Irish American Writers & Artists

July 24, 2017

7.18.17 IAW&A SALON: A Melting Pot of Talent Served Up at The Cell Theatre

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 1:47 am

By Maureen Hossbacher

Photos by Christopher Booth

A song in Gaelic was the fitting start to a special IAW&A Salon with an immigration theme. Dubliner Ailbhe Fitzpatrick charmed the audience with a sweet, a cappella version of “Baidín Fhéilimi,” an old Irish song about a boat that goes out to sea never to return, which her mother used to sing to young Ailbhe at bedtime.


Ailbhe Fitzpatrick

The salon was curated and hosted by IAW&A Board Members Brendan Costello and Karen Daly who put together an amazing evening in keeping with the expansive goals expressed in IAW&A’s mission statement, which in part defines the organization as “a force for inter-ethnic and interracial solidarity, understanding and active cooperation.”


Brendan Costello

Our understanding of the complexities of West African immigration to the U.S. was greatly enhanced by the fascinating presentation of Lawrence Harding, a Sierra Leonean from Freetown who, aided by storyboards and some mood music provided by host/DJ Costello, used his family history as illustration. Harding, a physical therapist, is also an accomplished dancer with the Brooklyn-based Fist and Heel Company, whose works draw from the traditions of Africa and its Diaspora.


Lawrence Harding

Akram Alkatreb has worked as an art critic and journalist, contributing to many major newspapers in Lebanon, London and Syria. He was born and raised in Salamiah, Syria, a city renowned for its poets, and has published six collections of poetry in Arabic. The poignant work he shared at the Salon spoke of war, love, and yearning for what has been lost:

Maybe we can meet, by chance, in a history book

that praises the kings of the Stone Age.

You’re losing birds, soul, trees

and mother tongue.

Do you know how much we love you?


Akram Alkatreb

More than a year since his last reading at our Salon, IAW&A board member Sean Carlson returned to the Cell Theatre fresh off a 2016-2017 fellowship at the Writers’ Institute at the City University of New York. Reading from the manuscript of his first book, a yet-untitled nonfictional narrative of departure and arrival, Carlson shared a humorous and moving excerpt that explored the role of groceries in the immigrant experience: the day Aunt Eileen boiled the watermelon in the turkey roasting pan.


Sean Carlson

After providing some unobtrusive but atmospheric noodling on his guitar as background music for the last two readers, the gifted young musician from Buenos Aires, Omar Haddad, took center stage and morphed into his rock n’ roll persona to perform “ Downside Up,” a rousing song of his own composition. A guitarist, singer-songwriter, violinist and front man for his band “THIS,” Haddad’s influences include jazz, rock, pop, Latin and classical – and he can do it all!


Omar Haddad

After a break for a little imbibing and socializing, Ailbhe Fitzpatrick returned to kick off the second half of the Salon with her stirring interpretation of the well-known Irish love song, “Raglan Road.” The versatile Fitzpatrick is also a music producer, pianist and award-winning documentary filmmaker.


Karen Daly

Poet William Leo Coakley prefaced his performance by reminding us that the song we just heard was written by Patrick Kavanagh, whose masterpiece “The Great Hunger” described the famine that brought so many Irish to America, and by commenting that our nation of immigrants now has a government liable to harm rather than help refugees. His poems focused on their plight: the perilous voyage of Syrians to the island of Lesbos; the trauma of Palestinians, refugees in their own illegally occupied country. His final poem, which appears in the current issue of the Irish magazine Cyphers, was about our exiled ancestors, who rarely returned to the homeland except for a visit. A Bostonian and now also an Irish citizen, Coakley recently returned from London, where he read at a Poetry Society benefit for Doctors Without Borders.


William Leo Coakley

Next up was Virginia Vasquez, a Puerto Rican writer and artist based in New York City who performed “Seeing Red,” a lyrical essay inspired by the 2016 presidential election. The piece, which expounds on the painful implications of racism in America, forewarns: “The truth was televised and is coming for all of us.” Vasquez is completing an MFA in Creative Writing at CCNY, where she also serves as Vice President of the MFA Reading Series.

Maryam Alikhani’s magnetic presentation of several of her poems intertwined words from other languages with English, like patterns woven from colorful strings into Persian rugs. One recalled the “heart of science” of her homeland, Iran; another the significance of trees in our lives. All reminded us that languages can be bridges instead of barriers. Alikhani teaches English at CCNY and is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College of Columbia University.


Maryam Alikhani

DSC_0105To bring the evening to a close, guitarist Omar Haddad, at right, who had generously provided background music for most presenters, served up a virtuoso interpretation of “Danny Boy.” His dexterity and impeccable technique made his performance a treat to watch as much as listen to –a stunning finale!

As the crowd happily dawdled before dispersing, the joy and fellowship in the air was palpable. Reflecting on the evening, first-time presenter Lawrence Harding commented in a post-salon email: “Our stories, while different, really brought home to me the confirmation that the drive that brought us to America is real and cannot be diminished by a political manipulation, xenophobia or “isms” of any kind.”

Mission accomplished.

