Irish Screen America Festival – NY Friday September 30th through Sunday October 2nd. – NYU Cantor Film Center

How it’s New York: At the Cantor Film Center at New York University
How it’s Irish: Presenting the best of current Irish Film and Media

Print   I had a blast covering the 2016 Irish Screen America Festival in New York at the NYU Cantor Film Center. 

The Festival is the brainchild of Irish film-maker/producer Niall McKay and his Deputy Director Clodagh Bowyer.  There was an entertaining collection of films, shorts, television and an insight-filled panel discussion to boot.  Have a look at their trailer to get a taste of what they are about.

Irish Screen America Trailer


Podcast #32: Ciaran Byrne on ‘Public Morals’

How it’s New York: Actor Ciaran Byrne lives in NYC, and has appeared in NYC’s Irish Repertory Theatre.rssheadphones
How it’s Irish: Byrne is from Newry, and the show ‘Public Morals’ is about Irish-American cops and gangsters.

We spoke to Ciaran Byrne about his life as an actor, and about “Public Morals,” which begins on Tuesday. Aug. 25, on TNT. The show, created by Ed Burns, stars Brian Dennehy, and is set in New York during the 1960s.

Ciaran Byrne

Ciaran Byrne

Featured tune is from Dylan Foley  and Dan Brown, from their new CD “Irish Music from the Hudson Valley,” which pays tribute to the Hudson Valley Scene where they both grew up. It’s a great CD– pick it up at Bandcamp!

Video after the jump… (more…)

Podcast #29: Chef Kevin Dundon

How it’s New York: Kevin Dundon’s new show is airing on WLIW, presented by WNET. Also, in the New York area, we have easy access to the fresh foods Kevin says make all the difference.
How it’s Irish: Kevin is from Wexford, and he’s a fan and an expert on the best of Irish cooking. Food in Ireland is great these days… yet another reason to go!

Kevin Dundon is back for his second PBS series, “Kevin Dundon’s Back to Basics,” which begins airing on Friday, March 13. In the show, he will take the viewer from poaching an egg to mastering a soufflé and more. “Back to Basics” follows his first series, the acclaimed “Modern Irish Food,” and PBS is showing a marathon of them both on Saturday, March 14, and on Sunday, March 15. For recipes and more on Kevin, visit More information can be found at The featured tune is from Cape Breton fiddleer, Gillian Head, from her new CD, “Spirit.”

Kevin Dundon PR Photo 2015

Simon Says – An Informal Interview with an Informal Media Personality

How it’s New York: because Simon Doonan lives in NYC. simon doonan

How it’s Irish: because Doonan is a son of Reading, Berkshire, England, with Belfast, Ireland relations.

Simon Doonan – writer (Slate; Confessions of a Window Dresser; Wacky Chicks; Beautiful People; Eccentric Glamour; Gay Men Don’t Get Fat; and Fashion Asylum), bon-vivant, media personality, fashion commentator, window dresser extraordinaire, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York – interrupted his fabulous travels to chat with me.

Suze: What do you wish to do with your designs/creations/critiques? To instruct, to inspire, to shame-into-submission, to tell the truth?

I prefer to celebrate people’s idiosyncrasies and encourage them to be wacky and uninhibited.

SD: My goal is always to liberate people so that they feel confident to express themselves. I never make critical or disdainful remarks. I prefer to celebrate people’s idiosyncrasies and encourage them to be wacky and uninhibited.  [See also Doonan’s yawn over Kim Kardashian’s caboose in “Shocked? Shocked!” Slate – suze]

Suze: Has your Celtic/British background contributed to your personality or outlook?
SD: I think growing up in the UK made me rebellious. I reject conventional ideas. I appreciate designers like Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo .

Suze: What or who inspired/inspires your personal fashion and style?
SD: I am inspired by people who have their own style and defy convention: Tilda, Gaga, Daphne Guinness, Elvis, Cher…you know who I’m talking about. (more…)

“Howie the Rookie” sizzles at BAM

How it’s New York: Playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the violent youth is something New Yorkers know too.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Mark O'Rowe's Howie the Rookie  ©Patrick Redmond

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Mark O’Rowe’s Howie the Rookie ©Patrick Redmond

How it’s Irish: Written by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe and set in Dublin

Watching the electric performance by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as The Howie Lee and The Rookie Lee in this powerful tone poem of a piece was exhilarating and exhausting!

Set in Dublin, the play centers on the rivalries and violence surround a group of friends from the scruffier side of town.

It had only five performances, from Dec.10-through Dec. 14 as part of the Next Wave Festival.

Vaughan-Lawlor, best known currently for his tour de force performance as “Nidge” in popular Irish TV Drama “Love/Hate”, practically dances through the rapid fire dialaogue. 

