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As the curtain comes down on an eventful 2019, the Felling Irish Association can look back on their year’s work with a genuine sense of pride. In their decennial year of good deed doing, the association have continued on their mission to combat loneliness in the local and surrounding areas through the organisation of a host of day trips and social events. This year’s packed social calendar saw the Felling Irish and its members take busloads of locals on a variety of excursions across the region. Notable days out included a spring trip for senior citizens to South Shields’ award winning seaside chippy, Coleman’s, with the association picking up the bill for those on board. There was also an intergenerational trip to the sun-kissed wonders of Alnwick Gardens during the summer, and a more autumnal, November day out at Beamish Museum: a living, working window into times past in the North East of England.
When quizzed about the aim of such
trips, charismatic chairman and founder of the Irish Felling Association, Des
Costello, said, “The idea behind these trips is to help get lonely and
vulnerable people in the community out of their homes and sharing interesting
experiences with each other. Originally, these trips were organised for senior
citizens, but this year’s inclusion of a more intergenerational social calendar
has really had a positive impact, with different generations mixing, looking
after each other and generally having a good time. It’s been great to see.”
In an attempt to be as inclusive as possible, the association also reaches out to those in sheltered accommodation who may not have the ability to attend such events. Over the course of the year, over 20 tea dances have been organised by different shelters, providing lunch, refreshments and musical entertainment, again in an attempt to bring smiles to the faces of some of the more isolated members of society.
While the day trips and tea dances play
a large role in the association’s quest to combat loneliness in community, this
is by no means their only focus. As their name might suggest, another major aim
of the Felling Irish Association is to promote Irish culture and traditions while
raising money for good causes. Their annual St Patrick’s Day Celebration kick
started this year’s calendar of evening events with entertainment provided by
the Kelly Hendry School of Irish Dance, who boast
three world champions within their
ranks, and live music from traditional Irish band, The Emerald Thieves
(pronounced teaves, of course). This time round, all money raised was used to
sponsor a young member of the Association from Cardinal Hulme School, to help
fund their school-building trip to Nepal. Other nights throughout the year
aimed to raise money for other noble causes and charitable organisations such
as Guide Dogs for the Blind, again with the Kelly Hendry School of Dance
showcasing their talents at both events.
As the New Year approaches, the Felling Irish Association are keen to press forward with their work and have already announced a provisional social calendar for 2020 that far exceeds this year’s efforts, “Having applied for further funding from the National Lottery, we’ve already provisionally penned in the same day trips as last year with the intention of adding some different destinations as we go along,” said founder, Des, “Some of this year’s events were oversubscribed, so there’s also the possibility of putting more transport on to make sure all that want to attend, can.”
There is also talk of the association
setting up a form of bereavement counselling for local residents who are
dealing with the loss of a loved one, but as Des notes, this again depends on
being granted funding from the local council, “Should we be successful with our
bid, were hoping to employ 6 – 8 councillors who will be able to help people
through what can be an incredibly difficult period. But we’ll have to wait and
see on that one. I do have to say a big thank you to organisations like the
National Lottery, as without their support, we would find it very difficult to
continue with our work.”
For a full rundown of what has gone
before and what is coming up in 2020, please visit the association’s website: http://thefellingirish.co.uk/.
Alternatively, you can contact Des Costello directly on (0191) 469 4476.
The Felling Irish Association presented a fantastic event displaying the best of Irish Culture at the Holly Hill Social Club on Saturday 16th Mach 2019.
The highly talented Emerland Thieves band treated the audience to wonderful Irish music. The Kelly Hendry School of Dancing showcased the talents that have made them world champion Irish dancers.
The event was a ended by all ages from children in push- chairs to some of our more senior members of the community. A big thank you goes to the National Lottery for their sponsorship, the Committee of the Felling Irish Association for their hard work and especially to Des Costello the Chairman who unfortunately was too ill to see all of his hard work come to fruition on the night.
The feedback was tremendous. It was a great night showcasing the best of Irish culture.
