Extra tour dates added following success of exhibition documenting Irish community in Britain

Extra tour dates added following success of exhibition documenting Irish community in Britain

A NEW exhibition documenting the experiences of Irish people across Britain has extended its tour dates due to the popularity of the project.

Launched in November, the heritage exhibition ‘Look Back to Look Forward: 50 years of the Irish in Britain’ toured the country, where it drew vast crowds at every stop.

The exhibition is part of a heritage project created by the national Irish in Britain (IIB) organisation to celebrate its 50th anniversary, which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as well as a range of sponsors and donors.

The ambitious exhibition is the largest ever oral history project to document the lives of the Irish community in Britain.

The exhibition has proved popular with visitors of all ages

Now, due to the popularity of the project, IIB has confirmed that the exhibition will reopen to the public in January for a short run at the London Irish Centre in Camden.

“We are delighted to partner with the London Irish Centre for this additional tour date after the amazing response from the public to our heritage showcase,” IIB CEO Brian Dalton confirmed.

“This project celebrates the contribution of Irish people to modern Britain at an important time for migrant communities here and in Ireland,” he added.

“We welcome the responsibility to tell these stories with sensitivity and pride and hope they inspire others to be visible in the narrative of a diverse Britain today.”

Rosa Gilbert, Susan Cahill, Róisín Jones and Deirdre Fraser pictured at the exhibition

Attracting large crowds in London, Liverpool and Leeds, the tour exhibited in Birmingham for its final leg, with its launch night there coinciding with anniversary week of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

On an emotional and poignant evening, Maurice Malone, CEO of Birmingham Irish Association, spoke of the grief and trauma of the families, the city and the impact on the Irish community.

The packed event included Julie Hambleton from the Justice 4 the 21 campaign, whose sister Maxine died in the bombings.

The exhibition features clips of 50 interviewees, out of 130 testimonies collected by volunteer oral historians trained by Irish in Britain.

These include Sean Cloherty, who was 16 when he left Lettermore Island off the coast of Galway to go to England.

Sean and his children and grandchildren visited the exhibition in Liverpool, and shared stories of returning to the Island every summer.

Heritage Project Manager Susan Cahill, said the success of the project showed “the passion and profound desire within our community to tell this ongoing story and a real hunger and drive to capture these memories”.

All the full oral history recordings captured for the project will be deposited at the Archive of the Irish in Britain at London Metropolitan University, where they will remain available to access for generations to come.

The exhibition is free and open at the London Irish Centre, 50-52 Camden Square, London, NW1 9XB from January 5 to January 14 2024. To reserve a slot click here.