Irish American Writers & Artists

April 27, 2016

4.24.16 Cat Dwyer’s Photos of IAW&A Mini-Salon at “Welcoming Ireland” 1916 Commemoration

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 5:42 pm

Enjoy Cat Dwyer’s beautiful photos of Pier A Harbor House and the IAW&A Mini-Salon at New York City’s “Welcoming Ireland” commemoration of the Easter Rising centenary, on Sunday, April 24th! 

The IAW&A presented contemporary poetry, fiction, theatre, and song.  




Enjoying the music sessions in the Oyster Bar: Guenevere Donohoe, John Kearns, Eamon Loingsigh, and stage manager Mark “Rock” Speeney


Audience anticipating the mini IAW&A Salon


John Kearns introducing IAW&A artists


Marcia Loughran shared her poetry



John Munnelly played 3 original songs. With bass player, Ray Parker.  John’s artwork in the background. 



Guenevere Donohue performed an excerpt from her play, Killer Is My Name




kearns distance


Malachy McCourt read an excerpt from John Kearns’s novel in progress, Worlds, about crossing Killary Harbor and the Atlantic



Malachy McCourt will receive the 2016 Eugene O’Neill Award on October 17th! 


“Sing the song, children.  ‘And we’ll all go together/To pluck wild mountain thyme ..'”

April 26, 2016

4.19.16 IAW&A Salon: Observing the 1916 Easter Rising in IAW&A Style

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:50 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer  

On April 19, 2016, we marked the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising IAW&A style — with a rousing, often affecting night of poetry, song, drama and story. John Kearns curated and hosted the Salon dedicated to the centenary at The Cell Theatre.


Consul General of Ireland, Barbara Jones

We were especially honored to welcome Barbara Jones, Consul General of Ireland, to her first IAW&A Salon. Ms. Jones graciously thanked the writers, curators, dancers, and all the artists who help create context for this historical moment. And we thank Consul Jones, and her colleagues at the Consulate of Ireland in New York for their kind support of IAW&A.


Maria Deasy and Maura Mulligan

Maria Deasy and Maura Mulligan opened the Salon with a powerful reading of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic in Irish and English. Mingling languages and strong voices, they represented Irish and Irish-American participants in the Rising and honored the native language of the newly formed Republic. Noting that the Proclamation is the only declaration of independence to address both men and women in equal measure, Maria and Maura called to mind the many unsung female heroes of the Easter Rising.


Mary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly, just back from Dublin, reported that women’s participation in the Rising is finally being celebrated. Mary Pat’s latest novel Of Irish Blood features a young Nora Kelly, in Paris in the early 1900’s, meeting historical characters such as Maud Gonne, William Butler Yeats and Countess Markievicz. The revolutionary women challenge Nora to honor her history and join the struggle to free Ireland. Of Irish Blood was inspired by the life of Mary Pat’s great-aunt.


Maura Mulligan

Presenters honored the poets and patriots of 1916, starting with Maura Mulligan’s performance of Padraig Pearse’s “Bean Sléibhe ag Caoineamn a Mic” (“A Woman of the Mountain Keens Her Son”). Blessing the green sods covering her son’s body, Maura exuded the mountain woman’s strength and acceptance of a death that “cannot be denied.”


Eamon Loingsigh

Novelist Eamon Loingsigh read Pearse’s poem “The Rebel.” For Eamon’s eloquent analysis of Pearse, go to


Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer read his own work reflecting on the losses of Easter Week, including “Cherishing All the Children.” Tim’s poem “First Martyr, 1916 –Francis Sheehy Skeffington” was published in the Easter Rising issue of the Irish literary journal, Boyne Berries, which sold out in one week. Tim also sang a verse from the “Lament Of James Connolly” by Patrick Galvin. brennan

John A. Brennan

John A. Brennan read two tributes to the men and women of the Rising with the classic “Easter 1916” by William Butler Yeats and John’s own homage to Pearse, entitled “The Poet.” gordon

Gordon A. Gilbert

Imagining a new traditional Irish song, Gordon A. Gilbert recited the lyrics to his “No Hereafter – Easter 1916” which embodies the spirit of some Irish rebels.