The Felling Irish Association were proud to sponsor a trophy for the 1st Annual Kelly Hendry Feis, held at the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th February. The Irish Dancing competition was open to schools from all around the world judged by an international team of adjudicators. There was a fantastic buzz of excitement throughout the venue as the place was bursting with competitors, parents, teachers and spectators from across the world. Cups and Trophies were awarded to the winners of each category across a variety of age ranges. The Felling Irish Association’s Youth Officer, 16 year old Rebecca Rutland, was delighted to present their sponsored cup to the winner of the Over 15 Intermediate and Preliminary category, Erin McLaughlin from the Boyle School in Glasgow. The whole event was a tremendous success and Kelly was keen to thank all who had made it such a momentous occasion. Further information and photos from the Feis can be found on the Facebook page, Kelly Hendry Feis.
South of the Tyne Irish Drama Group part of the Felling Irish Association
New community theatre based on an old Irish song. Followed by a ceili with
The Geordie Shamrocks
Thursday 10th July, Felling Community Centre
Friday 11th July, Hollyhill Social Club
A new piece of community theatre, created by members of the South of Tyne Drama Group, part of the Felling Irish Association and The South of the Tyne Irish Society, tells the story of Tim Finnegan, an unfortunate Irish bricklayer, through song, dance, poetry and music. After an evening at Dirty Nelly’s Tim is late for work. Eventually he makes it to the construction site only to have his day take a turn for the worse as he falls from a ladder. Grief stricken his family and friends gather for Tim’s wake. However all is not what it seems.
Can whiskey and porter raise Tim from the dead?
All for Me Grog
All for me grog me jolly jolly grog,
All for me beer and tobacco,
For all I spent all my tin on the lassie drinking gin,
Far across the western ocean I must wander.
Whack fol de da now dance to yer partner,
Around the flor yer trotters shake,
Wasn’t It the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan’s Wake.
Cap-a-Pie have been working with the Felling Irish Association to devise, write and perform a new community play – Finnegan’s wake. People of all ages have been exploring their history and heritage and taking inspiration from a traditional Irish song – Finnegan’s wake to create a new performance drawing on their musical, dancing, acting and singing talents.
Created and Performed by
Turns at Ceili performed by
Brad McCormick: Director
Katy Vanden Hehir: Musical Director
Matthew Jones: Musician
What is a ‘Wake’?
George Law – local historian
In Ireland, the traditional wake is still carried out. Soon after a death, word of mouth will spread te news and neighbours, relations and friends will attend the house as soon as they hear. Neighbours will help in preparing food and tea as well as alcoholic beverages. The corpse will be laid out, normally covered in a white shee and laid on their own bed. The corpse is never left alone, A wake was an occasion that mixed gaiety with sadness. Clocks were stopped and mirrors either removed or turned around. After the corpse had been laid out the women would begin to wail ‘Why did he have to die?’ and other similar comments. Music and singing made the week feel more like a party. Cards were often played – with a hand dealt for the deceased.
This project is kindly supported using the public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Gateshead Council. The team give special thanks to the Felling Irish Association, Peter Mole MBE, Gem Arts, Regional Youth Work Unit, Gateshead Council, Hollyhill Social Club, Felling Community Centre, Ouseburn Farm for lend of high vis vests, Gateshead Diversity Forum, Windy Nook Methodist Church, Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, Gateshead Heritage Group, NE1 Irish, The Irish World.
The Felling Irish Association will be taking a group to Mass at St. Michael’s RC Church, Elswick for the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass on Friday 17th March 2017. Bus will leave Holly Hill Club, Felling at 9.30am to take group to Mass which starts at 10.30. After Mass, the bus will take the group to Jurys Inn, Gateshead for an Irish Breakfast and entertainment from 12-3pm. Bus will then return members to Felling Square. Places limited so book early to avoid disappointment. A £5 non-returnable deposit to be paid at time of booking to cover transport costs. To book your place contact Des Costello 0191 469 4476.
On Saturday 18th March 7pm, we will be hosting our Annual St. Patrick’s Celebrations at Holly Hill Club. This is a family event with Live music from our very own ceili band, “The Geordie Shamrocks” and very popular local band “The Happy Cats”. We will have an exhibition of Irish Dancing from the Kelly Hendry School of Irish Dance and raffle. Tickets £5/half price for children. Monies raised from this event will be donated to The Mayor’s Fund. Tickets will go on sale in the New Year. Book early to avoid disappointment as this is a hugely popular event. Update will appear here when tickets go on sale!