Irish Night Gallery

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.

Irish Night

The Felling Irish Association will hold an Irish Night in the Holly Hill Social Club on Saturday 16th March 2019 from 7:00pm.

The brilliant Emerald Thieves band will be playing and there will be a dancing display from the World Champions Kelly Hendry School of dancing.

This event has been sponsored by the National Lottery.

Any profits will go to the Cardinal Hume World Challenge Expedition to Nepal in 2019.

Tickets are available from Desmond Costello. Telephone 0191 4694476 and cost £5.

Felling Irish Association AGM 2018

Felling Irish Association AGM 2018

Held at Holly Hill Sports and Social Club on Wednesday 10th May at 19.30

The following committee was elected to serve for the year. Further committee members may be co-opted to work on the committee.

Chair – Des Costello – remains

Vice Chair – George Law stood down (Michael Mahon later voted in)

Secretary – Charley Rutland stood down (Neil Campbell later voted in)

Treasurer – Theresa Costello (later voted in to vacant position)

Welfare Officer – Kathleen Lynn – remains

Promotions Officer – John Gibson stood down ( Joanne McShane later voted in)

Youth Officer – Rebecca Rutland stood down (Aidan Campbell later voted in)

Felling Irish Association AGM 2017

Felling Irish Association AGM 2017

Held at Holly Hill Sports and Social Club on Wednesday 10th May at 19.30

The following committee was elected to serve for the year. Further committee members may be co-opted to work on the committee.

Chair – Des Costello

Vice-Chair – George Law

Secretary –  Charley Rutland

Treasurer – this position is currently vacant until a suitable candidate can be found

Welfare Officer – Kathleen Lynn

Promotions Officer – John Gibson

Youth Officer – Rebecca Rutland

Committee Members – Betty Law, Michael Mahon,  Neil Campbell, Peter Mole MBE

Felling Irish Association Supports Local Irish Dancing School Feis


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.

Finnegan’s Wake Play


South of the Tyne Irish Drama Group part of the Felling Irish Association


Finnegan’s Wake

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

Finnegan’s Wake

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.

Finnegan’s Wake

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

Ambrose Woodhouse

Betty Law

Celia Doyle

Charley Rutland

Dave Sloan

David Cowell

Dominic Rutland

Eilish Lowdon

Gabriel Greeves

George Law


Jake Abbott

James Frater

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Rutland


Maggie Frater

Matthew Rutland

Patrick Lowdon


Rebecca Rutland

Saoirse Glynn

Sheena Greeves

Sian Frater

Simon James

Turns at Ceili performed by

Jenni Pascoe

Nancy Kniveton

Sky Hawkins

Peter Gordon

Harry Gallagher


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.

Thanks to

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.

Friends of Felling Park and Town Centre

Friends of Felling Park and Town Centre

In Early Autumn 2016 Des Costello and John Gibson from the Felling Irish Association approached Gateshead Council to see what could be done about the steady decline of Felling Park and the town centre as a whole. From those early discussions it was decided that for things to progress a new group should be established. This new group, The Friends of Felling Park and Town Centre is separate from the Felling Irish Association but due to the close working relationship between the two groups and due to the fact that the “Friends” group doesn’t yet have their own website, updates on the Felling Park project will appear on the Felling Irish Association website for the time being.

The first meeting of the Friends of Felling Park and Town Centre took place on Wednesday 16th November 2016 in the Concert Room of Holly Hill Sports and Social Club. A Committee has been formed, constitution prepared and bank account opened so the group are nearly in a position to start applying for grants to help fund this 4-5 year project. The meeting was well attended and those present were invited to come up with a logo for the group A small group of volunteers paid a visit earlier in the day to Ferndene Park, Ryton and Oliver Henderson Park, Leam Lane to see what other similar “friends groups” had achieved. A Facebook page “Friends of Felling Park and Town Centre” has been set up to keep people informed of latest developments and to spread the word about the project. The Felling Square Christmas Tree, (funded through Felling Irish Association, Holly Hill Sports and Social Club and Gateshead Council),  has been installed and the official Christmas Light Switch-On will take place on Friday 2nd December at 14.30


Next meeting of the Friends of Felling Park and Town Centre will take place in Concert Room, Holly Hill Club at 19.15 on Wednesday 14th December. All Welcome! Dates of future meetings can be found on our calendar.

Update – several volunteer sessions have taken place over past few months. Tidy ups have been carried out by local volunteers and two sessions of tidy ups have taken place by volunteers from Virgin Media. In excess of 2,000 bulbs (daffodils and tulips) have been planted throughout the park. Lots of interest has been shown via the Facebook page and we have another volunteer session planned for Saturday 21st January from 10.30 am, where we hope to plant some more bulbs at the bottom end of the park, opposite the dentists and continue general tidying. Funding has been secured to enable the group to plant a small orchard within the park and further funding and donations of plants and equipment is currently being sort.

Beloe you can see some “Before an After” pictures showing the differences our volunteers are making in Felling Park


An article on The Friends of Felling Park was published in the latest Council News magazine.

The bulbs that were planted are now in bloom

A couple of grants have been received to allow us to start planting

Work has started to rejuvenate the park benches

Bowling Green ready for bowling season and pavilion has been cleared and cleaned.

Water has been restored so toilet facilities now available in the pavilion and also kitchen can now be used which means our volunteers can have well deserved coffee breaks

Volunteers regularly meet in the Park every Saturday morning from about 10am.Sessions also arranged during the week when volunteers are available and weather permitting. A Finance and Strategy group regularly meets with representatives from the council and the “Friends” Group has their monthly meeting at 7.15pm in the Concert Room of the Holly Hill Sports and Social Club, on the third Wednesday of every month , where people can share their views and ideas and be updated on how the project is doing.

St Patrick’s Day 2017 Celebration

st-patricks-300x3001The 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!


Would you like to see an improvement in Felling Park for all members of the community, young and old to enjoy?

Then we need you, your ideas and your time!

We wish to make the park a better place to be, to reduce social isolation, increase health and well-being and bring the community together.

If you’re interested in any way please contact:

Des Costello on 0191 469 4476

John Gibson on 07877 072 899