The next IAW&A Salon will be at Bar Thalia at Symphony Space at 95th Street and Broadway, on Thursday, August 3, at 7:00 p.m.










July 13, 2017

7-6-17 IAW&A Salon Begins Its 7th Year at Bar Thalia with Drama, Fiction, Song, & Tributes to a Friend Taken Too Soon

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:31 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Gordon Gilbert

The IAW&A Salon, which started at Bar Thalia in June 2011, began its seventh year at the Symphony-Space cafe on July 6th with an evening featuring plenty of drama as well as poetry, fiction, and song.  It even included the presentation of this year’s McCourt Awards to recent graduates from the Frank McCourt High School.

Sadly George Kornienko, bartender and part of owner of Rocky Sullivan’s and Marty O’Brien’s pubs, passed away on the same day as our salon. So, we dedicated the evening’s session to him.  George was a spirited and energetic man who supported writers and musicians and made everyone feel welcome.  He touched many lives.

1b Mary Courtney

Mary Courtney

Singer and musician Mary Courtney kicked off the salon playing guitar and singing “Mandela,” a favorite of George Kornienko’s.  For her second song, “Saoirse” (Freedom), she accompanied herself on bodhran.  To conclude her set, Mary put down her instruments and performed in the sean nos style a rousing rendition of “Irish Ways and Irish Laws.”  Mary performs every Friday night at An Beal Bocht in the Bronx.

2 Maria DeasyMaria Deasy

Opal Taylor-Besson and Rob Hille performed a scene from “Mine” by Maria Deasy.  Opal is Rebecca, a Manhattan paralegal, who learns of an explosion in one of her client’s West Virginia mines, trapping 8 miners underground. Rob plays Tom, her paralawful paramour.  As rescue teams attempt to bring miners home alive under media scrutiny, Rebecca embarks on a journey that questions Tom and everything about the world around her. What is the distance between those who push paper and those who dig deep?


Opal Taylor-Besson and Rob Hille

“Mine” embarks on its journey on: July 31st / 4 pm,  August 2nd / 7:30 pm, and August 5th / 3:30 pm. Purchase tickets.   Help us bring “Mine” to life!  Contribute here.

4 Gordon Gilbert

Gordon Gilbert

Gordon Gilbert read a series of short poetic monologues from an
as-yet-unpublished book entitled Noir Cityscapes – voices of those New Yorkers,
human and otherwise, who live by night.

5a Thomas MolyneauxThom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux introduced us to Old John from his play about Shakespeare and  the making of Richard the Third  “Re’Wrighting  the Creeping Venomed Spider King.”  In a monologue Old John  wryly and  dramatically recounts the famous Battle of Bosworth Field which proves the story of the evil murderous Richard is a lie and that if they want to “cover the seats in the theater with arses” they’d best play the lie not the truth.

6 John McDonaghJohn McDonagh

John McDonagh tried out some new cabbie stories about passengers heading to the hospital. He will be using his new material in his one man play Cabtivist at his next performance Wed July 19 at the Payomet performing arts center in Truro Cape Cod.

7 Brendan Costello & 2 award recipients

Each year the IAW&A awards graduating seniors from the Frank McCourt High School who show promise in writing with our McCourt Award.  Just before the break Brendan Costello presented checks to this year’s recipients Lajiere Blake and Katie McCarthy.  

After the break, I was very pleased to have actors Maria Deasy, Annalisa Chamberlin, Jack DiMonte, and Mark Butler read an excerpt from my novel, Worlds.  Near the end of the novel, Paul Logan, Laura, and Gavin make it to Broadway in Times Square.  With a parody of Broadway playbills and poetic descriptions of the lights of Times Square, the excerpt brings Irish nationalist Paul to the corner where he will be dropped off and where he learns that Laura is the daughter of a Northern Irish Protestant.

8 readers for John Kearn's novel

Mark Butler, Jack DiMonte, Annalisa Chamberlin, and Maria Deasy

Rosina Fernhof read Jenifer Margaret Kelly’s “Creative Writing 101”- a short fiction piece based on a young girl’s experiences in a Creative Writing class in a late-1960s Miami Catholic Girls School.  The work portrays how the young girl came to the writer’s life, the places it took her, and the things it saved her from.

9e Rosina Fernhoff

Rosina Fernhof

Salon regular, novelist and short story writer, Kevin R. McPartland read from a new chapter of his novel in progress entitled, Brooklyn Rhapsody.  In the chapter we encounter a lone stranger, deeply disturbed by his war experiences and convinced he must find a member of a local Brooklyn American Legion Post before night’s end. All in attendance agreed that Kevin has something in the fire with this novel for sure.

a10 Kevin McPartland

Kevin R. McPartland

John Brennan read two original pieces “The Flawed Mortal” an homage to the great Russian author, physician, and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov and “Oliver” telling how Phelim Brady, the Bard of Armagh gave aid to Bishop Oliver Plunkett and his close friend John Brennan, Bishop of Cashel. when they were on the run in South Armagh.

a12b John Brennan

John Brennan

Brent Shearer, who read a short story called “Miriam’s Martini,” runs “In the Front Row, On the Dole,” the only NYC readings blog that tells authors when they have droned on too long by use of our exclusive Drone-On-Meter.

a11 Brent Shearer.jpg

Brent Shearer

Annalisa Chamberlin sang two songs, accompanied by John Kearns on guitar.  The first song, which she learned from her grandfather named George, was the folk song, “Where the Honey Wind Blows,” recorded by the Brothers Four.  Annalisa’s second song, a stirring rendition of “With or Without You” marked the 30th anniversary of U2’s Joshua Tree album and the band’s recent performances in the New York area.

