Irish American Writers & Artists

December 30, 2016

12.20.16 IAW&A Salon: Our Holiday Classic: A time for music, gifts, poetry and reflection

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 2:01 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The popular Christmas Salon took place on Tuesday, 12/20 in the elegant upstairs space at the Cell. Salon producer and host John Kearns greeted an SRO crowd and welcomed Shane Cahill, Vice Consul General of Ireland in New York. John congratulated IAW&A board member Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, just back from Ireland where she and Brendan Fay received a 2016 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for their work as the co-chairs of St. Pat’s For All.


Jack Di Monte, left,  John Kearns

Versatile singer Jack Di Monte kicked off the celebration with “The Christmas Song,” universally known by its first words “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” Jack gave it a bossa nova feel, and the crowd spontaneously joined him. In a more somber mood, he paid tribute to the great musical performers lost in 2016, choosing to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Calling it a song of hope in opposition to chaos and despair, Jack notes the famous line that alludes to the Liberty Bell, among other things, “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”


Poet/professor Bernadette Cullen, pictured at right, gave a sensitive reading of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky’s Nativity poem, “Flight into Egypt (2)” translated by Seamus Heaney.

That night, as three, they were at peace.

Smoke like a retiring guest

slipped out the door.

Continuing the nativity theme, Bernadette read two of her own poems.

More poetry, this time in tribute to the Irish poet John Montague, who died recently, was read by writer/ filmmaker of Emerald City, Colin Broderick, together with actor and former Irish boxing champ John Duddy. More about Montague at

                 Larry Kirwan, left, Colin Broderick

In honor of the season, IAW&A president Larry Kirwan sang Phil Ochs’ song “Ballad of the Carpenter” and spoke about IAW&A’s role in encouraging artists. In an eloquent reminder of what we stand for, IAW&A Board member and actor Maria Deasy read our mission statement, which includes the sentence. While avoiding party affiliation and endorsing no candidates for public office, IAW&A is outspoken in defense of artistic freedom, human rights and social justice. Find the mission statement in its entirety here:

Christmas Salon, Cell, 12/20/16

 Urban Librarians Unite Executive Director Christian Zabriskie and Board Chair Lauren Comito with Mark Butler

This year, we donated to three groups whose work fits with our mission. They are Urban Librarians Unite, a library advocacy and support group,; The Dwelling Place of New York, a transitional residence for homeless women, and Friends of Firefighters, which provides counseling and wellness services to active and retired NYFD members and their families,

In addition to these gifts, each year we present the Frank McCourt Literary Prize to graduating seniors of the Frank McCourt High School.

Christmas Salon, Cell, 12/20/16

Karen Daly, left, Sr. Joann Sambs of The Dwelling Place of New York
                       Eamon Loinsigh, left, Mark Byrne

Author Eamon Loingsigh introduced his brand new novel, Exile on Bridge Street, the second book in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, following the well-received Light of the Diddicoy, both pubbed by Three Rooms Press. Then actor Mark Byrne gave a dramatic reading of a section of Exile, which James T. Fisher, author of On the Irish Waterfront, calls “…this gripping tale, soaked in the Irish immigrant dockworker experience and laden with real life legends from a vanished world.” Find Eamon at

 Richard Butler, left, as Lulu,  John Skocik as Cazz

Mark William Butler and company brought the holiday fun with two songs from his play, Ugly Christmas Sweater, The Musical. The amazing Richard Butler as Lulu the evil Christmas Fairy sang “The One and Only Me” and John Skocik brought to life Cazz, the virtuous ugly Christmas sweater with “A Chance to Fit In.”

Christmas Salon, Cell, 12/20/16

Author and playwright Honor Molloy’s  vivid reading of her glowing piece Sixpence the Stars,” fondly known as “Duh Lickle Arrr-anges,”an excerpt from her autobiographical novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage, has become an IAW&A Christmas tradition. You can find it here: hear that Honor’s play, Crackskull Row, will be produced at the Irish Repertory Theatre in the spring. Honor is pictured at left.


We had music and musical collaboration, including the talented cellist Leah Rankin who played “Julie-O” by Mark Summer, and an Irish holiday medley featuring Pachelbel’s “Frolics.”  Singer, songwriter, musician Cathy Maguire sang, “Off to Join the World” by Cowboy Jack Clement.

