22 episodes

(For the best experience of this podcast, visit: https://www.CenterPieceNY.com) New York Irish Stories: the lives of long-standing members of New York's Irish community, in their own words. And for a small country like Ireland - such a diversity of accents! Stay in touch @CenterPieceNY - we'd love to hear from you! Be sure to Subscribe, Rate and Review ! Episode schedule: one published per month, towards month end. Creator/Producer/Presenter: Paul Finnegan @paul_NY . Logo by @muireannlalor

CenterPieceNY with Paul Finnegan

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

(For the best experience of this podcast, visit: https://www.CenterPieceNY.com) New York Irish Stories: the lives of long-standing members of New York's Irish community, in their own words. And for a small country like Ireland - such a diversity of accents! Stay in touch @CenterPieceNY - we'd love to hear from you! Be sure to Subscribe, Rate and Review ! Episode schedule: one published per month, towards month end. Creator/Producer/Presenter: Paul Finnegan @paul_NY . Logo by @muireannlalor

    S2E10: Eamon Harkin-This Is The Only Time We Live In.

    S2E10: Eamon Harkin-This Is The Only Time We Live In.

    Here in the tenth and final episode of Season Two, we get to know Eamon Harkin, originally from Derry in Ireland, who has achieved celebrity in the world of DJs, and is taking dance culture and its community to a whole other level in Queens, the biggest borough in the city, and one that is not so outer-borough anymore.

    Eamon’s story takes us from the troubled streets of Derry in the 70s and 80s, over to a hopping London in the 90s, then on to New York, a city in shock in the wake of 9/11, to the gradual rekindling of its cultural fires, and now to its re-emergence from the virus.

    It's also a story of a persistent inner voice that refused to be smothered under the weight of practicality and sensibleness, and of finding a way to hear that voice, of making music the medium for bringing that voice to life, with all the risks and ‘leaps of faith’ that path entailed.

    There is also a sidebar on how, as luck would have it,  CenterPieceNY found Eamon, since he is not super-embedded in NYC's Irish community.  It speaks to the wonders of discovery that is omnipresent and ubiquitous in Gotham. 

    Also, give this article a read for some visuals on Nowadays, the club that Eamon and his business partner, and fellow DJ, Justin Carter opened in Ridgewood, Queens.   There's also a great map of NYC neighborhoods to explore there!

    ===========================================
    Some additional info:
    Nowadays
    Mister Saturday Night
    John McDaid and Snow Patrol
    John O'Neill and The Undertones
    The Troubles
    A-Levels
    Derry Girls
    ===========================================

    Super thanks to our centerpiece, Eamon Harkin himself, for all music heard in this episode (excluding Intro/Outro).   His Insta handles are @mistereamonharkin, @mistersundaynyc, @nowadaysnyc and @mistersaturdaynightrecords.  And here he is on Linktr.ee.

    A special shout out to Lochlainn Harte, Imaging Manager at Newstalk Radio, for extra, top class, professional sound editing.

    Thanks to Purple-Planet  for  Intro/Outro music, and to FreeSound for the sound FX.

    Check out the Celtic Irish American Academy. Support its work by donating (in USD $, with tax exemption benefits) here: CIAA Scholastic. (The Academy will be back in real life in Galway this summer, 2022, after pandemic induced inactivity.)

    W: CenterPieceNY.com.  Ratings & reviews here.
    FaceBook/Twitter: @CenterPieceNY

    • 1 hr 3 min
    S2E9: Amy Brett-The More Things Change...

    S2E9: Amy Brett-The More Things Change...

    Amy Brett is a passionate and skilled event planner, an avid Gaelic footballer and a powerful fundraiser for great causes.  And she's all 'Mayo for Sam', red and green, through and through.

    Based in Sunnyside, Queens, she's having the craic in New York.  For many from previous generations, that's a familiar tale.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    But above all she's a community builder.  She loves to bring people together; it's the thing amidst everything else that stands out about her.

    In January this year, in the space of just a few days, with the help of her friends Niamh and Sarah, she brought out a huge crowd of young Irish x-pats in Central Park, to rally around a very timely issue, the growing level of violence against women everywhere, including Ireland.  The event, a 5K charity run, was organized to respond to the death of Ashling Murphy, to honor and remember her, and to highlight this enormous problem.  Over $32,000 was raised for awareness and education about this scourge of our time.

    Almost a thousand showed up.  It can take weeks of planning, if not months, to muster a crowd like that. One can only imagine how many would've showed if they'd had more time.

    It was a gathering that maybe shouldn't have even been possible, and you can read more about the reasons for that here.

    But happen it did, and is clear evidence that there continues to be an Irish identity in New York.

    Most of that big crowd will leave New York before too many years have gone by.  But others will come in their place and the community will be sustained.

    Where will Amy find herself in ten years, and who will be the new Amy in New York when that day comes?