Annalisa Chamberlin and John Kearns

Join us at our next salon at the Cell on Tuesday July 18th for an evening on the theme of immigration to the US from Ireland and around the world.  Curated and hosted by Karen Daly and Brendan Costello, the event promises to be an evening to remember!  Here is the 2017 Salon schedule: 

See you there!

June 25, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:08 pm

By Maureen Hossbacher

Photos by Cat Dwyer

DSC_0729.jpgSalon stars line up at the night’s end

It has been a privilege and pleasure to watch the development of Derek Murphy’s play, Dyin’ For It, at our Salons. It has also been great fun, as evidenced by the torrent of laughter at The Cell on Tuesday night. The scene was brilliantly played by Maria Deasy and Aoife Williamson as mother and daughter trying their best to grieve for the man of the house who is taking his sweet time dying in the best bedroom upstairs. According to Derek, the play is finished, and we look forward to seeing a full production.

DSC_0668.jpgMaria Deasy,  left, Aoife Williamson with Derek Murphy

Plenty of drama and surprises transpired, as the Salon welcomed several new presenters as well as regulars, all of whom electrified a delighted audience. First-timer Katharine McNair started things off with a trilogy of brief scenes from her comedy, The Traveling Irish, set in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans, in which actors Sophia Romma and Jason Okanlawan conveyed the fraught romantic relationship between coworkers at a college. A poet and emerging playwright and screenwriter, McNair currently teaches at Fordham University. Her poetry and children’s literature have been published online and in print.


Jason Okanlawan and Sophia Romma


Next was the riveting debut performance of Leilani McInerney, (pictured at right) who chose our Salon to kickstart her return to the stage after an interlude of child rearing and teaching. Her original monologue, in the character of a slightly unhinged lady with pyromaniacal tendencies, was a gem. (When she lit that match I don’t mind telling you I was a little uneasy). The former Leilani Johnson has performed in regional theatre, in the Fantastiks in NYC and the Amato Opera Company in Brooklyn. As her first name suggests, she was born in Hawaii, which as far as we know Donald Trump has not contested.

Yet another newcomer to the Salon, Sheryl Simler, then took the stage to perform a monologue from her original work, Inside the Blessing Jar — as the character Simca, who has left behind the life of a Hasidic housewife to pursue her artistic dreams. For a finale, Sheryl charmed us with a little ditty she wrote about “John, handsome in his hat.”

DSC_0625   Sheryl Simler

John Kearns (hatless) read an excerpt from near the end of his novel in progress, Worlds. As Laura and the Englishman Gavin drop off Paul Logan in Times Square, Paul is surprised to learn that Laura’s father is from Northern Ireland and that her last name is Maze, like the famous prison. When Paul gets out of the car, he is shocked to hear that Laura is headed back downtown, where they had started hours before, so that Gavin can catch the Staten Island Ferry.  “Sorry, Paul,” the barmaid says, “if you only had an accent…” John recently returned from Ireland where he didn’t pick up an accent but where his play, Sons of Molly Maguire, had a successful run in Dublin.

DSC_0637  John Kearns

As MC for the evening, Kearns segued by introducing Mark Bulik, a senior editor at The New York Times, who read from the first chapter of his book, The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America’s First Labor War.   Bulik’s book explores the origins of the violent secret society that fought on behalf of Ireland’s starving peasantry during the Great Famine, then re-emerged in the Pennsylvania coal fields to battle the all-powerful mining companies, giving America its first taste of class warfare. Dublin Review of Books hailed the history as a “milestone.”

Mark Bulik, left and with Geraldine McCleary, visiting from Co. Monaghan

Monologist, playwright and poet Gordon Gilbert, a frequent presenter, shared three poems that turned our summertime fancies to thoughts of love in the Big Apple, a metropolis where many a potential couple, alas, have ended up “parallel lines that never met.” That sad fate was not Gordon’s, however, a well known denizen of the West Village, where he has lived and loved, and where he shares his life with Mary Jane, the audience member to whom the final poem was dedicated on her birthday.

Gordon Gilbert, left, Tom Mahon

Another regular, Tom Mahon, with his usual verve, delivered an excerpt from his short story, “Going After Bigfoot”. Two brothers-in-law pursue Warren Nelson, alias Bigfoot, a 300 lb. muscle-bound vet with four tours in Iraq. Nelson has stolen $25 K from his father-in-law and there is a reward for his capture. The narrator, who has never held a gun, is skeptical of his brother-in-law’s schemes, though the brother-in-law is confident because he can’t think beyond what he wants. To be continued . . .