Goodbye cruel circus

I’m off to join the world…

Noting that while Malachy McCourt couldn’t join us on Tuesday, it wouldn’t be a holiday Salon without his favorite song, Cathy led us in “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

Leah Rankin, left, Cathy Maguire and Leah Rankin

The McCourts were represented by Siobhan McCourt in her first IAW&A reading. Saying that the McCourt brothers were “a hard act to follow,” Siobhan charmed us with “Santa’s Present” by Alphie McCourt, whom we mourned this year. You can find his stories on I-tunes, read by the man himself.

John Munnelly, left,  Siobhan McCourt

Closing the Salon on a high note, Leah Rankin joined John Munnelly on his composition “Angels’ Tears” and Cathy Maguire joined them for “Happy Christmas” from the CD Together for Christmas, A Contemporary Celtic Christmas Collection. For John’s music, videos and appearances, go to  John’s also a visual artist whose commemorative #1916 Signatories Portraits are available. For further info, contact him at

 Special thanks to our presenters, hosts, members, supporters, committee members, volunteers and the hard-working staff of the Cell for contributing to a fantastic IAW&A year.

 Happy New Year!  Mark your calendars for the first Salon of 2017 on Thursday, January 5th at 7pm at Bar Thalia.




December 6, 2016

12.1.16 IAW&A Salon: Sharing new work, enjoying new music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:07 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Mark Butler 

Before we get to the Salon rundown, please note two intriguing Irish literature events this week.Tonight (Tuesday, 12/6) Honor Molloy and friends will present Voices Carry — Irish Women Writing, a program of dramatic readings from memoir, novels, poetry, and drama at the Irish Arts Center.  We hear it’s sold out.

Irish composer Stano’s unique film In Between Silence, where we really exist is playing now until 12/13 at the Barrow Street Theatre. The film collects intimate stories by leading Irish writers, including Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor and Paula Meehan. ( For tickets:


Our early December Salon at Bar Thalia was a casual night when members comfortably shared a number of works-in-progress. Storytellers, fiction writers, and singers were on the program.

John Kearns, left,  photo by Christopher Booth.  Brendan Costello.

Salon producer and host John Kearns quieted the chattering non-salon crowd with a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. In this segment, the aging Sarsfield Logan, S.J., meets the young priest whom he suspects will be his replacement to teach his favorite course.

More fiction from Brendan Costello Jr., IAW&A board member and writing instructor at City College. The scene from his novel-in-progress reflected a character’s ambivalent feelings toward his father in the grim irony of the father’s passing. Brendan promises to share something lighter next time!

Brendan’s former student, Kristen Daniels read a part of her story tentatively,  and intriguingly titled Irish Anonymous. She’s developing it in a workshop class at City College and plans to expand it into a novel.

Kristen Daniels, left.  Bernadette Cullen

Bernadette Cullen read a small section from what she calls “a forever work in progress” in which she evokes a family beach outing on a hot July Saturday.

Sampling her program at IAC, Honor Molloy read “The Bride,” not a work in progress, in fact, a story written in the 1950’s by  Maeve Brennan. “The Bride” is an Irish-born maid working for a Westchester family. The story is set on the eve of Margaret’s marriage and she is terrified.

img_6132 Honor Molloy

Jazzman and author Jon Gordon told stories from his book project “Finding the Miraculous.” In one story, Jon was on a jazz cruise, wishing for shooting star and miraculously seeing one.

Salon Thalia, 5/5/16

Jon Gordon. Photo by Cat Dwyer.

In the music department, Mark William Butler shared a funny new song, “What It Is” from one of his latest writing projects, Cubikill, The Musikill, a corporate horror movie parody. Check out Mark’s work at and


Mark Butler. Photo by Christopher Booth.

Singer Clare Horgan, visiting from Ireland, showed her range with two songs, one a sean nos song about Skellig Rock on St. Michael’s Day, and the other a ballad. Learn more at   Musician/singer Adrianna Mateo sang two of her originals: “August Sun” (better to burn than keep feeling numb) and the haunting “Come with Me to Coney Island.” More at

Clare Horgan, left, photo from her website. Adrianna Mateo. Photo by Cat Dwyer.

We’re gearing up for the grand Holiday Salon at the Cell on Tuesday, 12/20 with such wonderful talent as Leah Rankin, Jack DiMonte, Honor Molloy, John Munnelly, Cathy Maguire, Eamon Loinsigh, and surprise guests. Plus, after-party and plenty of good cheer.  Mark your calendars!

November 27, 2016

11.15.16 IAW&A Salon: Soul-filling night hosted by Marni Rice

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 2:09 pm

By Brendan Costello, Jr.

