22nd Sep, 2018

New exhibition tells story of Coventry's Irish Settlers

Felix Nobes 22nd Feb, 2018

A new exhibition will tell the stories of Irish families settling in Coventry over three decades.

‘Irish Heart, Coventry Home’ will be held at the Herbert Art Gallery for one month from Friday March 9.

The project is the result of 12 months of research from the Coventry Irish Society.

This evening event is open to the public and will include Irish musicians, actors, activities and storytelling in the medieval undercroft.

About 65 people who moved to the city from Ireland between 1940 and 1970 will feature in a 30 minute documentary put together by the society, who spent hundreds of hours with interviewees to understand their journey to Coventry.

It will also see a diverse collection of photographs and personal items which will go up on display to form what should be an enlightening exhibition.

The exhibition’s organisers and its interviewees will be able to share their stories further after being invited by the Ricoh Arena to watch their fellow Irish men and women compete against England in a Six Nations double-header at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, March 16.

England Women take on Ireland Women at 5.30pm, before England Under 20s play Ireland Under 20s at 8pm.

Simon McCarthy, manager of the Coventry Irish Society, said: “We are incredibly excited to be able to tell the fascinating story of so many people who have contributed massively to the culture, infrastructure and history of Coventry after moving from Ireland.

“The most successful element of the project has been the breadth of our interviewees.

“We have spoken to a wide variety of people including poets, builders, teachers, musicians and more.

“Furthermore, we are pleased to have involved so many female interviewees.

“Women are sometimes left out of narratives of Irish migration, even though they came to England in significant numbers.”

Francis Ranford, cultural and creative director at Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “We are passionate about showing exhibitions which reflect the vibrant and diverse history of Coventry.

“This display is an honest representation of the experiences of Irish families settling in the city, and how the community has been instrumental in shaping the Coventry we know today and we are delighted to have the exhibition on display this spring.”

The ‘Irish Heart, Coventry Home’ project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as Cork City Council, the Deeley Group and Coventry City Council with a four strong steering group helping bring the exhibition together alongside Project Officer Ciaran Davis.

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