Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pequot Museum unveils collection of 17th Century battlefield artifacts

English woodcut of the Battle of Mistick Fort (“Mistick Massacre”), 1638.
Mashantucket, Conn. - The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center will unveil the largest collection of 17th Century battlefield artifacts on display in New England in its new Pequot War Exhibit, opening on Oct. 1 in the museum’s Pequot War Gallery, according to a release.
"Showcasing more than 50 recently-recovered objects from the Battle of Mistick Fort (May 26, 1637), the exhibit is the culmination of an innovative, seven-year battlefield archaeology and preservation project led by the museum, and was also made possible through extensive public, private and tribal support," the release said.
Further, visitors will be "introduced to the exhibit through a Pequot narrative of the events surrounding the battle, one of the most controversial and significant events in the Colonial and Native history of America," the release said. 
"On display are never-before-seen military and personal items carried by Native warriors and Colonial soldiers on the day of battle. Visitors will explore artifacts including Native amulets, knives, ornaments, hair pieces, and jewelry, as well as European hand-hammered gun parts and musical instruments recovered from the battlefield. A large sample of lead musket balls as well as brass arrow points fired during battle – and bent upon impact with armor – are also on display."
“Our exhibit reveals exciting and significant new insights into the military tactics, arms and equipment employed by Native and English forces alike,” said Jason Mancini, director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, also in the release. “It also showcases the science, technology and methods used in surveying the Mistick Fort Battlefield, which are among the most advanced in the field. The exhibit is bound to captivate visitors, whether they’re interested in archaeology or military, tribal, or early American history.”
"Part of the museum’s Battlefields of the Pequot War project, Mistick Fort Battlefield is the earliest surveyed battlefield in New England. With grants from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, and by partnering with the Office of the Connecticut State Archaeologist, the Connecticut State Historian, and local historical societies and museums, the Pequot Museum continues its archaeological survey to better understand all aspects of the Pequot War."
The new Pequot War Exhibit will serve as a foundation for future expansions in the Pequot War Gallery, the release said. More information on the "Battlefields of the Pequot War" project can be found at
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Monday, September 19, 2016

'Irish Studies Program at Fairfield University Presents Film Series'

FAIRFIELD  —“The Irish in Film,” a free movie series sponsored by the Irish Studies Program at Fairfield University, begins Sept. 28, with the first of its five films, according to a release.
"The series, now in it ninth year, is part of Fairfield University’s 'Arts & Minds' season of cultural and intellectual programs and is open to the public," the release said.
The films will be shown in the Multimedia Room of the University’s DiMenna-Nyselius Library, on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.
All five films will be introduced by a member of the Irish Studies faculty, who will field questions from the audience after the screenings.
Sept. 28: The award-winning “Pilgrim Hill” (2012) "directed by Gerard Barrett who wrote and directed the documentary-style film. The story focuses on Jimmy Walsh (Joe Mullins), a bachelor farmer living in the west of Ireland and caring for his sickly father. The film explores the themes of loneliness, isolation and caregiving. The film premiered at the Galway Film Festival, where it won the 2012 award for best new Irish talent. Barrett also won the Best New Talent award at the NY Irish Film Festival (2012). The screening has been made available by the Irish Film Institute. Adjunct Professor John E. Feeney, who teaches the course in the Irish language, will introduce the film."
Oct. 5, director Neil Jordan’s “Michael Collins” (1996) will be presented. "The film stars Liam Neeson in the title role as the charismatic leader of the Irish Volunteers, whose guerilla warfare against the British proved so effective. Irish actor Stephen Rea plays Ned Broy, an Ulster Protestant and government employee, who sympathizes with the Republican cause. An interesting aspect of the film is Jordan’s implication of Eamon de Valerna’s role in the 1922 assassination of Michael Collins. Dr. Kevin Cassidy, Associate Professor of Politic
s, will introduce the film."
Oct. 12: The film is “August Rush (2013) directed by Kirsten Sheridan, and described as a “modern musical fairytale.”
"The film is about a teenage musical prodigy (Freddie Highmore), who has been separated from his musician parents, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Keri Russell), who in turn have been separated from each other. Like Mozart, the boy hears music in his head and believing in its magical powers, sets out on a quest to find his parents in New York City.  Dr. Robert Epstein, Associate Professor of English, will introduce the film."
Oct. 19, the fast-paced British thriller set in Northern Ireland, “71” (2014) will be presented. The film was written by Gregory Burke, directed by Yann Demange, and stars Jack O’Connell, as Gary, a British soldier from Derbyshire who is caught behind enemy lines during an ugly riot on the Falls Road in west Belfast. The plot involves a fifth column (“the enemy within”) with Republican operatives working for British intelligence.  Dr. William Abbott, associate professor of History and Co-Director of Irish Studies, will introduce the film.
Oct. 26 “Brooklyn” (2015), based on Colm Toibin’s best-selling novel, directed by Jack Crowley with screenwriter Nick Hornby. "The film features Saoirse Roan as Eilis Lacey, the young, intelligent immigrant who makes a new life for herself in 1950s Brooklyn with the help of an Irish-American priest from home, Father Flood (Jim Broadbent). Eilis, whose name suggests Ellis Island, meets Tony, an Italian-American plumber, and everything seems settled until Eilis returns to Ireland for her sister’s funeral. There she quickly becomes absorbed into her own culture, but as a more accomplished and glamorous version of her old self. The film addresses the issue of women’s emigration in post-World War II America—both the gains and the losses.  Dr. Nels Pearson, Professor of English, will introduce the film."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Congregation Mishkan Israel to hold Unity Concert