Performing on a bare stage, in just a t-hirt and jeans, the vibrant words of O’Rowe literally sizzle forth from Vaughan-Lawlor as he paints the pictures of the joy riding, violent and even sexy exploits of Howie and his cohorts.


InteReview: Joanie Madden and Cherish welcome all to an Irish Homecoming

How it’s New York: Joanie Madden lives in Yonkers and the band are often seen in the Tri-State area.ctl-nov2011 And they are playing their “Celtic Christmas” show at SOPAC in New Jersey, in Connecticut, and elsewhere this winter! Check tour dates here!
How it’s Irish: Cherish play Irish and some Irish-American and Scottish tunes. Plus ties to the country are mostly second-generation.

A version of this article was originally published in
Irish Music Magazine.


Get your knitting needles out: Joanie Madden may need some hats to keep her head from getting so big it flies off her head. Just look at some of the accomplishments the whistle-playing leader of Cherish the Ladies has had recently: she’s won a $50,000 USA Fellowship from United States Artists, which classifies her as one of the 54 most creative and influential artists in America.  On top of that, the public television special “Cherish the Ladies: An Irish Homecoming” has won an Emmy, though it has not yet aired in the New York area. Her “Folk n’ Irish” cruise is in its third successful year—last year had over 500 trad-loving attendees, so if you want to go in February, get your tickets now. I know I’m counting my pennies . She’s the youngest member inducted into both the Irish-American Musicians Hall of Fame and the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Hall of Fame. In 2011, she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award shared by six United States Presidents. And, though this is older news, in 2010 Joanie had a street named after her in the Bronx and is in the Bronx Hall of Fame. She doesn’t boast about it, but she probably got a zillion more fans when she was featured on the soundtrack for BBC America’s show “Copper,” scored by Brian Keane, a show set in New York’s Five Points during the Civil War era, that just concluded its second season.


And nobody deserves it more. She’s determined that everybody who comes to see her or Cherish perform is going to leave with a smile. The live CD, which is now only available on the Cherish website, conveys that joy beautifully.

“You’re part of the show. You heard that you’ve gotta laugh with me, right?”

she exhorts the audience, who do, and then the Cherish gals go into “The Boat to Boffin,” a jig that is one of Joanie’s own compositions.

“Here we go,”

she says, and off the tune goes, and you have to smile. When it goes into a fast reel Joanie says “whoo,” and the crowd claps. Then come the live clacking of the heels of the dancers on the show, and the crowd gasps.  The music drops out and you only hear the dancers, before Joanie counts the girls back in.

You’d better not put it on before bed. You’ll feel too lively.

The CD is beautifully modulated between such lively numbers and more pensive songsand tunes, such as Kathleen Boyle’s keyboards on “The Homecoming.”

Right now, because of the agreement with PBS, the CD is only available through Cherish, by emailing

There are some YouTube clips though, including this one with Joanie talking about what the band does:


Pumpkins in space. No really.

How it’s New York: Pumpkin-flavored coffee at every Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have become a sign of October.
How it’s Irish: Yes! It’s true! the flying pumpkin was grown in Ireland!
To Boldly go Where no Pumpkin has Gone Before! (via PR Newswire)

Download image DUBLIN, October 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —   Total Produce launches the video “Pumpkins In Space!” to celebrate their new Smartphone App, the “TOP Fruit Hub” Halloween is famous for pumpkins, but one Irish grown pumpkin called ‘Patches…


Celebrity Irish chef Kevin Dundon hits NYC big time with PBS

How it’s New York: Eating out is a major New York activity, and we’ve got a lot of great restaurants here.
Kevin Dundon, ©Alan Murphy

Kevin Dundon, ©Alan Murphy

How it’s Irish: Kevin Dundon is a celebrity Irish chef, and author of the book “Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food.”

Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food New Public Television Series Celebrates Ireland’s Food and History with Modern Twists on Traditional Recipes (via PR Newswire)

Premieres nationally beginning October 2013 (check local listings) NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food puts a modern spin on the celebrated dishes of Irish culture. “Chef of the people” and series host…


Award Winners Olympia Dukakis, Debra Messing, Doug Hughes to Laud John Patrick Shanley at 2013 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

How it’s New York: It’s just north of Times Square, named for a guy who was born in Times Square, honoring a guy from The Bronx and organized by a New York-based organization.  And it will feature that treasured New York institution–an open bar.

How it’s Irish: It ain’t–it’s Irish American! The award is named for a towering Irish American literary figure, given to a supremely talented Irish American writer by an organization that has “Irish American” in its name.  And it will be crawling with the likes on Malachy McCourt, Peter Quinn, TJ English, Michael O’Keefe, Mary Pat Kelly, Ashley Davis and William Kennedy–meaning there will be two Pulitzer Prize winners in the house!