Gina Costigan

Dublin-born actor Gina Costigan performed a poignant soliloquy from Honor Molloy’s and in my heart, a story of love and loss during the 1916 Uprising. Gina was incandescent in her IAWA debut. A version of and in my heart will be performed in early May at the Dublin International Gay Theater Festival.

gina_honor Gina Costigan and playwright, Honor Molloy


The convivial IAW&A Salon community enjoying the break


Books for sale and refreshment available with donations

We may have brave men, but we’ll never have better
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men.”


Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher performed a stirring rendition of “Down By the Glenside.” The song, written at the time of the Easter Rising by Peadar Kearney, who also wrote “The Soldier’s Song”, recalls the failed uprising of the Irish Republican Brotherhood or “bold Fenian men” which fueled the later revolution.



Tom Phelan

County Laois-born novelist Tom Phelan presented an alternative perspective of the Rising, that of an Irish soldier after the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Tom notes that a quarter million Irish men served in the British Army during the First World War, and over 32,000 died.  Tom shared excerpts from The Canal Bridge, his acclaimed novel of Ireland and the Great War,

“Twenty-seven thousand men down in four hours, and we saying that the people in Dublin thought they had something to cry about with the twelve lads shot in Kilmainham. Twenty-seven thousand lying in the muck in front of us, many of them from Ireland, but all that Ireland could think of was twelve bastards who stabbed in the back every Irishman fighting against the Germans.” More about Tom and his works at

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IAW&A president Larry Kirwan also touched on the World War I, and described growing up in a Wexford family of mixed alliances. A great-uncle serving in the British Army was killed in Belgium in 1915, while Larry’s grandfather was a supporter of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.  Much of his work has focused on historical events. Larry wrote the play Blood, about events leading up to the 1916 Uprising. He sang “Touched by Fire” a song he wrote and recorded with Black 47 about Countess Markievicz. And finished the night, with the Black 47 anthem “James Connolly.”

“ …a mighty man with a mad rage in his eye
They shot him in Kilmainham jail but they’ll never stop his cry
My name is James Connolly, I didn’t come here to die
But to fight for the rights of the working man…”

See you next time at Bar Thalia, Thursday, May 5! 





April 11, 2016

4-7-16 IAW&A Salon: Tremendous Variety, Quality, and Spirit

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:32 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Tom Mahon

The first IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on April 7 gave attendees a tremendous night of quality and variety, not to mention free DVDs.  Thanks to the work of the Salon Committee, this salon was hosted by comedienne and IAW&A Secretary Sarah Fearon who kept a great humorous flow through the evening. 

Symphony Space Artistic Director, Andrew Byrne

Symphony Space Artistic Director, Andrew Byrne welcomed the salon artists and audience as part of the Symphony Space family and congratulated us on approaching our fifth anniversary of salons at Bar Thalia (in June). 

Sarah Fearon

Sarah Fearon opened the salon with material spoofing St Patrick’s Day, Easter, death, and taxes.

Jenny Griffin
First-time presenter Jenny Griffin found the IAW&A salon crowd very welcoming and was delighted to meet Mr. Malachy McCourt in person.  The first poem Jenny read was “The Grass is Greener.”  She wrote it after spending Christmas back home in Ireland in 2015. It is nostalgic and a typical emigrant’s lament to home and the people there.  Her second poem was, “Up the West,” depicting childhood visits to her maternal grandparents’ home in the small village of Williamstown, Co.Galway.


Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran shared a poem about spring funerals and the habits of the dying with the warm and welcoming IAW&A Salon audience.  


Tom Mahon and Sheila Walsh

Playwright Sheila Walsh and Tom Mahon presented Sheila’s play-in-progress, When Love Comes Tumbling Down, in which  a daughter’s wedding announcement exposes the regrets and longings in her parents’ long marriage. Playwright Walsh was delighted to be asked by several  members, “What happens next?”