HAMDEN -  Congregation Mishkan Israel will act as host for a Unity Concert at 6 p.m. on Sept.  21  785 Ridge Road, according to a release.
"Join us for an evening of diverse melody, harmony, and rhythm – celebrating our community coming together in sound and song," the release said.
The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, the release said.

The Unity Concert will feature Spanish Guitar, Afro-Semitic, Classical, Rap, Arabic and African Drumming, Queer 5 Dancers, Buddhist Bells, Russian Violinist, Inner-city Children Orchestra, and other artists, according to the release.

"The community is invited to join us for this peaceful night."  Congregation Mishkan Israel is a reform synagogue, the 14th oldest congregation in the United States, and the oldest continuously operating one in New England. 
For more information, call the synagogue office at (203) 288-3877.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Greater Danbury Irish Festival coming up

This post is submitted by Wendy Ann Mitchell
DANBURY — The Greater Danbury Irish Festival is bigger and better than ever this year with live Irish music, Irish dance, cultural activities in the cultural tent, Irish food and beer and a children's area with games, music and tons of fun. It takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16, 17 and 18, 2016 and is presented by the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, the Men's and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, committee members and volunteers.

The brainchild of Gerry Curran, former President of the Danbury Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Festival began in 1995 at Rogers Park in Danbury with the help of Sharon Higgins. Twenty-one years ago, Curran had the dream to bring an Irish music and culture festival to Danbury. Now held at the Charles Ives Concert Park, the festival offers Irish food, fellowship and fun for people of all ages.
John Feeney, an Irish Gaelic language instructor, heads up the cultural tent which showcases a broad range of Irish heritage and gives festival-goers an up close experience of Irish traditional music, Gaelic language, history, dance, genealogy, film, theater and literature through live performances, displays, lectures and workshops in the tent. Anyone with an interest in Irish culture can sign up for classes and activities at the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center.
Kathy Hannigan has organized a number of activities for children at the youth area tent including face painting, crafts, genealogy coloring page, sand art, jewelry making and story telling. A Halloween parade is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. on Saturday. Children can bring their own costume or wear one from the youth area. Prizes will be awarded for most creative costumes.
New this year for kids and teens will be a "Selfie Scavenger Hunt" beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday and2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Participants should be at the youth area 15 minutes before the scheduled start time for clues and instructions. Prizes will be awarded. The youth area hours are Saturday from 12 – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 – 5:30 p.m.
All weekend long there will be displays on Women of the Easter Rising, Book of Kells, Irish crochet, Irish language and classes, Irish family histories, genealogy, Irish blessings, Irish literature, history of the potato famine, Irish traditional music history and classes and much more.
The Greater Danbury Irish Festival will be held at the Ives Concert Park, 48 Lake Avenue, Danbury on Friday, September 16, Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, 2016.

