Past Events

Event: Seanchaí (Irish story telling/the oral tradition)

An Evening with Damien Fynes (Damo) telling stories old and new, a few anecdotes and a few songs for the road (ceann amháin le haghaidh an bóthar)
Date: Saturday 8th April, 8pm

Venue: Bay Horse Marygate


Event: Writer Jack Harte Reads From his work

Sligo born writer, Jack Harte, has published three critically acclaimed short storycollections. The first of his two novels, Reflections in a Tar-Barrel (2006), was the first literary work to be commissioned under the Irish Government’s Per Cent for Art Scheme, and was nominated as one of the 101 Irish Books You Must Read. The Irish Independent declared it to be ‘one of the great books about Ireland’. Overall his fiction has appeared in 12 languages. In 2015 Harte made his debut as a playwright in Dublin with Language of the Mute which toured nationally in 2016. This was followed by The Mysterious History of Things, and by Lugh and Balor which was performed in Greek translation at the Ancient Theatre of Maroneia, Greece. Jack Harte founded the Irish Writers Union and the Irish Writers Centre. More info:

Date: Tuesday 28th March, 7pm
Venue: The Winning Post, Bishopthorpe Road


Event: St. Patrick’s Festival
Our third York Irish St. Patrick’s festival! The 2017 festival took place on the Friday night and all day and evening Saturday. Ceilidhs, Irish dancing, music, facepainting, food, drink and much more.
Date: Friday 17th March, 5.00pm – 10.30pm, Saturday 18th March, 11.30am – 10.30pm
Venue: St. Sampson’s Square


Event: York Irish Language Lessons

Our beginner’s and intermediate Irish language lessons with Ríona Nic Congail continued between January and March. We will be running these again in late 2017.


Event: Ceilidh Night

Venue: St. Clement’s Hall, Saturday 18th February, 8pm

It was about time that we hosted a ceilidh! This was a joint event with the University of York Irish Society. Fiddlers Wreck were will be the Ceilidh band.


Event: ‘Seamus Heaney’s Troubles’ – A talk and readings by Matt Campbell

Venue: The Bay Horse, Tuesday 7th February, 7.00pm
Matt Campbell has written widely on poetry from the late eighteenth century up to the present day. He arrived at the University of York as Professor of Modern Literature in 2011 and he teaches Victorian, Modern and Irish literature. Recent publications include a book about nineteenth-century poetry from and about Ireland and various articles and essays on Irish poetry and poetics. Matt will talk about and recite from Heaney’s poetry in the 1970s and 80s.


Event: York Irish Christmas Party
Venue: Holiday Inn, Tadcaster Road, YorkFriday 16th December, 7.00pm

Three course meal and music all for £20.  Music by the Flying Donkeys. 100 people attended in our biggest Christmas party yet!


Irish Language Lessons

York Irish Committee Member and research fellow at the University of Ríona Nic Congáil, hosted our first set of Irish language lessons every Thursday between October and December, 2016.


Event: Legends, Songs and Stories – an evening of entertainment hosted by the Lohans and friends.

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Friday 2nd December, 8.00pm
An evening of Irish music and poetry with sets by Rick Lohan, Kate Lohan, Christian Topman, Fred Ring and Canon Michael Ryan who will recite some poetry and story.


Event: York Irish AGM

Venue: Bay Horse, Marygate, Tuesday 15th November, 7.00pm
The AGM was a chance for all to discuss what we have done over the last year and to input into our plans for the future.


Event: York Irish Trad Session

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Saturday 22nd October, 8.00pm
Our trad music session returned at the Gillygate!


Event: Green Dawn at St. Enda’s: Pearse’s Patriotic Pupils. A talk by Tracey Iceton

Venue: Bay Horse Marygate, Tuesday 11th October, 7.00pm
Among the many things Patrick Pearse accomplished in his too short life, perhaps one of the greatest was his visionary approach to education. His teaching methods and the ethos of his school, St Enda’s, were revolutionary and, while his views on education would be familiar to modern teachers, they were avant-garde in his time. In this talk author Tracey Iceton explainEd what life was like for Pearse’s St Enda’s boys and discusses her debut novel, Green Dawn at St Enda’s, which follows the exploits and adventures of fictional St Enda’s pupil, Finn Devoy who studies under Pearse during the years 1911-1916 and stands beside him in the GPO on Easter Monday 1916.


Event: York Irish Culture Night

Venue: The De Grey Rooms, Thursday 29th September, 7.30pm

We were delighted to host our annual York Irish Culture Night on Thursday 29th September at the De Grey Rooms, York. Performers on the night included winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Talisk, and the O’Connor Academy of Irish Dance. Also part of the evening’s entertainment were sets by Kevin Mullowney (Vocals & Guitar) & Des Hurley (Fiddle & Button Accordion) and the ‘Gaelic Funktress’, Irish singer-songwriter, Paula Ryan. The evening was hosted by Elly Fiorentini from BBC Radio York.

