To Be Irish marks St Brigid’s Day with Global Celebrations of Women
Press release26 January 2022
To Be Irish returns on St Brigid’s Day (Lá Fhéile Bríde), with a programme of over 75 online and in person events around the globe and across Ireland celebrating leadership, creativity, and the talent of women from Tuesday 1st of February.
Discover talks, performances, exhibitions, music, and more; plus, exploreExtraordinary Stories from the global Irish family, including amazing achievements, lasting legacies, and magical memories from women connected to Ireland. Submissions are open to women around the world with a connection to Ireland to share their story or join the conversation using the hashtags #ExtraordinaryStories#ToBeIrish #StBrigidsDay
To Be Irish working alongside the Department of Foreign Affairs will bring Embassies and Consulates, international Irish community organisations , Local Authorities, venues and organisations in Ireland and around the world to join forces with our 70 million-strong diaspora to mark St Brigid’s Day and an impressive platform for a battalion inspired by Brigid.
Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D., said “I am delighted to launch the ‘To Be Irish on St Brigid’s Day’ initiative. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been organising a special St Brigid’s Day programme since 2018 - honouring the contributions of trail-blazing women to our diaspora, to Ireland and to the world. This is the first year that we are taking this programme online - to share the amazing performances, seminars and other discussions which take place at Irish Embassies and Consulates at this time of year and to connect these with inspiring Brigid’s Day events taking place here in Ireland.”
Anne Anderson, the former Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and to the EU, noted that ’This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate women’s vibrant voices, and their extraordinary, transformative power. I look forward to participating in our St. Brigid’s Day event in Brussels. It marks 50 years of Ireland's EU membership and celebrates Irish women who have helped to shape the EU during that time.”
Some highlights from the global programme of events across 20+ countries:
Ireland & Europe
- Marking 50 years of Ireland’s membership of the EU, the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU will host a webinar featuring trail-blazing Irish women who have led and shaped the EU. Panellists include Anne Anderson, former Irish Permanent Representative to the EU, Catherine Day, former Secretary General of the European Commission, and Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman, moderated by Ambassador Barbara Cullinane, Ireland’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU.
- Online at the Embassy of Ireland in Switzerland - Ambassador Eamon Hickey and author and Joycean expert Nuala O’Connor discuss Nora Barnacle, her husband James Joyce and their relationship, including the period in which he wrote Ulysses.
- Presented by The Embassy of Ireland in Germany and the Consulate General of Ireland in Frankfurt am Main, in cooperation with Literature Ireland, Brigidsfest - Hot off the Press is an exciting showcase specially commissioned translations of the opening segments of six books by some of Ireland’s celebrated female literary talent. Followed by a Q&A with featured writers Elaine Feeney, Roisin Kiberd, Audrey Magee, Hilary Fannin, Olivia Fitzsimons, Louise Nealon and Wendy Erskine.
- Audiences in Lisbon are invited to attend a classical concert at the National Museum of Theatre and Dance, featuring a soprano with accompanying baroque guitar. The museum features a beautiful botanical garden, and is located next to the church that holds relics of St Brigid, which will be viewable by guided tour before the concert.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Traditional Music Archive have collaborated on a series of three short online films. These films feature traditional musicians Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Louise Mulcahy, and Síle Denvir and include newly commissioned pieces of dance, music, and song in celebration of Brigid.
- Join us in conversation with Monica Williams, Nora Owen, Saffa Musleh, Sonja Tiernan and Olivia O’Leary for what will be an inspiring discussion with women featured in Tiernan’s Irish Women’s Speeches: Voices that Rocked the System.
- A special St Brigid’s Day episode of the Royal Irish Academy’s Shelfmarks podcast series, hears podcaster-in-residence Zoë Comyns chat with poet and writer Elaine Feeney on early life on a farm, superstition, women’s safety in nature, what Brigid means to her, and more.
- The Hamilton Gallery in Sligo presents a hybrid Exhibition featuring artworks by 85 individual female artists inspired by a specially commissioned poem by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin entitled "St Brigid's Well".
- From the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, join artist & folklorist Michael Fortune for a special online presentation where he explores the traditions and folklore associated with St Brigid’s Day.
- At the Angelina Foster Studio in Ballitore, Co. Kildare, take part in the Letterpress Printmaking Workshop - Suffragettes Power of Print, a hands-on experience, channel the creativity of Brigit and learn how to create postcards with your favourite poems or words inspired by women, using vintage text on a mobile letterpress.
