On a rainy Wednesday afternoon in June, in the village of Annitsford just north of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society hosted one of their regular meetings for their ‘Raised on Songs and Stories’ project at the United Irish League club. The project provides a free afternoon of live Irish music and lunch for older Irish people living on Tyneside.
The Cultural Society’s chairperson, Tony Corcoran, said “We were delighted with the turnout of almost fifty local Irish residents despite the inclement weather. It’s apparent that what we do with the ROSS project is really important to people. It keeps them connected with their Irish heritage and each other; it’s especially significant for some of the older people who don’t want to travel into the city, so we take it to them. We have recently put together a song book which has been very well received and it’s a little memento to take home. It’s great to see everyone singing along”.
A resident of the village, Annemarie Padden, displayed some historical documents going as far back as the 1860s that she has collected over many years about the Irish in Annitsford . Included in the display were some fascinating archives on the famous operatic singer Owen Brannigan OBE who was born in Annitsford to Irish parents and has a street named after him. The display will be shown again as part of an exhibition during the Tyneside Irish Festival on Sunday 20th October at the United Irish League club.

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