In Spring 2017, the Limerick Branch, Limerick District Ireland, held their annual “Irish Night” during “Seachtain Gaeilge” which is the Irish translation of “Irish Week”. This week is celebrated each year in Ireland and incorporates St. Patrick’s day. The event was attended by over 180 people including Senator Kieran O’Donnell and Maurice Quinlivan, Teachta Dála (Member of Parliament) for the Limerick City constituency.
The “Irish Night” included performances by a large number of people including The O’Rourke School of Dancers, who performed both hard and soft shoe numbers. These dancers are well known for the high standards that they achieve.
Also on the bill was local poet, Thomas McCarthy, who has a reputation for composing thought provoking verse. There was a “set” of old Irish melodies performed by Pat O’Connell on piano accordion, accompanied by his son on guitar.
Irenee Kearney gave a beautiful rendition of a haunting song which is part of an ancient myth of Ireland entitled, “The Children of Lir”. One of the youngest performers was 13 year old Saoirse Freeman who played a number of Irish tunes on a traditional tin whistle, the audience joined in many of the songs. Another poet who performed was Paul McNamara. He put a new look on life’s travails with his poem, “Having a mid-life crisis”.
Emphasising the “local” nature of the event, Robert Kearney sang a ballad written by Limerick man Johnny Duhan called, “The Voyage”. Robert also sang a song composed by another Limerick man, Denis Allen called, “Limerick, You’re A Lady”.
For many, the highlight of the show was the final act, a local brass and reed band known as “The Boherbuoy Band”. The band was formed in 1850 in Limerick and has played a huge role in the life of the city. Their final piece was the Irish National Anthem.
While Limerick Branch has quite an international community among its membership, nonetheless all had a wonderful evening. Much of what we celebrated on the night had to do with the story of Ireland, which as a nation, has probably lost more of its people to emigration than any other nation on Earth. This allows them to emphasise with those who have come from afar to live among them, and the Irish have always made them feel welcome.
PHOTO CAPTION: left to right as follows; William Ryan, Second Councillor, Limerick District Presidency Senator Kieran O'Donnell, Member of the Irish Senate President David Kelly, Limerick Branch President Robert Kearney, 1st Councillor, Limerick District Presidency