With St Patrick’s Day fast approaching a local author wants to gauge the interest in starting an Irish Society in Hastings and St Leonards.
Sean O’Shea, who wrote an informative and entertaining guide to the Old Town music scene, said: “Hastings has a strong musical culture and Irish music is a valued part of this tradition.
“The Hastings Fleadh is now a regular and well attended annual event and the town has its own branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eirean which promotes traditional Irish music.
“There is also an Irish literary connection with the writer Robert Tressell, celebrated as one of Hastings’s favourite writers, and widely known for his novel, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists.
“So given this appreciation of aspects of Irish culture, and the fact that there’s a sizeable Irish population living here, how come there isn’t an Irish Society as there is in other towns with a comparable Irish demographic?
This is a question that was frequently put to me as I went about conducting interviews for my recently published book, Hastings Old Town Music Scene.
“I didn’t have a pat answer to the enquiry but the question stayed with me. So I thought I’d ask readers with an Irish background, and those with an interest in Irish culture, if they would be interested in participating in such a society or network.
“Commonly run on a voluntary, not-for-profit basis such associations provide members with an opportunity to meet up, socialise and enjoy common cultural interests.
“They also act as a focal point for information sharing, networking and collaboration.
“Activities developed reflect the wishes of members and may include book clubs, writing workshops, study circles and miscellaneous other recreational and educational pursuits.
“If you would be interested in exploring aspects of Irish culture with like-minded people please contact me at email@example.com with some information about yourself, your interests and what you might be willing to contribute.
“If there are particular subjects that appeal to you, such as Irish literature, history, drama, film, art; or if you have particular skills to offer e.g. hosting activities, organising events, experience in the use of social media etc – do mention these.
“If you have specialist knowledge about the history and composition of the local Irish community, or information about relevant sources, I’d be keen to hear from you.
“Some of my own interests include the history of the Irish community in Hastings, Celtic mythology and contemporary Irish writing.
“I will be in touch with those who contact me in due course to let people know what response I receive to this enquiry.”
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