    Because the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    So have a listen to all the mad things Amy gets up to.  But she's a fast talker, so be sure to keep up.

    ======================================
    Links and Further reading:

    For Ashling, and for Women Everywhere
    The Killing of Ashling Murphy
    O'Donovan Rossa Ladies GAA Queens NY - on Insta
    Join Our Boys
    America SCORES
    150Bond
    Shannon Gaels GAA, Queens NY
    Getting into College in Ireland: the CAO and the Points System
    Knock Shrine, County Mayo

    PS: The Irish/Gaelic you hear spoken in this episode translates as:
    "Excuse me, do you (plural) speak Irish? It's not enough to speak only one language."
    ======================================

    Thanks to Purple-Planet  for music, and to FreeSound for sound FX,  and music too.

    Check out the Celtic Irish American Academy. Support their work by donating (in USD $) here: CIAA Scholastic.

    W: CenterPieceNY.com.  Ratings & reviews here.
    FaceBook/Twitter: @CenterPieceNY

    • 1 hr 5 min
    S2E8: Claire McGovern and her Soft Power.

    S2E8: Claire McGovern and her Soft Power.

    Claire McGovern is a sustainable interior designer, art advisor and manufacturer, whose recent work uses Irish wool as its basis, a textile she has come to see as a 'miracle fiber' and after listening to this episode you'll think so too.

    Claire spent her formative years in a small enclave in south Dublin called Dartry, nestled between the more well-known suburbs of Milltown and Rathmines.  Perhaps it was under the shelter of these leafy idyllic suburban surroundings that she first developed her creative flair, and a passion for nature's sustainability on a fragile, threatened planet, or perhaps this evolved on America's 'Left Coast' during her years in San Francisco. 

    Either way, it is all reflected in her work and in her business.   Though she learned early that she, and her family, would not always be sheltered from life's harsher side,  she has persevered, always listening to the voice of entrepreneurship inside her,  always creating beauty for the rest of us to enjoy, as she draws on the many strands of a thing called 'soft power'.

    Claire likes to use the word 'trajectory' when she narrates her life, describing her various physical locales, or the steps of her career.  The word connotates propulsion and flight,  up off the ground, and is an apt one for Claire to adopt.   She used Dublin and her education to catapult her to the States, all the way to the other side of if, before, in the ways of the boomerang, turning back towards the east and New York.   And that eastward trajectory is not yet done.

    And in New York, she has taken motherhood, that big thing, in her stride along the way.  That particular flight path also has a way to go!

    ======================================
    Links of Note for Claire:

    Rhyme Studio
    Donegal Yarns–the genuine Donegal
    Kerry Wollen Mills
    Cushendale Woolen Mills
    Dartry
    Burning Man
    Claire in the Irish Times (June 19 2020)
    The poetry of Cecilia McGovern (Claire's mum!)
    ======================================

    Thanks to Purple-Planet  for music, and to FreeSound for sound FX,  and music too.

    Learn more about Celtic Irish American Academy. Support their work by donating (in USD $, with tax exemption benefits) here: CIAA Scholastic.

    W: CenterPieceNY.com.  Ratings & reviews here.
    FaceBook/Twitter: @CenterPieceNY

    • 57 min
    S2E7: The Computer Club, Part I

    S2E7: The Computer Club, Part I

    We're taking a slightly different approach in this episode.   We've gathered some thoughts and memories of several centerpieces, but the centerpiece of their lives in New York was, for a few years,  a decade ago, a thing called 'The Computer Club'.

    The reason we are doing this now is because one of us, Paraic, had to leave the stage this month, and we've put together this episode in his honor.  We hope it will help us grieve.

    Have a listen.  If you do, you'll end up feeling connected to a time and a good place.  And to good people.

    ============================================
    Links to accompany this episode:
    Death Notice for Paraic Feeney
    Video of Paraic Feeney's Funeral Mass
    Frank Gordon: New York Daily News, Dec 10 2014
    StoryCorps
    Father Ted
    New York Irish Center
    Photos & words, including the full unedited interview between Frank and Paraic
    ============================================

    Thanks to Purple-Planet  for music, and to FreeSound for sound FX,  and music too.

    We didn't include our usual message for the  Celtic Irish American Academy in this episode, but you can learn more about them here. Support their work by donating (in USD $) here: CIAA Scholastic.

    W: CenterPieceNY.com.  Ratings & reviews here.
    FaceBook/Twitter: @CenterPieceNY

    • 37 min
    S2E6: Martin Nutty, the Pensive Podcaster.

    S2E6: Martin Nutty, the Pensive Podcaster.

    Martin Nutty, all 6 foot 4 inches of him,  burst onto the global Irish community scene in 2020 when he fetched up alongside the previously-minted local New York Irish community celebrity John Lee, to stand up the innovative Irish Stew podcast.    From the throes of the pandemic in 2020 to the current reemergence, he and John have roped in dozens of amazing members of the Global Irish Nation, and in doing so are helping to define it.  And Martin has the voice that is the envy of all male podcasters, one as deep as he stands tall.  (Now, John Lee's radio voice is not too shabby either!).  Together they make a dynamic duo.

