Irish women are the beating heart of Liverpool Irish Festival

Irish women are the beating heart of Liverpool Irish Festival

IRISH women are at the heart of the Liverpool Irish Festival, which is currently underway in the city.

That is definitive impression you got when talking with Artistic Director Emma Smith.

Reading the programme and festival newspaper confirms the theme of In:Visible Women.

Ms Smith explains: “Throughout the festival this year we are highlighting case histories of Liverpool Irish women. In collaboration with Tate Exchange with a programme of story sharing, discussions, workshops, performances, post-it activism, table-top activities and guided activities, we will create refuge for female exchange, activism and connectivity.”

She added: “We are particularly interested in people sharing their stories about forgotten Irish women, dual-heritage and female migration.”

It is hoped that the collated outcomes will form part of the now annual St. Brigid Festival (2020) organised by the Embassy of Ireland.

The theme is continued in other events, like Remembering Peggy at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms on Friday, October 25.

Peggy Peakin was a Liverpool music ‘influencer’ for over 50 years.

She’d collected tunes, made them her own, played and shared them. She and her sister played in Liverpool, notably with the Brian Boru Band.

Another highlight of the festival on the same night has to be the drama Rebels and Friends at the Playhouse.

Written by Jacqueline Mulhallen and telling the contrasting life stories of sisters Constance Markievicz – the first patriot and first woman elected to the British parliament, and Eva Gore-Booth – the Irish poet, dramatist, suffragist, social worker and labour activist.

This “stunning and evocative” play tells the remarkable story of these Irish sisters through theatre, poetry, songs, music, dance and over 600 archival images.

Traditional arts forms are showcased with a feature in the festival newspaper on George Ferguson, well known in the city for teaching Irish Dance for over forty years.

Also the unique sound of the Liverpool Céilí Band has been chronicled in a recent publication The Spirit of the Reels by Ray Rooney.

The book tells the story of the Band from its origins in post-war Liverpool through to the 1970s.

The story encompasses the growth of Irish traditional music on Merseyside and in Ireland through this period, as well as the triumphs of the Band in competition.

A Family Céilí, is due to take place at the Liverpool Irish Centre on Boundary Lane from 2 to 5pm on Sunday October 27.

With the Festival offering more than fifty events over two weeks (from October 17 to 27) there is something for everyone with an interest in Irish culture and issues and still plenty to enjoy this week.

For tickets and full listings click here