Photos by Donna Simone

The Irish American Writers & Artists Salon at the Cell on November 15th demonstrated once again how sharing our work fills the soul. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, falling a week after the election and a week before the holidays would be at our throats. The multi-talented Marni Rice was host for the evening.

Dublin-born playwright Derek Murphy presented a scene from his play “Stand Up Man,” originally produced a few years ago at the Baby Grand Opera House in Belfast. The scene starred Nick Hardin from the original Belfast production and the wonderful Mary Tierney.

derek-murphy-hd-editDerek Murphy, left,  with Mary Tierney and Nick Hardin

Next, we heard from a new presenter, Claire Fitzpatrick, a poet, fiction writer, and     budding Sligo fiddler from New York City. She is an alum of Bowling Green State University’s MFA creative writing program, way back when she and her compadres decried Poppy Bush’s election as President of the United States. She now realizes that those were the good old days. Her poems deftly wove timely and timeless themes of social consciousness, at times poignant and at others humorous.


Claire Fitzpatrick

Newcomer Ian Javier shared a powerful dialogue between a young African-American man and his deceased father. This heartfelt and moving piece touched on current and past civil rights martyrs and their issues, and was originally created for IAW&A member Brendan Costello’s writing class at CCNY.

 ian-hd-edit Ian Javier

Rosina Fernhoff performed a monologue from The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard. The play confronts the wrenching conflict between the artist who must create and the society which demands her to conform.

“the soul selects her own society–

Then– shuts the door–

On her divine majority –

Present no more–” – Emily Dickinson

ROSINA-HD-EDIT.jpg Rosina Fernhoff

Songwriter, artist, writer, music teacher at the Irish Arts Center and actor John Munnelly performed a trio of songs including the perhaps-unfortunately relevant “Hail Caesar.” He also sang a moving piece written about his mother who passed away last year, and a musical tribute to Leonard Cohen who passed away a few days before the Salon.

MUNNELLY-HD-EDIT.jpg John Munnelly

Poet Rosalie Calabrese is a native New Yorker, a management consultant for the arts and a writer of poetry, stories, and librettos for musicals. She is also a member of the PEN America Women’s Literary Workshop, and she shared several poems, including a few from her latest book, “Remembering Chris,” which is published by Poets Wear Prada.


Rosalie Calabrese

Sarah Fearon, fresh off a fabulous NY Times profile by Corey Kilgannon, wasted no time trying out some new material. She worked out some ideas, from Artisanal Holiday pop up shops selling expensive gifts made from recycled materials to Pigeons protesting Trump, and other moments that beg us to wonder how close the apocalypse may be. Sarah will be performing at Gotham Comedy Club on TUES NOVEMBER 29 at 7 PM, please call and make a REZ! (

Sarah Fearon,  at an earlier salon,  photo by Cat Dwyer

John McDonagh tried out some new material for his hilarious one‑man show Cabtivist which draws on his 35 years driving a yellow cab in NYC. Among the tales he related were taxi safety. John’s a writer, political activist and spoken word artist. More tales at

JOHN MCD-HD-EDIT.jpgJohn McDonagh

Gordon Gilbert read a series of poems: “Love and Loss,” “Thoughts of You Are Never Far,” “Always Shades of Blue” and “You.” They were something of a follow-up to the poem about a lost love that he read in the first November salon: “Remembering Loss.”

gordon-hd-edit Gordon Gilbert

Actor, director, and playwright Thom Molyneaux is a frequent performer at our salons. The last time he performed here at the cell he did the first three monologues from a one man show he’s working on called “Me and the Monologue.” This time he read James Thurber’s “The Night the Bed Fell.”

thom-hd-editThom Molyneaux

Ray Lindie told a few stories from his days bartending at Elaine’s and on Long Island.

RAY-HD-EDIT.jpg Ray Lindie

Playwright and actor D.J. Sharp presented a monologue in the voice of Tennessee Williams, speaking in an East Side hotel room about his life, his career, and what it means to be an artist.

dj-hd-editD.J. Sharp

Our host Marni Rice closed the night with her spirited rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Alleluia.”

marni-hd-edit Marni Rice

Please join us for our next salon on Dec. 1st at Bar Thalia, and mark your calendars for our annual Holiday Salon on December 20th at the cell! To sign up to present at a future salon, go to




November 8, 2016

11.3.16 IAW&A Salon: A song-filled night, with poems, ghosts, humor and the eloquent Mr. McCourt

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 5:10 am

By Karen Daly and Maureen Hossbacher 

Photos by Christopher Booth

Music –  pop, jazz, theater, Irish, folk  – filled the air at the early November Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, November 3rd. Maureen Hossbacher skillfully hosted a program that, in addition to all the wonderful music, had poetry, comedy and Irish history.