Mark Tompkins

Mark Tompkins read from his new Irish themed novel, The Last Days of Magic. Published by Viking Penguin, it is an epic tale of magic and mysticism, Celts and traitorous faeries, mad kings and exorcists, and a broken Goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost – medieval Ireland.


Vivian O’Shaughnessy, poet, artist,  and translator, presented her latest dramatic monologue.  Her designed, authored , handmade books (which include translations and hand Braille) are in many collections.


SundanceTV provided a ten-minute excerpt from its mini-series, Rebellion, debuting on April 24th, the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.  Audience members received free copies of the miniseries on DVD. 


Bernard Smith

Dubliner Bernard Smith sang an original called, “Travel On,” about letting go a world he has little or no control over, taking a deep breath as it were.  He followed this with a sean nos song  called “The May Morning Dew.” It is an old Irish air set to a poem about an emigrant on in years remembering the old homestead and the things he saw and done as a child there.  The audience thoroughly enjoyed Bernard’s performance and we hope to see him at the salon more often.  


IAW&A Board Members Kathleen Wash Darcy and Mark Butler, enjoying the break


John McDonagh with his authentic New Zealand flag

John McDonagh told the hilarious story of his efforts to get a flag from New Zealand for a ceremony at his Uncle’s graveside in County Fermanagh.  John’s Uncle, Peter McDonagh, emigrated to New Zealand and joined the army during World War II, was a prisoner of war in North Africa, and wounded in Italy. The tale of the New Zealand government’s suggestion that John buy a flag from to commemorate their war hero was storytelling at its best.


John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which older priest Sarsfield Logan, S.J., is up early one morning in the fall of 1945, writing in his journal. Sarsfield writes about his father’s prayer and work life – his ora et labora. He recalls a time when his father had promised to take him to a Phillies game only to come home too late … with a cigarette card bearing a photo of Sarsfield’s favorite player, Jack Clements.

Thanks to Sarah’s hosting John was able to focus on his own presentation more than usual and was gratified by the audience’s reaction to the story.  


John Brennan

John Brennan read three poems.  The first, “To my Brother,” was written in Arbor Hill Barracks, Dublin May 1 1916 by Patrick H. Pearse for his brother Willie.  At the time of writing, Pearse was not aware that Willie was also to be executed.  He followed that with two of his own poems,  “The Meadow Ballet,” prompted by vivid memories of his father using a scythe and “The Bards of Croom,” telling the story of the  18th century Fil na Maigue Gaelic poets of Croom and Kilmallock, Co. Limerick


Myss UneeK

Brooklyn poet Myss UneeK said she had a great time and learned a lot about the Irish culture. Myss UneeK presented an introduction poem she likes to use to give the audience a chance to get to know her, a sort of a breaking-the-ice poem. She followed tis with  a poem called, “Kids,” which Myss UneeK wrote for all the children in foster care. It’s a poem about the struggles she went through growing up in the NYC foster care system. In the poem, Myss UneeK describes how she survived and how she felt not having either of her parents around and losing her mother to the streets.


Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt concluded the proceedings with his suggestion of an all-storytelling/no reading salon and a touching rendition of “Down by the Glenside (The Bold Fenian Men).”

See you soon at one of these upcoming IAW&A Salon events: 

April 13th: Come and network at the Irish Business Organization meeting at 6:30.  Three salon presentations (John Brennan, John Kearns, Ryan Cahill) will conclude the event at 8:30. Scandinavia House 58 Park Avenue, NY, NY. 

April 19th:  IAW&A Salon at the Cell focusing on the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.  Presenters include Larry Kirwan, Mary Pat Kelly, Maureen Hossbacher, Honor Molloy, Maria Deasy, and Maura Mulligan.  Irish Consul General Barbara Jones is scheduled to attend. 

April 24th:  The Irish  Consulate’s “Welcoming Ireland” celebration of the 1916 centenary. At 5:30 on the third floor of Pier A Harbor House, we will have a mini-salon featuring Marcia Loughran, John Munnelly, Guenevere Donohue, and Malachy McCourt.    

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