Four Citizen Research Group leads sought for creative community activities, linked with the Liveprool irish Famine Trail.
A new book on the history of Liverpool Irish will launch at LIF2017.
‘In Hardship and Hope’ by Greg Quiery tells a narrative history of one of the largest European migrations in modern history and how Irish culture has shaped Liverpool.
Liverpool’s Irish heritage is well known. A large proportion of the city’s inhabitants boast Irish ancestry. A new book, written by social historian, musician and guide Greg Quiery presents a narrative history of the community. Launching at the Institute of Irish Studies during the Liverpool Irish Festival, the book describes the struggle for social and political acceptance in Liverpool by the Irish immigrants and the impact of the city’s Irish heritage on Liverpool’s modern culture.
From Newtownards in County Down, Greg Quiery moved to Liverpool from Belfast in 1974. He is a former fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies, a board member of the Liverpool Irish Festival and Chair of the Liverpool Great Hunger Commemoration Committee. ‘In Hardship and Hope’ charts the rise of Liverpool’s Irish population, from the first merchants in the 16th century to ‘Lyerpole’ to the steady migration after the Act of Union in 1801. As the Irish economy declined, but its population rapidly expanded, Liverpool welcomed an increasing number of Irish migrants. As the Irish famine reached its height in the 1840s, it is estimated 2.3 million Irish emigrants arrived in Liverpool.
Delving into the socio-economic, political and cultural impact of this population shift, the story is occasionally bleak, exploring slum housing and poverty, ongoing sectarian conflict, anti-Catholic sentiment, social reform, the impact of faith, riots and disturbances. Anti-Irish sentiment continued into the 20th century, particularly in 1909 and into the 1930s. As xenophobia swept Europe, Liverpool was not immune. The Liverpool Review described the Irish as “a real alien menace” in 1934.
The book examines how the Irish influence contributed to the modern Scouse identity. Irish nationalism and its strong ties to the Labour movement and the Labour Party in Liverpool, the role of the Liverpool Irish in the War of Independence laid the foundation for shaping modern Liverpool’s revolutionary state of mind. “An anti-establishment attitude …has survived in Liverpool … ever since”.
With the arrival of Merseybeat and the flourishing of Liverpool’s Scouse identity, a strong affection for Ireland remained in its second and third generations. As sectarianism declined, Liverpool and Everton football clubs each commanded a greater allegiance from both Catholics and Protestants than former sectarian institutions. As is noted, both Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II visited the city’s cathedrals in 1978 and 1982 respectively.
In the words of Dr Kevin McNamara, former Labour MP and Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, shortly before his death in August 2017: “(This book) is that unique combination of carefuI and popular scholarship. (Greg) pulls all the strands of the complicated history of the Irish in Liverpool and district together in a few hundred pages of easy reading”.
Mary Hickman, Emeritus Professor of Irish Studies and Sociology at London Metropolitan University writes: “From poverty to politics (the book) covers most aspects of Irish Catholic experiences in Liverpool and many of the most significant characters”.
Commenting on Greg’s book, Professor Frank Shovlin, Head of Department, The Institute of Irish Studies: “Covering 500 years of Irish interaction with Liverpool, nobody is better placed than Greg Quiery to unpick and elucidate the intricacies of that long relationship. Unparalleled in his expertise on the Liverpool Irish, a great friend of the Institute’s, and an historian with deep reverence for our forebears, Greg provides a wonderful addition to our knowledge of this city with this marvelous new volume”.
Greg Quiery: “Having arrived in Liverpool in the 1970s I was surrounded by people sharing their living history and stories of Irish heritage. There’s an importance in remembering our history, the way migrants were treated, often marginalised in poor housing and poverty. By the 1990s, Ireland’s popular culture meant that past discrimination was forgotten, but migration continues to be a significant force in our world today, which is why the documentation and understanding of the Liverpool Irish remains so important.”
The launch of ‘In Hardship and Hope’ takes place at 6pm on 23 Oct 2017 in the Eleanor Rathbone Building, in partnership between the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Irish Festival.
