Special anniversary Friends of the Irish night to take place as event celebrates 25 years at 'new' home

A night celebrating Irish music and South Tyneside’s links to the Emerald Isle is lined up to mark a special anniversary.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 4:55 am
Shamrock Street will perform at the Alberta Club as the Friends of the Irish night marks 25 years at the venue.

The Friends of the Irish night is one of Jarrow’s oldest traditions, dating back to 1962 – more than half a century.

The event usually takes place on the last Thursday of each month, but organisers skipped November and are instead having a special edition on December 2 as it marks the 25th anniversary of the musical get-together’s current home.

Organiser Eddie Mcintyre said: “We are having it on the first Thursday of December, which is December 2.

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The Friends of the Irish night has been taking place at the Alberta for almost 60 years.

"The reason for this is that it is the 25th anniversary since we moved from the Bede’s Club after its closure, to the Alberta Club, who said at the time ‘we will look after you’.”

The long-running music night at the Railway Street venue was cancelled for some 15 months during the pandemic, and finally made a return in June 2021 as coronavirus restrictions eased.

The event will feature celtic band Shamrock Street as usual, which are described as “one of the liveliest Irish party bands” in the North East.

The musicians perform a variety of Irish music and songs, consisting of fiddle, electric fiddle, flute whistle, harmonicas, percussion and vocals, guitars and mandolin.

Eddie said Shamrock Street will once again aim to get everyone to their feet with their unique Irish sound.

The Friends of the Irish night is due to mark its 60th anniversary in 2022

But it has its roots going back many more decades, with Jarrow and Hebburn steeped in Irish culture.

Settlers from the Emerald Isle came in large numbers to work in the area’s heavy industries, in particular the shipyards, mines, steel works and chemical works.

The influx earned the area the nickname “Little Ireland.”

Many in the town today can tell you which Irish county their forebears hailed from, and some even remember the Irish accents of their parents and grandparents.

Documentary film named Little Ireland explored the borough’s Irish links, and can be found on YouTube.

:: Admission to Friends of the Irish night is free