Story and Song
Author Mary Pat Kelly launched her latest his torical fiction novel, Irish Above All, with a gathering at the Irish Rep. on February 11. It was a lovely celebration of Irish America, as Kelly regaled her audience with tales from her life and historical notes on the journey of her protagonist, her great-aunt Nora. She displayed an image of her parents’ wedding photo (her “one high-tech thing”), tying in the theme of intermingling generations.
The night was supplemented with music by the Irish Consulate’s Mary Deady, whose brilliant soprano gave context to Kelly’s anecdotes with songs including “Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” They closed together with a rousing performance of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” and not a voice in the house was silent. Deputy Consul General Seán Ó hAodha spoke, reflecting on the proud Irish-American identity. “I meet people with a really strong Queens accent who say, ‘I’m Irish too,’” he said. “It makes me really proud, and really touched.”
Kelly thanked Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, co-founders of the Irish Rep., by quoting the Wall Street Journal. “‘Irish Rep. is just the best theater company in the United States,’” she cited. “My only question is, why limit it to just the United States? It could very well be the best in the world.” ♦