Introduction

from Pam Schweitzer

For this project, we interviewed older Irish people across London about their memories of growing up in mainly rural Ireland and leaving for England in search of work. They joined brothers and sisters and worked in the building trade, nursing, catering, hotel and domestic work. Their stories tell of the importance of the Catholic church and the Irish clubs in catering for their spiritual and social needs, their courting days in the Irish dance halls and of settling down over here. Many speak of bringing their children up in London, but wishing to imbue them with a sense of their Irishness through visits ‘home’ and through a love of traditional Irish music and dance.

The theatre production we made from these memories in 1989  toured Irish communities in London, Liverpool, Glasgow and other cities. It then travelled to Holland and Germany. Among the most memorable parts of the tour were performances given in Ireland, north and south, where the stories of the London Irish experience awoke many memories of brothers, sisters, cousins and children who had left and the pain of separation suffered by so many on both sides of the Irish Sea.

A book of the production was also made...

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Introduction' page

This page was added by Heather Lilley on 05/02/2013.