Oscar-, Tony-, and Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Writer and Irish American to be Honored in NYC on October 21st

Shanley, John Patrick - photo by Monique Carboni

Academy-Award winner Olympia Dukakis and Emmy-Award winner Debra Messing will join renowned theatre and film director and Tony-Award-winner Doug Hughes to toast the career of playwright, screenwriter, and film director, John Patrick Shanley, at the Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award celebration on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street), New York City, starting at 6 p.m.

Debra Messing

“Like Marlon Brando did to acting, John Shanley entered the theatre world and shook it to its core, Debra Messing said. “His voice is  powerful and distinct, by turns kinetic and lyrical. He is prolific and expansive. A gift to us all.”

John Patrick Shanley, winner of the artistic “trifecta” of a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar and a Tony Award will add the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to his list of honors at the Irish American Writers & Artists annual celebration. He has written over 20 plays including Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Savage in Limbo.  For his play, Doubt, he received both a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize.  As a screenwriter he received an Academy Award for best original screenplay for Moonstruck.  The film version of Doubt, in which he directed Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

“John Patrick Shanley shares a great deal with Eugene O’Neill,” said Doug Hughes, who will present the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to Shanley,

“an Irish-American upbringing, a staggeringly varied body of astonishing work, and a fine indifference to popular and critical whims.  Just as O’Neill did, John set out to become an essential American dramatic poet.  He has succeeded.  It’s fitting that we honor him with an award named for our nation’s greatest playwright.” (more…)

Copper recap: The Children of the Battlefield

How it’s New York: COPPER takes place in New York, in the infamous Five Points that were depicted in Gangs of New York
How it’s Irish: The protagonist of the show is an Irish cop, and this season, more than before, the series takes on the plight of Irish immigrants in 1860s New York.

Here’s a recap of last week’s episode, so you’ll be all caught up for tonight’s! If you haven’t been watching this terrific BBC America series about Irish cops (OK, and some others) in Five Points during the Civil War Era, you’re missing out: it’s like Law & Order meets Masterpiece Theatre 

Kevin and O’Brien arrest a bad recruiter, in the hunt to find the person who kidnapped the missing McGrath boys. They throw him into the “suite,” a hole in a jail, and pee on him. Maybe the pee is made of acid because he sure does scream. Eventually he confesses how he recruited people for the Union army and later began to drug them, as Kevin and the others throw buckets of water on him. He tells the story of how his partner, John Smith,  tipped him off to the brothers, and then hired some big Bavarian goon to take his spot. When the brothers began struggling, the goon beat him up, and he ran off. But the boss, O’Sullivan, declines to go after the guy’s partner.

On Elizabeth’s wedding day she’s delivering a message to Kennedy in jail, because you know, she was in on the whole “let’s burn NY thing” that he’s been jailed for. He  advises her not to keep secrets from her intended. Does she think

Annie is still trying to act wifely to Kevin, chopping vegetables. He’s ‘s friendlier to his wife, Ellen,  after they had sex last week. He tells her there

Kevin and Ellen laugh about the days before they were married.

Kevin and Ellen laugh about the days before they were married.

will be a Ceili at the wedding Callahans after the wedding and he asks her to go with him, and  gives her a kiss on the cheek after they reminisce about their first date. Annie grumpily chops away. That girl is like Claudia in Interview with the Vampire; her knowingness is just unsettling.

And another couple is all happy after the sex last week: Matthew and Sara Freeman. She says she wants to make new memories as she helps move into the new place, but she flashes back to the site of her brother being lynched. Later he smiles to hear her singing as she washes the dishes. Boy that pep talk from Frederick Douglas did her a world of good, because when there’s a knock on the door she even makes a point of answering it herself. Madame Eva, the whore, arrives with a welcome basket. Despite her murder of Molly last season, she’s grown on me. Sara dresses up for the wedding but needs convincing from Matthew to go to it. He talks about how perfect the gown she created is (Lincoln’s dressmaker, anyone?), there will be dancing, it will be wonderful– but what really convinces her is when he tells her that Major Morehouse has agreed to help in the search for her mother. She’s sold, but Matthew can’t find out where, and the major’s efforts are the last and best resort.

Maguire is doing good at strongarming business owners for The Druids. He’s all tidy and shaved now that he’s out of jail, but I liked him with better with longer hair. The sideburns make his pretty face look too wide. He insists on seeing O’Rourke, who is biting a piece of rope before he mutters, in a Northern Irish accent, “You enter at your own risk.” He dismisses Seamus, and asks Maguire what he wants. What he wants is to be more than a delivery boy, he says. But O’Rourke is all “once a cop, always a cop,” which is a lot smarter than the folks beyond the wall in Game of Thrones, after all, and tells Maguire he’ll only be convinced if he takes out one of his own. Maguire says he has just the fella in mind (Wait, O’Rourke! Jon Snow did that too! It’s not foolproof!).


