I was lucky enough to take a trip to The Emerald Isle a couple of weeks ago with my cousin Sarah. I’ve been writing the script for our upcoming show ‘An Irish Welcome’, so this was a fantastic opportunity for me to explore and research Irish culture in preparation. This project is extremely close to my heart – my dad is from Ireland and we have a large extended family, so although this was a brilliant time to go for exploration purposes, it was also a great time for me to discover more of my roots and Irish heritage.
The trip was everything we hoped for and more. Not only because we timed it with the curfew in Ireland being lifted, but there was such a buzz about the place. If you’ve travelled to Ireland before you’ll know what good ‘craic’ you can have in an Irish bar. Despite losing to France in the rugby, the atmosphere was buzzing. The abundance of smiles and appreciation of life was enough to bring anyone down in the mouth into high spirits, (or maybe that was the Guinness!). There is something about wandering around a new city without any itinerary, not knowing what might be on the next street and discovering magic and traditions around each corner.
In between the singing, dancing and listening to live music, we visited cultural places and museums. One place I can highly recommend is the Little Leprechaun Museum – Deidre, our incredible storyteller, told us all about the traditions of folklore and the importance of stories in this land. It was a real privilege to explore the significance of myths and legends. It helped me to think about the stories the Irish community in Huddersfield have shared with us, and how to weave these stories together to create a meaningful performance for others.
After two years of no travel, the trip was a welcome break, full of wonderful experiences, laughter, conservations, stories and much needed joy. It has allowed me delve deep into Irish culture and informed my writing of the play. We can’t wait to share with you our performance ‘An Irish Welcome’, exploring what it is to be Irish in Huddersfield. The play has been supported by High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, HSHAZ, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging, and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.
‘An Irish Welcome’ will be performed on Friday 18 March, 7pm at the Irish Centre, Huddersfield. Tickets are free and you can book here.