    Martin didn't get into podcasting because it's the latest "thing".  It's the result of a long and unfinished search for meaning and connection.  It began, in his words–and Martin has more words in his vocabulary than you can shake a stick at–as an avocation, i.e. a serious hobby, to transmit his inner life out into world.   Blogging, writing about his father, was the initial broadcast channel, but this then progressed to audio and his podcast, The Nutty Chronicles.  From there it was on to 'the Stew'. 

    So what will our pensive podcaster explore next?  Wherever it is, we'll be tracking him. 

    =======================================
    Martin's Podcasts:
    Irish Stew Podcast (with a fine review)
    The Nutty Chronicles

    Singer/Songwriter Rosa Nutty

    More about Martin's Sister sister.

    What is a Gaeilgeoir?

    ======================================

    Thanks to Purple-Planet  for music, and to FreeSound for sound FX,  and music too.

    Learn more about Celtic Irish American Academy. Support their work by donating (in USD $) here: CIAA Scholastic.

    W: CenterPieceNY.com.  Ratings & reviews here.
    FaceBook/Twitter: @CenterPieceNY

    • 1 hr 10 min
    S2E5: Shelley Ann Quilty-Lake, the Unapologetic Advocate who Belongs.

    S2E5: Shelley Ann Quilty-Lake, the Unapologetic Advocate who Belongs.

    They say that diversity is being asked to the dance, while inclusion is being asked to dance, but belonging is hearing  your music play at the dance. To belong is a fundamental human need, but the road to true belonging continues to be a long one for many in the US.

    Shelley Ann Quilty-Lake, or simply Shelley, devotes her day, and her life as a lawyer, to those excluded from the dance, and to those who've made it into the dancehall but who aren't  allowed onto the dancefloor.  Discrimination, racism, and other -isms, are often deeply buried, but she skillfully teases them out to protect her clients.  And Shelley knows what it's like to be othered.

    Shelley is gay, unapologetically so, now, but that's neither here nor there, to use a common turn-of-phrase among the Irish, when you learn of the totality of the person she is.

    She was raised in the countryside of County Wexford in Ireland, where working with horses, and playing field-hockey (at which she excelled) brought her great joy. But even then, even there, her self-awareness was speaking in her ear,  first in the whisper of a gentle breeze, and  later, as she grew up and left to attend college in Dublin, in the howl of a more persistent, blustery Irish wind.

    Yet, it took being in America for Shelley to finally feel free enough to seek belonging.  This is the true essence of American freedom, the real pursuit of happiness, not the corrupt mé féin*  version in vogue in this country today.  There was a choice to be made, and Shelley describes this choice with exquisite eloquence.

    From there, it was a natural progression to being an advocate for any category of people that have been historically excluded.  Here the universe conspired to help her, when, out of necessity, she took a job as a paralegal, and witnessed how powerful the law can be in protecting the vulnerable. 

    She had truly found where she belongs.

    The Irish have a keen sense of justice, it should be one of their stereotypes, and Shelley embodies this entirely.    She is unapologetic in her beliefs, yet operates with kindness and fairness. It is her superpower.

    And like all Irish people, she loves being part of the community, which is evidenced by her leadership in several Irish community organizations. 

    We can safely say–knowing how well Shelley makes choices–that in whatever she is doing, she belongs.

    *Gaelic for 'myself', used here in a selfish, self-centered, context.

    ==============================
    Links to accompany this episode:
    Meenan & Associates, LLC
    Irish Business Organization NY
    IABANY
    IAW&A
    Trinity College Dublin
    Shelley the field hockey 'keeper!
    Dublin Horse Show
    Same-sex Marriage Referendum
    Shelley on Twitter: @ShellQL
    ===============================

    Thanks to Purple-Planet and the group Sláinte, via freemusicarchive, for music, and to FreeSound for sound FX and music.

    Learn more about Celtic Irish American Academy. Support their work by donating (in USD $) here: CIAA Scholastic.

    W: CenterPieceNY.com.  Ratings & reviews here.
    FaceBook/Twitter: @CenterPieceNY

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

TurloughMc ,

Father James Kelly

What a wonderful way to get to know a great man -- no wonder Bushwick is going through a boom, the neighborhood is blessed with angels like Fr. James. He is well named as Padre for the Poor. May his great work continue.

Marin514 ,

James Kelly: Hero Priest

Beautifully crafted piece on Fr James Kelly, a man committed to service on behalf of his ever shifting NYC community. His kindness and willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of the less fortunate shines through

Hap E Wife ,

Please fix two things

Monsignor James Kelly and St. Brigid’s (see spelling)

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