A new strand at Liverpool Irish Festival gives a platform to the voice of women in art, academia, political debate and history. Exploring the issues women face in the UK and Ireland, both historically and in contemporary society, the strand will see key events focusing on different discussions and encouraging the audience to reflect on the challenges women face. It is an important moment for women politically and culturally, in the UK and Ireland, with continued discussion on visibility, gaze, political and sexual rights, including abortion. With 11 women per day travelling from Ireland to England for abortions, some in Liverpool, this an opportunity to join the discussion. In the first year of In:Visible Women, the key events include:
In:Visible Women, Illuminating Debates
27 Oct, 9am-5pm, Liverpool Central Library, £5/£4
History can, too often, reflect on men and their stories. In:Visible Women begins with case studies of Liverpool Irish women from history, exploring their role and society. In the afternoon, the discussion shifts to political debate including the campaign to Repeal the 8th, abortion legislation, marriage, faith and gender equality.
A full day’s schedule will be available. Artists Casey Orr and Alison Little will take part.
Visible Women – New and powerful women in music
27 Oct, 8pm-10.30pm, £14 + 7.5% booking, Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room
An evening of exceptional female talent from Liverpool and Ireland. Four acts celebrate contemporary music and the women making it. With modern takes on traditional songs, self-penned tracks and exceptional instrumental talent, the night is hosted by Gerry Ffrench, a popular local radio star and touring musical artist in her own right. The line-up includes sets increasing in length from Emma Lusby (Limavady, Co Londonderry), Mamatung (Liverpool), Sue Rynhart and Ailbhe Reddy (both from Dublin), who headlines.
Orla Guerin, Front Lines, Fault Lines and Deadlines – 30 years of Chasing the Story
26 Oct, 6pm-7.30pm, Eleanor Rathbone Building, Free
Orla Guerin became the BBC’s Egypt correspondent in 2013. Since then she has reported from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Tunisia and Libya. Organised by Institute of Irish Studies, in partnership with Liverpool Irish Festival, this free event will see her discuss her life and work.
The Lily and the Poppy
28 Oct, 3pm-4pm, Free, Museum of Liverpool
This strand of work between the Liverpool Irish Festival and the Institute of Irish Studies, features two high profile Irish women, speaking about reconciliation and living peacefully in conflict (chaired by Professor Pete Shirlow, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies).
Elisha McCallion was the first Mayor of the new Derry City and Strabane District Council, on its formation in 2015. She brought together statutory and community agencies in Derry to advance proposals for Crisis Intervention Services, to address the gap that exists for those feeling isolated and in crisis due to mental health issues. Elisha was elected to the Northern Island Assembly in March 2017, holding the seat previously held by the late Martin McGuinness. In June 2017 Elisha made history by winning the Foyle seat in the Westminster election, from the SDLP who had held it since 1983.
Dawn Purvis was a Member of the NI Assembly from March 2007-May 2011, representing East Belfast. She was appointed as head of the Progressive Unionist Party in 2007. In 2011, Dawn left politics and became NI Programme Director with Marie Stopes International(MSI), opening the first integrated sexual and reproductive healthcare centre in Belfast. She is currently CEO of a housing charity.
Body and Blood
23 and 24 Oct, 7.30pm-10pm, £12/£10 + booking fee, The Capstone Theatre
Body and Blood is a new play exploring a buried cultural history – arranged marriages in Ireland. Inspired by writer Lorraine Mullaney’s grandmother who had an arranged marriage, Body and Blood is a dark comedy that tackles a tough subject with humour and live music.
It’s 1956, and young Aileen comes to London looking for her sister, but instead finds a new life of freedom and possibilities. Will Aileen choose this new life or return to Ireland and make the sacrifices required to stay true to her roots? And will she discover why her Uncle Colm refuses to return home? Body and Blood explores the conflicts and culture clashes resulting from migration and the pull of traditional Irish values, highlighting how far Ireland has come since the 1950s.
Zine Workshop – Spread the word and repeal the 8th
25 Oct, 1pm-4:00pm, £1 on arrival for materials; donations accepted for Abortion Support Network, Blackwell’s/Liverpool Blackwell’s (bookshop)
How can we use our creativity to influence others and affect change? Blackwell’s Liverpool will host a workshop looking at zines and posters as activism. Using collage, attendees will handmake booklets and posters to photocopy and distribute to friends, whilst discussing what UK citizens can do to help people seeking abortions in Ireland. Everybody is welcome. Some materials will be provided, but please bring along anything you would like to use. Run by Liverpool Blackwell’s, in partnership with the Liverpool Irish Festival.