Event: ‘Myles Away from York: The Life and Times of Brian O’Nolan’ talk by Brian Rock

Venue: Bay Horse Marygate, Tuesday 13th September, 7.00pm
Brian Rock’s talk offers an overview of the life and times of mid-twentieth century Irish author and comic genius Brian O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien, Myles na gCopaleen, George Knowall, to name but a few of his many pseudonyms). This talk will devoted to, in particular, O’Nolan’s hilarious and often bizarre send-ups of all things “Irishry”, or, as Myles put it,”the revolting manifestations and exercises which go by the name of ‘gaelicism’ today”.


Event: York Irish Table Quiz

Venue: St. Clement’s Hall, Friday 2nd September, 7.30pm
We hosted our own York Irish table quiz at St. Clement’s Hall! This was also a fundraiser for York Irish with a raffle and prizes.


Event: Social Trip to York Races and the Corrs

Venue: York Races, Saturday 23rd July, 12.00pm

We had a great day out at our social trip to the races (backed a few winners and more losers!) and what a show by the Corrs!


Event: Exhibiting Seamus Heaney

Venue: University of York, Tuesday 14th June, 6pm

Since the untimely death of Seamus Heaney in 2013, writers, readers and fans have been revisiting his work and considering his legacy. Geraldine Higgins of Emory University, Atlanta, reflected on the experience of curating the first major exhibition on Heaney’s life and works. Opening in Dublin in 2017, the exhibition will give visitors the chance to explore the world of Heaney’s poetry behind the scenes.


Event: The Irish Rebellion Screening

Venue: University of York, Tuesday 7th June, 6pm

We were delighted to partner up with the Festival of Ideas again in 2016 on two events. Join us for an edited screening of the documentary 1916: The Irish Rebellion presented by its writer and producer, and a renowned Irish historian, followed by a panel discussion festuring the Ambassador of Ireland to Britain. Narrated by Liam Neeson, the documentary tells the dramatic story of the events that took place in Dublin during Easter Week 1916.


Event: Trad Session at York Folk Festival

Venue: Black Swan Inn Pub, Friday 3rd June, 8.00pm

We hosted a trad Irish session as part of the annual City of York Folk Weekend. The festival is two days and three nights of free music, song and dance at the Black Swan Inn and York Irish hosted a trad Irish session of music, song and spoken word for the second year in a row.


Event: Educating Irish Children 1800-1860. Talk by Mary Hatfield

Venue: Bay Horse, Marygate, Tuesday 24th May, 7.00pm

Mary Hatfield is a historian of Irish childhood and education in the nineteenth-century. She is a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin and an Irish Research Council postgraduate scholar. Her work examines middle-class childhood and children’s experiences at home and at school. This lecture will examine the experiences of children in Irish boarding schools and the origins of female education in Ireland. She is also a traditional Irish musician and toured with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.


Event: Lissenhall Harp Ensemble

Venue: Upstage Theatre, Saturday 30th April, 7.30pm

We were delighted to host The Lissenhall Harp Ensemble on their tour of north England. The Lissenhall Harp Ensemble is a collective name of a group of young musicians based in Lissenhall, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. It consists of seven harp players who age in range from 12-25, amny of whom are multi instrumentalists. The group was originally for a cultural exchange but they have continued to perform together and bring music to audiences in Ireland as well as abroad. They have performed at Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann events, volunteered at local charity events for Milford Hospice and are regular performers at Limerick City Milk Market. The group has undertaken two cultural exchanges with harp ensembles in the South of France and on the Isle of Mann. All Ireland Champion, Fiana Ni Chonaill, leads the group. Fiana has extensive experience as a performer both in Ireland and in Europe and is also sought after as a teaxher in the Limerick/Tipperary areas with many travelling to seek her guidance and expertise.


Event: ‘Yorkshire and the 1916 Easter Rising’ talk by Jacob Murphy

Venue: The Winning Post, Tuesday 26th April, 7.00pm

In connection with the global commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and the theme of ‘remembrance and reconciliation’, Jacob Murphy (York Irish committee member) gave an exciting and informative talk about those individuals with connections to Yorkshire who participated in the Easter Rising. This includes the recently released archives of two Yorkshiremen who fought on the Irish side and those with Yorkshire connections who fought in the British Army to resist the rebellion.