Rosina Fernoff

Demonstrating what happens when exquisite acting meets exquisite writing, veteran actress Rosina Fernhoff brought the house down with her tour de force rendering of playwright Jenifer Margaret Kelly’s monologue, “Antibodies”, a stand-alone piece from a larger collaborative work entitled The Body. Kelly’s play, My Brooklyn, was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Conference this summer. Fernhoff, an Obie winner, performs frequently at the “Actors Chapel Presents” readings of plays at St. Malachy’s Church on West 49th Street.

DSC_0725.jpgAnalisa Chamberlain, accompanied by John Kearns

The Salon was brought to a lovely close by actress/singer Analisa Chamberlin’s rendition of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, accompanied on guitar by John Kearns. The coda of a perfect evening, it left us wanting more, more, more.

The next IAW&A Salon will be at Bar Thalia, at 95th Street & Broadway, on Thursday, July 6, at 7:00 p.m.

















June 8, 2017

6.1.17 IN THE COMPANY OF ACCLAIMED AUTHOR MARY GORDON — IAW&A and AIHS sponsor talk and reception

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 7:24 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth

DSC_0087.JPGMary Gordon

IAW&A’s first joint program with the American Irish Historical Society featured the renowned novelist Mary Gordon in conversation with Mary Pat Kelly, on the release of Gordon’s novel, There Your Heart Lies, just published by Pantheon. Described as “historically [and] emotionally satisfying,” the story deals with an American woman’s experiences during the Spanish Civil War and its influence on her granddaughter’s life.

AIHS’ genial chairman Brian McCabe welcomed the audience to its elegant 120-year-old headquarters on Fifth Avenue. He offered guests a special keepsake: a 1995 issue of the Society’s former journal, The Recorder, that contained an original Mary Gordon story about her Irish-born grandmother.


DSC_0075.jpgBrian McCabe welcomes the group to AIHS


As Lauren Bufferd notes in BookPage, “Mary Gordon has been writing compelling books about faith, love and family for four decades.” And many of us who have admired her work for decades turned out to meet her.

Introducing her friend and fellow novelist, IAW&A vice-president Mary Pat Kelly observed that Gordon’s first book Final Payments in 1978 was the first to give voice to “our experience,” meaning the inner lives of Irish Catholic raised women. Many of the women in the audience seemed to concur.

In a distinguished career since publishing Final Payments, Mary Gordon has produced several important, critically praised novels including The Company of Women and Pearl. Among her nonfiction works are the memoirs Circling My Mother and The Shadow Man and an award-winning biography of Joan of Arc. A professor of literature at Barnard, she’s been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, an O. Henry Award, an Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The Story Prize.

DSC_0085 (2).JPGMary Pat Kelly, left.  Mary Gordon

In a wide-ranging conversation, she talked about why she chose to write about the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930’s. The book has contemporary setting, with the character, at the end of her life, revealing the full story of hardships she endured during her time in Spain. Mary Gordon said she was “brought up in conservative Irish Catholic 1950’s New York in a family who believed that Franco had saved the world for the Catholic Church.” When she went to Columbia in the late 60’s, she found a very different interpretation, “that Franco had blood on his hands.” Gordon wanted to present “the unglamorous side of war” instead of the glorification seen in such writers as Hemingway and Orwell.

Writers in the audience were full of questions about Gordon’s research and writing process. For this novel, she undertook deep research and read widely to supply the history and to look for unexpected details. As an example, she discovered a little known fact that NY fur trade workers supplied fur coats to women participants in the Spanish Civil War. Remarkably, an audience member had grown up hearing the story through her own family.

As far as process, Gordon writes with a fountain pen and notebook, finding satisfaction in the motion and rhythmicality of writing. And yes, she writes every day, saying the “business of writing is being there; it’s not what you produce.” Gordon tells her Barnard students, “An imperfect something is better than a perfect nothing.”

Gordon was eloquent in reply to a question was about the role of shame in Catholicism, admitting its power and that in her experience, shame was often a default setting.

Mary Pat Kelly reminded us of Gordon’s wonderful storytelling ability and the book’s emphasis on women’s lives. One reviewer says,

“There Your Heart Lies depicts pleasure in the loving bonds between generations and in acts of generosity and selflessness between friends…”


We’re grateful to Mary Gordon for her generous conversation this night, and for her esteemed body of work. You may want to go and read them all. You can find the new book at Amazon or indie

Special thanks to the night’s organizers:

Brian McCabe and Sophie Colgan at AIHS

IAW&A’s Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Mary Pat Kelly




May 23, 2017

More of Malachy McCourt’s Book Launch: Fans, Friends, Family

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:37 pm








DSC_0874 copy












May 22, 2017

5.16.17 IAW&A Salon: Far from Funereal Party for Malachy McCourt’s new book Death Need Not Be Fatal

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 11:56 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth 

DSC_0878Malachy McCourt


Malachy McCourt’s fans lined the street outside The Cell Theatre on West 23rd Street to enter the launch party for his latest book Death Need Not Be Fatal.

