Irish History Month


Did you know that throughout the month of March every year, Irish History Month takes place? An initiative brought about by the Irish Arts Foundation, first celebrated in Leeds in 2007, it is now in its fourteenth year. Irish History Month exists to promote the many positive contributions that Irish people have made in Leeds and also to introduce new audiences to the vibrancy of Irish arts, heritage, culture and history.


On Thursday 5th March at Headingley Library, four Leeds-based distinguished second-generation Irish writers explore questions of identity and belonging. Ian Duhig, Ray French, Moy McCrory and Kath McKay ask the perennial question “where is home – here or Ireland?” Through their essays, fiction and poetry about music, family and history, they explore being ‘not quite British, not quite Irish’.

Irish Arts Foundation Director, Des Hurley, will chair a discussion and presentation ‘The Leeds Irish Centre 1970-2020’, with the Sociable History Club at Leeds City Museum on Friday 6th March.

On Monday 9th March at Montague Burton Resource Centre in Harehills, County Wicklow based writer, poet and performer Carmen Cullen performs the songs and tells the story of her aunt Delia Murphy in her roving show ‘Hello Delia Murphy’. The event provides a unique slant on Irish social history and the cultural climate of the times. It underlines the fearless nature of Delia Murphy as a woman and as a singer who promoted Irish folk songs and ballads. At the time it was almost impossible for a married woman with children to have a public profile, in particular in the show-business world. International Women’s Day 2020 takes place on Sunday 8th March.

At Kirkstall Abbey House Museum and as part of the ‘Sounds of Our City’ project, Conor MacMahon, will give a first public screening of his final year film, ‘Home from Home’ on Saturday 14th March. Conor is a Uilleann Piper and Film and Television Production Student at the University of Bradford and worked with Leeds CCÉ (Irish Music Association), Leeds Irish Centre and the Irish Arts Foundation to explore the current Irish music scene in Leeds and traces the history of Irish immigration to the city. ‘Sounds of Our City’ is at Abbey House Museum until 31st December 2020 and takes visitors on a journey through the musical stories of Leeds.

A session of traditional Irish music hosted by local musicians takes place on the Kirkstall Flyboat on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Granary Wharf on the afternoon of Sunday 29th March. All welcome.

Throughout the month an Irish educational and cultural exhibition, ‘Timeline’, can be viewed at the Hunslet Library & Community Hub.

In advance of Irish History Month, during February, a team of tutors from the Irish Arts Foundation will be working in a number of schools across Leeds to deliver workshops on Irish arts and culture.

For information regarding previous Irish History Month projects

Irish History Month Programme 2019

Irish History Month Programme 2018

Irish History Month Programme 2017

Irish History Month