 Maureen Hossbacher

dsc_0010 Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

Poet, playwright and well-known monologist on the Greenwich Village literary scene Gordon Gilbert, Jr., read two love poems. One, short and poignant, is about a brief affair and the second poem recalled a lost love on the first anniversary of the loss.

dsc_0016 Dolores Nolan

Ghosts of the 1916 Easter Rising extended their Halloween visit with a Salon appearance. Dolores Nolan,  Dublin native, New York media executive, actress and singer, tenderly portrayed the nurse Margaret Keogh, who was the first victim of the Easter Rising. Rebel leader James Connolly dashed on stage to rouse the troops, in the person of Mark Donnelly. Fresh from a meeting of the Industrial Workers of the World, the firebrand Connolly let his audience know that Labor was fully behind Ireland’s movement to be free from British rule. He left the stage just as quickly as he appeared, needing to keep his movements secret in the buildup to the Easter Rising. Karen Daly told the story of Winifred Carney, known as the “Typist with a Webley (revolver).” A close ally of Connolly’s, she was with him in the GPO, and dedicated her life to improving the conditions of workers in the linen mills of Belfast.

Mark Donnelly, Karen Daly

Marcia Loughran, a prize-winning poet, and nurse practitioner, received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her chapbook, Still Life With Weather, won the 2016 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Prize. She read a summer poem, “Wading with Isabella,” and “Airplane Poem,” which she claims  is looking for a middle and a new Messay, Marcia’s term for mini-essay. Marcia was thrilled to get feedback on her new work and the feeling is mutual.


Marcia Loughran

Mary Deady has travelled the world as the lead soprano with the National Folk Theater of Ireland, and in New York, her performances have ranged from a solo concert at the Irish Repertory to cabaret at the West Bank Cafe. Tonight she sang in Irish An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? ( “Were You at the Rock?”) and a beautiful rendition of “How are Things in Glocca Morra?” that brought a tear to many an eye.

dsc_0063Mary Deady

Our host Maureen Hossbacher marked the recent death of Tom Hayden, calling him as “a great Irish American, a great patriot, (and)…courageous warrior for peace and equality.” Echoing the theme of the 1916 Rising, Maureen sang “Four Green Fields.”


Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and friends enjoying the break

John McDonagh tried out some new material for his hilarious  (no exaggeration) one-man show  Cabtivist  which draws on his 35 years driving a yellow cab in NYC.  Among his tales, we learned that Brooklyn hipsters want their babies born in Manhattan. John’s a  writer, political activist and spoken word artist. More tales at


John McDonagh

Two Salon regulars gamely stepped in to accommodate schedule changes. Mark William Butler sang one of his original Christmas songs, “I’m Sick of All the Toys.” That’s Santa’s song from Mark’s play Ugly Christmas Sweater, the Musical. Mark says he hadn’t rehearsed, but had a lot of fun with it, as did the audience. Jack DiMonte, whose voice Maureen described as “a sexy baritone”  performed two songs that are very popular among jazz singers and jazz fans – “Small Day Tomorrow” and “All The Sad Young Men,” both with lyrics by Fran Landesman.

Jack DiMonte, left, Mark Butler

The John Munnally School of Songwriting was ably represented by John Munnally himself and two of his students. John, a musician, songwriter, visual artist, and actor is always happy to try out new work at the Salon. He describes tonight’s song, so new it’s not titled, as “…a pop song with a BoDiddley/Buddy Holly rhythm, a ‘whoopy chorus’ and a boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl theme and a modulation thrown in for good measure.”

John Munnelly, left,  John Kearns and Dee Gavin

John’s student, Dee Gavin, sang “The Cruel Mother,” also known as “The Greenwood Side,” a ballad about murder, which she cites for its hypnotic quality. Dee is an artist, musician, designer and photographer originally from the West of Ireland, whose landscape informs much of her visual art. John’s other student is Board Member and Salon producer host, novelist, playwright, poet, and  historian  John Kearns. He tried out a new (and rough) song with old words — based on his poem, “The Song of the Anthracite Coal Miner” from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. Dee Gavin created the chorus and helped sing it.  John notes that the poem was published five years ago this week in the broadsheet, Poetry for the Masses:  To learn more about the John Munnelly School of Songwriting, go to

malachyMalachy McCourt

The legendary Malachy McCourt, author, raconteur, actor, singer and Salon founder, was particularly eloquent tonight, still basking in the love and joy that attended our party honoring him with the Eugene OʼNeill Lifetime Achievement Award last month. He spoke of his love for words (“There’s no bad language, only bad usage.”) and of his lucky, charmed life. And we’re lucky and charmed by his presence.