IAW&A was proud to host the event on the book’s publication date, May 16. Malachy is a founder of IAW&A, and the inspiration for our bi-monthly Salons, which have been going strong for more than five years. Honoring one of his favorite ideas, we devoted the first half of this night to storytelling, and the second to the man himself, with two splendid musical interludes.

IAW&A Board member, comedian and writer Sarah Fearon served as host and organizer. She thanked Malachy for his generosity, his contribution to our community and dedication to freedom of speech. Other guests echoed these themes throughout the night in personal stories and in “Malachy” stories.




Sarah Fearon

Sarah invited Leah Tehrani, a Julliard-trained soprano and her fellow Friar to open the program with two songs. Accompanied on piano by Karim Merchant, Leah gave us Puccini’s beautiful aria “O Mio Babbino Caro.” An Irish arts enthusiast, Leah set the tone for the evening with Loreena McKennitt’s “The Old Ways.”


 Leah Tehrani

First of the fabulous storytellers, IAW&A president, playwright, musician and founder of Black 47, Larry Kirwan first met Malachy back when Larry was a budding rock singer and Malachy the proprietor of the famed Bells of Hell bar in the Village. Malachy let Larry and his partner sing in the back room, and the rest is history.


Larry Kirwan

Conor McCourt has an even longer history with Malachy, as Conor is his son. He’s a retired NYPD sergeant, a documentary filmmaker and private investigator. In Conor’s story, he was working undercover in midtown, when Malachy showed up.


Conor McCourt

A writer, performer and author of the memoir and New York Times bestseller A Widow’s Walk, Marian Fontana told a very personal story. Ever the entertainer, she tried to make the best of a scary medical situation only to find the medical personnel not responding to her humor. Marian succeeded in amusing her doctor by dint of an only-in-New York- six-degrees-of-separation moment.

DSC_0826.JPGMarian Fontana

Next, Malachy’s co-hosts and co- conspirators on a weekly radio show John McDonagh and Corey Kilgannon showed awe and appreciation for Malachy’s talent and generosity. John McDonagh, creator of the hilarious solo piece Cabtivist, noted that guests on the show “can’t out-poverty Malachy” when he compares their stories to his childhood in Limerick. NY Times reporter Corey Kilgannon called his story “Driving Himself.” In the course of driving to do the radio show each week, he learns that Malachy – by virtue of his storied career as an actor, tv star, tavern owner and political activist – is connected to just about everyone in NY. Listen to their show, Talk Back – New York, We and Thee Edition every Wednesday 10:00am to noon on 99.5FM.

DSC_0746John McDonagh, left,  Corey Kilgannon

Mary Pat Kelly, IAW&A Vice President, author of Irish Blood and Galway Bay paid sweet tribute to Malachy for teaching her a thing or two about selling books. She noted the great coverage of Death Need Not Be Fatal in the Washington Post and her pleasure in often seeing Malachy and his wife Diana on the Upper West Side.



Mary Pat Kelly

Malachy had bookselling advice for Colin Broderick, too. Author of Orangutan, and That’s That and producer of the new film Emerald City, Colin acknowledged Malachy as one of the “most influential people in his career and his life in America.” Malachy’s advice: “Sing a song, and they’ll remember you.” So Colin sang Spancil Hill, a folk song about an Irish immigrant.


Colin Broderick

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton, whose Stoopdreamer received five nominations in the First Irish Theatre Festival, talked about “Malone’s Wake.” Pat deemed it the last Irish wake in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn now that hipsters are moving in. After the mass, mourners toasted Jack Malone’s ashes on a stool at Farrell’s Bar.



Pat Fenton

DSC_0747.JPGDiana McCourt, right, and Malachy before the show

After a lively intermission and long line for autographing those books, harpist and singer Alice Smyth opened the second half of the program with two exquisite songs including the “Connemara Cradle Song.”

DSC_0774Alice Smyth

Another of Malachy’s co-conspirators, Brian McDonald is an acclaimed memoirist and author of Last Call at Elaine’s and My Father’s Gun: One Family, Three Badges. Brian, who helped organize and “decode” Malachy’s notes for the book, gave a heartfelt introduction to working with and knowing Malachy and his family.


DSC_1001Brian McDonald

Then the man himself, Malachy McCourt took the stage to talk about Death Need Not Be Fatal. After thanking his beloved Diana, and his children and grandchildren, he commented that the tributes tonight were like “hearing his own obituary.”

DSC_0987Malachy McCourt

Malachy talked about his fortunate life. He arrived in America in 1952 with $4, because “I had a dream I’d be happy here.” He believes that dreams can come true, as he looked at his wonderful family in the audience and offered some wisdom of his 85 years. “Love people, not countries.” “Do the right thing, love children, don’t stop working.” And his signature line: “Live each day as if it’s your last. Someday you’ll be right!”