Event: ‘Children of the Rising: Family and Loss in 1916’ talk by Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid

Venue: The Winning Post, Tuesday 12th April, 7.00pm

Caoimhe’s talk explored the experiences of the children of the leaders of the Easter Rising. Some participated in the Rising, some were sent away, some waited at home, watching and listening as flames spread and guns boomed; all were profoundly affected. A diverse group ranging from young adults to infants, these sons and daughters of Ireland’s revolutionary martyrs offer an glimpse into the intimate and hidden traumas of the rebellion in Ireland.


Event: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Venue: Gillygate Pub, Thursday 17th March, 7.30pm

Live music by Gaelstrom and 2 Bob to round off our St. Patrick’s celebrations in style!


Event: Trip to Irish Play, The Mai

Venue: Upstage Theatre, Wednesday 16th March, 7.30pm

We really enjoyed our trip York Settlement Community Players (YSCP) Irish play, the Mai, which received rave reviews.


Event: St. Patrick’s Weekend Festival

Venue: St. Sampson’s Square, March 12th – 13th

There are too many people to thank here but in short we would just like to say a massive thank you to all the performers, everyone who was involved and to all those who attended for making our 2nd ever York Irish St. Patrick’s Weekend Festival what is was! It felt special to bring Irish culture and its connections to York to the city on such a scale for the second year running!

Check out the pics on our York Irish Facebook from the weekend from professional photographer and York Irish Committee member, Jason Oliver. We are already thinking about next year so keep March 17th-19th, 2017, free!


Event: Traditional Music Night
Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Saturday 27th February, 8.00pm

Thanks to everyone who came along for our traditional Irish music and singing session. This was the first of four traditional sessions that we will be hosting throughout 2016.


Event: Gig by Scrubwood

Venue: The Gillyate Pub, Saturday 23rd January, 8.00pm

Scrubwood brings together the folk talents of Sarah Loughran (fiddle), Steve Askew (cajon) and Rob Heath (guitar), a tight-knit trio who combine driving syncopated dance rhythms, mysterious harmonies and virtuosic melodies. A combination of the exciting, curious and tuneful, Scrubwood’s sets are made up of tunes from the Irish, English and Breton traditions, medieval dances played with a modern twist, as well as crafty contemporary pieces.


Event: York Irish Christmas Party
Venue: Holiday Inn, Tadcaster Road, Friday 18th December

The 2nd ever York Irish Christmas Party took place in the Holiday Inn on Friday 18th December, 2015. There was a 3 course meal and live music from the Flying Donkeys with over 70 people in attendance.
Event: Gig by Des Hurley and Friends
Venue: Gillygate Pub, Saturday 21st November, 8.00pm
Despite a reluctance to commercially record, Leeds based fiddle player Des Hurley remains one of the most respected and influential Irish musicians of this generation. Playing a somewhat backseat role on button accordion Des as part of ‘The Gemma Irving Trio’ was joined by Gemma Irving (guitar/vocals) and Ian Pearson(fiddle/vocals) and special guest, his long term musical ally, York’s own ‘legend’ Bill Fry (whistles/fiddle).


Event: Gig by Damian Fynes, Frank Pallister and Steve Campbell
Venue: Gillygate Pub, Saturday October 24th, 8.00pm
A Gig by folk musicians, Damian Fynes and Frank Pallister of Diad and Steve Campbell last seen performing together at our night at the Barbican! This was our first music night on a Saturday as we look to host these events more often on the weekend in the future.


York Irish Association AGM

Venue: York Brewery, Tap Room, Toft Green. Tuesday October 20th, 7.00pm

This was a chance for anyone who is interested to discuss what we have done in our first year and a half and input into our plans for the future. We had some really good feedback and suggestions to take forward for our work in 2016.


Event: York Irish Culture Night

Venue: York Barbican, Saturday 19th September

The York Irish Association were proud to host an Irish Culture Night at York Barbican on Saturday 19th September! The event featured a variety of performances including Irish singer and songwriter John Spillane as the headline act.

York Irish secured use of the venue as part of the lease agreement between City of York Council and the Barbican’s operators, SMG, where they offer a concessionary day’s hire of the venue to two community groups a year, one of us which is us this year!

As well as John Spillane there was an Irish dancing performance by the O’Connor Academy of Irish Dance and music performances from Paula Ryan, Steve Campbell, Damian Fynes, Frank Pallister, Brian Stafford and Josie Nugent. We were also honoured that the Irish Ambassador to Britain, Daniel Mulhall, gave a talk on the night. Elly Fiorentini from BBC Radio York who herself has Irish ancestory was the MC for the night.


Event: Irish History Talk
Venue: Bay Horse, Marygate, Wednesday 2nd September, 7.30pm
York Irish Committee Member, Jacob Murphy, gave a brilliant history talk on attempts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Jacob graduated with a distinction in MA History at Newcastle University and has given talks at the Tyneside Irish Festival recently


Event: York Irish History Walking Tour
Venue: Meet
at York Minster, Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th August 2015, 6-8pm
Walking tours of all the historic sites and streets of York with Irish connections by professional tour guide, John Powell. Thanks to John for the really insightful and entertaining tours which we will look to put on again in the future.


