Minister Brophy announces To Be Irish programme, an initiative to connect our global diaspora

8th December 2020 - Colm Brophy TD

Today, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D. announced details of an exciting programme of events streamed at tobeirish.ie. The aim is to connect our diaspora around the world during the holiday season.

The online platform allows us to share and swap our own special memories of Irish Christmases, and celebrate many of the things we love about being Irish.

Some highlights of the programme include:

  • Trad sessions and performances from Irish musicians living in various parts of the world. Be there for the first ever streaming of The Cobblestone sessions – an unmissable night of Irish music.
  • A special streaming of A Christmas Letter, the wonderfully festive animation about friendship and the magic of Christmas narrated by Kate Winslet and starring Fiona Shaw, as well as pantos from Dublin, Cork and Belfast and storytelling from Chester Beatty.
  • Cooking demonstrations for mince pies, Irish soda bread and more; featuring appearances from some of Ireland’s top culinary talents including Darina Allen and Catherine Fulvio.
  • Christmas concerts from around the country, choral events and midnight mass streamed from Christ Church Cathedral Dublin.
  • Renowned actor Gabriel Byrne will chat about his new book ‘Walking with Ghosts’ with Secretary General Niall Burgess, acclaimed writer Emma Donoghue joins her brother David Donoghue,  a former Ambassador to the UN, and two former journalists, author Colum McCann and Irish Ambassador to Kenya, Fionnuala Quinlan, whose lives have taken very different and remarkable paths discuss McCann’s latest novel Apeirogon, and their lives as Irish abroad.
  • In a specially commissioned piece for To Be Irish, District Magazine will team up writers with visual artists across both editorial and video to bring together different perspectives on what it means to be Irish at Christmas. Homecomingwill premiere on December 21st with narration from breakthrough artist Gemma Dunleavy and a score from the phenomenal James Vincent McMorrow.
  • Enjoy From The Heartland, a remote musical catch-up: sharing tunes, songs and conversation to usher in Christmas and the New Year featuring Danny Diamond (fiddle), Sheila Friel (uilleann piper) and Dara Yeates.
  • Christmases past and a world of documentaries and archive material from the Irish Film Institute, TG4 and RTÉ Archive.
  • The one and only Santa Claus will respond to Dear Santa letters received from Irish children across the world.
  • Support Irish businesses and give the gift of Ireland by visiting https://tobeirish.ie/gifting/.

Speaking today, Minister Colm Brophy said: “I am delighted to announce this exciting programme of events which will be available to everyone, both at home and abroad, during the festive period. From traditional music to pantos, cooking festive treats, to seeing the Irish landscape through a new perspective, there will be something for everyone in this programme.

There will be new material made especially for this project and we will also have access to archival material so you can revisit your own memories of Christmas past. We have a number of new initiatives such as ‘Dear Santa’ and ‘Things Remembered’, which we hope will create some new memories of an Irish Christmas. During a Christmas like no other, we hope that To Be Irish at Christmas can showcase Ireland at its best to the world.”

For more information visit tobeirish.ie.

 

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