Malachy read excerpts from the book, including his thoughts on why Americans never die. They “pass, expire, go to the Lord” and a raft of other euphemisms. Who else but Malachy can put the “fun” in funerals? You’ll be surprised, entertained and moved by his book

Malachy gave his fans, standing room only until the end, more of his massive charm, more laughs and raucous comments. He closed, in his fashion, with a song:

“Let’s not have a sniffle

Let’s have a bloody-good cry.

And always remember:

The longer you live

The sooner you’ll bloody-well die”


Special thanks to host Sarah Fearon, our storytellers and musicians, photographer Christopher Booth, Brendan Costello and IAW&A Salon Committee for a wonderful night!

Please note our next event on Thursday, June 1 will be renowned author Mary Gordon’s book release and interview by Mary Pat Kelly at the American Irish Historical Society.  REGISTER TO ATTEND




May 9, 2017

5.4.17 IAW&A Salon: Sensational Gathering of Poets, Actors and Singers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 3:28 am

By Karen Daly

Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, IAW&A’s inimitable sister act, produced and co-hosted a sensational early May Salon at Bar Thalia. They gathered a distinguished group of poets, actors and singers, adding new talents to our roster and bringing out a lively crowd.

IMG_9294       Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy. Photo by Tom Mahon.

First of the night’s wonderful poets and new presenters, KC Trommer is a prizewinner (Academy of American Poets and the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize) and author of a chapbook The Hasp Tongue (Dancing Girl Press). Tonight she read new poems that will appear in her next collection, including “Fear Not, Mary” and “When We See.” KC says she chose work that “speaks to the current political moment and are concerned with women’s agency and about how we can work together to create real change.” KC, pictured at right, will be the featured reader at the Queens Central Library on May 21 at 2 pm. For more information, please go to


In her first Salon, Kelly Sullivan, (at left) a poet, fiction writer and teacher of Irish literature at New York University, read from her chapbook, Fell Year, published just last month by Green Bottle Press Kelly’s poem’s included “Mount Desert Island, Maine.”  Her knowledge of Irish art is revealed in  “Anatomy School for Artists” which depicts the great stained glass artist Harry Clarke in Dublin in 1913. Kelly’s recent work has been published in SalmagundiThe Hopkins ReviewUnderwater New York and The Clearing (UK). For more information about her poetry and fiction as well as her academic work on Irish writers and artists, at

dsc_0011.jpg                                   Tom Mahon

With his usual panache, Tom Mahon read from his story “Going After Bigfoot.” A young man helping his brother-in-law catch a fugitive before he crosses the Canadian border learns that the wanted man is large, irrational and dangerous. Though frightened, the young man aids his incompetent relative because he needs the money. Tom gave away copies of his children’s book Little Bigfoot created when his son was young and was fascinated with the myth of Bigfoot.

10409068_10152923703471225_7181618541252853921_n-1A new member of IAW&A, and first time presenter, actor and writer Matthew Maw is a native of Belfast and a graduate of NYU’s Irish Studies program. Currently experiencing the joy of being processed for a green card, he eloquently explored the theme of the immigrant as ‘stranger.’ First he read Kipling’s “The Stranger Within My Gates” and then Shakespeare’s masterful pro-refugee speech from his work Sir Thomas More. Matthew says he chose the two pieces to demonstrate that “the traditions of humanism, empathy and understanding will always win out over bigotry.” Matthew is pictured at left.


Another newcomer to IAW&A (this was her second performance) Ailbhe Fitzpatrick is another multi-talent: a singer, music producer, pianist, documentary filmmaker and fluent Irish speaker. Ailbhe sang two emotional songs: the ballad “The Parting Glass” and the 18th century folk song, “Mo Ghile Mear” (“My Gallant Darling”) by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill, a lament for a loved one in exile.

aidbhe                                           Ailbhe Fitzpatrick


Madeline Artenberg, at right,  began creating and performing poetry at the famed Nuyorican Poets Café in the 90’s.  She has been writing, performing and studying ever since, and collecting prizes and accolades for her work. In her Salon debut, her work dealt with women’s relationships and empowerment: between a wife and a Sultan (in the sensual “The Sultan’s Wife”) a daughter and mother in “After Death” and a woman poet and a blind man. In addition to her poetry in print and online publications, Madeline co-authored the play The Old In-and-Out, which was produced in New York in 2013 and is based on her poetry and that of Karen Hildebrand. She will be featured next in the show at the Cornelia Street Cafe on May 19, What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?  More information at

We’ve been eager to have Rosette Capotorto back after her appearance at last year’s Salon with the Italian- American writers group. A poet and author of Bronx Italian, she is a two-time recipient of the Edward Albee Fellowship Award. Rosette’s work has appeared in The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture, and in Curragia: Writings by Women of Italian Descent.  She read her poems “Mother of A Priest” and “Broken Windows,” which documents Hoboken’s renaissance.rosette.jpg                                Rosette Capotorto. Photo by Christopher Booth.

Jack DiMonte and Guen Donohue reprised their stellar roles as Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois in a scene from Thom Molyneaux’s new play Tennessee’s Waltz. Their meeting, years after the events in A Streetcar Named Desire, took a metaphysical twist. Thom appreciated the audience response and promises to reveal another section soon at IAW&A.