Robert teases Elizabeth that he thought she’d run off, then kisses her. I still don’t know what she’s doing with him. (more…)

“Irish” Seanie Monaghan Signs with Hall-of-Fame Boxing Promoter


P.J. Kavanaugh

by John Kearns

How it’s New York:The announcement of Seanie Monaghan’s signing with Top Rank took place at New York’s legendary Friar’s Club.
How it’s Irish: Boxer “Irish” Seanie Monaghan is the son of parents from County Meath.  His manager, P.J. Kavanagh hails from County Kildare.

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Top Rank announced the signing of undefeated light heavyweight contender “Irish” Seanie Monaghan at the New York Media Luncheon held in the Milton Berle Room of the celebrated Friar’s Club.


A few laughs before the press conference

A native of Long Beach, New York, “Irish” Seanie Monaghan is one of the top gate attractions in New York boxing.  Monaghan has earned an undefeated record of 18-0 with 11 knockouts.  He captured the World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas light heavyweight title on June 14, 2012, via an eighth-round technical knockout of Romaro Johnson and successfully defended it last October 24, winning a unanimous decision over Rayco Sanders. Known for his aggressive style and good punching power, especially to the body, Monaghan, 31, is currently world-rated No. 11 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 20 by the WBC.

Irish” Seanie Monaghan will defend his championship against Anthony Caputo-Smith on October 12th at the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  The event will be broadcast on pay-per-view in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.  Other telecasts will bring the fight all over the world, including Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Latin America

Hall-of-Fame promoter Bob Arum stated that he had been scouting the first generation Irish-American boxer for over a year.  After the big fight in Las Vegas, Arum plans to bring Monaghan back to New York City for a bout in the Theater of Madison Square Garden and predicted that Monaghan would contend for a world championship within a year.  He plans to have Monaghan fight in the full Madison Square Garden and possibly at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey.


Bob Arum


Guardian columnist slams Rep. Peter King on CNN

Peter King

Peter King

How it’s New York: Peter King is a NY congressman
How it’s Irish: King has been a supporter of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Remember how we posted an article on this recently? Well here’s an update– the news may be old but the story keeps going!

Glenn Greenwald slams Rep. Peter King: He supported terrorism for decades (via Raw Story )

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald on Wednesday night ripped into Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and pointed out the congressman’s support of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Greenwald told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it was “staggering” to see King call for him to face criminal charges for reporting…


Irish Arts Center on WNET THIRTEEN tonight at 8!

How it’s New York: Irish Arts Center is one of the best performing arts venues in the city, and a home away from home for lots of us. IAC often Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 7.04.29 PMcollaborates with other ethnic groups, in true melting pot/NY fashion. AND, what could be more NY than channel 13? Channel 13, after all, even got a shout-out in a Billy Joel song.
How it’s Irish:  Irish Arts Center is Irish of course, as are so many of the artists that come through there.

We cover the Irish Arts Center very often here (though New York Irish Arts is not affiliated, the two shared words notwithstanding) and have mixed feelings about the rest of the wide world knowing about it. It’s great for the center for more people to know about it, especially as they go into the process of building their new home around the corner. But it was also fun having a little insidery-knowledge. We like to feel in the know.

Well, after tonight, more people should be there too. Irish Arts Center is featured on tonight’s episode of NYC-ARTS on Thirteen. If you miss it tonight at 8, you can catch it again on Sunday, May 26, at noon, and the entire episode can be watched as well on the NYC-ARTS website.

Irish Arts Center is on 51st, between 10th and 11th (closer to 11th), just around the corner from The Daily Show. It was founded in 1972. Affiliated starry types include film director Jim Sheridan  and honorary board chairs Gabriel Byrne (Vikings, anyone? listen to our podcast with Gabriel and with Jim Sheridan, here) and Liam Neeson. The center has three core areas: performance, visual and cultural exhibitions that tell the evolving Irish story, and education.

Want to learn bodhán? Go to IAC. Step-dancing? Ditto. See a new play (like These Halcyon Days by Deirdre Kinahan, running through June2)? Check.  (more…)

What’s in a name: Paddy Wagon

How it’s New York: With so many different cultures descending on New York, language pretty much fascinates everybody here.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
How it’s Irish: This interesting column from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel began with the use of the term “paddy wagon,” around St. Patrick’s Day.
Some familiar TV news phrases are offensive, or lazy – or both (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Reporter’s use of ‘paddy wagon’ riles reader For me, St. Patrick’s Day is an excuse to cook for and drink with friends. This year, I downloaded Irish music onto my iPhone to play during our gathering. Which is how the Irish Rovers’ song “The Unicorn” got on my phone in the first place. Why it – of…