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Bards for St Brigid's


Event notice

Thurs., June 15, 7 PM
Connolly's 45, 121 W 45 Street, between 6th & 7th Ave

Tickets: $20 on-line at

Paul Dougherty • 30 May 2006

I've been doing Irish-American outreach for the effort to save this Famine Church in New York's East Village. It was my Grandfather's parish and I've lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. Now I'm involved in promoting in the writer's benefit for St. Brigid's on June 15th, "Bards for St. Brigid's" that features Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Thomas Fleming, T.J. English, Thomas Kelly, Joseph O'Connor and Dennis Smith will join host Larry Kirwan, Black 47's front man (see below).

I had been following the St. Brigid's story (the building being closed then the parish dissolved) in the media from the sidelines until two things came together for me. First was a a deeper appreciation of it's history. As Catholic Churchs in America go, it's quite old, built in 1848. As the date implies it was built by and for the Famine Irish when famous "Alpahbet City" was the Drydock ship building district. My final wake up call was a tour I took last fall of the renovated (to the tune of $15 million) Eldridge Street Synagogue, my simple reaction, "Why Can't We Do This?" even a discount version.

Today in the famous gateway immigrant district (the Lower East Side) the Irish can lay claim to very little. More recent arrivals left their signature all over. But as one of the first chapters in this neighborhood's immigrant story, their wood settlements are gone. The earliest Catholic churches are in Chinatown or in the financial district, areas long detached from their immigrant roots. St. Brigid's has a beautiful and enviable location in the hip and gentrified Lower East Side. It's a shame that the Archdiocese and suburban Irish-Americans feel such a disconnect with their birthplace in this country. The last court challenge to demolition will be heard a few days before our all-star benefit on June 15. By lending their names and participation in our benefit these writers, our bards, are helping to rouse the sleeping Irish-American giant to stop this impending tragedy.

The Irish-American community of Greater New York seeks a creative way to save St. Brigid's as a landmark heritage site. We're petitioning the New York Archdiocese to start a dialogue with those who want to save it. Counterproposals have been made to rescue the Church but have been rejected. Those who care remain completely in the dark about the Archdiocese's plans. We're asking the Cardinal to join community in exploring alternative plans that spare the Church and ways to finance them that will not burden the Archdiocese.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like more information. Tickets are available at our web site.



WHAT: Benefit Reading by Irish literary lights to help save New York's historic Irish Famine Church, St. Brigid's, from demolition

WHO: Pete Hamill, Malachy McCourt, Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Thomas Fleming, T.J. English, Thomas Kelly, Joseph O'Connor and Dennis Smith will join host Larry Kirwan, Black 47's front man, in an evening of readings, opinions, music and more. Isaiah Sheffer, founder of "Bloomsday on Broadway" will read from James Joyce's Ulysses. Surprise guests and additional notables will also join the "Bards."

WHEN: Thursday, June 15, 2006, starting at 7 PM (doors open at 6 PM)

WHERE: Connolly's 45, 121 W 45 Street, between 6th & 7th Ave, 3rd floor event room (212- 597-5126).

WHY: Now in imminent danger of demolition, St. Brigid's Church on Avenue B and 8th Street is in the heart of New York's immigrant gateway neighborhood, the Lower East Side. Built by Irish shipwrights, St. Brigid's created a community in America for Irish famine refugees and has played a similar role to successions of new Americans from around the world.

In response to the 2004 decision of the Archdiocese of New York to close the parish and demolish the church, parishioners, neighbors and other concerned citizens organized the Committee to Save St. Brigid's. Through the Committee's dogged efforts in the courts, demolition has been delayed, but the future of the building and all it represents is very much in peril.

The Committee to Save St. Brigid's will host "Bards For St. Brigid's" to raise critical funds needed for the eleventh-hour fight to save one of New York's most historic churches from the wrecking ball.

"Bards For St. Brigid's"

Thurs., June 15, 7 PM,

3rd floor event room at Connolly's 45, 121 W 45 Street, between 6th & 7th Ave. (212- 597-5126).

Subways: Times Sq.- 42nd St. stops Tickets: $20 on-line at





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

6 June 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

We Believe Freddie McGuinness
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Under Scrutiny
John Kennedy

Unionism's New Puppetmasters
Robert Matthews

Dr John Coulter

Two Peace Processes
Mick Hall

'The Beginning of the End has Past …'
Davy Carlin

How Many Grannies?
Dr John Coulter

Even the Dogs Bark in Irish?
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Bards for St Brigid's
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USA v Iran
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Threat to Iran Based on Duplicity
David Adams

Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism

Profile: Bernard Henry-Levy
Anthony McIntyre

BHL: Bernard Henri-Levy
Liam O Ruairc

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28 May 2006

Humpty Dumpty
Anthony McIntyre

Eamon Sweeney

Political Status
Geoffrey Cooling

Enough, Enough of Stormont
David Adams

Joined at the Hip
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Loyal to What
Fred A Wilcox

No Rest In Peace
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'Penetrated' Has Become the Sinn Fein Brand Mark
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Code Red
Dr John Coulter

Review of the Field Day Review 1: Debut Issue, 2005
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Profile: Salman Rushdie
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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