Entertainment on the Main Stage:
Friday, Sept. 16, 2016:
  • Traveling Danburys – 6:45 – 8:00 p.m.
  • The Go Set (Australia) – 8:15 – 10 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016:
  • Steve O’Tree and Friends 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • Ringrose & Freeman w/ Special Guest Mary Gardner – 1:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Ashurst Irish Dance – 2:00 – 2:40 p.m.
  • Tipperary Knights – 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Celtic Cross Pipe & Drums – 4:00 – 4:40 p.m.
  • Ashurst Irish Dance – 4:45 – 5:15 p.m.
  • Celtic Cross Pipe & Drums – 6:00 – 6:40 p.m.
  • Mighty Ploughboy Nation 4 – 6:45  8:00 p.m.
  • The Peelers (Canada) – 8:15 – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016
  • Poor Richard (Rhode Island) – 12:00 – 1:15 p.m
  • Petri School Of Dance – 1:45 – 2:15 p.m.
  • Highland Rovers – 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
  • Petri School Of Dance – 3:45 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Cunningham Brothers – 4:45 – 6:00 p.m.
Cultural Tent Entertainment Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 16, 2016:
  • Dance performance and workshop - Thorne Academy of Irish Dance – 7 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016:
  • Traditional Irish Music – Liz & Gordon – 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Traditional Irish Music – Fiddleuisce – 2 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Presentation on the Women of the Easter Rising – Marilyn Madigan LAOH Historian – 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Step Dance Workshop – Ashurst Irish Dance – 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Traditional Irish Music – Ringrose & Freeman w/special guest Mary Gardner (Bodhrán) – 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Saturday Night Ceili – Green Gate Céilí Band – 7-10 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016:
  • Uilleann Piper- Matt Connolly – 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Traditional Irish Music – Shamrogues – 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Traditional Irish Music – Fiddleuisce – 3 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Presentation on the Women of the Easter Rising – Marilyn Madigan LAOH Historian – 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Thorne Academy of Irish Dance – performance and workshop – 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Admission Prices:
Friday (Hours- 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.):
  • $5 Friday night only
  • $2 with a student ID
  • Children 12 and under are free
  • Cash, Visa, and Master Card is accepted
Saturday (Hours 11 a.m.– 10 p.m.):
  • $12 per day or $25 for a weekend pass
  • Enter before 1 p.m. for 1/2 price admission
  • "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day" $2 discount for wearing green
  • Children 12 and under are free
  • Cash, Visa, and Master Card is accepted
Sunday (Hours 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.):
  • $12 per day or $25 for a weekend pass
  • Children 12 and under are free
  • Cash, Visa, and Master Card is accepted
Raffle Tickets:
  • Tickets are $5 each
  • First Prize is $2,000
  • Second Prize is $1,000
  • Third Prize $500
  • Call Sharon O’Rourke at 203-470-7570 for tickets
For more information, click here, email or call the club at 203-739-0010.
Photo by Wendy Ann Mitchell
Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quinnipiac University’s 'Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger Exhibition'

Photo by Johnathon Henninger.
HAMDEN  An exhibit created by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University will be a part of the National Famine commemoration in Dublin on Sept. 11, according to a release.
 "'Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger,' which tells the story of the religious orders in Montreal whose members gave selflessly to Irish immigrants during the summer of 1847, will be part of the ninth annual commemoration, which will take place at Glasnevin Cemetery," the release said.
Ireland President Michael D. Higgins, and Heather Humphreys T.D., minister for arts and heritage, are expected to attend, the release noted. 
The exhibition will remain on display there until early December, the release said.
Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac and a professor of history, "collaborated with Jason King, Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Moore Institute at Galway University, to create the exhibition, which has been displayed at Quinnipiac and in Montreal," the release said.
I am delighted that people in Ireland will have an opportunity to learn about the Grey Nuns of Montreal, who showed such charity and compassion to the 70,000 Irish poor who arrived in the city in Black '47,” Kinealy said, also in the release. “It is a story of humanity that remains inspirational today.”
"Many thousands of people fled from Ireland during the Great Hunger, a period of mass starvation and disease between 1845 and 1852, and immigrated to Canada. Famine immigrants to Montreal were not only among the poorest of the poor, but many of them arrived already sick with typhus fever. Despite this, a number of people in the English and French Canadian communities provided the ailing and the dying with shelter and support. In the forefront of this compassionate movement were the Sisters of Charity, also known as the Grey Nuns."  
"The story of the Grey Nuns, and of the other religious orders who helped the dying Irish immigrants, is one of kindness, compassion and true charity," Kinealy said in the release. "Nonetheless, almost 6,000 Irish immigrants perished in the fever sheds of Montreal. They had fled from famine in Ireland only to die of fever in Canada. This is a remarkable story that deserves to be better known."
Further, "Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University
Ireland's Great Hunger Institute strives to offer a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the Irish Famine, also known as An Gorta Mór, through a program of lectures, conferences, courses and publications. The institute also fosters an appreciation for Irish culture and history."
For more information about Quinnipiac University, visit Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook at and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.
Photo caption: Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, puts the finishing touches on the exhibit, "Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger," which will be apart of the National Famine Commemoration in Dublin on Sept. 11.
Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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