See you next time, Tuesday, November 15 at The Cell.


An audience member enjoying the night.

October 26, 2016

10-19 IAW&A Salon: An Intimate, Moving Post-O’Neill Award Evening at the Cell

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 4:25 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by John Kearns

Sarah Fearon hosted an intimate and varied salon two nights after the IAW&A’s biggest party of the year, our annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, keeping 2016 honoree Malachy McCourt’s Salon spirit moving forward!

Sarah presented some poetic and humorous new material. One bit with some authentic New York spin on the old classic question “Where are you from?”


Sarah Fearon

Sarah also read a poem highlighting some annoying phrases like “really quick” and the over usage of the word “so.” Sarah brought up Lizzie Donahue, a new IAWA member, to join in a reading of a new scene titled “And Again…Niiiiiiiiiiice” where the two characters sit and talk on a beach in Rockaway looking out to sea.


Sarah Fearon and Elizabeth Donahue


Lizzie Donahue read a short fiction piece based on a conversation her 8-year-old self allegedly had with her mom.  The subject: compulsory motherhood.


Marian Fontana

Marian Fontana read a humorous and insightful piece called “A History of Shrinks” about her experiences with therapists over the years.


Rita Mullaney

Rita Mullaney presented two stories about her days in the New York Police Department, including the tale of a woman who cooked for and took care of officers in the local precinct.  Rita rescued a portrait of this woman from the garbage.


Sheila Walsh and Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon and Sheila Walsh read the last scene in Act One of Sheila’s play-in-progress: When The Deep Purple Falls.  In the scene, a daughter’s wedding announcement exposes the regrets and longings in her parents’ long marriage.   Sheila thanks Tom for hitting all the right notes.


John McDonagh

John McDonagh tried out some new material for his one man play, Cabtivist, about driving a yellow cab in NYC for the last 35 years. Cabtivist was developed at the IAW&A Salon and had a successful run in the New York Fringe Festival.


Rosina Fernhof

Rosina Fernhof moved the audience with a dramatic monologue.


Kathleen O’Sullivan’s iMovie

Kathleen O’Sullivan presented an iMovie chapter from her graphic novel Isham Street. This chapter, “The Movies,” describes the child’s adventure every Saturday going to Woolworth’s for her ritual bag of chips followed by a six-hour movie extravaganza where she and all the neighborhood kids swarm up and down the aisles, eat, visit, and conspire to help kids sneaking in. There’s so much going on, she doesn’t know where to look – at Laurel & Hardy running from the cops or the matrons running after the illegal kids.


Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran was happy to be back at the Cell with this wonderful group of writers and musicians. The weather was crazy hot so she read a poem about the end of times/ apocalypse, “Imagine October”, published in the Newtown Literary last fall. She also read a mini-essay or ‘messay’ about Cuba, and shared a new poem.


Louise Crawford

Louise Crawford read a story about dealing with a sexually-harassing bartender and how she was able to use social media to get a sincere apology from the man.


Singer-songwriter, John Munnelly played three original songs, his Irish Zen song, “Why is the One Both the Same?,” “Kings & Jesters,” and  “The Funeral Blues”.

Join us for our next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, November 3rd!  Maureen Hossbacher will be hosting.

The IAW&A Salon schedule:



October 12, 2016

10.6.16 IAW&A Salon: Provocative mix of monologues, a dynamic man from Mullingar and one lovely soprano

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 1:15 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth and Cat Dwyer

 The audience at the first October IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia was rewarded with mighty performances. First time host and frequent contributor Tom Mahon presided easily over a bill of stunning monologues, new fiction, an essay and phenomenal spoken word poetry.


Tom Mahon warms up the crowd

Musical interludes were supplied by actor and singer Annalisa Chamberlin who performed a selection of contemporary and classical songs, including “Songs My Mother Taught Me” by Antonin Dvorák in her lovely soprano.

DSC_0056.JPGAnnalisa Chamberlin

We had a mostly male slate, and many stories about, well, men. Mark Donnelly’s original story/monologue “Pale Green Walls” is about a middle-aged man who moves upstate from Long Island after getting divorced. Alone, he faces a new job and a new life. In Mark’s effective telling, the audience saw the pale green walls in his empty apartment.

