Campaigner Lorraine Maher
The London-based national charity and membership network Irish in Britain has launched a new digital series for St Patrick’s Day called, We are the Irish in Britain: County Connections.
Through 32 short videos participants talk about the Irish county or counties they have a connection to, sometimes sharing a favourite spot from their county and a message for other Irish people in Britain after a year like no other.
Lorraine Maher, raised in Carrick-on-Suir, now of London, represents Tipperary in the series. Lorraine is founder and director of IAmIRish.org – a campaign that envisages an equitable and inclusive Irish society, where Irish people of mixed ethnicity and mixed heritage are fully represented in all aspects of the global Irish experience.
Lorraine shares her favourite spots in Carrick and across Tipperary, including the Rock of Cashel, Ormond Castle and Slievenamon. She gives a powerful and engaging St Patrick’s message about the lessons of his welcome into Ireland, despite being a stranger in a foreign land.
The series is about celebration and connection, as well as reflection. Participants includes poets and politicians, campaigners and comedians, nurses and broadcasters, as well as business, GA and charity leaders.
They weave an impression of the many ways Irish people contribute to the rich tapestry that is Britain in 2021.
Participants include broadcaster Bridgerton actor Jamie Beamish (Waterford), Andrea Catherwood (Antrim), chef and restaurateur Richard Corrigan (Meath), Conor McGinn MP (Armagh) and former London football manager Paul Coggins (Roscommon).
Many others in the series also have Tipperary roots and links, including poet Ian Duhig (Limerick), John Delahunty (Fermanagh), John Nolan (Carlow) and the series co-ordinator Ruairí Cullen.
The messages include calls for diversity and inclusion, recognising the difficulties of the last year in terms of mental health, getting involved in your local community, and looking ahead to next year’s St Patrick’s Day when restrictions will have hopefully been reduced.
Irish in Britain CEO, Brian Dalton, said: “St Patrick’s Day is a time for Irish people everywhere to renew and affirm our connections to each other, a remembering and celebration of kinship. We thank everyone who has contributed to this different but important St Patrick’s Day project.”
Mayo representative Caroline Brogan, trustee at Birmingham Irish Association and part of the legal team who supported the family of Margaret Keane, said: “This is Irish in Britain at its best: bringing the diaspora together, even when we’re apart. It’s been great to take part and celebrate the heritage and culture of every Irish county.”
Conor McGinn MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland and the Irish in Britain, said: “The new County Connections initiative is a wonderful way to celebrate the strong links we all share with places that are special to us in Ireland.
“When many of us are missing loved ones and have not been able to get home for a year, it’s a nice way to bring together our Irish community here in Britain as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day.”
Irish in Britain have been sharing the videos on their website www.irishinbritain.org and social media channels @irishinbritain from March 3, 2021.