- In Dublin, Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland kicks off the inaugural Brigit 2022: Dublin City Celebrating Women featuring a programme of online and in-person events featuring a stellar line up including Imelda May, Felispeaks, Tolü McKay, Ivana Bacik, Rosita Sweetman, Emma Donoghue and more celebrating the spirit of celtic Goddess Brigit.
- Embassy London celebrates its 5th annual St Brigid’s Day event featuring 19 trailblazing women from Britain and Ireland, who are making their mark in diverse fields including music, media, sport, food, science, and literature. Led by MC Dearbhail McDonald, guests will enjoy performances from opera singer Ruby Philogene-Doran; Irish/Zimbabwean singer Shiv and poet and writer Esme Allman, as well as a keynote address from chef and owner of Myrtle restaurant, Anna Haugh.
- At the London Irish Centre, check out CROWN: Hair & Identity in Traveller Culture. This exhibition is a free event celebrating Traveller/Mincéir women, their aesthetic expression and their unique culture as an indigenous ethnic minority group who have been part of Irish society for centuries. Audiences can also attend the St. Brigid’s Day Concert featuring art, spoken word and music, with performances from Breda Mayock, Tolü Makay, Rosie Murphy, Ciara Ní É, and more. Hosted by Tara Flynn.
- From the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith, celebrate St Brigid's Day with the renowned Casey Sisters. These sisters from West Cork – Nollaig (fiddler, singer & composer), Máire (harper & composer), and Mairéad (singer, fiddler & composer) received great critical acclaim for their début CD together, Sibling Revelry – one of The Daily Telegraph’s Folk Albums of the Year.
- In Sierra Leone, attend a showcase of song, dance, speeches, and poetry celebrating women’s empowerment, gender equality and related themes, as well as an array of stalls displaying the wide-ranging talents of local women.
- Irish creative collective GxrlCode will run a series of music (DJ, and song writing) and poetry and writing workshops in January in Lilongwe, Malawi with Malawian women artists in conjunction with the Tiwale organisation.
Australia & Asia
- Join the Canberra Irish Club in person for an Irish cultural evening inspired by the legends of the goddess Brigid and St Brigid of Kildare and celebrating Mná n hÉireann, the Women of Ireland, with food, music, song and dance.
- In Singapore, six embassies and consulates in Southeast Asia invite members of the public to nominate inspirational and/or creative women they know personally across social media as part of a regional competition
North & South America
- In New York, join the New York Irish Arts Center for a screening of a documentary made by TG4 about Brigid and spend the evening making the famous St. Brigid’s Cross.
- From the Embassy of Ireland in Mexico, tune in online for a fascinating panel discussion and Q&A exploring the lives of women that have played a key role in the independence of Ireland and Mexico, and how they are remembered. With Carmen Saucedo, Irish Historian Sinéad McCoole (Mna100 Centenary Podcast) and Michael Hogan, an Irish-American based in Mexico who has written a book on revolutionary women, plus a message from the Secretary at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Martha Delgado.
- From Houston, Texas in the USA, tune in online for a conversation with Monica McWilliams, a groundbreaking leader and campaigner for peace in Northern Ireland, and on behalf of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, which she co-founded.
Over 75 events are already planned globally – the full list is available to view here tobeirish.ie/events.
Many more events marking St Brigid’s Day around the world will be announced. To register your event for inclusion on the To Be Irish platform, visit tobeirish.ie/get-involved.
To Be Irish on St Brigid’s Day is brought to you by the Department of Foreign Affairs with support from Local Authorities, cultural institutions, broadcasters and organisations across Ireland.
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#ToBeIrish #StBrigidsDay #Éireannach #LáFhéileBríde
26 January 2022
NOTES TO EDITORS
About St. Brigid is one of Ireland's three patron saints, alongside St. Colmcille and the world-famous St. Patrick. The origins of her Feast Day, on 1 February, are thought to originally be a pagan festival called Imbolc, which honoured Brigid as the goddess of poetry, healing and fire, and marked the beginning of spring. The day is also seen as a way to celebrate women, and the Celtic goddess’s heritage as a “symbol of feminine energy”. Lá Fhéile Bríde celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days, and an emergence from the darkness of winter.
About To Be Irish
The To Be Irish initiative was launched in 2020 by the Department of Foreign Affairs to create meaningful connections with the Irish diaspora and those who have a grá for, or are interested in, Ireland and Irish culture around the world. In 2020 and 2021, with the invaluable input from Local Authorities, Embassies, venues and organisations, To Be Irish was able to host a programme of over 400 events as well as 150 personal stories shared by our global Irish family.
For more information please contact To Be Irish
Coman Kenny: E. firstname.lastname@example.org | T. 1800 851 86