    Thom Molyneaux, left.  Jack DiMonte, Guen Donohue. Photos by Tom Mahon.

As one of the famous Irish Tenors, Karl Scully has performed all over the world. He’s performed in the operas Carmen, Cosi Fan Tutti and Lucia De Lammermoor, and in the film Nora, he played the legendary John McCormack. Karl feels very much at home at IAW&A, where is becoming a legend himself with his glorious voice. He closed the show with “My Lagan Love” and with the Malachy McCourt anthem, “Go, Lassie, Go.”

karl.jpg                                 Karl Scully.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

Speaking of Malachy, the next Salon will launch his newest book, Death Need Not Be Fatal, with stories and song. Don’t miss it.

That’s Tuesday, May 16, 7 pm at The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC


April 11, 2017

4.6.17 IAWA Salon: Fabulous night at the Thalia: Heartfelt poetry, superb acting and original music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 12:14 am

By Karen Daly

Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

A great audience for the April Salon at Bar Thalia  was rewarded with wonderful poetry, skillful comic performances, exceptional music and three Salon debut presentations.

Cormac OMalleyCormac O’Malley, at right, returned to the Salon with poems by his father, the militant Irish nationalist and literary character Ernie O’Malley (1897-1957). When O’Malley lived in the US in the 1930’s, he wrote romantic, nostalgic poems about Ireland including “Picturesque Connemara,” “County Mayo” and “Mary Anne Jordan.” Other works reflected the struggle for independence and those who did not survive it. They include “Ghosts,” “Friends Shot in Gaol” and “Mountjoy Hanged, 1921.” Cormac will launch his books Modern Ireland and Revolution, Ernie O’Malley in Context and Western Ways: Remembering Mayo Through the Eyes of Helen Hooker and Ernie O’Malley with the First Irish and IAW&A members at the Maple Cafe, 938 Maple Avenue in Hartford on Friday, April 28, 9pm.

mauraMayo native Maura Mulligan read two poems about Ireland’s beauty. “Dawning of the Day” evokes the morning mist on Minaun Cliffs. She composed it during her writer’s residency at the Heinrich Böll cottage on Achill Island, where she worked on her memoir, Call of the Lark. “Evening in Dooagh” was inspired by a windy evening in the village of Dooagh. Maura founded Nollaig na mBan NYC, a group of artists dedicated to celebrating Celtic holidays to fundraise for The Dwelling Place of NY – a transitional residence for homeless women in NYC. The next event, celebrating Bealtaine will take place on Sunday, April 30th at Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Ave at 3:30 p.m. For more information,

Maria Deasy and Sarah Lafferty gave wonderfully comic performances as a less-than-loving mother and daughter in Dyin’ for It by Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy. As the man of the house is upstairs fighting for his life, the women fight over the merits of being kidnapped and tortured overseas vs. staying home in Ireland and being kidnapped and tortured. Their argument is prompted by the Taken movies starring Liam Neeson.

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Maria Deasy reads the movie reviews, while Sarah Lafferty,  playing her daughter, waits.

Bernadette Cullen read two beautiful, topical poems: “Conversation in Black and White” and a piece that contrasted the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”) with the US response to the tragedy in Syria. Our audience responded with tears to this moving work.

Bernadette Cullen, Freddie White

The fabulous Freddie White sang three original songs — “Some Stupid Song” and “Last Man Standing” from his latest CD Prodigal Songs and “That Loving Touch” from his Better Days CD. For more about this singer/songwriter/musician, go to where you can find listings for his upcoming performances.

Salon newcomer Ailbhe Fitzpatrick brought her many talents to New York a year and a half ago. A singer, music producer, pianist and documentary filmmaker from Dublin, she demonstrated her beautiful voice by singing the Patrick Kavanagh poem “Raglan Road” set to the music of “Dawning of the Day” by Luke Kelly and Patrick Kavanagh. As an encore, Ailbhe sang the traditional ballad “Red Is The Rose. Hear her again at the first May Salon.

Ailbhe Fitzpatrick, left.  Sheila Houlihan

A great Salon supporter, Sheila Houlihan  was delighted with the reception of her first-ever attempt at writing a poem. Her autobiographical poem, “When I Was A Child” highlights the popular music that formed the soundtrack her life. Of Elvis, she writes

Those hips didn’t lie. New sounds and rhythm of his guitar.

Passing fad. Devil’s music, said the critics.

Yet its pulse spoke to me…


Another poet new to IAW&A, Indiana born Miranda J. Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2016, after a year in Ireland. Miranda shared some of her work, including “Trench Cello,”  “My Father Thought the Bomb Would Drop on Minnesota,” and a beautiful love poem  called  “Sorcha.” Miranda, pictured at left,  works in publishing and will be participating in the New York Rose of Tralee selection night on April 30, 2017.

Producer of the Irish American Film Festival, Ed Patterson has written a screenplay called Separation Anxiety. Ed calls it “a love story of a middle-aged couple on their anniversary…” though they’re not quite loving when we first meet them. Maria Deasy played Ed’s wife, and Sarah Lafferty the babysitter in the engaging segment we heard tonight.ed, etc

Ed Patterson, Maria Deasy and Sarah Lafferty.

