Friends of the Irish Night bids a final farewell after 65 years in South Tyneside
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The Friends of the Irish Night has been taking over the Alberta Club in Jarrow each month for a quarter of a century, but the session was founded more than six decades ago at the St Bede’s Club, before having to move to its ‘new home’.
Sadly time has now been called on the event at the Railway Street venue, with a final farewell edition taking place on Thursday, September 28 – though organisers say they will be back for special events.
Organiser Eddie Macintyre said: “Thursday will be the final Friends of the Irish Night after 25 years at the Alberta Club. ‘FIN’ began at the St Bede’s Club in Chapel Road 65 years ago.
"After 25 years and 65 years, we’ve had a fair crack of the whip.”
The hosts for the final edition will be Shamrock Street, who have been a stable of the event over the years, the band having just returned from a tour of the Netherlands and Scotland.
"We’ll also have special guests in the form of the legendary Emerald Thieves, one of the top show bands in the UK,” said Eddie.
"FIN want to thank all the bands and regulars who have supported the night over the years, and everyone who has come along to make the event what it is.
"FIN will return for special occasions throughout the year.”
The event starts at 7.30pm at the club, which is beside Jarrow Metro station, and admission is free, there is no cover charge.
The Friends of the Irish was born while the UK was in the midst of the Folk Revival, when people were turning to traditional forms of music.
But ‘FIN’ celebrated something much deeper in the form of South Tyneside’s links to Ireland.
The area saw an influx of Irish workers from the latter part of the 19th Century, seeking employment in the heavy industries along the Tyne.
Jarrow and Hebburn, in particular, attracted a sizeable Irish population, to the point the area became known as ‘Little Ireland’.