DSC_0020.JPGMark Donnelly

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read three pieces from a series he’s calling “The Dick Monologues,” the message being “Love may be true; lust is ever fickle.” He also gave an original bawdy limerick, especially for the man from Limerick, Malachy McCourt.

dsc_0231Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

Jack DiMonte chose a monologue from David Mamet’s Oleanna. A college professor on the verge of receiving much-coveted tenure must deal with an obstacle, an ambiguous charge of harassment from a female student. Jack portrayed him trying to reason, cajole and finally pleading with her to withdraw her complaint.


Jack DiMonte

In an explosive monologue, actor Thom Molyneaux took Eddie Harrington, a Vietnam vet with a devastating secret, from the pages of Tom Mahon’s new play Closing Civelli’s to the mini-stage of the Thalia. Explosive performance, too, notes the author Tom Mahon. “I can’t believe what he did with the character I wrote.”


Thom Molyneaux

In the fiction department, two Salon regulars shared new installments of work-in-progress. Short story writer and novelist Kevin R. McPartland read from Brooklyn Rhapsody. In a brief, entertaining piece, he described a relationship about to go on the rocks in newly gentrified Park Slope, Brooklyn. Kevin appreciated its enthusiastic reception.

dsc_0218Kevin McPartland

IAW&A Board member John Kearns read from his novel, Worlds. Nora Logan, mother of Reverend Sarsfield Logan, S.J., tells how she came to America from County Cork and it’s a clever story. Unwilling to go along with an arranged marriage, the young Nora asked for a bicycle as an engagement present and then she cycled to Dublin and boarded a boat to New York.

dsc_0196John Kearns

Another work-in-progress was a candid, thought-provoking essay by IAW&A Board member Brendan Costello Jr. In “On Making an Entrance,” Brendan writes about Boris, a friend who had a huge impact on his adjustment to living life in a wheelchair.

bcBrendan Costello

Marty Mulligan from Mullingar, storyteller and spoken word artist, was visiting New York and performing poetry in America for the first time. Salon producer John Kearns invited him to the Salon, and result was thrilling: two spoken word pieces, rhythmic and furiously fast. “My Idea of Poetry” explains what poetry means to him and “I’m Sorry” explains what to do when arguing with a loved one, namely apologize for everything. Marty sends his thanks for “a great night’s entertainment” and hopes to return and perform stories from Ancient Ireland.

DSC_0180.JPGMarty Mulligan

Malachy McCourt summed up the night with his appreciation for all those “words” and added a few of his own, with hilarious stories from the Irish courts. He sang us out with “I Don’t Work for A Living.”

csc_0270Malachy McCourt

We’re counting down to the big night Monday, October 17, when Malachy receives IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. Don’t miss this event. Get your tickets now

And see you next WEDNESDAY, October 19 at The Cell, 7pm

Scene at the Thalia








October 9, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:08 pm

September 30, 2016

IAW&A Teams with Friends of Firefighters for Kathleen Donohoe’s Book Launch

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 11:46 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

Kathleen Donohoe’s new novel Ashes of Fiery Weather was launched with a party co-sponsored by Irish American Writers & Artists and Friends of Firefighters at Pier A Harbor House on Monday, 9/22. It was a fitting combination: Kathleen’s an IAW&A board member, and her book depicts six generations of women in a family of New York City firefighters.

kd-launchKathleen Donohoe

Playwright Honor Molloy, who served as host, stage actor Margie Catov and NY Times bestselling author Marian Fontana portrayed characters from the book. Kathleen told them, “It was amazing hearing the stories in your voices.”

Margie Catov,  Marian Fontana

Mary Pat Kelly, speaking on behalf of IAW&A, acknowledged our group’s pride in Kathleen’s success and well-deserved recognition. We thank Brendan Costello who produced the event for IAW&A and brought a great, appreciative audience to that beautiful location on the Battery.

Nancy Carbone, FoF founder and Executive Director, described about how she founded the group after 9/11 to aid the mental health and wellness needs of FDNY firefighters and their families. FDNY Battalion Chief John Dillon expressed his appreciation for their work. Find out more at

Chief John Dillon, Nancy Carbone

hmHonor Molloy

Ashes of Fiery Weather Book LaunchLiam Collins, Kathleen Donohoe.   Signing books alongside his mom, Liam told her “I need my own pen,” and was so inspired that he wrote his own book the next day, The Book of Animals.

