The Queens College Irish Oral History Project
Date : Wednesday Oct 16
Venue : The Hunt Museum
Time: Doors at 5.30pm
They were new arrivals, support system go-betweens, business owners, bartenders, nannies, construction workers, politicians, housewives, artists & writers, gangsters, policemen & firemen: in short, they were the Irish and Irish-Americans who emigrated to or settled and grew up in New York in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and contributed so much to the life of today’s New York.
The Queens College Irish Studies Program at the City University of New York has embarked upon an unprecedented oral history project which captures the fascinating and often challenging lives these men and women forged for themselves. Under the directorship of Eileen Sprague, and the aegis of Queens College and Queens Library, local historians are capturing these individuals’ memories, archiving the interviews and making edited versions available at qcirishstudies.org
I.NY welcomes Niamh O’Brien to open The Annie Moore Talks series with a presentation and open conversation about the Queens College Oral History Project. Niamh is a harp player, singer and composer from Kildimo, County Limerick. She worked as a researcher and producer on the Irish in New York Oral History Project, having studied at the Irish World Academy, UL, and Sibelius Academy for the Arts, Helsinki. She has recorded and performed across Europe and the USA with various groups including The Chieftains, AnTara and Alyth McCormack.
Featured in Niamh’s presentation will be clips from numerous series’ of interviews collected by the project, from “A Life Across the Ocean” which presents the experiences of an older generation who made the journey to NY in throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s, to “J1” which explores the lives of Irish J1 visa holders in the city today. The presentation will be followed by an audience Q&A.
The Annie Moore Talks series is named for the 17-year old girl from Cork who was the first immigrant through Ellis Island when it opened on New Year’s Day in 1892. Immortalised on both Ellis Island and in Cobh, Co Cork, where bronze statues of her and her brothers look across the Atlantic to their future in New York and back to their past in Ireland, her story in America is now one of mystery and sometime controversy.
Adopting her name for the I.NY talks series places her as the first of tens of thousands of Irish immigrants to pass through that unique building and onto the streets of New York. Her name opens the series up to all of their stories – from art to politics, crime to religion, success and failure, life and death.
The 2019 Annie Moore Talks welcome speakers and panellists from Ireland and New York discussing music, heritage, literature, politics, sport, film and more.