Salon producer John Kearns presented a brand-new song whose title he came up with during John Munnelly’s Songwriting Bootcamp at the Irish Arts Center. John had the crowd singing along to “They Wouldn’t Call Them Crushes If They Didn’t Hurt Your Heart.” The song tells four stories in which the narrator develops feelings for a woman — a coworker, a bartender, a fellow student, and a singer — but the relationship doesn’t work out.

John Kearns, left.  John Munnelly

Then John Munnelly himself closed the show with four songs from his soon-to-be-released acoustic EP Expanding Universe or XU. They included “Kings and Jesters,” “Angels Tears” “ Expanding Universe” and “Hallelujah (Encore).” John recorded them in Brooklyn with a trio of acoustic guitars, vocals and an upright bass. A graphic artist, John is handcrafting each CD cover. Watch this space for the XU release show and come support a Salon favorite.


March 28, 2017

3.21.17 IAW&A SALON: 3 Playwrights. 3 Poets. Killer Fiction and Soulful Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

That’s a recipe for a stimulating IAW&A Salon at The Cell. Even post-St. Pat’s, there’s no let-up in talent or audience enthusiasm. We were particularly happy to welcome two new presenters, Meredith Trede and Freddie White and to hear a fine tribute to Jimmy Breslin.

Gary Cahill opened the evening with his short-short story “Responsorial”a taut, edgy, dark tale of Irish-American revenge for a decades-old IRA killing, and the sorrow that lived on in a Hell’s Kitchen denizen’s broken heart. Gary is a member of the Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter and International Thriller Writers. Catch Gary reading from his crime novel-in-progress on Saturday, April 15th at 7:00 pm at the KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th Street.

Brent Shearer, who says he’s now a “blaggard living on the lower West Side,” started out as a reporter for a local New Jersey newspaper, where he became smitten with the great journalist Jimmy Breslin. Brent read a fine essay about Breslin who died last week. As Jimmy put it in his last column, “Thanks for the use of the hall.”

Gary Cahill, left.  Brent Shearer

In her first Salon visit, Meredith Trede read from her recent collection of poems, “Tenement Threnody” poems in voices from Inwood, her childhood New York City neighborhood. Called “wonderfully evocative persona poems of Irish-American tenement life,” they are the latest in her prize-winning body of work. Find it at  Meredith “appreciated the friendliness and enthusiasm” of Salon goers.

We benefitted from Marcia Loughran’s recent Lenten vow to try to produce a poem a day. She read two of her resulting poems “Birds, Trains, Birds” and “Take Two” in which she reminisced about going to movies with her father. Marcia also shared her signature “messay” or mini essay, about the journey of her stolen credit card. Her chapbook, “Still Life with Weather” said to be “full of music” is available at

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Meredith Trede, left.  Marcia Loughran


John Kearns, pictured at right,  read a short scene from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. Mine owner and prosecutor Franklin B. Gowen declares that the accused Molly Maguires have offended the majesty of the law, stand in the way of progress, and must be hanged as an example to others. When undercover detective James McParland enters, he tells Gowen that he shares his goals and is disgusted that the Molly Maguires call themselves Irishmen. We’re happy to announce that our Salon producer and host’s play will be staged in Dublin in May

In Thom Molyneaux’s Tennessee’s Waltz, Stanley Kowalski meets Blanche DuBois some years after Streetcar Named Desire. The result was a scene that was serious, funny and mysterious. Jack DiMonte and Guenevere Donohue brought Stanley and Blanche to vivid life.

THOM.jpgHost John Kearns thanking actors Jack DiMonte and  Guenevere Donohue and playwright Thom Molyneaux


Poet, playwright and man about Greenwich Village, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read the lyrics to a song he created in the style of Bob Dylan, “When Her World Caught Fire.” He followed with a short love poem, “Forever In-Between” and a light-hearted piece titled “An Old Lover Stays Over.” Gordon, pictured at left also hosts spoken word events at the Cornelia Street Café.

Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy presented two scenes from his comic play Inside Danny’s Box, which he calls “a love story of sorts, set in Ireland.” Actors Sarah Lafferty and Zack Gafin had remarkable chemistry in that love story.


Sarah Lafferty, Zach Gavin

Guenevere Donohue’s original song “The Spirit Rises” is her soulful take on the spirit of rebellion, and the positive effects of self-sacrifice, challenge, and change.

Guenevere Donohue, Freddie White

Speaking of soulful, Cork-born musician Freddie White has been a vital part of Ireland’s music scene since the 1970s and has been recognized throughout the world for his multiple talents. Tonight he sang two original songs form his recent CD “Prodigal Songs.” Freddie’s exquisite rendition of “The Parting Glass” was a perfect end to our evening.

See you next time, Thursday, April 6, 7 pm at Bar Thalia.

March 15, 2017

3/2/17 – First IAW&A Salon of March an Engaging Mix of Regulars & Newer Presenters

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 12:21 am
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