Early praise for Ashes of Fiery Weather

Kathleen Donohoe must have had to assimilate the entire postwar history of the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to produce such a remarkably authentic portrait, rich in memorable detail, with characters that come so vividly to life one forgets one is reading a novel… Anyone Irish will face an uncanny recognition in these pages; everyone else will be enthralled meeting such captivating figures. Prepare to settle in.” —Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves






September 29, 2016

9.22.16 IAW&A Salon’s 5th Anniversary Party Celebrates Our Community, Collaborations and Successes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:01 pm

 By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

Irish American Writers & Artists held a jubilant Salon at the Cell Theatre on 9/22, celebrating the Salon’s 5th Anniversary, and our second year participating in Origin’s 1st Irish Festival.

waitingFull house at The Cell, eager for the 5th Anniversary Salon to begin

Salon buffs may know that the first Salon was held in Jue 2011. After an event-filled spring and summer that included IAW&A taking part in NYC’s Easter Rising Centenary commemorations, a Salon showcasing award-winning graduates of the Frank McCourt High School and an evening with Italian American writers, September seemed the ideal time for the “official” anniversary.

Fifth Anniversary Salon, Cell, 9/22/16John Kearns

duetMick Moloney on the banjo, Dan Gurney on accordion

Salon producer and host John Kearns featured some of the many IAW&A members who have shared developing work over the years, and whose participation and efforts have helped the Salon grow. One special guest, folklorist and musician Mick Moloney made his first Salon appearance. Mick is welcome any time he’s not traveling the world entertaining, teaching and sharing the legacy of Irish and Irish American music. Mick introduced young accordion phenom Dan Gurney.

Kathleen Donohoe gives the “thumbs up”

IAW&A Board member Kathleen Donohoe,  has read from her novel about six generations of women in family of a firefighters, as she was writing it over the last three years. Ashes of Fiery Weather just been released by a major publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and described by Publishers Weekly as “a moving testament to the men and women who risk their lives every day.


Poet John Brennan likes to inspire the reader/listener with tales of long forgotten Ireland and the history embedded in its rocks and soil. Tonight the County Armagh native changed it up with a witty poem offering some fatherly advice.

Fifth Anniversary Salon, Cell, 9/22/16

Karen Daly

Karen Daly spends her time researching and writing about the lives of famous New Yorkers for a NYC landmark, and of course, for the IAW&A Salon. Her essay, “Miles” describes her other great interest beyond New York history, namely, bicycling. The subtitle tells the story: “How one broken heart lead to two broken arms, great friends, adventures and maybe even God.”


Guen Donohue brought to life an excerpt from John Kearns’s novel in progress, Worlds, in which a 1950s teenager grounded by her mother imagines the conversations  that she is missing among her friends at the diner. Guen’s a multi-talented artist who writes, sings and often  performs her own work at our Salons.

Guen Donohue

ptPete Kennedy and Tara O’Grady

Singer-songwriter Tara O’Grady debuted two original songs with the Grammy-award winning guitarist Pete Kennedy. Tara has released four CD’s and has performed at festivals from Butte, Montana to Austin, Texas’s famous South By Southwest-SXSW.

We heard more of Tara’s music when Darrah Carr Dance company members Trent Kowalik and Alexandra Williamson performed two dances from their forthcoming collaboration at the Irish Arts Center “Celtic Jazz Tryst.” Artistic Director Darrah Carr calls her style ModERIN, as it combines modern and Irish dance, and judging from tonight’s performances, it’s a “must-see” for dance fans.

Trent Kowalski in the air

An award-winning author and playwright from Galway, Seamus Scanlon presented a scene from his play in development “The Blood Flow Game,” a tensely charged interaction between a couple played by actors Maria Deasy and Mark Byrne

duoMaria Deasy and Mark Byrne


Playwright and composer of over thirty plays, musicals and revues, Board member and salon stalwart  Mark Butler produced, hosted and wrote material for last year’s fundraiser for Urban Librarians Unite. Mark did a monologue on his elusive relationship with money. More comedy came from Richard Butler, who sang a song his brother Mark composed “I’m Sick of All the Toys” for his full-scale musical Bad Christmas Sweater.

Mark Butler 

raptMalachy McCourt enthralling the crowd at the end of grand night

The 5th Anniversary celebration closed on a fitting note, an energetic, entertaining reading by Salon founder and spiritual godfather, Malachy McCourt.

Join us next Thursday, 7pm at Bar Thalia as we begin the next five years.

And get your copy of this wonderful book!