Event:  Traditional Music Session and Barbeque

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Wednesday 22nd July, 7.00pm

Our summer time traditional music session and barbeque in the Beer Garden at the Gillygate.
Event: Acomb Big Picnic
Venue: Acomb Green,
Saturday July 11th, 3.00pm – 5.00pm
This was a community event as part of the ADAM festival bringing together lots of local groups, businesses and free entertainment which were really glad to have been asked to be a part of. We provided some traditional Irish music courtesy of York Irish regulars, Steve Campbell and Damien Fynes and we also did some facepainting. 
Event: A Short Trip through Irish Music with James Joyce
Venue: St. Helen’s Church, Tuesday 16th June 2015, 6.30pm
Gerry Smyth and Matthew Campbell took us on a short trip through the history of Irish music, guided by that most musical of authors, James Joyce. Starting at Finnegans Wake, they move backwards through the canon, with examples from each of the major works, and finishing with selections from a new version of Joyce’s little known poetry book of 1907, Chamber Music. If you couldn’t be in Dublin on this day, this was the perfect way to experience Bloomsday. This event was hosted in partnership with the York Festival of Ideas.
Event: Traditional Session at the City of York Folk Weekend
Venue: Black Swan Pub, Peasholme Green, Friday 5th June, 8.00pm

We were delighted to have been asked to host a trad Irish session as part of the annual City of York Folk Weekend. The festival is two days and three nights of free music, song and dance at the Black Swan Inn and York Irish hosted a trad Irish session of music, song and spoken word on the first night of the festival.


Event: Irish Language Lecture

Venue: The Bay Horse, Marygate, Wednesday 6th May, 7.30pm

An informal lecture, presented by York Irish Committee member, Dr Ríona Nic Congáil, all about the Irish language from its Celtic roots to modern-day usage.


Event: Roisin Ban Gig

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Thursday 23rd April 2015, 7.30pm

A gig by traditional Irish music group, Roisin Ban. There was a great atmosphere for what was a brilliant traditional set by the group.


Event: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Tuesday 17th March, 7.30pm

Live Irish music by folk group, Over the Yardarm, at the Gillygate pub to round off the St. Patrick’s celebrations in style!


Event: Irish Themed Pub Quiz

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, Monday 16th March, 8.30pm

We continued our St. Patrick’s celebrations with great craic at the Gillygate Irish themed speed pub quiz and the York Irish teams didn’t embarrass ourselves! The regular speed pub quiz takes place every Monday at 8.30pm.


Event: St. Patrick’s Weekend Festival

Venue: St. Sampson’s Square, March 14th-15th, 2015

We hosted York’s first ever St Patrick’s weekend festival in St. Sampson’s Square, York City Centre, this year on the 14th-15th of March. It was a great weekend out for all of the family with live music, poetry, dancing, talks, face paint ing and children’s storytelling. It was great to make a little bit of history by celebrating Irish culture and the unique connections between York and Ireland on such a scale in the city.


Event: York Irish Archives Day

Venue: York Explore Library and Archives, Saturday 28th February 10-12am and 2-4pm

Insightful and eye-opening day looking through archives such as newspapers from the 19th century, old maps, electoral records, and much more at our York Irish Archives Day. A few attendees even located records on their Irish ancestors in York! A massive thank you to all those who attended and to Justine and Sarah at York Explore Library.


Past Event: York Irish Traditional Music Session
Venue: The Gillygate Pub, 26th February, 7.30pm
A traditonal Irish and folk music session at the Gillygate. Some great music by local musicians.


Event: Paula Ryan Gig

Venue: The Gillygate Pub, 29th January 2015, 7.30pm

A great night was had by all listening to the fantastic traditional musician and folk singer, Paula Ryan. Fresh from her tour of the USA, Paula’s music was a great way to kick off our activities for the new year. Check out Paula’s website here.


Event: York Irish Christmas Night!

Venue: Bay Horse Marygate, December 12th, 2014
We had a great night celebrating Christmas in style with our first ever York Irish Christmas party which consisted of a three course meal, a raffle and music from the brilliant, 2 Bob, in the Bay Horse, Marygate.


Event: Social trip to Irish Play “Stones in His Pockets” at The Grand Opera House, York,  5 November 2014


Event:  A history talk “John Bull’s Other Island” – A Troubled Relationship AD 600 – 1916  by Joseph Patrick Oakley, 28th October 2014


Event: York Irish music night in the Bay Horse on Marygate, 17th September 2014


Event: A Talk on “The History of Irish People in York” by Local historian Malcolm Walker, 31st July 2014