Dr Canice “Kenny” Frederick
The London-based charity and membership network Irish in Britain has launched a new digital series to coincide with St Patrick’s Day, called We are the Irish in Britain: county connections.
Through 32 short videos participants talk about the Irish county or counties they have a connection to, sometimes sharing a favourite spot from their county and a message for other Irish people in Britain after a year like no other.
Dr Canice “Kenny” Frederick, a retired headteacher with a PhD in education, represents Kilkenny in the series. Kenny spent much of her childhood in Kilkenny city and was born near St Canice’s feastday. She has lived in England since 1966.
She pays tribute in her video to the medieval delights of Kilkenny city. She says as a girl she never realised the riches of the city as she ‘chased after boys’! Her message is to be more welcoming to refugees and emigrants to Britain – as the Irish know the importance of a warm welcome to a foreign land.
The series is about celebration and connection, as well as reflection. Participants includes poets and politicians, campaigners and comedians, nurses and broadcasters, as well as business, GA and charity leaders. They weave an impression of the many ways Irish people contribute to the rich tapestry that is Britain in 2021.
Participants include Bridgerton actor Jamie Beamish (Waterford), legendary chef Richard Corrigan (Meath), Conor McGinn MP (Armagh), broadcaster Andrea Catherwood (Antrim), comedian Alison Spittle (Westmeath) and former London GA football manager Paul Coggins (Roscommon).
The messages include calls for diversity and inclusion, recognising the difficulties of the last year in terms of mental health, getting involved in your local community, and looking ahead to next year’s St Patrick’s Day when restrictions will have hopefully been reduced.
Irish in Britain CEO Brian Dalton said, “St Patrick’s Day is a time for Irish people everywhere to renew and affirm our connections to each other, a remembering and celebration of kinship. We thank everyone who has contributed to this different but important St Patrick’s Day project.”
Mayo representative Caroline Brogan, trustee at Birmingham Irish Association and part of the legal team who supported the family of Margaret Keane, said “This is Irish in Britain at its best: bringing the diaspora together, even when we’re apart. It’s been great to take part and celebrate the heritage and culture of every Irish county.”
Conor McGinn MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland and the Irish in Britain, said: “The new County Connections initiative is a wonderful way to celebrate the strong links we all share with places that are special to us in Ireland. When many of us are missing loved ones and have not been able to get home for a year, it’s a nice way to bring together our Irish community here in Britain as we approach St Patrick's Day.”
Irish in Britain have been sharing the videos on their website www.irishinbritain.org and social media channels @irishinbritain from 3 March.
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