September 7, 2016

9.1.16 IAW&A Salon: Lively scene at Bar Thalia: Exciting new fiction, stunning monologues, award-winning poems

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 12:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth

The city may be quiet before the Labor Day weekend, but the IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia was lively on Thursday, September 1. The audience included visitors from Florence, Italy and IAW&A’s friend from Israel, Yona Gonik who visits every summer, proving that you don’t need to be Irish to appreciate our work and enjoy our hospitality.

Among the night’s offerings were short stories, poetry, monologues, fiction, song and the category-spanning Malachy McCourt.


In the short story category, Tom Mahon read a story about a man who can’t die. A president of a country starts two unnecessary and unwinnable wars. Fated to live one year for every lie he’s told and for each person he’s killed, he’ll live for thousands of years — in infamy.


Tom Mahon

Another chilling new story came from Guenevere Donohoe. A woman witness to a terrible crime realizes that the perpetrator is her new next-door neighbor and agonizes over whether to identify him.


Guen Donohoe

Among the poets, Vivian O’Shaughnessy, also a visual artist and translator, charmed with her poem, “Love.”

dsc_0030Vivian O’Shaughnessy

John Brennan’s poems were inspired by his travels. “Valleys and Dust” came out of a trip to learn about the ancient connection between Ireland and Egypt. “Canyons and Dust” is about his trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, to try and connect with the Anasazi, mysterious ancient people who disappeared without a trace.  More about John’s roaming in his book: The Journey: A Nomad Reflects

dsc_0175John Brennan

Award winning poet Marcia Loughran read two poems to mark the end of summer, one about camping in Big Sky country and another one set in Vermont. Marcia shared a family memory of summers at Bettystown on the northeast coast of Ireland.

dsc_0131Maura Loughran

Tonight we heard segments from three novels, all of which we’ve been hearing in development. Salon producer and tonight’s host, John Kearns, is happy to report that his book, Worlds, is nearly complete. In the latest chapter, a major character, Reverend Sarsfield Logan, S.J. has died and the Logan family reflects on his extensive learning and love of education as they prepare for his funeral.

dsc_0196John Kearns

A wake in a bleak tenement features in Eamon Loingsigh’s excerpt from Exile on Bridge Street, the second title in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, coming from Three Rooms Press in October. The first book, Light of the Diddicoy, was described by Cahir O’Doherty of Irish Central as “A vivid portrait of the hardscrabble world of Irish gangs along the Brooklyn waterfront in the early 20th century.”

dsc_0197Eamon Loingsigh

In Jim Rodgers’ excerpt from “Long Night’s End,”Johnny Gunn is returning from a visit to his father at Rockaway Beach, after Johnny’s wife threw him out for drinking and debauchery. Not finding solace from the old man, Johnny returns to Manhattan and contemplates the beach-spent New Yorkers returning to their city neighborhoods. Johnny heads for the Lower East Side for some beer and much needed sympathy from the mysterious and beautiful bartender, Olive.

dsc_0058Jim Rodgers

Obie-Award winning actress Rosina Fernhoff gave a stunning monologue form Donald Margulies’ play Collected Stories, in which woman fictionalizes her teacher’s affair with a renowned poet.

dsc_0086Rosina Fernhoff

Back after the summer, Gordon Gilbert delivered two original pieces. In “Dark Angels” a young boy of loses his entire family to a drone strike. Changing up the mood, Gordon created a dog hosting a radio show, ranting about why he hates cats.

dsc_0231Gordon Gilbert

John Munnelly enjoys trying out new work at the Salon. Tonight he read a new poem “I Am from Dirt” and a new song waiting for a title, possibly, “Nothing Wrong with Me” or “What if I’m No Good?” and a song called “Alien.” If you’d like to learn John’s technique, you can take his Songwriting Class at the Irish Arts Center starting September 29. Find it at   Read more here:

dsc_0264John Munnelly

As the custom at Bar Thalia, Malachy McCourt closed the Salon with a free-ranging display of wit, wisdom and a song, demonstrating why he is our choice for the IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 17. As founder of the Salon, Malachy is proud of this “wonderful collection of talented people.” We’re in awe of his talents, in addition to his generosity and encouragement to Salon members.

dsc_0338-2Malachy McCourt

Don’t miss our salute to him on 10/17. Get your tickets here:

Enjoying  the presentations at IAW&A September 1 Salon at Bar Thalia:dsc_0204Yona Gonik

dsc_0218Kevin McPartlandcsc_0270-2Malachy McCourt

dsc_0225Karen Daly


Enjoying the break at IAW&A  September 1 Salon at Bar Thalia:



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