academy or enjoy a bit of Gaelic footie. You can even trace your own Irish ancestry, should you have any (Guinness for blood doesn’t count).

On Saturday and Sunday at Albert Dock, musicians and dancers from the city’s Irish community will present a rolling programme of traditional and contemporary arts, strolling players will fill the dock with sound whilst actors will draw out the history of the immigrants that passed through Liverpool in the 19th century. The Zebu tall ship even has free access.

There are also two Sunday afternoon/evenings of music at the Sefton Park Palmhouse This Sunday Damien O’Kane and the next one courtesy of Comhaltas Ceoloitri Eireann and folk supergroup KAN. Talking is James Larkin at the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, a  ‘Raiding Party’ of non-Irish bands, this year featuring Braebach (Scotland) and Calan (Wales) and a celebration of the ‘Discovering the Liverpool Irish ‘ project.

Next week also features the second Irish Sea Sessions at the Philharmonic Hall, a week of early evening Irish film at FACT, Beckett plays at the Unity and The Speech Project at the Capstone Theatre in Everton.

Festival Manager Jake Roney says “We feel that we are taking a big step forward this year."


Liverpool Irish Festival Events October 14th – 30th October

Fri 14 6.30pm  Barbaric Genius FACT   Film

Fri 14  9pm  Traditional Music Sessions  Peter Kavanagh’s 

Sat 15  11am  Comings and Goings  Albert Dock Event

Sat 15  2pm  Irish Heritage Walking Tours  Scotland Road 

Sat 15  7pm  Damien Dempsey + Amsterdam O2 Academy 2 

Sun 16 11am Comings and Goings Albert Dock Event

Sun 16 2pm Irish Heritage Walking Tours Scotland Road Heritage

Sun 16 7.30pm Damien O’Kane Sefton Park Palm House Music

Mon 17 9pm Traditional Music Sessions The Edinburgh Music

Tues 18 8pm Beckett: First Love Unity Theatre Theatre

Tues 18 10pm John McSherry Trio Rodewald Suite Music

Wed 19 6pm A Radical Legacy: The Rendall Building Talk

Wed 19 8pm Beckett: The End Unity Theatre Theatre

Thurs 20 7.30pm The Speech Project Capstone Theatre Music

Fri 21 7.30 pm The Irish Sea Sessions 2011 Philharmonic Hall Music

Sat 22 10am Discovering the Liverpool Irish The Bluecoat Heritage

Sat 22 2pm Irish Heritage Walking Tour North City Centre Heritage

Sat 22 7.30pm The Fifth Province St Michael’s Irish Centre Literature

Sun 23 2pm Irish Heritage Walking Tour South City Centre Heritage

Sun 23 3pm Traditional Irish Dinner St Michael’s Irish Centre Event

Sun 23 7.30pm The Raiding Party St George’s Hall Music

Mon 24 6.30pm Cork Film Festival FACT Film

Mon 24 9pm Traditional Music Sessions The Edinburgh Music

Tues 25 6.30pm Cork Film Festival FACT Film

Wed 26 6.30pm The Informer FACT Film

Wed 26 8pm Mellowtone LEAF, Bold St Music

Wed 26 8.30pm St Michaels Supper Ceili St Michaels Irish Centre Dance

Thurs 27 6pm Ulysses FACT Film

Thurs 27 7.30pm The Woody Guthrie Folk Club Ship & Mitre Music

Thurs 27 8pm Festival Club Upstairs at Flanagans Apple Event

Fri 28 6.30pm Pavee Lackeen FACT Film

Fri 28 8pm Liverpool Acoustic Live! The View Two Gallery Music

Fri 28 9pm Traditional Music Sessions St Michael’s Irish Centre Music

Sat 29 10am Sean Osaolain, The Bell, University of Liverpool 

a study of Irish identity Continuing Education Talk

Sat 29 2 pm Irish Heritage Walking Tours Scotland Road Heritage

Sat 29 8pm The Brother The Fly in the Loaf Theatre

Sat 29 10pm Traditional Music Sessions Peter Kavanagh’s Music

Sun 30 2pm Irish Heritage Coach Tour St Michael’s Irish Centre Theatre

Sun 30 2.30pm Young Peoples Concert Sefton Park Palm House Music

Sun 30 4pm Family Ceili Sefton Park Palm House Dance

Sun 30 8pm KAN Sefton Park Palm House Music


To find out more, visit here 

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