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Just back from a most valuable networking reception at Europe House, hosted by the Cultural Attachés of the European Commission and the Embassy of Ireland.

Bringing together organisations and societies at work across Irish Arts and culture the evening presented an opportunity to share information about current and forthcoming projects, as well as to explore possibilities for collaboration.  Given that a good deal of isolation prevails in the Arts - which can weaken impact or waste resources - practitioners have a real need to connect and cooperate actively.  Sincere thanks to both Cultural Attachés and to Irish Heritage for bringing about this important event.


Delighted that Fifth Province Productions is taking part in this year's Leeds Gathering, at the invitation of Irish Arts Foundation. 

Donal will be a guest speaker at the Official Launch Event on Thurs 8 November, 8pm at the O'Meara Lounge, Leeds Irish Centre.

He will also be performing at the Leeds Gathering Showcase Concert, on Fri 9 November, 8pm at HEART - Headingley Enterprise & Arts Centre.  Extracts from our show 'Journey to the Fifth Province': expect the words, humour and emotion of Ireland's poets, delivered as you've not heard them before.

An honour to be contributing to this event as it goes from strength to strength.  Hope we'll see you there!


So lucky to have had a chance to celebrate those superb sporting performances of the past few weeks, at London's party for the Irish Paralympic team!  An opportunity to congratulate the sportsmen and women themselves, and acknowledge the team of people who supported their participation in a variety of ways.  All the enthusiasm you'd expect of a great party, in the striking setting of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.  A lively conversation gave rise to a moment of special pride for Donal in discovering that Mark Rohan, gold medallist in the 48km men's individual H1 road race, is from Ballinahown just outside his own home town of Mullingar.

As the Paralympics get under way we're proud to let you know that one of our superb Fifth Province harpers has been playing in the British ParaOrchestra of late.  Steph West is contributing to the excitement that's in UK's growing recognition of how very big a pool of skill and talent lies with people who have disabilities.

Read more about Steph and her involvement with the ParaOrchestra here:

And how does she fit into that particular orchestra?  Read about the musicians here:  

We're pleased to announce that we have recently incorporated as a Community Interest Company, registered in England, No 8107077. 

Mailing address & Registered office:  Fifth Province Productions CIC, The Generator Business Centre, 95 Miles Road, Mitcham, CR4 3FH

A entertaining, stimulating and thoughtful weekend, courtesy of Beyond the Border storytelling festival, at St Donat's Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan.  With the superb Welsh coastline as a backdrop we shared in the words and music of some great performers - Taffy Thomas, Ben Haggarty, Daniel Morden, Hugh Lupton, Nick Hennessy and Sally Pomme Clayton among them.  Insights from people who use storytelling to support recovery and wellbeing, and an opportunity for us to look afresh at the value we believe 'Journey' has for the wellbeing of individuals who have lost connection with their Irish heritage.

And what's more, we've every intention of being at the next festival too.

A very agreeable evening at the Irish Lit Soc dinner last night - good food and interesting conversation.  Not to mention a shock raffle win (close to being a first for either of us!).

What a way to bring the 2011-12 Fifth Province back close to home in SW London! An audience of more than 80, from the Irish and non-Irish communities.  And although most were local, others came from far beyond SW19: someone from South Wales, even someone in the UK for the weekend from Eastern Europe! One man had travelled by bus and train for 2 hours from southeast London but said he would have walked all the way to be sure of seeing such great performances. 

Some of the other feedback we especially wanted to share:

'Wonderful and fluid performance'  Eli Anderson, Storyteller 
'Brilliantly performed.  It opened my eyes... a powerful experience'  C Wain
'I was transported back to when I first set foot on my father's soil. Your performance made me feel all these memories again.' Theresa Dwyer

Thank you so much to the team at South London Irish Association for being so open to putting on something quite new, as well as for their relaxed style and practical back-up. (Been in so much recently we're beginning to feel like part of the furniture..)

Ok, not for the tennis, but we're in the last stages of preparation for bringing 'Journey' to South London Irish Association in SW19 on Sunday 20 May.  A 4pm matinee comfortably between lunch and having to think about Monday!

We called in on Saturday evening to meet the crowd gathered for a regular music night, spoke a little bit about the show and gave people a chance to watch the trailer on the hall's big screen. Thanks to Kathy for showing the technology who was boss!

Looking forward now to Sunday - hard to believe it completes the schedule of dates for the Arts Council England tour:  thirteen down and just one to go...

What a pleasure and privilege to have shared an evening with the staff and members of Luton Irish Forum in their gleaming new building.  A first class welcome, practical support and boundless enthusiasm for the project, all rooted in carefully prepared ground: a preliminary meeting, plenty of time to clarify each other's needs and constraints, officers easy to contact.  Thanks in particular to Nicola and Noelette.

Donal had delivered a warmly received 'taster' of the show, targeted at members with an existing interest in Irish writing - who became ambassadors for the project and set about communicating the production to their friends and contacts.  Word of mouth at its powerful best!

We played to a full hall. Some had come from beyond Northampton for the evening, others were quick to point out they were Italian, not Irish!  Others again were local people who had never before had any connection with the Forum, but whose verdict was  'I didn't know what to expect...More of the same please!'

Chairman Frank Horan has a vision for raising the profile of cultural activities within the Forum's span of work, and inspiring new events are scheduled for the coming months.  With their Journey to the Fifth Province under way we sense a future of arts, culture and immense vitality for the Forum and for the people of Luton no matter what their heritage.

'We have all had our spirits uplifted this evening...'  Frank Horan, Chairman, Luton Irish Forum

Yes, shortly before the show, a power failure plunged part of Southsea into darkness along with half of the hall at Portsmouth Irish Club!  Only half, mind you, so we were only half worried and decided to use the half hour of half light to have a snack. Charlie, the Club’s Steward, went into action on our behalf and thankfully all was back up and fully lit by scheduled start time.

A fantastic response from the Club members and officers who attended – the show was breaking new ground for them and, not surprisingly, the prospect had given them a few anxious moments. So rewarding then, to hear reports that people had really enjoyed it. Conversation lasted long after the show, with members of the audience offering help to dismantle the set, pack away lamps, and entering into deep discussion of our production design.

We picked up clear messages about a town in recession, about high unemployment and limited incomes. Seems the power of ‘Journey to the Fifth Province’ had reached the right place!

‘Beautiful, thought provoking. I want to study those poets now. It really awoke something deep inside me.’   R Callan